Mommy Groupie Flunky
Since it was going to be 58 degrees out and rainy, I had planned on bringing the kids to story time at the Oakmont Library. I had gone there in the past with my friend Nicole and her daughter, but never solo. I figured we’d get there early so that the kids could pick out some books. We got there and I’m pretty positive every Mommy who’s life revolves around their child was there. Every single one.
And side note, for the first time, I get why some frown on breastfeeding in public. Um, excuse me, Miss, they make blankets, covers, ANYTHING to keep your nipples away from my line of sight. Trust me, I get it that baby’s gotta eat, but when baby’s not eating, put your girls back. Mkay. Thanks.
So here we are, at the library with kids running amok. And all I can hear is, “No, Dakota! Don’t climb on that!” “Brooklyn! Don’t hit your sister!” And I was amazed that I didn’t hear a single generic name. There were girls named Blake, boys named Skylar and I suddenly felt normal – which is odd because that’s something I’m not.
What worried me was Luca. He tends to mimic what other kids do. And what these kids were doing were things I was raised to believe to be illegal to do in a library. My grandparents were librarians. Well, my Grandma was. My Grandpa was a Dean of Library Sciences for a university. Needless to say, I know libraries. I respect libraries. And these kids were not respecting the library. They were throwing toys, yelling loudly, throwing books and climbing bookshelves and no one was telling them no. I was appalled.
But Claire was on a mission. She wanted to find books. And because she wanted to find books, Luca wanted to find books, too. Because, after all, that’s what a library is for.
We went downstairs to where the story time was and for the first 15 minutes they let the kids play with toys, which is great so that they sit still when it comes time to listen. Claire, of course, stuck close to me and Maelie. Luca, however made friends all over. He’d play with one kid, then another, then another. And what impressed me the most was that he never once took a toy from another kid.
While this is going on, all the Mommies were chatting about this and that. This and that being their kids. That was it. And while, yes, this is a small hour sampling of conversations, something about it just screamed: My kids are my identity.
The other kicker? I was an outsider – so no one even so much as looked at me. Or when one did, they sat a little taller as if I was being assessed and they ruled that they were better. It was so weird.
But the kids had a blast, so I’ll go back. I really don’t care what those women thought of me. I’m not quite sure where I fit in the whole parenting grand scheme of things, but I’m somewhere in the free spirit yet don’t be disrespectful range.
I was never in a clique in high school and I was never in a sorority. Large groups of women have either intimidated me or made me roll my eyes. But I really wish they didn’t. I just don’t get it. Or them. Or the whole My-Children-Are-My-Life school of thought. I love my kids. I think they’re hilarious. And kind. And genuine. And adorable. But I save my “Oh Claire! You’re the best thing ever!” for home. Because parading my kids around will only hurt my kids. It won’t teach them that in the real world, life doesn’t revolve around them. That, even though they are cute and kind, they still have to be good and know how to be good without constant reinforcement. They need to know that I’m not going to always be there, so they need to know how to function out in the world.
I honestly believe that there are two different kind of parents. Parents that talk to their kids like adults and those that talk to their kids like babies. Those that talk to their kids like adults don’t dumb down the conversation, but still make it relatable to where they are mentally. Those that talk to their kids like babies do just that.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe in throwing your kids out there and expecting them to swim, but I don’t believe in sheltering them from everything. For example, when my Mom had to put her dog down, I explained it to Claire in ways she could understand. I didn’t make up some lie that Jake ran away or moved away. I told her simply that Jake had died because he was sick, but now he’s without pain, and then answered all her questions honestly. She’s 3. But she’s not stupid.
And I clearly, have no idea what it means to be a Mommie.