Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Mommy Club

There’s a club that many mothers don’t want to admit to: a Phi Beta Placenta sorority complete with its own decoder ring (twist-tie) and secret handshake (sticky jam hand).

If you herd 72 women into a room, they will, by nature, break off into small bands of the “Have Birthed” and the “Have Not Birthed” tribes. The Have Nots desperately trying to avoid being sucked into another conversation expounding on cracked nipples or how little Johnny will be the next brain surgeon because he can correctly sort shapes in his shape sorter.

The Haves will be smugly avoiding discussions centering on how “I went through the same thing with my dog,” and avoiding the raised-eyebrow-forced-smile-head-nod when they really want to say “Yes, I put Johnny on the porch in the winter while I clean up his pee on the floor, too!”

Every once in a while a stray breaks off from the Have Nots herd to venture in to the Haves. Usually she’s recently discovered that she’s pregnant and she wants to see how the other half really lives.

A side-effect of a first-time pregnancy seems to be the belief that you actually know what you are getting into. There’s a look that crosses a pregnant woman’s face when a mother starts to expound on what it’s like to have kids. It’s the “oh sure, that may be what it was like for you because you are a bad/unprepared/unrealistic/overbearing/uncontrolled mother. It will be different for me” look. This is why the first tenant of motherhood should be Never Give Advice To a Pregnant Woman.

The Haves would like to send a message to the Have Nots:

The number one priority spot is now eternally taken. It is something that we can’t explain to the non-moms. No matter what is happening and what is going on around you, your thoughts will be on how this will affect your children or on what they are doing. It isn’t possible to just forget that they exist, or put them out of your mind for a night out.

They are there. You can hear their voices, see their smiles. Running home to let the puppy out of the kennel is not the same as running to pick up Johnny from day care. It just isn’t.

We’ve all seen the looks in the supermarket, on the airplane, at the mall, when our child is crying or screaming, or flinging himself limply on the ground. And, really, we don’t much care that your shopping experience is being ruined, or that you think we should just “spank his butt”. Chances are that as frustrating as it is for you, it is exponentially more frustrating for us. This is after all, our child.

If you want peacefulness and calm, go to a spa. Or stay at home, where you can perfectly parent your puppy. The Mommy Club is only open to the imperfect.


Carolyn Erickson said...

Phi Beta Placenta! Heather, you are hilarious.

I will tell you right now, because I'm firmly in the imperfect camp and not afraid to admit it, that I WAS that pregnant woman. Yup.

But who can blame her? She's watched every episode of SuperNanny and read enough books that she could get a degree in childhood development. She just simply cannot know that her child will push buttons she didn't even know she had! :)

Kai said...

I REALLY dislike the newly 'discovered' mommies - either cause they are pregnant or have the 'perfect' little bundle, that isn't walking and talking, judging ME on how I handle my six year old. I hate the smuggness of the 'my child will never do that' and the unconcious labels my children (and I) suddenly gain.
Mainly cause I think it would be so much better for them to accept, now , that somewhere down the road they'll be in the same, or worse position as I'm in right then.

Great post.

Linda Sherwood said...

Mommies change too when they have more than one versus just one.

I remember going somewhere with another mom. I was driving, and my child was buckled into a carseat and out of my reach.

It was lunch time, and we went through the drive through, but we were also running late, so time was an issue. With a practiced hand, I launched the wrapped burger back to my child who caught it.

The other mom was shocked for a moment. Then she laughed. She still talks about that day years later. She now is the mom of two and understands a bit more.

Linda Sherwood said...

I should note that the above story took place when I had three children but only the youngest was with me. Normally her older sisters were in the middle and able to pass things back to her. (Mini van -- three rows). I now have four kids and a pretty good backwards throw.