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.

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About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on September 6, 2011, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Mommy with an “ie.” Oh, Cass. You and I are completely identical in this respect. How many of theses “Mommies” were also 10 years older than you? I suspect a ton. I know exactly how you feel and often find myself at odds with the Mommie crew, even today at Gabe’s school. Now, granted, a lot of the kids in his class went to kindergarten together last year so it makes sense that some of the moms know each other, but it’s just a feeling I get when I’m around these women. I experienced it last year at Gabe’s school and especially with Gabe’s birthday party. Sure, the moms are nice to me, but we have NOTHING to talk about other than our kids and you can imagine that conversation is pretty darn short. Anyway, it would be nice to be able to find moms who are young, fun, funky and not all about their kids 24/7. What I’m finding is that we’re a rare breed.

    • They were all older than me, that’s for sure. But I’m a horrible judge of age. And it’s true, while most know each other from perhaps the library itself, they were never having conversations with each other, they were just saying, “Oh, well my Johnny is …” and not even letting the other finish their sentence. It was gross.

  2. This is one of the reasons I’m glad I am raising my kids where I grew up. While there are the Mommy groups that I don’t belong to, there are usually quite a few of my old classmates at every school function that I can sit with and make fun of the others. : )
    I am a middle of the road parent myself, I want my kids to take their time growing up, but I do not shelter them from the truth. It’s a fine balance – and one not very easy to manage given all the wild and crazy, overcoddled but underparented children running amok all over the place.
    Of course, I’m feeling like a great mom today…2 kids off to school and 1 kid at home. They’re so much easier to manage one at a time.

    • Yes. I love my friends who happen to be Moms. I LOVE to hear their stories about their kids and I love that it’s a natural conversation. None of it is “Oh, my kid is perfect.” Hell, I constantly email back and forth with an old friend of mine when we need to vent. Our youngest kids are the same age and both teething. Lots to complain about!

  3. I agree with Em. I wonder how many of them were your age? My guess is none. I had the same experience raising you and Carlene in my early 20s. What’s soooo weird now is that when I’m with the grandkids in public, most people assume they’re mine and it’s like I get “respect” by those “Mommies.” Then when they find out I’m the g-ma, their heads explode. They seriously don’t know how to talk to me. They must assume I was 13 when I had you! LOL But your kids are cool and fun and genuine and when I’m in public with them, I’m the proudest grammy alive 🙂 Well, I’m the proudest grammy alive anyway, but in that public setting of Moms, even more so.

  4. As someone who’s practically made a living out of being part of large groups of women (dance team, sorority, Junior League, etc.), I can assure you those women are just as intimidated as anyone else. I just jump in and start talking. If they’re rude or bitchy I’ll back off, but most of the time, they’re relieved that someone else made the first move. And not all of the women I meet are people I’d want to be BFF with or anything, but they’re usually nice and pleasant to chat with.

    • I wish it were all that simple. I’ve never had a problem starting the conversation off first, it’s just…it’s so much different when it’s a group of Mommies. I wish I could explain it. It’s like, when women are just with women, it’s OK, and easy. But when they’re with their kids, they’re the greatest things in the world because their kids are AWESOME. And that’s it. There’s no conversation. Just facts. And one-upping. It’s horrid. And perhaps a northern thing.

      • You didn’t happen to watch the last season of “Real Housewives of Orange County”, did you? I wouldn’t recommend it, but there was this mom who did the one-upping thing ALL THE TIME.

        Mom #1 would say something completely legit that her kid does, and Mom #2 would immediately say something ridiculous like, “My son could count to 50 when he exited the womb.” It’s funny that we can’t tell how awful these things are coming out of our mouths, but they seem DISGUSTING coming out of anyone else’s.

        Not that I think you brag about your kids. I meant them. The mommies.

      • I honestly have never watched any real housewives shows simply because they’re not real whatsoever, which I’m sure is the point. However, I love hearing about peoples’ kids when it’s legit bragging. When it’s MY KID IS THE BEST DAMN THING IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD I want to duct tape their mouths shut.

  5. Maybe the only talk about their kids because it’s all they have in common? I find myself talking with my mommy friends about kids a lot because I have a lot of questions and because we can relate.

    But I’m with you on the group thing. I’m easily intimidated by large groups of people who already know each other. I sometimes try to start conversations, but it always ends up kind of awkward. I was recently at a baby shower where I only knew the mom-to-be and tried to strike up a conversation with a few women who just kind of ignored me because I didn’t belong.

    I hate that feeling, which is probably why I only socialize with my close friends and don’t go out much. Lame? probably, but oh well. That’s why I have my friends, my co-workers and the Internet. 🙂

    • I often wonder the same thing. And then I realize that that’s sad because there’s so much more to these women then their children. Anyone can procreate, but what else do you do that’s awesome? It’s almost as if they never had anything to be proud of beforehand, which I saw bull. I hope they’re not selling themselves short.

      I totally hear you about the awkward conversations. Oh do I dread them!

  6. Geez… only 26 and already the Perfect Mom. (Except for that little “no-meat” thing.)

    • I’m hardly perfect, Bluz! And I swear, I’m not trying to sit here and toot my own horn and say I’m great. I just hope these women realize there’s more than being catty, jealous and trite.

  7. I love this post. I’ve always had issues feeling like I don’t quite fit in with whatever female group I am around. I really had these grand illusions that once I had a baby I would suddenly have more in common with my “mommy” friends, but now I’m finding that is not true. A lot of them parent differently than me, or want to spend their time telling me how to do things. Guess what? While I do appreciate a bit of well-intended advice now and then, I’m ultimately going to do things my way because that’s the independent, stubborn person that I am 🙂 Anyway, glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel like part of the mommy clique all the time.

    • Yes. I agree with this comment 100%. I’m so stubborn and hate advice unless I ask for it. And for me to ask for it is SO hard. However, I love to talk to my dearest friends about their kids. I love to hear their stories and how they’re wonderful and beautiful. I love it so. But when I don’t know you, or your kid, and that’s all you have to talk about, I often wonder if that’s all I’m viewed as, is just a Mom.

      I’m not a part of the Mommy clique what-so-ever.

  8. Just so you know, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I meant that.

  9. My mom always told us as kids she talked to us like an adult and not like a child and that we were better behaved because of it. I think that also had a lot to do with me being more mature for my age than the other kids my age. Even in high school when I was 17-18 the gals I hung out with outside of school were 24ish! I went to the gym with them, lunch with them, shopping and this and that with them instead of the kids my age because they annoyed me. The scene you painted for us from the library makes me want to scream. Why do parents have to have such annoying kids? So, if I were you, I’d be glad I didn’t fit in either.

  10. Some day, kids like Dakota and Skylar and Luca are going to grow up and have kids and they will want to give them even more bizarre names like… Tom, Dave, and Bob.

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