To The Bully Mom Who Belittled Me

I was going to just let it go. I tried so hard to let it go. I repeated to myself over and over that she is not worth the tears. I actually hate drama and usually do everything I can to avoid it. What happened hurt me. I still tried to let it go. Then I thought about all the other parents who have to deal with bully moms like this. Parent’s who just want to feed their children real food, but are constantly undermined by insecure people who can’t handle other people’s decisions. I decided that writing about this traumatizing experience will not only help me to heal from it, but will help other parents to know that they are not alone, and to stay strong in their convictions. I remember another dear blogger friend writing about his experience being bullied by another adult because he would not eat cake at an adult gathering. It’s sad to think that some adults really do sink this low. I have experienced this to a lesser degree on several occasions, but never to this extent. I remember being told by another mom that my son would go off to college and binge on junk food if I didn’t buy him a muffin at 2 years old (a muffin that he wasn’t even asking for or interested in). I remember being told by another parent that my children were at risk for rickets because I was not giving them cows milk.

 

 

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The situation:

 

I met this new mom who I will call “Bully Mom” whose son is friends with my son at school. Bully Mom invited me over her house for dinner. I thought that was thoughtful as I am going through some major transitions in my life, and was having a very rough day. She had gone to my recent talk on ancestral health, and knew that I followed this lifestyle with both myself and my children. After the talk Bully Mom made sure to come up and tell me that she eats grains. Which is fine. Believe it or not, I don’t judge people for eating grains! Really, I don’t. People are welcome to take what they want from my talks, my blog, my FB posts etc, and leave the rest. I appreciated that she came, and thanked her for coming. Most of my friends do not follow this lifestyle, and are still very good friends. We laugh together, and love each other. That is really what matters.

 

Back to the situation. I too my 5 year old along with me to Bully Mom’s house for dinner, and to play with her children. Before coming over we stopped to get sushi for my son who was very hungry. He loves sushi, and I thought that would take the edge off of his hunger.

 

It started with several comments from Bully Mom while Jonah was eating his sushi about how “her children eat processed foods” and “how children can handle processed foods.” I didn’t comment. I simply nodded and changed the subject. I am use to being questioned by people for my choices and I usually just change the subject. Her son was asking about the sushi and she hushed him and said to him “no, you don’t like that.”

 

Then Bully Mom gave my son 2 slices of pizza and a plate of pasta. She did not ask me first. She asked him. Of course he said yes. I did not say anything. She was making separate meals of pizza and pasta for all the kids, and a different healthy meal for the adults. Usually in these situations I let go, and allow my children to have whatever it is. They do not have food allergies. I even let loose with them at home. I am not militant in my lifestyle, I do the best I can in the context of our culture. Even though I knew it may upset his stomach, I knew he would still be okay. I understand that he will have to learn to make these decisions and how different foods affect how he feels. I can’t control everything. I understand that. I was thankful that she was cooking a nice meal for me, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about dinner.

 

After finishing his meal some other friends arrived with Doritos, and my child started eating them. Again, I didn’t feel great about it, but I let him have some. However, as it became closer to his bedtime, I didn’t want him to wake at night with a bellyache. So I told him that was enough Doritos. He was fine with it.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She took my son by the hand and led him to her pantry. She came out with him holding a bag of cheetos. He opened it and started eating them. I felt a pit in my stomach for being undermined, but still did not speak up. I let him have a few. Then I said to him “that is enough for tonight, we can finish these later” and closed up the bag.

 

Bully Mom disagreed. She yelled (yes, she spoke loudly in front of my other girlfriends and my son) “LET HIM HAVE THOSE! It’s not like he gets them all the time!”  I replied “It is my child, and my choice. He has had enough.” I had enough too. I packed up and left. As I got in the car I felt the pit in my stomach that rose up and my eyes welled with hot tears. I sobbed. I was treated like less than a person simply because of my lifestyle. I will never let someone treat me this way again.

 

 

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The next day I found out that Bully Mom had unfriended and blocked me on facebook. Why? Well simply because she is insecure with her parenting choices, and needed someone to take it out on. I was her scapegoat. I feel for her, and after getting all of this out of my system, I will forgive her. I am letting it go.

 

However, I’m tired of pretending that it is okay to treat people this way. It’s not okay. If you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choices that much, then don’t invite them over to dinner! Do not undermine other parents by feeding their children things you know they are not comfortable with. If you are a parent trying to feed your child real food, you are not depriving neglecting, or hurting them. I’m sorry that we have to live in such an eff’d up culture that people truly believe this. Believe it or not kids can enjoy real food. You are also not alone.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Kevin Paige says:

    Hi Kathryn,

    I’m sorry you had to go through that ordeal. I have children in High School and it’s disturbing to see some adults act no better that the bully on the school playground. You did the right thing by walking away. She may judge you, but she will be judged in the end.
    Psalm 1:1-150:6
    “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;”

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sad you had to go through it 🙁 I know many of us who have decided to change their families lifestyle go through something similar…but this is horrendous!! The gall of this women to tell your child…anyway…I feel you. I had something similar happen with family…yes, family! We worked it out, but still disagree on when my kids eat. I was brought up that we eat breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner…no in between. I know I feed my children enough for these meals and they don’t need the extra food…my family member disagrees and I have to let it go…when they are with that person…they get to eat whenever they want. Then I get to deal with reconditioning them at home…it’s not fun.
    Thank you for taking the time to write this!! 😀

  3. Thanks Kathryn for sharing. I have been in a similar situation. You handled it very well under the circumstances. I shared it with my Facebook followers too.

  4. Wow, I’m sure this kind of undermining happens a lot but she seems pretty extreme. Sure doesn’t sound like a friend you want to have. Way to stand up for yourself. I hope writing this down helped remove it from your thoughts and let people know they are not alone. Keep up the good work.

  5. Wow. What a crazy situation to go through! That was so rude of her to already know how you typically eat, ignore your requests, and purposely push that food onto your child like that. It’s as if she purposely invited you over for dinner to feed him the grains/junk food that she thought he was missing! Be glad she unfriended you, because that is not what a friend would do. :/ It is really hard to eat healthy in our culture. I feel awkward in social situations, but our drastic diet changes have helped myself and my family members with several health conditions (asthma, eczema, food intolerances, hormone issues, digestion issues, etc). I don’t see any other choice but to stand my ground and do what we have to do. We allow some sugar/junk food splurges, but never gluten due to health issues. If my kids rebel when they are older, so be it. At least I will have given them several years of healthy, homemade, gluten free food and they will likely feel the difference when they eat otherwise. The college binge eating doesn’t make sense to me… we ate lots of gluten, processed and sugary foods when I was growing up. During college I still continued to eat the same junky food. My health suffered greatly because I was not used to eating healthy food and I didn’t understand the importance of a good diet.

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      My children do have intolerances, I wish people would take that more seriously! I totally agree it makes a huge difference in ones health.

  6. Good for You!!!! I don’t have kids but I am treated like I’m crazy for the way I eat all the time. I constantly have people trying to undermine me everywhere I go. I don’t preach to them about how to eat either. They constantly ask me questions about my diet-which I answer honestly but this seems to make them insecure about the way they’re eating. I know that this is about them and not me but we really have to start speaking up. These really are adult bullies and I’m sick of it!!

  7. Lynda Lewis says:

    You will always find people who try to force their will on others….bullies! These people are NOT your friends. Only you can decide what’s right for your child. I applaud you!

  8. Your patience with bully mom was most admirable. I would have spoken out much sooner. My two sons are now adults and I proudly tell people that they cook. Really cook. They buy ingredients, not packages. Neither one ever went on a junk food binge when they left home. Sure they ate it, but they got over it pretty quick. When they were young and at home they sometimes complained that I wouldn’t buy pizza pops etc. but now they thank me for bringing them up healthy. Who doesn’t want to feel good?

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      YES!!! I hope my kiddos do the same.

    • Heather in Michigan says:

      I LOVE the sentence you used…They buy ingredients, not packages. The way it should be.

    • Lonnie Chu says:

      Yes, kids who are raised with good food choices do remember them. I wasn’t at all paleo when my kids were little 20 years ago, but we did try to eat, as you say, food based on ingredients and not packages. The oldest child wasn’t interested in great food but came around in the end and at 35 is really enjoying real food. The youngest was always interested and eventually got a couple culinary degrees and is now lead line cook at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco (all real food, all made by hand in the restaurant all from scratch). When I tell people “if I eat that, I will be awake most the night with joint pain,” they back off at the very least. But you know some of them are thinking “she’s a hypochondriac.” I can let go of what I can’t control. But I can also choose to not be near anyone who is toxic to me just like I can choose not to eat food that is toxic to me.

  9. Rebecca Cody says:

    When did parents start feeding their children separate meals from their own? My husband’s daughter has always done this, When her children were little she always brought a box of various junky foods just for them. Then she would feed them about half an hour before the meal I was preparing would be ready, so she could show us how they weren’t hungry for our food! Duh! It wasn’t commonly done when I was raising my children in the 1960s and ’70s. It seems many parents think junk food is especially appropriate for children! What ARE they thinking? No wonder so many children have trouble learning and sitting still in class.

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      Many parents do the separate meal thing, but I refuse! I totally agree with you.

    • My parents did the separate meals thing but that was because there wasn’t enough room at the table for everyone to eat at once

      • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

        They sat at the same table…they just didn’t eat the same food.

      • Rebecca Codyn NTP says:

        I can understand eating in shifts or at different tables if there isn’t enough room, but I’m wondering when people started thinking children should have totally different and non-nourishing foods.

    • I don’t get it either – our children have always eaten what we eat and they eat sensibly on the whole. They do have some junky food but will now often ask for ‘my’ food as they’ve realised my high-fat, low carb meals are so much tastier than junky processed stuff… 🙂

  10. Wow! That is over the top. I am so sorry that happened. It sounds like that woman is unhappy and taking it out on you. Not sure if you saw this post from Sarah at Everyday Paleo but I thought of it reading about this woman. http://everydaypaleo.com/stop-depriving-kids/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EverydayPaleo+%28Everyday+Paleo%29

    Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to be reminded we aren’t alone in our quest to keep our children healthy.

  11. Regardless of what way to eat is better than what it was your child and your rules for your child should have been followed. Would she give peanuts to a child allergic? I shudder to think about that.

  12. Hi
    Thank you for sharing this. There is waaaay too much of foodbullying in the air and it seems to be predominantly perpetuated by women!
    I’ve had similar situations regarding my choices – even concerning my pets!
    The question presenting itself: how does what I put into my body (or what I provide for the bodies entrusted to me) affect how you feel about me as a friend/mother/owner/women/runner… WHY is MY choice in lifestyle upsetting YOU?
    I’ve taken my own food with on many occasions and simply do not entertain judgement. Enquiry, curiosity – yes. Judgment and undermining behaviour proves to me that intentions aren’t noble…and I walk away.
    Strange how compliments fly about appearances yet are quickly followed by judgmental (I’m going to say it) bitchy notions about how said appearances are obtained or maintained. Me thinketh it comes back to control – the lack in themselves and over you – as well as grinding insecurities.
    A good book in this regard: Boundaries by Drs Townsend&Cloud.
    Cut your losses. How healthy can a friendship, or ANY form of relationship, be if 80% of the conversation is : “You don’t eat..? Why not? A little won’t hurt you… etc”
    I’ll have my plate of food, eat it and move on with my day while Food Bully will obsess for days about Saturday’s piece of cake – probably brought on due to feeling bleah from all the refined sugar and wheat, but I’m so glad that my beetroot&spinach salad can take her mind off of it for a bit.
    Growling with you!

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      Thank you! I really need to work on boundaries with people, and grow a thicker skin. This was a learning lesson for me. Only good came from it, just like all lessons in life. <3

  13. Oh, mama, I so understand. In our case it has mostly been about me choosing to radically change my diet so I could continue breastfeeding my toddler with food allergies. Turns out we are both healthier than ever and for the first time in over 15 years I’m not overweight. The insecure mom is my sister-in-law. Just about every time we bumped into each other at family gatherings during my baby’s first year her and sometimes my brother would ask why I was nursing, why not soy formula, why nurse so long (baby #1 nursed for a few years). Hugs.

  14. Wow. Her behaviour would be laughable except that it was so brutal and immature. We as a family do our best to eat real food and limit processed food – and it amazes me and kinda grosses me out what I see other people pile into their grocery carts when I’m at the supermarket.

    The unfriending and blocking is the icing on the cake! Yikes!

  15. Well, that just sucks!!! Ya’ know, you grow up, have kids, learn things and then some Evilinda comes along and frankly just wants to gum up the works and cause drama!! Sugar, you don’t worry about her and her evil ways. You know best, not some half-wit, hillbilly, drama queen, pot stirring, ogre-lady, she-devil. Her bad behavior and horribly rude manners will come right back around and bite her in the butt! I think you can see, we’ve all got your back!

  16. Well, that just sucks!!! Ya’ know, you grow up, have kids, learn things and then some Evilinda comes along and frankly just wants to gum up the works and cause drama!! Sugar, you don’t worry about her and her evil ways. You know best, not some half-wit, hillbilly, drama queen, pot stirring, ogre-lady, she-devil. Her bad behavior and horribly rude manners will come right back around and bite her in the butt! I think you can see, we’ve all got your back!

  17. As a person who has struggled with her weight most of her life, I could identify with you whole heartedly. Every single time I go someplace and I’m working really hard to watch what I eat, and the person serving food knows it, they will try to guilt me into eating, “One piece won’t hurt you.” Or “I’m offended you won’t try my ‘sweet treat or dessert.'”

    I’m sure this mother would screech loudly if you tried to undermine
    her parenting.

    So sad.

  18. Angie McDonald says:

    Good for you! If you don’t speak up for your child’s health than no one will. Clearly you challenged her way if life and made her question her eating habits she has developed with her own children. If anything maybe she will think twice about offering bags of chips to kids without asking their parent! It’s not easy bringing up children in this world when your “health conscious”. Well done.

  19. Not cool. I am sorry to hear of your experience but she set that whole scene up from the get go. That speaks more about her than you in that she set the scene to score cheap points in front of mutual friends.

    I am discovering that people are very protective of their choices/ideology when it comes to eating habits. Any suggestion that those choices are sub-optimal are met with hostility and an irrational urge to strike back. My own mother accused me of being a hypocrite when I had a cracker with some pate soon after I suggested to my partner that he reconsider the sweet treats he was sneaking after dinner. *sigh*

    Remember the best revenge is a life well lived. Stick with what is right for you and yours and be aware that you can’t be responsible for every one else.

  20. Wow. That’s an extreme situation. It seems the other mother got very upset, very fast.

    Did she seem disappointed or hurt when you arrived with a separate meal for your son when she went out of her way to make dinner for him? If you look at it from her perspective, she may have thought that rude. And yes, she reacted poorly, but all anger stems from something else — in this case it was likely hurt.

    But I get it. We are a real foods family so navigating these circumstances are difficult. “Luckily” my kids do have a gluten intolerance so I can often bring food under that guise “just to make it easier on host to not have to worry about allergies”. But I would always let my host know of our food expectations/plans beforehand so the host knows what to expect. Needless to say, we often don’t accept dinner invitations from folks who eat a processed food diet. It’s just too great a gap to bridge. And yes, it’s sad to let food divide us. But better to miss a dinner party than destroy a friendship or introduce the kind of health-sabotaging negativity that you are experiencing.

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      She didn’t invite him over for dinner. She invited me for an adult dinner. I took him along just for a little bit to play with her kids, and his father was going to pick him up after boy scouts with his brother. He was only going to be there with me for about an hour. There was no mention of dinner for him.

      • Ah. I see. It’s such an angry overreaction; I thought she might have been blindsided. I’m certainly not saying her behavior was acceptable. Her house or not, one does not override a mother’s wish for her child. Period.

        Such a shame when food, with all its power to unite, actually divides 🙁

        I do hope you can find some peace. And that she can too.

  21. I think that we need to stop labeling everything in life as “bullying”. I’m not saying that this women was right, but the idea that she invited you over just to “bully” you on your lifestyle is a little out there.

    She runs her house a certain way, as do you, and was doing what she does with her own kids. She has that right in her own home just as you have your right to pack up and leave if you don’t like it (as you did). I would leave it at that; It is not bullying.

    The bigger challenge that you will face is with your son. If they are friends and want to continue to be friends then you need to find a way to come to an understanding with this mom.

    Best of luck

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      Totally disagree. She did bully me. She took my child by the hand, and undermined my parenting. Then she yelled at me in front of my child and my friends. That is bullying. She does not have that right. It is my child.

      I’m not concerned about the child’s friendships. They have plenty of decent friends and were not all that close. There is not coming to an understanding. There is only letting go, not surrounding myself with toxic people, and moving forward.

      • Absolutely agree – she didn’t open a conversation, she did not try to explain her side: she took over your child and then raised her voice when you expressed dissatisfaction (having already put up with her interfering TWICE). It was bullying and rude and completely unacceptable. If someone tells me their child doesn’t eat sugar/ oranges/ bread – whatever (even had one mum say, ‘don’t bother giving him veggies, he won’t eat them!’ which boggled my mind a bit, my kids love their veg!) I go along with it. If the child asked to try a bit, I would check with mum first: not my child, not up to me to say anything about who eats what!

  22. thanks for writing this. I think you are correct, that she has some issues that were taken out on you. As a hostess, I always ask my guests if anyone has any allergies/sensitivities and accommodate for anyone…that’s what a hostess should do. I’m excited to start following you. 🙂 “how other people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours”

  23. I get attacked all the time, and i can’t really say iv become thick skinned about it.usually it is by someone i care deeply for and in an arena that gives them an audience. I generally do not care what other’s do, but plz dont take up so much of my time, gathering information on whole foods, just to humiliate me publicly. I will also not pretend to understand their behavior. I will admit, i am an extremist. I grow all my own vegetables, and raise my own beef and lamb. I make my own snacks and inspect farms before i buy their products.
    I am also, not a puritan. Just recently, at a food gathering at my house, when i asked people to bring REAL food, i received a real pumpkin pie from the grocery store and a “made with real lemons ” pound cake. I was still grateful. Confused , but grateful,..and i had a slice of each.
    Every one had gone home, stuffed from our feast, and several hours later i was struck down with abdominal pain that felt like i was being repeatedly stabbed. No one gets to see the aftermath, this is coupled with blurred vision slurred speech and my famous drunk walk.
    I am so sorry u went through this, but i applaud your courage to write about this, and your strength to tow the line and move forward!

  24. I never use the c-word. Bully mom is the c-word.

  25. How annoying,we were on a plane recently and my 2 yr old was being so good,so a lady gave him chocolates,I said 1 only please.she gave him 4! I stopped her at the 5th and said unless she wanted to sit next to a feral child he was to get no more! Lots of (usually older) folk reward with sweets then tut at hyper behaviour! Grr! Slightly off subject,but I think that bully mom sounds awful! I always try to accommodate any guests needs,not railroad them! X

  26. Sadly your son is witnessing societies and others intolerance and desire to persuade others no matter the issue at hand. You are teaching him the importance of weighing decisions and thinking for himself. Food allergies exist in our home and foods at various points have been banned for the health of one. Major culprits milk, corn and wheat. Over the years my teens and twenty year olds have learned moderation allows them to enjoy those “forbidden treats” and any health consequences are their responsibilities. As a young Mom there is no greater feeling than have a six year politely refuse ice cream at a friend’s party when I was not present. He knew the corresponding belly ache was not worth it. I watch all of them now weigh their decisions intelligently including asking Mom to help find recipes and substitutions for something they would like to enjoy.

    Keep standing your ground the lessons he takes away will sustain him in ways you can only guess.

    R/
    Naomi

  27. Wow what a nasty woman she is. If you & your child were vegetarians would she have served him meat? I never understand people who think they have a right to do this sort of thing. When my kids were younger & I had their friends come over for a play I would always ask the parent if there was anything they couldn’t eat. It doesn’t matter if its because of an allergy or simply because the parents don’t want them eating it. It’s totally irrelevant whether I agree with it or not. I would never have deliberately fed a child something I knew the mother did not want them eating. This bully mom’s behavior was disgraceful & I am glad you have ‘let it go’. You do not need people like this in your life.

  28. I do not have children, but I struggle with the nutritional decisions my parents made for me (hamburger helper & other processed foods). I have developed food intolerances later in my life and have recently started to focus my energy on my health. I have been food-shamed quite frequently at work and called out for my food choices.

    I think people feel like they have to explain their choices to me. They assume I am judging them because of the decisions I made for my wellness. In turn, they judge me. It is really frustrating to feel belittled when you are attempting to increase your health.

    Here’s a cool fact about all of my food choices: it’s nobody else’s business.

  29. I am truly sorry you had to experience that. I felt your discomfort simply by reading this! Unfortunately, there are bully adults even we’re. My mom had decided not to give my siblings and I any junk food or chocolate until we were 5 years old. She made it to 4 with me, 2 with my younger brother. I’m not even sure she made it past 1 with my youngest brother. All because of family members who thought this was cruel! So they gave us sugar behind our backs (obviously we liked it) and my mother felt all her hard work go out the window. I wish people would just grow up. I’m so sorry she made you feel this way. But she isn’t worth you getting yourself upset. Feel sorry for her, and try to move on. Actually, feel sorry for her child who will grow up to have plenty of health problems! We’ll see how she apologizes when she needs some good advice from you 😉 take care

    • Kathryn Kos, NTP says:

      Thank you for your kind words Deyanah! I feel so much better. I am very lucky to have this blog as an outlet. Thank you <3

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