So Moms’ Group resumed this week and I think I’ve made some interesting and perhaps poignant observations about moms and how we view each other in social situations. A professor of mine once told me when you are at a loss in terms of understanding the actions of others, to take on the role of a scientist and try to dig deeper and discover why they are doing what they are doing.
Something that should be noted: The night before Moms’ Group Baby T decided 2 am was a perfectly acceptable time to be up for the day. Moms’ Group started at 10 am thus this mama was running on about 2 hours of sleep (that’s being generous) and had been up with a very rambunctious toddler for over 8 hours (we ended up arriving at group a few minutes late). Even some of my friends noted the utter level of “unlike-my-normal-self”-ness that I was sending forth into the universe. I was tired. I am certain both my physical appearance and attitude were not extremely welcoming. I will own that. It should also be noted that I have a “bitchy resting face”–so even when I am not trying to look like a bitch and my face is relaxed, I look like I am stewing and giving dirty looks–I am working on this but wish to avoid appearing fake.
When I walked in, I luckily noted that a few of my friends from last year were there (this was discussed previously-I didn’t just leave this to chance!). These happen to be the mama friends that we’ve spent a lot of time with this summer. Aside from the three of them, there was only one other familiar face. Everyone else, including the leader was “New” (to all of us). So I settled into my protected circle of mom friends and figured we would stick together for the first little while until someone took charge and introduced the group–I figured a first day orientation or something of the like was in store.
Unfortunately, with eight children between us we were easily and quickly scattered while attending to our children and an orientation never came (more on that in bit). Once separated from the herd it was easy to see the cliques that had already formed. There were a couple loner moms, a group of J. Crew Pottery Barn moms (leader included), and a us. I felt annoyed that the leader hadn’t gone out of her way to introduce herself as soon as I got there (like she had nothing better to do but cater to me). I felt annoyed that these J. Crew moms were already standing in their little circle talking about I assume who’s house was bigger and who’s car was nicer (you know what they say about assumptions.) Why J. Crew moms? They were dressed like they stepped out of a J. Crew catalog (ie: to the nines!) and thus were stereotyped as the popular mean girls–totally unjustified assumption–I know that.
I felt awkward and because of my lack of energy (yeah, let’s blame it on that)–I found it easier to stick with my crew–my familiar peeps. Another mom–with a daughter the same age as Baby T–was new to the group (and I found out later new to town) and tried to engage me and I am 100 percent certain that I came off like a snooty b*tch. No joke. As I was shopping tonight I found myself DISGUSTED (with my behavior) because she was me 6 months ago–and I KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO BREAK INTO A MOMS’ CIRCLE. Frig. I was that mom–she probably went home thinking that I had totally disregarded her and blew her off. I know that feeling. It isn’t good. I have worked my way into the inner Moms Group sanctum and I didn’t even offer her a helping hand. I feel like a mega d-bag. And next week, I will make that known immediately!
Then I started thinking about the J. Crew Pottery Barn moms–who’s to say that they all knew each other? Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t. Perhaps they had kids around the same age, or figured since they all looked preppy and amazing they had something in common? Maybe we looked like a bunch of cliquey b*tches to them too? All I know for certain is that making new mom friends is HARD and that’s the whole point of the damn group: to make new mom friends.
My other friends who were much more welcoming to me when I first arrived at group and are what I consider to be warm people in general, concurred that they got a weird vibe from the group. They, too, had broken away from the herd to try and mingle with the new mamas but didn’t receive a warm reception. I remember that feeling too. It’s not good. I also remember that I needed to try harder to engage the other moms and own the fact that some of the responsibility rested on me. Getting to know people is not always easy, and it’s possible we may not turn out to be any of these new moms BFFs but at least we can be civil, right? So what if we don’t hang out outside of the group–EVERY MOTHER CAN ADD VALUE TO OUR LIVES IF WE LET THEM. Even if it’s simply the example of WHAT NOT TO DO. (Don’t misunderstand me–I know that there are mean moms out there–I’ve seen it first hand–but a few bad apples doesn’t need to ruin the bunch.)
Would it have been helpful if the leader gathered us all up and made us do introductions and gave us a schpeel about how the rest of the year was going to go. SURE. Complete with eye rolls (guess who hates doing that–this girl).
I have deduced this: Moms are hardwired to feel threatened by other moms. We form cliques that seem to exclude others and stereotype BECAUSE WE ARE THREATENED (and usually this feeling is unfounded). Society at large teaches us that other moms are wild, dangerous and unpredictable villains in our fairy tale lives. We wrongly assume that other moms are nasty, judgmental, competitive, vain, and out-of-touch with our reality. Perhaps this contributes to the out-of-control Mom-on-Mom Hate?
While the new Wednesday’s Moms’ Group works out the kinks I am hoping it will just turn out to be a case of mistaken identity! Who hasn’t judged a book by its cover only to be smacked across the face with the realization that they were DEAD WRONG?
What do you think? Am I giving other moms too much credit?