If you’ve been a parent for any length of time, you’ve met her. In a meeting. On a playground. At a soccer game. In the PTA. She talks your ear off about the amount of high fructose corn syrup in the snack you just handed your kid. She insists on special rules or exceptions – and tends to halt any planning of events until further investigation can be conducted. She also kind of makes you want to kick her. She’s “THAT” mom.

More importantly, because we all have strong opinions on something, you’ve probably been her. And there are times when we really do need to slow the conversation in order to deliberate. So, where’s the line? When do you speak up? When should you shut up?

Before you open your mouth, ask yourself a few questions.

Is this a priority for me and my family?

All of the moms on the playground let their kids dig in the mud. You prefer to keep your son clean. He prefers to hang with his friends. You could say something or decide that cleanliness doesn’t make your Top Ten List of Priorities and remind yourself to bring grubby clothes next time.

Make life easier. If it’s not that important, skip it.

Can you avoid hurting, offending, or taking rights away from others?

This is a biggie. Don’t get so wrapped up in your own perspective, you forget how it affects others. Put yourself in their shoes and consider the ramifications. Political, religious, and cultural difference have the potential to devastate a group. Potentially damaging worries need to be delivered with respect in a one-on-one manner rather than blurted out in a group setting.

Similarly, your child is absolutely valuable, but so are the other children involved.  Just imagine your daughter desperately wants to make a goal in a soccer game but she can’t get to the ball fast enough to take it. You might want to ask everyone else on the field to step away, but that would keep them from playing the game.

Are you ready for the fallout?

You’ve done it: sighed, rolled your eyes, searched for your noise-canceling headphones. You know to expect that from other moms. They might get angry. They might not want to be around you. You might lose friends.  If you’ve already decided this is a priority, you’re probably ready to face this.

But it’s not just the moms that should have you worried. Are you ready to face the battle with your kid? If a strict nutritional plan is one of your big things, you won’t want your son to eat cake at a birthday party. That’s not going to go over very well with the under ten set. You need to brace for that conflict more than an eye roll shot at your back from the birthday kid’s mom.

There’s no promise everything will come up roses, but if you can answer yes to all of these questions, you’re ready. It’s time to speak your mind. Go. Be “THAT” mom. Just be ready to fight fair.

And if not, it might be time to put a sock in it!