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8 Signs You're Dealing With a Mommy Troll

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Call her a judgy mommy, call her a sanctimommy, call her toxic, but we have all encountered the Mommy Troll at some point in our tenure as mothers. The problem is, we think of trolls as being anonymous creeps on the Internet and fail to recognize the trollish behavior of the mom who sits next to us at the pediatrician's office or is on the sidelines with us at soccer practice.

By the time we realize we're dealing with someone who will never see us as equals or respect our choices as parents, we've been made to feel guilty and second-guessed our own beliefs. Don't succumb to the Mommy Troll! Learn how to recognize the signs:

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1. She starts her sentences with, "I could never…"

Whether it's "I could never put my baby in daycare" or "I could never feed my baby non-organic food," she is quick to draw the line in the sand between you (the substandard mother) and her (the superior mother). She speaks in absolutes and she will not consider any circumstances that would make her choose your option.

2. She offers advice even when you haven't asked for it

You tell her you're thinking about buying a new car. Before you can take a breath and say which ones you're considering, she is already pulling out her color-coded research on the safest vehicles for children. Which isn't a bad thing in itself, unless you've picked a car that isn't on her list. Then she will pucker her mouth and say, "I could never put my baby in a car that didn't have the highest safety rating." (See #1, above).

3. She is the queen of one-upping you, no matter what the topic

Her baby has done it sooner and she has done it better.

You were in labor for 12 hours? She was in labor for two days. Your child walked at 11 months? Hers was walking at 9-and-a-half months and reading by age 3. Your baby slept through the night by 4 months? Her baby slept through the night when he was 2 weeks old. Whatever your discussing, her baby has done it sooner and she has done it better. And if by some miracle you did actually manage to do something better than her, she will dismiss it with a wave of her hand as unimportant.

4. She's always talking bad about her other mom friends

If the Mommy Troll isn't talking about her superior parenting skills, she's talking about how inferior other moms are. Whether it's her sister-in-law, her next door neighbor or a coworker, she will regale you with stories of other mothers' failures. Soon you will recognize yourself in some of her stories (even when she puts her hand on your arm and says, "But you aren't like her, you didn't know/didn't have a choice"). Keep in mind: If she's talking about other moms to you, she's almost certainly talking about you to other moms. Is that really the kind of friend you need in your life?

5. She believes there is only one Right Way to raise a child

She doesn't believe in different parenting styles—there is only one style, and it is hers. And it doesn't matter if she's a helicopter parent, an attachment parent, a free range parent or something else, there is no way but her way. You will tell yourself that she is passionate about her parenting style, and she is, but don't be fooled by her passion—if you don't subscribe to the exact same parenting tenets, you are wrong (according to her) and she will let you know it. Often.

6. She is a martyr to the cause of motherhood

M may be for Mommy, but in her world M is for Martyr.

Oh, the sacrifices the Mommy Troll has made! Let her count the ways. In your world, M may be for Mommy, but in her world M is for Martyr. And though she would never call herself one, she is quick to describe all the ways she has sacrificed for her children. While it's tempting to roll your eyes and let her vent, it's hard not to feel sorry for her kids who are hearing the same stories again and again. No one likes a martyr, but you can't tell her that.

7. She always has time to tell you what you're doing wrong, but she never has time to be your friend

She is so filled with advice, so passionate in her beliefs, you might mistakenly think she really cares about you and your kids. But ask her to babysit so you can go to a doctor's appointment or ask for that amazing recipe she has for homemade granola, and you'll find a door slammed in your face. The Mommy Troll thrives on feeling superior, and if you start measuring up, you will quickly be discarded. You're not allowed to forget your place with a Mommy Troll—she is the rockstar, you are the roadie.

8. She is secretly terrified she's screwing it all up

Well, that's what we want to think, right? We want to cut the Mommy Troll some slack because we think all of her perfect posturing is just a sign of her insecurity and need for validation. And in some cases that's absolutely true and the Mommy Troll will grow more confident with time and outgrow her trollish behavior (and maybe even apologize for it!). But in some cases, nope, that's just who she is. She isn't insecure, she's just narcissistic and unable to see anyone's perspective, or empathize with anyone's feelings but her own.

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Don't feel bad for running in the opposite direction if you meet a Mommy Troll or have allowed her a space in your life for longer than she deserved. At the end of the day, you are just as good a mother as she is—maybe even better, since you're putting your efforts into making good choices instead of just insulting the choices of other moms.

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