Yes, I said it! And before a bunch of mommy groups come banging on my virtual door with pitchforks and torches… in the words of my three-year-old, “CALM YOURSELF!!!” Give me a moment and I will fully explain myself and why I am cautious when it comes to mommy groups.
I consider them to be a gateway to isolation and there is a very good reason for that. I completely understand that these gatherings can be wonderfully supportive for navigating the emotions that come with being a new mom. With all the planned activities to the petting zoo, library, mommy ‘n’ me yoga… it’s nice to feel that you are part of a group that understands how you feel. However, sometimes misery loves company.
It is so easy to get caught up in the tornado of being around other frustrated, overtired and stressed mothers that before you know it you’ve been sucked into the vortex of miserable moms.
Trust me, I tried the mommy group route and while it may work for others, I can with all certainty tell you that I will NEVER join another one again!! I was under the misguided impression that when you became a mom you were required to become a card carrying mommy group member. Whenever I met another mommy without fail at some point in the conversation I would be asked which mommy groups I belonged to and depending on my answer I would receive either a knowing smile or side eye. I was unaware that there were competing mommy groups! Remember the movie West Side Story? Either you were a Jet or a Shark, and God help you if you met a member of a rival gang. Yeah, now just add strollers and baby carriers to that and you have rival mommy groups.
After a couple of trips to the petting zoo and Gymboree with people who I had nothing in common with other than the fact that we were all parents, I took a step back and reassessed. Who made the rule that the moment you have children that your group of friends could only be other mothers? Morning routines, school drop off, pick up, extracurricular activities…blah, blah, fucking blah!! All of those are required of you as a mother. but you don’t have to add to the monotony by only hanging with people that have a juice box in their purse.
So, that brings me back to my point: Don’t have “mom” friends. Just have friends.
Period. If you have worked to surround yourself with positive, supportive, and loving people it should be these qualities and not the fact that they have children that provide you support. I have friends that are in all stages of their lives. I have friends that are married, some are divorced, some are single, some have kids …you get my point.
I surround myself with people that are in different phases of their lives because these friendships nourish all the parts of me.
I recently went out to dinner with a group of girlfriends and at one moment looked around the table taking in the women in my life. One was in her early twenties and recently divorced, one in her thirties and in a successful long term relationship, and another in her forties who casually dates and has a great career. What did I have in common with this group of women? We all enjoy great conversation, a nice cocktail, and good company. Quite simply, the women that I have surrounded myself love life. We sat in that restaurant and laughed our asses off discussing everything from shoes to sex. By the time we all said goodnight my face was sore was from laughing so hard.
These friendships feed my soul. They make me a better woman, wife, and mother because I am allowed to be myself. I don’t have to pretend something that I am not and quite honestly wouldn’t like myself if I did.
Plus, I don’t carry juice boxes in my purse!