Parenting/Family Advice, Social Advice

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Mom?

Dear TinyMom,

Hi, it’s me again, the mother who wrote you a few weeks ago about another mother who called me up to talk about our children not getting along, and I found out afterwards she’d already chewed my daughter out in the school lobby. I was planning to confront her about it at an afterschool activity recently, but before I could approach her our kids had another spat and my daughter called her son stupid and ran to me crying. It was obvious my daughter had been provoked, but the woman started yelling at her for insulting her son, as if that were the only detail that mattered! I told her calmly but sternly that I would handle it, and she walked away. But how can I make sure she never bothers my daughter again?

Thank you, Still-Feeling-Tiny Mom

Dear Not Tiny,

First of all, there’s a difference between feeling tiny and actually being tiny. Do your pants have butterflies on them because you have to shop in the kids’ department? Do shoe stores not bother to carry your size (if the shoes even come your size)? But if you want to pretend to be someone you’re not, try on your foil for a minute: a former high school mean girl whose looks are now fading and whose handsome, successful husband is probably cheating. The only thing she has left to lord over people is her perfect son; so anybody disputing his superiority even the tiniest bit she attacks. The hypocrisy of yelling at children for not speaking nicely, of complaining about the word stupid after calling somebody a cunt, is beyond her stunted intellect.

My proudest high school memory is of refusing to share my suntan lotion — this was mid-80’s — with the spoiled rich girl who bullied me. I feel my bones stretch just thinking about it — the roll of her eyes, her speechless, swaggering retreat. We may even be talking about the same person. In any case, you defeated your overgrown adolescent nuisance with a calm, stern word…. you’re still afraid of her? A few more no-nonsense edicts and she’ll be huffing away from the sight of you.  You’ll be the hero of the PTA, but more importantly you’ll be setting an example for your daughter, before the w drops from her tween designation and life gets worse. You can shrink when you’re old.

Yours in spirit, not stature, TinyMom

About TinyMom

TinyMom is Judith Basya, a petite writer whose ten- and seven-year-old daughters are within centimeters of being taller than her. When not driving them places or packing their lunches she writes book reviews and an advice column called "What's Wrong With You" for Though currently residing in Northern California, she's also lived in Manhattan and Southern California and proudly retains the lessons of both. Questions about this blog may be mailed to


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