i have been away from the mom scene for quite a few months now. after a friend’s recommendation, i had joined a mommy group on meetup.com and had been catapulted into playgroups, mommy meet ups, and story time readings. i think what did it was when i had hosted a meetup, i was greeted with the same question several times from different mothers: what other activities do you involve your kid in? stammering with responses that vaguely expressed “none”, they had all yammered away at giving me advice, recommendations, and insight into what they do with their babies.
in retrospect, i can say that i got swept away with something that wasn’t at all necessary. i felt pressured, i felt like i fell behind in the mommy category. but i know perfectly cohesive, mature adults who never went to daily playgroups. and i’m sure ted bundy had once been right there, clapping along in gymboree classes. what i mean to say is, it’s great to get your kid socialized. but there are a lot of expectations as a mother–a mile long standard, that we are all being set to. if you don’t have a packed schedule monday through friday, you’re perceived as neglectful. lazy, even. and that you’re encouraging your child to be completely codependent. but…isn’t that what preschool is for? no matter how much you prepare your kid, this transition never comes easy. not for the mother, who loses either way. secretly, we want our kids to tear up a bit when we wave goodbye. but then again, when they dash in, without so much of a kiss on the cheek, we’re also at a bit of a loss.
another realization i am facing is that the mommy community is brutal. if you haven’t heard of the “mommy wars”, i suggest you google it. a bunch of moms labeling each other and judging to the harshest extent. do any of us even meet up to these expectations? and the labels…woo wee! so many to fall under! but they comfort some of us; it allows us to judge each other easier. which is definitely not a good thing. what kind of mom are you? is the question i see in the narrowing eyes of the mothers scrutinizing me at every meetup. i am covered with tattoos. i am significantly younger than the moms in my area. i also don’t own a bugaboo or joovy baby stroller, a mercedes, or a two hundred dollar diaper bag to cutely tote around my toddler’s poopy diapers. in case you didn’t catch that, we live in a ritzy area that we were fortunate enough to get into with a housing program and our military background (we loved the schools). here are the labels that we love to choose from:
-the organic mom (organic food, self explanatory)
-the all natural mom (not to be confused with organic mom; these moms strictly use all natural products ie. sunscreen)
-the germ mom (go ahead and touch that pile of dog feces!)
-the sterile mom (must.clorox.everything…DON’T TOUCH THAT, YOU’LL GET EBOLA!)
-the fit mom (always seen in lulu lemon leggings, a puffy vest, and a hoodie that screams, perfect combo for running and yoga!)
-the new mom (see this unwashed hair? that’s not a skin condition, that’s just my unmoisturized, hairy legs…crap, i forgot to put on underwear…)
-the helicopter mom (child is always within hug’s reach because at any moment, a guy in a ski mask can pop out of the gymboree toy bin and abduct my child)
-the “it’s all good” mom (child is sticking a fork in the electrical outlet–he’ll learn!)
-the overindulgent mom (sure, you can have this brick of gold)
-the stringent mom (i fashioned this toy out of toilet paper rolls and paper clips! do you like?)
the thing is…none of us fit under one label. and some of us put so much pressure on ourselves so that we do. because we want to be “that mom” that we aspire to. but honestly, no one, not even jessica alba herself, is a single labeled mother. we just need to remind ourselves that there’s a certain image that people project, and it may not even be realistic or authentic. that’s the thing about living in a society that relies so heavily on social media; we can all be the person we want to be online. don’t ever believe the hype. be a little bit of everything, but most importantly, remember to be all of you.
side note: great article from the new york times forwarded to me today by a newly made (gasp!) mom friend! i never thought this day would come! i finally found someone like minded in this world full of crazy (ahem–moms). man, it’s tough out there. but your people are out there! you just gotta look. much like dating. remember how fun that was (NOT)!
article is here. if you are wondering if this article is worth your time to read…it is. i know some of you mamas are busy dollies, but ohhh this is a good one. for this new rising culture of moms where you are never good enough. the writer, heather havrilesky speaks of the overwhelming pressure of being a mom in this time, which has changed greatly since we were young. little sneak peak for ya:
“We are besieged by Facebook images of sun-kissed children canning homegrown peaches and building tiny replicas of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and being home-schooled on organic dairy farms in Wisconsin.”
“Personally, though, I don’t want to read about amazing kid-friendly boutique hotels with treehouse cabins in Sweden. I don’t want to know about the most delicious cherry pie some super-relaxed stay-at-home dad made with his towheaded toddler. I am not interested in hearing theories on what gave your 5-year-old such a premature grasp of quadratic equations, or about the countless benefits of living in Berlin for your now-German-speaking, bicycle-riding, train-hopping spawn. There’s too much pressure, on parents in general and mothers in particular, to keep our kids away from corn syrup and bullies and industrially farmed beef while introducing them to chapter books and charcoal drawings and parasailing.”
HA! and this reminds me…new goal for moi: make sure that the next time i meet a fellow mom, make that extra effort getting to know her. the real her. and ask her questions to get to know that person beyond the label “mom”.
good day to you all!