Case Studies: I’m Surrounded by Stage Moms

By Casey Benson October 19, 2012 07:00 AM
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Case Studies: I’m Surrounded by Stage Moms

Dear Case,
I am a stay-at-home mom to a bright and charming 3-year-old daughter. Since she is an only child, I am concerned about her socialization with other children, reliance/closeness to me and her general preparedness to school. However, as a single-income family, my husband and I aren’t able to afford the traditional Preschool. More importantly, we live in L.A., so every extracurricular activity that we have enrolled in is full of babies (and their plastic mothers) in the entertainment business. These stage moms go on and on about what commercial, print ad or modeling agency their child is a part of, questioning my daughter’s placement. While I know better not to participate, I find myself in a “my-child-is-smarter/prettier/more successful-than-yours” one-upping contest. How do I socialize my daughter without getting lost in the comparison game?
-Star Crossed

Dear Star,
It’s easy to get caught up in the “neiner-neiner” competition, even if you know it’s childish. Since Suzy was walking at 8 months or Josie just landed the Gap ad, it’s understandable why you would want to tout your little one’s success stories. Remember that children develop differently and it’s not a race to see who gets there first. Further, the goals of stardom are not what you hold dear, so separate yourself and your daughter from the ugly popularity contest. Since you are trying to offer social and educational activities on a tight budget, check out your local city or community parks and recreation program. These inexpensive classes meet regularly for 6-8 weeks offering music, arts, nature appreciation, sports and general enrichment to children of all ages. You may also want to set up a regular play date with other parents and their children or free trips to the local playground to share the slide with other kiddies. Local aquariums, museums and libraries also have inexpensive programs to provide free (or near free) access for a special exhibit or weekly story time.

Dear Case,
My friend Sara has been having a casual relationship with Mike for a few months. It’s definitely a rebound situation for Sara, as she just had an ugly breakup with her longtime boyfriend. This fling with Mike really seems to make her happy, or at least keep her mind off of the heartbreak. Recently, I ran into Mike at a bar and he brazenly hit on me, more than once. After defending my friend and telling him off, I still feel awful. Do I tell Sara that Mike is a creep, or do I just let this fleeting relationship die off naturally?
-Assisting the Rebound

Dear Assist,
There is no easy answer on whether to tell or not to tell. Believe it or not, some people just don’t want to know. Can you deliver the truth and accept it if the news is not received well? You know that if he is coming on to you, a friend of Sara’s, then he has already or will likely do it with someone else. Your trepidation understandably comes from her possible reactions: 1- Ideally, she could kick him to the curb after hearing of his jerky ways, 2- Sara could not believe you or blame you for instigating the situation and you are left without the trust of a friend, or 3- say nothing, remove yourself and tolerate the awkwardness until they break up.

It sounds like Sara knows Mike isn’t “the one,” so delivering the news that he’s a schmuck may just put the break up on the fast track. Take solace that eventually cheaters are found out, so even if she doesn’t take heed, she will find out soon enough. Hopefully, Sara can see that the non-serious rebound fish are plenty and she can easily find another Mike-alike that doesn’t hit on her friends.