Honest Mum

I’ve been on the receiving end of ‘Mean Girl’ style behaviour in the past and I bet you have too.

Photo by Chris Sabor on Unsplash

In fact I know a lot of you have because I receive heartbreaking emails and messages from many of you, asking for my advice on how to handle other women dead-set on making you feel excluded or less-than within your families, at work and in friendship circles.

This is not just a ‘female’ thing of course, there’s a lot of bad behaviour that comes from men too- but as most of the people I hang out with are women (holla to my male bestie Will though) I want to focus on what I’ve witnessed online and IRL.

Let me kick off by stating I have the strongest, most incredible (ever expanding) network of great friends, colleagues and even women I consider ‘sisters’, thanks to the online world and those I’ve known forever. Women who hold, support, lift and love one another unconditionally- so b********** is not (thankfully) the norm in my world.

I grew up with STRONG, empowering women from my grandmothers to my mother, aunts and cousins who collectively became my blueprint for the sisterhood. I’m lucky.

But it hasn’t protected me from b*********: it was there when I was at school (a nightmare all-girls private school), cropping up again at uni and then in my work as a TV director and filmmaker.

This ranged from women trying to trample over me/one another for success and a whole lot of backstabbing behaviour that baffled me.

It makes me so sad when others can’t see the power in numbers, in building one another up rather than tearing each other down.

Yes people project their insecurities on to others, we are all human with flaws…


I want you all to do something, to stop people in their tracks when they’re unfair, b*****, unkind etc. To not sit there and listen to others badmouth each other, to take action and CALL IT OUT.

I’m taking a stand against this kind of nastiness.

And I want you to put micro politics into action.

This doesn’t mean being equally unkind to the offenders nor does it mean not listening to those with issues and grievances. What it means is NOT ENGAGING with futile gossip, harmful words without reason and uncalled tittle tattle.

It makes you feel S**** listening to it and even worse advocating and sharing it.

A comment by my great blogging friend Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb on my post The Sister Code. How Sisterly Are You? gave me inspiration to write this.

As part of her comment she shared this,

‘It reminds me of a little incident that happened at a wedding I went to last year: Talking to someone close to me (female, we’ll call her “Ann”), and as you do, you always ooh and aah over the bride’s dress and we were saying how beautiful she looked, etc. etc. Ann turned to me and said about one of the guests, “ooh what about that girl over there in that dress”, and I asked “What about her?”

Ann said “Don’t you think that she looks awful in that dress? It’s far too tight, blah blah blah” – and right there and then I knew I didn’t want to be a part of bashing other women for what they were wearing any more, ever. Not that I ever did, I just didn’t want the conversation to continue and have to listen to it from someone else. The girl had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to get dressed up for the wedding, and I pointed out to Ann that I thought it was nice that she’d dressed up and looks happy and confident.

Once Ann realised I wasn’t going to participate in the girl-bashing she turned to me and said – no word of a lie – “Oh you’re boring, I’m off to talk to someone who WILL have a bitch about what everyone’s wearing”.

WTF?!!!!! And this is someone close to me as I said, and my disappointment in her was beyond measure. I’d rather be “boring” than criticise women in that way. But when it comes from someone you know and trust and love… It’s hard to take it. But I hope she soon gets the message that I don’t appreciate her being that way… It make me so sad’.

We all need to be like Catherine.

I refuse to believe b******* is the default for women.

I know it isn’t because I see its not thanks to my nearest and dearest who lead by example.

So next time someone tries to drag you into arguments, pettiness, unkind small talk, immature school yard behaviour, take a stand.

Act like an adult.

Base your decisions, not on others but YOURSELF.

In the words of Bob Dylan, ‘You’re a big girl now’. So be a grown up.

Don’t act like a 16 year old ‘mean girl’. You’re more than that. Much more.

Start calling it out.  Do the right thing.

You might feel uncomfortable at first but don’t EVER feel you need to agree with others if you don’t feel the same. Don’t feel the pressure to follow the crowd, to try to fit in. Be true to you.

Once you do, the law of attraction gets to work, and good energy will multiply.

Send out those positive, understanding vibes and they’ll be sure to bounce right back at you!

It’s easy once you start.


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Putting a Stop to B!**** Behaviour. Call It Out - Honest Mum




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118 Responses

  1. Susie

    Just love this post Vicki because it’s so sad that while I am teaching my girls to always be kind and support one another and to never join in if others are being mean, women our age don’t seem to have grown out of it. But as I always tell my children, it’s sadly the ones who aren’t happy with themselves who have to make themselves feel better by belittling others. Let’s build each other up and polish each other’s crowns. Xxxx

  2. Lily

    Yes, what I have suffered from is the ‘playground mums’ who liked to be in cliques. Some criticised my child. Some turned up their noses at me for no reason. Some made social plans in front of me but didn’t invite me. Some whispered with each other right in front of me (no idea if it was about me or others).
    So it took me a long time to find some nice mummy friends who didn’t join in that behaviour. But it just showed to me- women who are bitchy as children still seem to enjoy it and not grow out of it as they become mums themselves…

  3. Iris Tilley

    I take comfort in the fact that I’m not like that and nod my head and think aww poor them fancy acting like that bless them Yes it is patronizing but I really do genuinely feel sorry them. They don’t seem to realize that it’s childish behavior rude and negative. I stood up for not only friends but Strangers in the playground quite often Always hated bullies. I’ve taught my kids NOT to bully and mock others because we are all different sizes colours and have different mentalities thoughts and feelings. Which again is probably why I do feel sorry for them lol

  4. five little doves

    I love this! I have been on the receiving end of bitchy behaviour this last year and I have had to distance myself from it, and in doing so lose friends who I actually cared about. I wish I had just called out the ringleader and let her know that I was on to her, but instead I have had to isolate myself just to avoid it. Next time if I am ever in this situation I will be more like Catherine, thank you so much for sharing this! xx

    • Honest Mum

      I am so, so sorry to read this and I’ve been there. It’s hurt big time but know you are the bigger person. There are sadly toxic people out there and the sooner you move away from them, the happier you will feel. It will hurt not but I promise it is for the best and you will feel lighter and more content before you know it xx

  5. Isabel

    I saw someone doing it on twitter the other day and tried to point out how mean it was to them but they weren’t having any of it. It made me extra sad because it was a woman being mean about another woman.
    I was having a bad evening so I was already sad and after this I just curled up in bed and cried. Things that seem like small bits of meanness to some people can really bring others down in a big way and they don’t even realise.
    I would still bring people up on their catty behaviour though. I just have to summon up my bravery first.

    • Honest Mum

      Oh Isabel sorry to read this, sadly I’ve been there before where someone was trying to tear me down on twitter for no reason whatsoever. I just blocked and moved on. Well done for standing up to that person. I’m sorry you were so upset, I can’t understand why people can be so cruel. Thank goodness for so much light and positivity in the world too hey x

  6. Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy

    Fab post lady, there’s far too much s**t going on in the world beyond our control. The aspects that we can control need to be to the best of our ability, I’ve got no time for this negative b****** xx

  7. Moipone

    oh my goodness that is so true, people are cruel like serious cruel you would expect on means girls movies. #brillantposts

  8. Tim

    Arriving here a little late, as ever. I totally agree. It’s so easy to get drawn into bitchy comments and I can think of times when I’ve been pulled into that too, but for the most part I’m more interested in seeing the good side of life and other people – what some might refer to as being a hopeless optimist. Life’s tough enough as it is without allowing yourself to be dragged down to someone else’s level. More smiles. less scowls.

    • Honest Mum

      I love that Tim, I want to be in the hopeless optimist camp too. Life really is too short and tough to bother with bad energy. Keep being you, you are awesome. Thanks for your comment, it’s really made me smile 🙂

  9. Natasha Mairs

    I was badly bullied as a child and teenager and know how it feels. But it really surprises me that women in their 30’s and 40’s are still bulling others. At their ages you would think that they would know better. The only way to stop this is to call it out, like you say. Great post!

  10. Bella

    Well said Vicki! We all have ups and downs in life and let’s face it life is incredibly precious so I do agree it’s important to support one another and being a female I actually love it when women are encouraging and positive of each other. I can’t understand why some people can be so unkind and say things that can really be hurtful. I know we can’t all be the same but I’m glad you’ve highlighted something which sadly does happen a lot and let’s hope the next time we encounter such comments we all take a positive stance.

    • Honest Mum

      Thank you darling Bella, really baffles me why people behave this way, it is crucial we stand together, call bad behaviour out and keep building one another up x

  11. laura dove

    Love this, so true and sadly so necessary! I have tried to distance myself from any toxic friendships or playground bitchiness but when it comes to women, it really is everywhere!! #brilliantblogpost

  12. Someone's Mum

    You’re absolutely right that we should call it out. It baffles me why we can’t all just treat people as we would like to be treated. #brilliantblogposts

  13. Morgan Prince

    Inspiring post Vicki, I hear such b*****, horrible words while waiting in the school playground and it shocks me. Some women thrive on it! I tend to not engage in that kind of behaviour, simply stay quiet, but you’re right, we should call it out. 🙂

  14. Franglaise Mummy

    Absolutely! From day one of school I told our eldest that unless you are standing up when someone is bullying then you too are a bully. This is what we need to be teaching adults and kids alike! Xx


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