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Mama-friendships can be deceptive

110 Comments

It’s astonishing what goes on beneath the surface. Any surface. If the apparent innocence of “mama-friendships” is deceptive – and it is, claims Josei Seven (April 18) – then probably all innocence is deceptive.

What are mama-friendships? Simply groups formed by mothers of small children. They meet at the playground, at pre-school, at school, and get together periodically for talk and mutual support. The support is necessary and valuable. The strains and stresses of child-rearing are hard to cope with sometimes. Having friends who understand, who are in the same boat, helps – when it doesn’t hurt.

Mrs A is 37. Last year, her son started elementary school, and she naturally became involved with other young mothers in the neighborhood. They’d meet for lunch, tell each other their troubles, offer advice, lend encouragement and so on. One day Mrs A, not being thirsty, didn’t order a drink, as the others all did. Who cares? Well, everyone did, and everyone took note. Mrs A was not invited to the next lunch. The other mothers stopped greeting her in the street. She was completely isolated. “They must have thought,” she says, “‘If you have to be that careful with your money, we’d only be imposing if we invited you.’”

What lesson does a sensible person draw from that? Two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) Order what everyone else orders; (2) Maintain your independence and shun mama-friendships.

Mrs B, 39, is the mother of a fifth-grader and she, too, has her little circle. It’s a particularly stressful time for her – her daughter is studying for junior high school entrance exams – and she appreciates the support she draws from the other mothers. Over tea one afternoon attention was drawn by a Celine handbag carried by one of the women. “How nice!” “It’s lovely!” – and so on. Well, said the lady, she got it quite cheaply via a friend living overseas, and if anyone wanted one, she would be happy to make the arrangements. Of course, everyone wanted one. Mrs B didn’t, particularly. Her family’s finances are tight, education costs press, and the handbag was a dispensable luxury. Still, she couldn’t be the only one not ordering one – could she? Not to stand out, she put her name down with the rest. “And now every time I meet them, I worry: What will I have to buy next?”

In a sense there’s nothing new in this, but it’s getting worse, Josei Seven says, as economic woes widen the gap between rich and poor. The friendship on the surface is belied by an almost feral competition beneath it. Competition over what? Everything: husbands’ income and job status, family property, kids’ grades, kids’ looks, moms’ high-end makeup and brand-name shoes – even diapers. Some kids are out of them at one, others still in them at three. So the race is on to hustle the kids out of diapers.

An informal survey by Josei Seven finds the majority of mothers still value their mama-friendships – 60.8% primarily for exchange of information regarding education, 57.7% for the chance to consult others over problems that arise, 44.3% for moral support generally. It would be great if that was all there was to it.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

110 Comments
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A subtle form of bullying.

22 ( +25 / -3 )

I am sure it really depends on the group. If you join a group of shallow women, then yes, you will have to play by their rules. However, Im sure a lot if women are understanding, especially to financial matters these days.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Women can be b*tchy.... hardly news.

23 ( +27 / -4 )

newsflash, kids, this ain't just Japanese mamas. This ain't just Japanese women. ALL women behave like this, especially when they congregate together in big groups.

Sounds sexist, I know. But there's actually some evolutionary basis to this, based on scientists who studied these things.

Goes like this:

When the dudes would be out hunting, the "mamas" and the kids would be left alone for a while. This kind of gossiping, backstabbing, etc was actually helpful to male/female relationships, as it solidified the bond between husband / wife (or whatever they called them in caveman days). Because guys aren't such great communicators, it was up to the females to always be getting into each other's business, so there'd be NO secrets within the tribe.

I guess you could file this article under "a normal human occurrence that Japanese try to claim as uniquely their own"

7 ( +19 / -12 )

Happens everywhere not only in Japan,I think because of the nature of women.There's always the feeling of rivalry among them...after all, women are human.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

What kind of gossiping and backstabbing? The article doesn't mention any gossiping and backstabbing. All it gives is two examples of women who imagine they're being left out because they (imagine the other women think they) don't belong to the same socioeconomic class.

One-upmanship over income, belongings, kids' achievements etc., is quite different from some woman imagining she isn't being invited to tea because she didn't buy some stupid bag.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

i don't believe the story about the Mrs. A not being invited just because she didn't order a drink one time. That sounds like absolute nonsense.

None of my wife's momma friends act remotely like the above mentioned article. I think the above sample was from a very small group of really lame women.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If you have not experienced this, you won't be able to comprehend what's really going on. I was a victim of all these but in a different way. For one, I was and could never fit in in any of these group when my kids were little. They never joined me in any of their events or gathering from the very beginning, being a foreigner was and is a disadvantage. Then at my work place was the pits..I always thought that it was going to change being around adults, but it was even worst. I soon as I found myself and my identity and did and wore what I wanted and voiced out my opinions and never agreed to some of their topics, I was completely ostracized from my workplace that I had to quit and developed this fear of going out and meeting other people for some time. I only have few but true friends and I think I found the answer that going out in big groups was a struggle. Few but true friends can only be counted in your fingers is my niche. This is another form of adult bullying thus I say that bullying begins from grown ups passed on to little ones. When I found my own identity and started dressing up the way I wanted, wearing a pair of green shoes different from their black wedge- like with string type ones, putting lipstick and .caring for my self, I was alone but realized I was happy within myself as this was me. And the remaing friends that stood by you still remain your friends and accept you as you are. Now, isn't this more contending than endlessly competing? Even my relationship with my husband was accountable being stared at when I always said that my priority was going out with him for a simple dinner, etc, rather than with girlfriends.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

I have always believed that PTA were the initials for Pain in The Ass.

it was up to the females to always be getting into each other's business, so there'd be NO secrets within the tribe.

Men are at least equal in the gossip department-They just call it something else.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

There's an interesting drama called "Namae o Nakushita Megami" 「名前をなくした女神」that is about a group of mothers and the drama within the group. Judging by the article, apparently it's a reality.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Extremely silly and trivial stuff. Maybe the kids should be raising the parents.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The mama circles are always run by one matriarch whom all follow, if they are that bitchy to you you seriously don't need their crap, get new friends.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

My mommy friends and I call this behavior MOM-petition and they exist everywhere. My child is in kindergarten and I am in my 40's so the young moms leave me alone and I associate with the other "older" moms who have already reached the age of "I don't give a $hit".

17 ( +20 / -3 )

reminds of something the Borgs once said, "Resistance is futile."

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yet another argument for working mothers ... they don't have time for this crap.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

You think this is bad now? Japan is one of the most equal societies on earth. Difference between the average CEO and the average worker in that CEOs company? Just 11, in the UK around 38 times, and in the US about 400 times! In the UK or US we wouldnt even be having this conversation as the idea that all mothers could possible be in the same friendship group would be obviously impractical to everyone. The real answer is Japanese need to become a little less worried about what other people think, less judgemental and avoid looking down on the poor or being ashamed of being poor. Japan also needs to make sure it doesnt follow the west and slide into levels of inequality that are ripping the US and UK apart (social solidarity is but a distant memory) - just look at the rioting that occurred across the UK.

In my experience money does not equal happiness or true wealth anyway as often those who are richest have the least time together as a family, have more pressure to keep up with the Jones and have far worst health.

My advice is not to be ashamed of not having too much money, and dont be afraid to make it clear and just show everyone you are happy anyway. That said, if possible dont avoid spending amounts of money that are only token savings - everyday in Japan I see people at best making token efforts to save money and at worst causing themselves or others greater costs in the long run.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

These women can be jealous and vindictive too...watch out.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@sakurala

You are right. However, there are many "low interest"/self centered mother groups out there...beware!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yet another argument for working mothers ... they don't have time for this crap.

Because they're too busy dealing with office cliques and intrigues?

0 ( +9 / -9 )

I think anyone who has spent time around these women is well aware of this crap. Does it happen abroad? Sure. But many mothers is western countries have jobs so are too busy to care about such crap as bags and bentos. It is rampant here and all the foreign mothers I am distance themselves from these groups because of how pathetic it is - that and they work and don't have the time for "tea" with these creatures. The same goes for the working J moms I know. More to life than worrying about Mrs. Tanaka and what she thinks of you.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Cleo, office cliques are often between the OLs who see their jobs as a hobby while they wait for a prince so they can quit work. Most of the women I know who work together enjoy each others company and offer a lot of support. The same can't be said for bored housewives who need to focus on something materialist or nothing to do with them (husband's salary FFS?!) to make themselves feel important. Working women/moms have other things to focus on/be proud of that are THEIR achievements, not their kids nor their husband's.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

After the 3/11 disaster me and my kids elope japan,my son was about to entry elementary school so we missed the nyugakko ceremony.When we arrived back around may here was a ton of paperwork and a huge list of things that i needed to get ready for my kid to be able to start school as soon as possible. But for my surprise my mamatomo group took care of everything, all the materials, the uniform even the school bags were ready with my kid name! all the forms filled, even a hot meal when we reach home.I was on tears, i would never forget what they did for me and my family. They are still my friends and support and i try to be theirs too.Inaka moms rule.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I think anyone who has spent time around these women....

'these women'? Who are these women? I've done my share of 'tea with the other mothers' and I've never met 'these women'. I've met women I got on with, women I didn't get on with, women I respected, women I thought were fools.... Maybe looking at people as individuals instead of as 'these women' would give you new insight.

office cliques are often between the OLs

When I worked in an office the main cliques actually were between the men - Bucho A's group, Bucho B's group, etc. There was a lesser but still pretty obvious divide between the mums and the non-mums/singles.

The same can't be said for bored housewives

A housewife with a couple of toddlers running around is far from bored, believe me. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Working women/moms have other things to focus on/be proud of that are THEIR achievements

It's possible to be proud of your own achievements without sneering at the achievements of others. Producing a healthy, well-balanced human being who is a credit to his parents and an asset to society - that's an achievement to be proud of.

-10 ( +7 / -18 )

Producing a healthy, well-balanced human being who is a credit to his parents and an asset to society - that's an achievement to be proud of.

Being a SAHM is no guarantee of producing this paragon of virtue, believe me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My child is in kindergarten and I am in my 40's so the young moms leave me alone and I associate with the other "older" moms who have already reached the age of "I don't give a $hit".

Ridiculous assumption to make. Im in my mid twenties with a child in hoikuen, and I can quite politely assure you I don't give a $hit either. IMO its the older women who are worse than the younger ones, because they think that they are "oh so much better" but lets not turn this into a slagging match.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Most of the women I know who work together enjoy each others company and offer a lot of support.

tmarie, that is exactly the relationship that I enjoy with my single working girl friends and co-workers. Our friendships don't revolve around trophy kids or husbands, or even our jobs for that matter. We just take each other as we find it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Being a SAHM is no guarantee of producing this paragon of virtue

True - but there's more chance than if you're not even a mum in the first place.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

If motherhood - and by extension mama friendships - are so fulfilling, then why are so many women refusing to do it?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@kimuzukasiiiii Fair enough...my fault for not being clear enough. I am not assuming that I am better because I am older. These younger mothers at my daughters school never included the older mothers to begin with. Just saying that many of us are at a point in life where it does not bother us as it might of before and most of us have no desire to compete. This is not my first rodeo, I also have a twenty year old so I speak from personal experience of the different mind set based on age of these mommy social groups. My not giving a $hit in my 40's differs from when I didn't give a $hit in my twenties. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding and that I was not attempting to offend anyone.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

'these women'? Who are these women?

Um, the ones being discussed in the article? Was that so hard to understand? Not all women are "these women" but it should have been easy enough to understand that.

When I worked in an office the main cliques actually were between the men - Bucho A's group, Bucho B's group, etc So why did you feel the need to suggest that working mothers would be in the cliques? Just a dig at working moms, eh?

A housewife with a couple of toddlers running around is far from bored, believe me. Don't knock it till you've tried it. Funny, this article is about women with kids in ele school, not toddlers... Yes, I MUST try something before I am allowed to make an observation. Cleo, you ever directed a movie?

It's possible to be proud of your own achievements without sneering at the achievements of others. Producing a healthy, well-balanced human being who is a credit to his parents and an asset to society - that's an achievement to be proud of. Indeed it is. However, sneering at husband's salaries and brand name bags...

13 ( +17 / -4 )

If motherhood - and by extension mama friendships - are so fulfilling, then why are so many women refusing to do it?

Oh how DARE you ask that question! Don't you know that the only thing women are good for is breeding?

Cleo, I've got friends with lovely kids who work FT. You know what the most stressful thing about their kid's school is? The SAHMs and the mommy wats. Perhaps you had a lovely time and days were sunshine and rainbows but a lot of women's lives here are made miserable by the PTA hounds and the nastiness that goes on. Same as the nastiness that goes on home with some moms. Heck, there are blogs and articles about the mommy wars. You don't have to take my word but a search on the topic would open your eyes to have nasty it can be. You're "lucky" you didn't have issues as plenty of moms here do.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I always find it amusing when a mama I know says, "I can't travel this year/holiday because my child is in the third grade and has to study". Their CHILD has to study, not them. "I hate the holidays because I have to wake up and make breakfast for my husband/children and lunch, and dinner" -- tell them to do it themselves if they don't fit the timeline. The complaints are pathetic, as are the demands.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

I've also read about the fun that mothers have during the oh-so-important "koen debut", when they take their kids to the local park for the first time. Stress at meeting others, stress if their child does something even remotely childlike, stress at having to kiss ass on the other "senior" members of the park mommy-mafia...

Makes me glad to be a father!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

But smith, if they actually taught their kids to look after themselves, what would they do all day? How would they feel needed and important? I'm not even trying to be snarky on this but this is how they justify their lives. "My husband can't do this, my child can't do that..." It's BS because they CAN do it. They just know they don't HAVE to because mommy will. And let's be honest, this means that much of society is useless when it comes to looking after themselves because they've never had to.

Vast, the grad and first day ceremonies have always amused me. Mommies dressed in their finest, eye one another and looking for faults and picking out who is the lemming of the group. It is sad and pathetic. It really doesn't "have" to be like this. But then again, with all that free time and nothing really to call your own...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

tmarie: Agreed. It's pathetic any which way you turn. It is a constant case of defining oneself through others, when none of that crap should matter at all. Teaching a person to take care of him or herself instead of depending on taking care of them and then complaining about it is pathetic. I was cooking for myself when I was 13, and when I hear that a 17 year old here cannot even fry an egg I find it very sad. If these mamas want to start a war, it should be a war of who can truly rear a child, not who can best coddle them.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

uhm...i'm of the opinion these banal mama-friend stress are unique to how jp people are

borderline neurotic but true

2 ( +2 / -0 )

my wife has real friends with kids, not these groups of convenience

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I do not for the life of me understand how any parent can think they've done a good job raising their kids when they can't do the simplest things like cook their own breakfast or do a load of laundry.

Ugh, don't get me started! I had a 33-year-old Japanese friend boarding with me for a few weeks, her first time living away from her parents. She actually didn't know how to use a rice cooker!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Does anyone actually believe that the above stories are in any way typical?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Look how quickly this thread descended into vitriol...

Imagine if we were a group of mama-tomo...

We'd be even worse!

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Ugh, don't get me started! I had a 33-year-old Japanese friend boarding with me for a few weeks, her first time living away from her parents. She actually didn't know how to use a rice cooker!

And yet so many think that when they get married they are entitled to quitting work to be a housewife... Yes, just what Taro needs. A wife who wants to stay home but doesn't have the first clue about cooking let alone finances.

Don, I do. If you've spent anytime listening to the moms/wives at cafes and how they rip others apart, you'd know this is an issue here. There have been more than a few cases of neighbors/mother crime due to the bullying that goes on.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I wonder what the cause of it all is. I have (university) students who come to school every day with a lovingly prepared lunchbox, courtesy of mama. Now, should I blame the child who apparently can't be bothered to throw their own lunch together, or blame the mother who refuses to give up any of her power? Is this a conspiracy designed to keep kids in helplessness? Or simply lazy entitled kids?

It is a mystey to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Vast Right-Wing: "I have (university) students who come to school every day with a lovingly prepared lunchbox, courtesy of mama. "

Who would be all the better for being able to make it themselves and leave mom to complain about other things.

"Is this a conspiracy designed to keep kids in helplessness?"

It may well be. Or less directed at the kids than the 'victim' moms, who have NO CHOICE but to suffer.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"Mama-friendship"? More like 「井戸端会議」

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Let's be honest, if someone was going to make our lunches, we'd allow them, right? Blame mama. Mama knows that if she teaches her kids to look after themselves, she has no excuse not to work outside the home! My mother in law is a prime case for creating endless busy work for herself that a) others could do and b) that just doesn't need to be done. I used to feel sorry for her because I thought she was treated badly. Years later I see that she brings it all on herself and seems to "enjoy" it all. If she didn't, should would've taught them, right?? It's a way of making themselves feel needed as useful.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These groups exist, but by their very nature tend to be self limiting. There is always some reason or other to exclude people. For every in group there is a larger out group majority. Just don't let them get to you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

All this crap above makes me glad the wife & I have no kids.

And it just reminds me how cold, cruel Japanese are to each other, what a waste, when will they ever learn

0 ( +4 / -4 )

When you get sucked into these Mother cults you are never to get ahead of the group and any thoughts outside of the group is dangerous to the group. One of the reasons Japan is not innovative more since it stifles learning/innovation.

If you must be in these groups you should join many and bring learning and innovation into the picture with all your groups. Join and disjoin whole groups to whole groups as needed to perform tasks and learn. If your brain starts to dull you know more innovation and change is needed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

hima dana...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If motherhood - and by extension mama friendships - are so fulfilling, then why are so many women refusing to do it?

I think the general consensus is that raising kids is prohibitively expensive. And perhaps because they've been bamboozled by the 'Only fools and airheads become mothers' brigade?

I don't think anyone has suggested that fulfillment in motherhood leads naturally and necessarily to fulfillment in mama friendships, any more than having a good job means you love your boss. Or that having a lousy boss means your career is a failure.

you ever directed a movie?

No, and I would never make snide comments about 'bored movie directors'. They're doing a job I have no experience of, so while I might love or loath the end product of their labours, I'm not going to suggest that a movie director is beneath me because he/she didn't choose the same path I chose.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Stay on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Meanwhile thousands of Africans die of starvation every day-this article is pure pap!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My wife has tried to steer away from these relationships as much as possible,but in our work we deal with the working moms and the homemakers.When I want to know the local gossip,I ask the homemakers.For balancing work and child rearing the working moms.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cliques exist in all walks of life. Two rather palid one sided examples to not a conspiracy make. The learning to take from this should be, do your research, look at both sides of the story.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Ridiculous assumption to make. Im in my mid twenties with a child in hoikuen, and I can quite politely assure you I don't give a $hit either. IMO its the older women who are worse than the younger ones, because they think that they are "oh so much better" but lets not turn this into a slagging match.

No it's not really, you MAY be the exception to the rule but too many times it is as noted. Just dont think that because YOU can stick out, everyone else is the same.

Plus what are the odds that you are not Japanese?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"What lesson does a sensible person draw from that? Two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) Order what everyone else orders; (2) Maintain your independence and shun mama-friendships."

A sensible person should be able to spot a false dichotomy when it's staring them in the face.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Cliques exist in all walks of life. Two rather palid one sided examples to not a conspiracy make. The learning to take from this should be, do your research, look at both sides of the story.

Spot on. Kind of amazed that most people here think this is a "Japanese thing"...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's possible to be proud of your own achievements without sneering at the achievements of others. Producing a healthy, well-balanced human being who is a credit to his parents and an asset to society - that's an achievement to be proud of.

But I prefer to live in reality and the reality is, not all people think like that. Not trying to put mother groups down, but I see and deal with them quite often on my job and I hear some of the idiotic conversations that they have, trivial! Most of the conversations that they have are not of any particular meaning as in, importance for everyday life. The only thing that most of these mothers want to do is show off.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well.... it is a life that they are leading. No matter the complexities it is a social structure and they all know the rules.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The first thing that came to mind was "this is the second wave of bullying at school".

I agree that these friendships can be good, but it's the same all over the world, and the only thing that can be said for these moms is: be true to yourself (and your family). If you are a mother for the first time and need lots of help and advice be honest and said so...!!! bear in mind that in ANY group there will be some deceptions, some will play be your friend, some WILL be your friend, but if you are too careful not showing yourself as you are, you'll never get which one is the case. prepare yourself for a possible deception as you are, and then if it occurs, then move on.

Why do I say this: because if you are a working mom there will be gossip about you, If you are a stay-at-home mom, there will be gossip about you, if you are rich, or middle class, or poor, or the saving - kind type of person, there will be gossip about you. Someone in the group will learn to like you or understand you and then help you, and then there will be someone who will not like you (it could be because you use your hair short or you curl your eyelashes everyday) or envy you, in ANY group there will be this thing, sometimes it reaches the leader and then you're screwed.

So, this happens here and everywhere, so that's why you have to stick on to who you are, because when you try to please the people in your group you'll be the deceptive one and at the same time you'll be unhappy. If you are poor or middle class, be proud to do so!!! if your kid is not a genius but he/she has the support of his/her loving mother, then be proud to be so!.

AH! and Smith.... The "complain": "I can´t go on vacation because my kid has to study", can work both ways, some parents like their children to be independent and do the things themselves (my parents were like that), but they never let me alone to go on vacation in critical times, most of the parents "complain", but actually, they love to have an opportunity to help their kids in anyway, either to study with them, tutoring, preparing healthy meals, or just being a listener. I had that kind of love in my home, my mother never "complained" because she missed a holiday of lost an important meeting, etc... The other way is that the parent is actually a selfish parent, usually they complain because they don't want to go on holiday and they are using the child as an excuse, of they NEED their children to have a parent constantly onto them, it's kinda a suffocating love though.... because when they want and independent child, they just really leave them alone, if they want to stay to ensure their kid enter the right high school, it is for themselves,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Someone in the group will learn to like you or understand you and then help you, and then there will be someone who will not like you

Not in a Japanese clique. They all like you, or you are no longer invited to join the group. That's the point of the article.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It doesn't even work that way Cos San. With my experience, friends whom I thought would have stood by me in the same group turned their backs away and was more for the leader of the group rather than supporting me mentality or whatever. And to think, I was very close to some of them,, power wins here over the weak, the different, the foreigner, the less fortunate.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Unfortunately, people often tend to build relationships on a negative point which in our case was the dislike of one the people in the group in turn, which ended up my wife and I. They got so nasty that it impacted my wifes health and we sold our house and moved out. As a man I think I am less likely to feel the effects but a woman and also the Japanese person of the couple who all these attacks were directed gets the rough end of it. I am sure they found some one else in the neighborhood group to harass, but that's their life and we don't participate in that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru...

No it's not really, you MAY be the exception to the rule but too many times it is as noted. Just dont think that because YOU can stick out, everyone else is the same. Plus what are the odds that you are not Japanese?

Look around you. Women in their twenties are rarely having kids anymore in this country. The average age a women has a kid now is in her early to mid thirties in Japan, meaning by the time the kid is going to elementary school, (Which, If I am correct, is the time period the original was referring to) the mother is in her late thirties to early forties.

If I look around me, I can see that most of the women at my child's nursery are not in their twenties. However obviously the fact that they are all in hoikuen together, means that all the mothers (regardless of age) are working. Which also means we don't have time to form tea and lunch groups in the first place.

Yochien (and I imagine, elementary school too) is FAR worse for the mother-clubs, and the very vast majority of kids in the yochiens around me have mothers in the same "older" age bracket. Im not saying that young women cant be mean too, however I don't think its an age thing, as much as a "circle you decide to enter into" thing...?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Soon udon, I truly sympathize. I hope like me that she's much much better and happier. Make her try yoga ..that worked for me. Kimuzukashiiii San, I concur!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sorry, meant Scoobydoo San, not soon udon..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa, thanks, as soon as we moved things got alot better. Some times from trouble we can move onto the next step up and that was the case for us. We learnt a lot about what kind of neighborhood we don't suit and hopefully won't do that again but you can't tell because like in the article, these situations can start off with good friendly relations and very quickly turn bad once you scratch the surface.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

however I don't think its an age thing, as much as a "circle you decide to enter into" thing...?

If you dont understand the significance of age here in Japan and how it pertains to interpersonal relationships then you may have a hard time understanding the situation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have never experience how women's bitchiness could even make a business crumbles.....till I have to work with the Japanese women.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If you dont understand the significance of age here in Japan and how it pertains to interpersonal relationships then you may have a hard time understanding the situation.

The significance of age doesn't effect anything in this situation. Like it or not, a woman (or a group of them) Can be evil b*tches at age 13, 40, or 80.

You could as easily change "mama" to "High school" or "Day service" and talk about women being catty and competitive, over who's husband (or father) has the best income, or where they went on vacation, or how much inheritance they will leave to the grandchildren.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Keeping Up Appearances.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So why did you feel the need to suggest that working mothers would be in the cliques?

Mmm, because they're working in the office environment where the cliques are operating? Are you suggesting that some women are above all the office in-fighting on account of their being working mothers? Or on account of their being working women? Having a pay check puts women above other women who don't spend all day sitting at a desk/bashing a keyboard?

As others have mentioned, all the bitchiness and back-biting has nothing to do with whether women are mothers/single/married/working/at home. I would add that I don't think men are immune, either; instead of bitchiness, they call it Being Assertive.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Have seen many of these groups form the same hierarchies as exist across all of society. Dominant mums, others fall in and take critiscism and act submissive. Often the dominant mums can be real horrors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Spot on. Kind of amazed that most people here think this is a "Japanese thing"...

I don't think anyone said this and more than one poster, myself included, commented that this happens all over the world. Perhaps just not to the same level of patheticness.

Offices aren't the only place cliques are formed - as noted by this article. I've not suggested they women in offices are above it at all. I commented that the worst offenders I've seen in offices are... OLs. Who are waiting to get married so they can quit their job. Dead end job with little pride and accomplishments. No idea how they manage as I couldn't do it. I assume many will then go on to be nasty to the moms of their kids' schools/groups as noted here. Busy career women, let alone those with kids, are often too busy working and building their career to deal with petty little women who want to be nasty and bully each other at the school gates, let alone have tea with them. They will have enough crap from the boy's club. Which is why I think they are often the most supportive when it comes to other women in the office. Certainly not always the case though.

Having a pay check puts women above other women who don't spend all day sitting at a desk/bashing a keyboard? In terms of financial stability, personal spending power AND having kids, doesn't the working mother give more to society than say a women who stays home with no kids? More so when she's paying her pension, taxes and health care rather than sponging off the system? Women without kids? I'd say yes again, more so in over populated areas. I might feel different in a society that didn't allow leeching from the system by SAHW (not SAHM you see), don't add much in terms of society in my opinion. Work or have kids if you want my respect. Or heck, even better, do both and you'll get a gold star from me.

And you're right, being a nasty has nothing to do with your occupation per say but those who have more free time on their hands, have few personal accomplishments are more likely to lash out to prove their "power" and significance, no?

And I agree, women get nasty labels while mean get complementary ones. It isn't fair but I don't see things changing in the future until women are equally represented in terms of company power and economic means so they can get rid of such notions. That certainly won't happen when women believe they have a right to quit their job as soon as the ring goes on now will it?

As I said, you might want to look into some of the western blogs on mommy wars.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mmm, going on about women who stays home with no kids on a thread about mama-groups might have sumfin to do wiv dat.... Believe me, you and I are on the same page about the sahws, so long as we're talking about non-working ladies - some of us work at home, have personal spending power and pay our taxes, pension & insurance.

those who have more free time on their hands, have few personal accomplishments

Again, ladies with small children do not have time on their hands. And the more you put into your kids, the more you are entitled to count them among your own personal accomplishments.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

And yet YOU get to discuss it...

Cleo, women who send their kids to yochien DO have more free time on their hands. And let's be honest many women here DO send their kids to yochien here. And yes, the more time you put in, the more entitlement which is another issue I have with moms here... School, club, juku, piano, eikaiwa... Where is the time the MOMS are putting in, not paying someone to put the time in? Two very different things. If you"re staying at home, why do you need yochien? The moms can't organize social activities and socialize their kids on their own?? Perhaps you live in a great area where moms are actively involved. I am not. I live in a place where it is "throw money at someone else to deal with my child".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

women who send their kids to yochien DO have more free time on their hands

There's a saying about walking a mile in someone's shoes.....I've walked, got the blisters and the bunions, and I know that ladies with kids at yochien are not ladies of leisure. I certainly wasn't. Yochien is pre-school, what when I was a kid was called infant school, the start of a child's formal education. Maybe stay-at-home mothers should home-school their kids all the way through to post-grad?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Are you really trying to suggest that working moms have the same amount of free time as SAHM? Cleo, come on now. When kids are off at ele school even for half a day, working moms are... working with no questions asked. SAHM are? Doing laundry, cleaning the house... perhaps having tea with the bullies? Those women in the cafes seem to have a heck of a lot more free time than my working mommy friends. Home chores don't disappear because a mom is working. You of all people should know that. You don't think you were busier with your job and your kids than a SAHM?

I'm all for home schooling if done correctly but let's be honest, most parents don't do it well. Be it here or abroad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think home schooling could be the better option for a number of children (not all, though).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Are you really trying to suggest that working moms have the same amount of free time as SAHM?

Time is spent differently; being a sahm doesn't mean lying on the sofa all day, any more than being a working mum means running yourself into the ground and neglecting your kids. Let's not descend into extremes, on either side.

You don't think you were busier with your job and your kids than a SAHM?

I spent my time differently. With no income, a lot of time was spent saving money: hand-making clothes, cooking from scratch, generally doing stuff to save money. When I was working I felt more justified in spending money to save time: sending clothes to the cleaners instead of washing/ironing them at home, eating out more, etc. Basically, the working mum buys time with money. The no-income sahm saves money by using her time.

Home chores don't disappear because a mom is working.

They change; money buys time. It's physically impossible to get home from work at 7, cook a meal from scratch, spend quality time with the kids, supervise their homework and have them bathed and in bed by 8:30. More processed/pre-prepared food is used, laundry is sent out, dishes go into the dishwasher that you can't afford if you have no income.

I admit I've had it a lot easier than most working mums - not having to go out to work, with all the wasted time and energy that involves, makes life a whole lot easier.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cleo, I actually understand and agree with your last comment. When I worked outside the home I seemed to have had more time than I do now that I work from my home office. In order to be able to work from home I took a pay cut so I do more around the house to balance the loss in income. I also find that I have less of a social life now that I am at home. I don't think that one is better over the other, just different.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

These people can only have power over you if you give it to them in the first place. This article seems a bit of a exaggeration but it is actually not that far from the truth - most of us mothers living here have experienced it to a greater or lesser extent.

BUT - they can only have the power if you choose to give it to them. So if you dont like the way you are being treated - walk away and find new friends. Hard for a Japanese to do I know, but walking away is not being ostracised, its making a conscious decision to step out. And whether they admit it or not the other women will admire you for having the balls to do it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Basically, the working mum buys time with money. The no-income sahm saves money by using her time.

No, that's what YOU did. Just because YOU did that doesn't mean everyone else does. Perhaps you might like to read the article again when it mentions expensive brand name bags for example.

You are also making huge assumptions that ALL housewives make meals from sratch. Laughable if you've ever been to the supermarket when hosuewives are shopping and filling their baskets with premade crap. Laughable if you've ever worked in a school and take a look at the lunched some of these SAHM "make". YOU might have done all of these things but not all SAHM do. You might have have taken "short cuts" when you were a working mom but not all moms do. I know more than a few working moms that manage to do as you do. Perhaps not ALLdinners are from strach but many are because these moms don't want to put nasty crap into their kids.

Cleo, no one has suggested these women are lying around the sofa all day. YOu can still be doing things and be bored. Very easy easy to go through the motions of everyday life and be bored and not enjoy it.

Chiba, well said!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just because YOU did that doesn't mean everyone else does

And two examples in a fluff-piece article don't mean that everyone is being forced to buy expensive brand-name bags, either.

YOu can still be doing things and be bored. Very easy easy to go through the motions of everyday life and be bored and not enjoy it.

And that applies whether you're bored and going through the motions at home, or bored and going through the motions at work. So why the big hangup on 'bored housewives'?

I'm really not interested in the whole stay-at-home-or-go-out-to-work debate. People do what they think is best for them and their families, and that's fine. Whatever a person chooses, if they choose in the interests of their family, they deserve the support of those around them. It's when one side asserts they're better than the other, their choices and opinions are more valid, their achievements are more worthy, that I feel myself wanting to object.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No one is "forcing" anyone to do anything... which Chiba already commented on.

The "big hang up" is because of the pension, the health care and the large number that I see do a very poor job at parenting. Kids in cars without seatbelts, kids running around places as if it is a park, playing in busty streets,paying someone to do something that they have the time to do - yochien, juku..., having very little communication with their kids... I teach. I attend workshops, I write papers, I want to improve my ability as a teacher. Many SAHM don't seem to want to do the "professional development" that goes into having and would rather foist it off onto someone else. That's my issue. If you want to stay home, great. Pay your way and look after your kids! I shouldn't see SAHM driving cars with a keitai in one hand, a smoke in another and a kid bouncing around. I shouldn't see ANY mother doing that but the fact that they are SAHM makes it worse in my opinion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The "big hang up" is because of the pension, the health care

We're on the same page as far as the pension & health care are concerned. I would also chuck in tax breaks, together with a proviso that national policy should include some kind of pension/health care-linked benefit for parents regardless of whether they choose to work outside the home or not. If the country wants more children, then it needs to encourage people to have them. But that isn't the topic of this thread.

and the large number that I see do a very poor job at parenting....I want to improve my ability as a teacher. Many SAHM don't seem to want to do the "professional development"

OK. So you see some women who are not great parents, decide they must be sahms (A working mother would never let her child bounce around in the car or run around places? Or use her keitai in the car? Or smoke? Really?) and so you despise all sahms, especially the financially better-off ones. That's your prerogative. Suppose I in my turn look at the abysmal job some teachers do, point out the obvious fact that English language teaching in Japan is obviously and spectacularly not producing the goods, point to the only-here-for-a-year's-holiday English teachers and decide because of that, that I despise all English teachers, especially the furrin ones who are getting money for old rope. I group them all together as 'these people' and rant about how awful they are and how much better I am because I'm not one of them. As a conscientious teacher, how do you like being lumped in with 'these people'? Is my contempt justified? Is it any different from your contempt for all sahms? I would say the answer is No to both questions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In SOME Cleo. Why you can't get it through your head is beyond me. I dislike SAHM who don't do a good job at their profession.

A working mother would never let her child bounce around in the car or run around places? Or use her keitai in the car? Or smoke? Really? I think I made it pretty clear in the above post that yes, working moms are also guilty. Just looking to argue are we?

so you despise all sahms, especially the financially better-off ones. Interesting comments when I just thought we cleared up the SOME bit, no? Why would I dislike the financially-better off ones? No idea where you grabbed that from. You're rather all over the place with this aren't you? Grasping for straws.

Cleo, the difference between what I've said and what you are wishing I said is that I haven't said "all". You can keep telling yourself I have but I made it VERY clear in numerous posts. Plus, I 100% agree that " Japan is obviously and spectacularly not producing the goods, point to the only-here-for-a-year's-holiday English teachers" and I certainly wouldn't NOT defend ALL of them just because they are teachers and I happen to be one. Which is why I don't get how you defend ALL SAHM. Surely you have to admit that there are more than a few horrific ones out there, no? Many teachers have zero business being in the classroom and I am more than happy to state I don't respect them, I don't like them and I certainly won't defend them. Just like how many SAHM AND working mothers have no business calling themselves a mother,, I won't respect them and I will call a spade a spade. However, at least the working moms are doing something else besides "just" being a mom and aren't draw all those things that we both agree are wrong.

I get lumped into categories all the time. Teacher, woman, foreigner... I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt when people start ranting about a group that I belong to and know they aren't meaning ALL members of that group. Shame that I have to spell that out to you, shame that I have to keep reminding you that I have NEVER said ALL SAHM mothers are bon bon eating, lazy, no good mothers. Perhaps we wouldn't continue to "debate" this topic if you actually understood that.

Oh and I am assuming that the mommies with no business clothes shopping at 1:00 pm on a weekend day are stay at home moms. More so if they've got a kid in tow. Certainly they could be a working mom on a day off but I think the benefit of doubt is in my favour, no?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have seen before the discussion between Cleo and tmarie, it's the same discussion between mi future sister-in-law and a very dear friend. They both think differently, but when arguing a point they tend to be polarized (tmarie, using the word "SOME", in your case seems pointless because the way you speak looks that you believe the "SOME" as the majority and not the other way around.

And in the case of "buying time" when mothers work it is more common than you think, I've seen this how it has changed from generation to generation... In my time pre-school was not mandatory, so my brother and I were not sent, although we both entered 1st year of school at age of five. By the time my baby sister was born, pre-school became mandatory.

And as for younger levels of infant school or nursery school, it is not mandatory, but it is recommended to send the child to a nursery school for him to socialize, to play with other kids his/her age, but that doesn´t mean ALL the mothers sent their child to infant school for that reason, there are ones that are lazy, they want to "give it a rest" with the child send him away, but also there are working moms who for them it is a great help, and also the other way around.

But back on topic, the article refers to mothers than could suffer a certain type of bullying from a group "apparently innocent": other mothers, my opinions stands as my previous post, there mothers have to learn to toughen up and the first part is to be true to themselves, not all the mothers are lazy, indifferent, manipulative, there are also ones who are caring, but they hide these good attributes because they consider that as "weak"...

A have a friend who just recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl it's her first, and though she is a good professional colleague of mine, it is kinda cute the clumsiness of her being a mother... I just hope that she will not be prey of some moms who are only interested in knowing if the "husband" has enough money, or if she a working mom, or knowing the reason why she hasn't married the guy she is with... as I said before the gossip and the bullying is not privy to Japanese moms of pre-school kids.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't get how you defend ALL SAHM. Surely you have to admit that there are more than a few horrific ones out there

I do not 'defend all sahm'. I am quite ready to admit that there are indeed more than a few horrific mothers out there; some of them are sahm, some of them are working mothers. What I do contend is your assertion that the majority of sahm (as JoiceRojo points out, later claiming that you only mean 'some' doesn't cut it, given the vitriol of your opinions regarding 'these women') fit into the same feckless mould while the majority of working mothers are of another altogether superior breed.

Interesting comments when I just thought we cleared up the SOME bit, no?

Sorry, but you didn't clear up anything.

Why would I dislike the financially-better off ones?

You tell me. Your comments about them spending money - ☆throw money at someone else to deal with my child, paying someone to do something that they have the time to do - suggests that you have a problem with how other people handle their family finances, and with women who can afford to buy expensive handbags/have lunch out with friends occasionally even though they have no income of their own.

☆Actually this one made me smile - isn't it how sahms describe working mothers who drop their kids off at the hoikuen while they go off and have themselves a career?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In my time pre-school was not mandatory, And it is not mandatory here so you're point is moot.

You're ready? Where? When? Now? Funny, you've never made such a comment before though I have many, many times over have said I don't think "all" SAHM are horrible. I've said majority? Where? When? I've already explained "these women" so are you really needing to go back there and pick that point up again even though it was clearly explained to you?

I have never ever commented on people having or not having money so again, no idea where you are getting this from. Grasping at straws Cleo. You keep throwing it at the wall hoping that something will stick. Though heck, if they can afford brand bags, "they" can afford to pay their taxes, their pension and their health care. See how this is the my issue? One that you've agreed with.

And yes, that IS how SAHM describe working moms. While in their little nasty bullying groups - which is exactly what this article was addressing. Funny, do they complain about the husband's going "off and have themselves a career?"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In my time pre-school was not mandatory, And it is not mandatory here so you're point is moot.

I wasn't referring to be mandatory by the government or something like that, I was referring to those kids to enter first year of elementary school usually they have to take an exam... that's what I meant to say, in that case mothers who want their children to provide the best way of education they can see for their children, they will consider pre-school as important as elementary and junior high school, if they chose a yochien or a hoikuen, but working moms have little space if the school is very demanding.

I realized that I didn't finish the idea. "By the time my baby sister was born, pre-school became mandatory...", because there were limited choices of good elementary schools (ones close by, private, public, etc) Even though my brother and I entered the same school it was not assured that my sister would go because there was too much demand and to enter another school they asked for an exam (for a six year old!) Don't tell me that this doesn't happen in Japan too

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think being a SAHM is just the same as a working Mother. You can do the job very well or you can do it very badly. I admire whoever does the job they have chosen to do if they do it well. But I wont lie and pretend I havent had the odd boozy lunch with some other SAHMs, just the same as I got hubby to pick up the kids from daycare roughly once a month and took off with my work colleagues for an evening letting off steam when I was a working mum. I can also sympathise with people who have had "bad days" - as we all do whatever we do during the day. No excuses though for basic safety like not belting up.

But this article is about mama-tomo and I guess the majority of those fall into the SAHM category based on what the writer is saying. So I can say based on experience here in Japan and in the UK that these women can be equally bloody awful wherever they are! Japanese women dont have the monopoly on witchy behaviour but with the whole "group" thing they can absolutely take it to new levels.

There is a lot of control by unspoken fear here - fear that if you dont toe the PTA line (personally I think that stands for Pains in The Ass) that your child will somehow suffer for it at school. Fear of what other people think of you. Just fear pressure stress. All the time. Unless you choose to live your life on your terms, make what anyone would consider a reasonable contribution of your time and effort to school or mama-tomo life and then make further contributions only if you choose to, and otherwise opt out.

I have been a working Mum and dealt with endless office politics. Ive been a SAHM and dealt with endless PTA and mama-tomo politics. In both cases I have learned the only way to deal with it is to make it water off a ducks back. Otherwise it costs a fortune in antidepressants! My kids are happy. Im happy. I feel like I have done plenty and whilst there have always been people around me who can be witches, I reduce them in my life to nearly-zero influence and move on almost oblivious to them. I get thats harder for a Japanese woman but they dont HAVE to suffer. My youngest and last (this time I REALLY mean it!!!) starts kindie next year and I cant wait to get back into retraining for a new career that will a) pay for college one day! b) make me feel fulfilled in a different way and c) hopefully one day make the kids proud of me. Sometimes you just feel damned if you do and damned if you dont. Its finding what works for you that is key, not the witch with the posh handbag sitting next to you!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Let's get real- none of us are social scientists, so our limited daily observations are in no way representative of the Japanese population.

That aside, people who act like the cliques in the article, or judgemental people in general? Shove off. Oh you don't like my shoes? TFB.

Unless you know the person you're passing judgement on, perhaps even then, who do you think you are? It's just sad that people get swayed by the opinions of narrow-minded, vainglorious individuals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Joice, I won't tell you that doesn't happen because it does. I, however, am not a mind reader and had no idea this is what you were talking about because you didn't say it. And yes, some moms want their kids to go to good private ele schools so put them in yochien - many of which ALSO have entrance tests. However, this is not the main reason for the majority of moms. Let's be honest, many moms don't give a flying fig about socializaing their kids. They put their kids in kindy to give themselves a break and some free time. Nothing wrong with that but playing the people stating they do so for other reaons is amusing.

Chiba, as usual, an excellent post!

Habid, you DO understand that you've just made judgements on people passing judgements, right? Everyone makes judgements. Human nature. But yes, allowing or not allowing opinions to get to you is the issue here.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

many moms don't give a flying fig about socializaing their kids

You mean SOME moms, yes? Most of the mums I know are very concerned about giving their kids a good start in life. Different folks have different ideas about what constitutes a 'good start', some of them make me shudder, but from a purely biological/genetic/evolutionary point of view, mothers not giving a fig about their kids' development is not the way the world works.

I agree that ChibaChick has her head firmly attached to her shoulders and writes some darn good, sensible posts. But oh I wish she hadn't descended into the 'these women' diatribe mode.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As the bitching between the ladies on this thread shows, you can put a group of women OF ANY NATIONALITY together and, in not time, the claws and venom will be unleashed...

Nevertheless, it's always entertaining to watch a catfight.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sorry Cleo :) !

But I just reviewed my post and I couldnt see a "these women" diatribe - can you point it out?

When I say "these women" I probably mean that small specific group who like to cause gossip/scandal/one up manship, NOT the whole lot! There is always one in every class with a few "disciples", you know? The one you just cant put your finger on because she is perfectly "nice" to you, but..... and then you hear extrapolated gossip about yourself weeks later. Something like your husband has lost his job because you happened to remark to her that the cakes in the local shop were getting more expensive!

What is actually so sad is that over the last few years I have - literally - had J mums sobbing in my arms in private because they are struggling under the pressure of the "mama tomo" thing. Sounds like an exaggeration but it really isnt. Usually these people have other stresses going on (usually husband or from-the-countryside-and-homesick related) and the mama-tomo pressure just tips the balance for them.

I felt sorry for them a lot of the time. I was the only foreigner in the class who spoke Japanese and they came to me with their worries, rather than to each other. But I DID get to a point where I was feeling a little "Oh, for Gods sake!" - you know? I tried not to judge - they werent raised like me and seemed to find it hard to just walk away, and their biggest issue was their children - would a bad feeling cause problems for the child at kindergarten or even beyond, as most of the kids went on to the same elementary for a further 6 years? BUT....there are plenty of women to choose from at elementary school - roughly 180 at mine. Surely within that crop there is SOMEONE who is like-minded??!

In some cases my personal feeling was that they had WAY too much time on their hands that was ONLY being used on the kindergarten or elementary world. They didnt socialise outside school. All their PTA work was of course related to school. All their eggs were therefore in the school basket, so to speak and if the basket drops..... It was easier for me I think as a foreigner and a part time working mum because my eggs were all over the place. Again, so to speak!

It is SO hard to balance being a working mum versus being a stay at home mum. But I feel whe you have "stuff" going on outside the school world, if something goes wrong it is difficult but not a train smash. I felt incredibly lucky in Japan that I had a job where I genuinely could balance the two. I just left 3 weeks ago to move to the US (Im not American, this is a third party country for both of us) and I miss Japan terribly right now! I am trying to break into the local Japanese mum community here but they are not particularly receptive as they are all nervous about being here themselves and are banding together. The kids start school on Monday too which will help!

I am making inroads with some individuals so hopefully soon I will get meself some mama-tomo! Just yesterday at the English testing centre (all kids moving here from a non-English country have to be language tested before starting school) I saw a Japanese woman sitting in the waiting area looking nervous and worried. So I just aproached her with a set of info I had found in Japanese and asked her if she was OK. She burst into tears! I sat squeezing her hand and smiled to myself that I can move thousands of miles across the world to a whole new country but really, my life hasnt changed at all!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Chibachick, I can agree with you in a lot of points especially in the part that these woman do have their own personnal struggle. Like you, i too was approached with their own struggles particularly the topic about their mother in law, im sure you heard about this too.Thing is they don't show they're emotions and will only do so when found alone with you or like the woman in the country you've moved in to recently. You see, what I learned myself is that they can be everything you want them to be when they are alone, loving and caring when they're not in a group. In my yoga class, I am the most friendly and endlessly making friends and these new friends( japanese) I introduce to the same Japanese...then before I know it, I'm not included in their stories, they form a circle and they can't even hear me when i say a greeting....it's depressing and surprisingly puzzling.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

this is the reason why i sometimes don't like the japanese culture. like the first story, why the hell didn't the other ladies buy their own bloody drinks if THEY were thirsty. don't follow other people like a bunch of sheep! sheesh -__- Mama-friendships are useless and plain stupid all they do is gossip and put others down. and this Celine handbag lol! are u kidding me?! are you going to compare friendship with a freaken brand?! you're going to cut out that person out just cause they don't gots it? i would never compare my friendship with things like that. my ex was like that if i wasn't wearing brand name junk then i wasn't "part of the group" what freakn group?! lol my god lol! this article is making me blood boil lol! japan....

@habidaccus, WELL SAID! lol

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa, you deserve better friendship cause those people are full of it. you're right it's depressing.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sad that people still behave like this and will shun a person because they won't follow suit. Mom groups sound great but the internet will give me the info I need as well as the mother and grandmothers who are still in my life. I REFUSE to play stupid biddy games. Don't have time for than madness and zero tolerance for stupidity. No need for elitest groups and keeping up with other mommies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tmarie, I wouldn't say I made a judgement on these people, rather than point out a logical fact that these type of judgements are fundametally flawed. One can't encapsulate a person in such a brief moment. That's why, although yes we all make snap judgements, holding to them and excluding people on the basis of that is making a decision on an incomplete body of evidence. You can make assumptions, but, you know what is said about assuming.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thank you LH10... Luckily I was able to have a few but true ones!!!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No use at all getting uptight about any of it! Groups like these can appear to be hells on earth sometimes. Be tough and cope with it - youll find that real friends, really do appear in the end, if you just hang in there quietly and dont get upset or make a fuss. We get 'measured' in all kinds of ways that are not immediately apparent. Humans need understanding and kindness much more than they ever need to be one up, or kingpin, or leader of the pack or whatever else is on offer. If you can get the guts to cope with the whole gamut of human frailtie, inc silliness, unkindness and indifference, of the kind described - you wont ever be short of real, good friends. I absolutely PROMISE you that. Be strong, be kind. You will also be precious - to someone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Its actually kind of fun too, when you dont "toe the group line", to see the leaders of the group freaking out when they realise they dont have any power over you. They scrabble around not quite sure what to do, and worried that if YOU take their power away, maybe everyone else will start to as well!

Case in point a few months ago: we had to put on a show for the graduating kindie kids and teachers. Just a song and dance-type thing. Younger siblings were NOT allowed to attend. Well, thats all well and good if you have a granny nearby who can watch them, but if you are not a member of a daycare, or you dont have a granny nearby, and all your friends are working - what do you do? Put them into a by-the-hour daycare was one suggestion. I refused - I dont know them, my 3 year old doesnt know them - that would be really cruel to dump him somewhere he has never been before and leave. So I said I just wont take part. That screwed them up - you HAVE to take part. It would be really sad for my older son if his Mummy was the only one not taking part. No problem says I, I will take him out of school that day and we will go to Disneyland. That flummoxed them even more. "But but but....this is going to be so much fun!" More fun than Disneyland??! was my response!

To be fair I was kind of screwing with them. I did have a friend who was willing to watch him for a few hours. But it just pissed me off that the group of Mothers who DIDNT have little ones had decided the little ones were not allowed, plus I just wanted to see what would happen if someone DID buck the trend. Not much, actually. Just a lot of freaked out power-trippers who saw their mini-empires crumbling before them!

It was kind of mean of me, I know. I just wanted to see what would happen if I threatened to pull out!

Basically I CAN see the whole point of the group thing - it gets things done at school, forges bonds when they all work together and lets face it - fills up the hours during the day! BUT - if it stops there, that is fine. When it gets to bullying, and gossiping, and ostracising - thats when it gets silly. And with a bunch of Mums it always seems to go there. Just like Animal Farm, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sounds to me like the writer is doing something Japanese people sometimes do: take the behaviour of a very small sample and assume it is representative of everybody.

That's what my some of friends do, so everybody must do it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am the most friendly and endlessly making friends and these new friends( japanese) I introduce to the same Japanese...then before I know it, I'm not included in their stories, they form a circle and they can't even hear me when i say a greeting....it's depressing and surprisingly puzzling

Its because your not Japanese, you can't possibly understand these things (Rhetoric).

I had a friend and we played in a band together and 6 months latter I found out by chance he had a girlfriend he was engaged to and had been before I met him. I thought that that would be the sort of thing you would have mentioned in normal conversation. I was one of many who never knew. Wow what is it with social skills here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm gonna generalize here a bit!! Sorry!

I think it is a female thing. I'm a girl myself and only have around 5 female friends; all the rest are male friends because I just cannot communicate with most of the other girls. I've had very bad experiences with female friends, most of the time the moment you mention you buy no-name brands you are shunned. I was badly bullied because I come from a 'rural' family and I didn't care about materialistic stuff. I was also considered 'weird' for most of my life since I am a girl-gamer. After I hit age 16 I just started making male friends, less stressful, men are usually more honest (usually I said..there are exceptions for both!) and will give your life a new perspective! (Like actually looking at fellow women from a male point-of-view..freaky I know!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

TAIHEN!! Loved being married.....still do....but the company took so much of my husband's time and energy. Loved having children and being home with them and teaching and helping them grow. But the isolation was just amazing. Having a spouse and children and attending the same school is not enough to find things in common with other women who also have a spouse, children and attend the same school. Inside each woman is a human being with her own interests and character and thoughts. It was just very hard to find someone with the similar outlook on life. Trying to go along with the group for the sake of the children only adds to the stress if one cannot fit into a clique. My mother said the same thing when in the 1950's after WWII, US women were "encouraged" to return home to take care of the family and be like the women on TV... "Father Knows Best " and the like. Some women were like in straight jackets and longed for more, though they loved their spouse and children. Sylvia Plath, Phyllis Diller, come to mind. So, try as I did, the park, the schools of various kinds, and other women's groups just caused me stress and I pulled out. Much happier to find my own interests and hobbies and work, creativity and animals. I never enjoyed standing and chatting, ever. Eventually, the kids do not like being the topic of conversation among the mothers in the park of school grounds, nor do they like to listen to the stories of the "husbands," their fathers, either. Honestly, most of the conversations took on a negative air about school, family, husbands, children, mother-in-laws. Or, boasting. Rarely did they talk about Abenomics or North Korea or the people still in need of help in Tohoku, or how their kids can become great thinkers and physicists and inventors! :o) In the end, one has to find people who they share similarities with. In the same way, I also do not think that being foreign among non-foreign is enough to make a strong friendship, either.

Parenting is a hard job and my heart goes out to anyone doing it at any given time. Bless you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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