Friday, August 21, 2009

Mothers Who Do, and Mothers Who Don't

Lola started school yesterday, 2cd grade with all it's outfit gathering and backpack picking outing and worries and excitements. After school I picked her up ( I pick her up on my lunch break from work ) and saw a mother I knew mingling with other mothers I knew from the unfriendly, appraising glances they throw my way before they turn and resume talking. I spoke to MomX and after we said our hellos, how was summers, I asked her if Lola needed to stay for the Girl Scout meeting they were apparently having in a few moments. ' No, ' she answered. ' This isn't for the girls. It's just for the moms. ' I started to ask about this and she continued in a dismissive tone- ' Not all the moms, you know, just the leaders or like, the moms who are involved, the moms who do things. '

Oh.

One of the Other Mothers ( who I don't know at all ) made a face and turned her head and I'm hoping I translated it correctly into feeling bad for me, and not judgement of me ) I stood for a half second, picked my response, and said ' Well that was a scathing indictment. ' Another mom raised her eyebrows. MomX hurried, ' You know what I mean, I know you can't. '

Oh.

I don't, and I can't.

My chest curdled in on itself and I walked back to the car with Lola, trying to listen to her stories of the first day of school, fighting back tears. Not only were the other mothers never inclusive or friendly towards me, I now suspected they judged me as severely lacking as a mother. I am not involved enough in the ways that make me a Do. It hurts. My life, the way that I live, the way my husband and I act in our marriage and in our parenthood, just doesn't make sense to these ladies. It's fine to say Who Cares, or as Mr. Curry reassures, Fuck Em, but I have to see the Other Mothers in large, Nike'd and carpooling packs every day, navigate through the throngs of waiting parents as mother after mother that I have been acquainted with over the years does not return my smile or my hello, so that I have stopped trying, and walk silently, and stand and wait silently for Lola. I feel like I'm the Breakfast Club girl with dandruff, I feel like I'm reduced. I don't know how to stop feeling that way.

I cannot figure out what makes it this way, and although common sense tells me it is futile and self destructive to do so, I can't help myself. ' It's jealousy' would be a nice laurel to rest on, but it doesn't make sense, really. I'm not stunningly beautiful or model thin, I have no money and my life swings on a broken pendulum of problems and disasters that Mr. Curry and I navigate, hands held, breath held, children in gunny sacks at our side. I just do things differently than them. Can it be that simple? I can pick and peel the onion...I'm younger than them, but not enough to matter. Mr. Curry and I do most things together. He was the only dad within miles at Lola's first Girl Scout gathering. The Other Mothers were all there in their clumps of three and four, ignoring me as usual. I don't see the other dads around but once in a blue moon. The Other Mothers spend their weekends with their kids, while from what I can gather eavesdropping and from Lola's recountings, the dads are working, golfing, or ' I don't know where X's dad is Mom, I've only seen him at her house once and he didn't talk at all and I think X is sad because her Dad is not around. ' I'm not making this up. This is straight from Lola's mouth with no prompting from me, about 2 weeks ago. And it's not the first time I've heard this. So far Lola on her own has noticed or mentioned the almost complete lack of Dad involvement in three of her friend's lives.

I think that because I'm not sewing Lola's badges correctly and finding time to volunteer as a Head Mother and because we are poor? I am seen as an outsider and worse, as a bad mother. But I'm not. I could list the things I do, the ways we are involved, and what I think about the kind of non-discipline and guidance and REAL involvement that I see going on around town all the time, but damnit I won't. You guys read my words, see my pictures, you guys love me in your distant internety way, and I don't have to explain myself to you. Because my house is messy and filled with art and animals and books everywhere and my husband and I slap each other's asses in public and I cosleep and long-nurse and organic and FUCK. I am an alien around here. I probably answered my own question.

Lola has playdates with the children of these Other Mothers, and it's horrible for me. I'm getting social anxiety. My stomach hurts when I pick her up and go to the door and the Other Mother strains a smile and hurries Lola out the door not even making eye contact with me. It's just shitty.

Mr. Curry says ' hold your head up ' and he's right. I have to figure out how to move past this sadness and anger. I just don't know how to get there yet.
Steph said...

You are happier than they are and they know it. Granted, you've had a heart-breaking few months, but you are true and free in ways they may not know how to be. You've tapped the source, but they just live their lives on the surface.

the watercats said...

"my house is messy and filled with art and animals and books everywhere and my husband and I slap each other's asses in public and I cosleep and long-nurse and organic and FUCK"

This is why they are jealous....

KC said...

I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about these other mothers. From what it sounds like, they are bored with their sad lives and jealous of the love and togetherness your family shares. I live in SD as well and I know how some women who think they are "entitled" can be. As Mr. Curry says: "Fuck 'em!" :-)

Petunia Face said...

What would you tell Lola if other girls were treating her this way? I mean, you know the answer. Be proud of yourself. Smile at them anyway. Smile at yourself. Smile at your daughter and husband, your beautiful messy family. You are a fabulous mother, wife, writer. And if it makes any difference at all, I'm smiling at you.

Veronica, aka "Suzy Tofu" said...

Fuck 'em. Seriously, if they're that vile, then their dislike of you should be considered a compliment.

rachel said...

Isn't it amazing how the snottiness of elementary school perpetuates itself right into adulthood? Why are some women so intent on ripping each other apart, either silently, overtly, or whatever those non-slip-slips are, the in-between?

Honestly, I think it's awesome that you can pick Lola up from school. Also? I bet the other moms that Can't are a hell of a lot nicer. They just aren't around to demonstrate it.

It really sucks. I'm so sorry.

Elle Bee... said...

Cliques never end, hey?

I agree with Mr. Curry. Fuck 'em. I know it's hard when you feel left out and judged, but you know, as does everyone else who knows you, that you are a fabulous mother. Lola is lucky to have you. That is the most important thing.

Shannon said...

but YOU KNOW Maggie, that it is not so simple- that none of them and their judging eyes really for a minute are thinking that way about you- and when they do- in their moments of shallow weakness - it is only the meanness that seeps out of their own internal wounds.

Humanity- you know how complex it is, how we all hurt, how we all feel inferior, how we all hurt others even when we don't mean too.

I can tell you how great you are, but you know that too- you said it in your own post.

The real challenge we, or I anyway, face is to remember that they- the mean mommies- all have their pain too, and need your understanding as much you wish you had theirs.

love to you, sorry if this sounds patronizing or lecturely, but it comes from the place that wants to hug you and remind you how awesome you are (and model thin, lol)

Lora said...

Other moms don't like me either.

Well, online they do. That has to count for something.

And my friends that were friends before we were moms seem to like me alright.

But when I try to include myself with the stupid effing playgroups in the neighborhood or with the moms at swimclass or have some sort of camaraderie with another mom at the grocery I get snubbed.

"Sorry if my ass didn't get huge and I don't wear sweatpants and giant diamond rings and I don't drive a minivan and I have a life outside of being a mother", I want to say to them.

"Sorry I'm prettier than you.

Sorry your kid is a snot nosed brat.

Sorry you have no self image outside of being a mother and the only thing that gives you any kind of worth is going to grow up and leave you someday.

Sorry I saw your husband making out at the bar with the neighbor down the street who is ten times hotter than you ever hope to be."

And so on and so on.

Women who have a life outside of the wife/mother role tend to be outcasts, I've found.

I've been casted out of a group that I never wanted to be a part of and it somehow hurts

I tell myself it's because the other moms are jealous.

Jessica said...

I wish I had better advice. This is just one horrible, sad, sucky situation. I can't stand women or maybe I should just say people like the ones you are describing. Actually, they just confuse me.

Anyway, while I have no children, I can relate somewhat. As long as I can remember, I've been different. I was lucky though. I met a group of friends way back in high school just as crazy as me. We are all loud, passionate, outspoken, and independent women who believe in far more than money. Something that's not too common in these parts at all.

My point is, somewhere there is someone just like you. Or at least close enough that you can be friends. Don't shy away from giving people a chance. They may surprise you and if you can find one person to lean, it'll help a ton.

I know when I'm talked about or criticized, all I have to do is pick up the phone and they'll lift my spirits right back up.

In the mean time, your husband is right. Keep your chin up. You're already better than them just by being true to yourself. :)

Maggie May said...

It really does suck. It's stressing me out so much, to the point I was dreading back to school. Like I'm the kid!

Lora that's what Mr. Curry said. He said I have too much life outside my kids for the Other Mothers.

Steph thanks for that awesome compliment 'tapped the source'. That's a great thing to say to someone!

Watercats I really truly don't know if it's jealousy. I don't have the things people, women, usually get jealous of. Money, perfect looks, perfect clothes, etc.

KC hello fellow SD girl!

Petunia I know I know! ps your posts have been awesome lately.

Suzy Tofu so glad you are around now.

Rachel I think it's awesome too. I use my lunch break and dash back with her little self in tow, and Mr. Curry swings by my work and picks her up on his way home.

Ella I'm trying.

Shannon I usually fee/view things that way. Other poeple's pain...etc .. it just doesn't feel that way to me..it feels like a shallow thoughtless lashing out. Not like they are h urting..more like they don't pay attention to their actions and don't care the effects.

Jessica I'll call my friends. I wish they had kids at school here!

Glimmer said...

I was an outsider during my son's preschool years too, very much so. The mothers of his friends would talk to me now and then, but turn away when their "real" friends came up. I worked FT outside the home and that was alot of it, I did not have the time to volunteer and be around and get into the cliques. I tried when I was working PT his last year, but it was really too late then.

Real school was different because I had more time. Because of my experience, I tried to make sure to be inclusive, to bring into the circles the women standing outside and looking lonely. Because of my experience I can never allow that to happen again. The funny thing is I am not shy. But in this situation, the one you described, I felt that way. And it was a very bad feeling.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Maggie,
It IS just shitty. People judge and often harshly. It's a sad fact of life.

And, I'm sorry, but I really do bet that a lot of it is jealousy.

You are loved,

SB

nfmgirl said...

If I was there with you, we could walk in there together, heads high, look each other in the eye, and proudly and confidently say, "Fuck 'em!"

""my house is messy and filled with art and animals and books everywhere and my husband and I slap each other's asses in public..." You just described my life.

And don't knock the dandruff girl (who I think of as the "bag lady" from Breakfast Club! She is the character I always identified with (minus the dandruff), and even recently did a blog post about identifying which Breakfast Club character you were. The crazy little neurotic bag lady was my girl-- she didn't care what anyone thought!

Mwa said...

Oh, mean girls. Will they never go away? Mean girls at school, now mean girls at the college gates.

When I take my son to school, there's a whole gaggle of mothers standing there and a couple of times a week they all go to a coffee shop together. Not once in nearly three years have they asked me to come. And not because I'm not friendly. And in the PTA I was tolerated, but then I found out weeks after the start that they all go out to the pub together afterwards and hadn't asked me. I promise I'm not smelly or anything.

I think in a way they're scared of people who don't do things "traditionally" or who try to make something more out of life than the bare minimum.

These days, I just try to remember that really, I wouldn't want to be their friend anyway, because I bet ALL they can talk about is doing chores and the kids. Never ideas or books or longings or anything else that also matters, to me.

It hurts like fuck, though, right?

Maggie May said...

now that makes me feel better.

thank youuu

Ms. Moon said...

You know, I always felt the same way when my kids were in school. To top it all off, I hated all that bullshit organization stuff that everyone got guilted into. But as I grew older, I just chose to see myself as a bit more eccentric than the other mothers. A different kind of mama and you know what? They started looking at me with different eyes. They started currying my advice and so forth. Because I WAS different. I think they began to see it as charming or some craziness like that.
I NEVER wanted to be like those other mothers and neither do you. And your children are so glad you are not. I am sure the other kids tell your kids, "Man, I wish my mother was as cool as yours."
I'm sure of it.

krista said...

i know that it's incredibly easy for me to sit here on the other side of the screen and tell you that it doesn't matter what they think. but i know i would be just as bruised.
think of it this way:
what would you tell me if this was my post?
also, you most definitely don't want to be a part of that group. these are not women you want to hang around with. they'll suck your soul dry.
whatever their agenda...whether it be unconscious or just plain viscous assholery, part of your job as a mother is to protect your family from such nonsense.
stand on the sidelines, proud you're not an asshole.

Beth said...

What you have to ask yourself is this: "Do I really want to belong to or be acknowledged by a group of women who treat people like this?"
I've been snubbed by the rich and snotty and I don't give a rip. It's their loss - and lack - not mine.

anna said...

social anxiety sucks. i really truly know how much it sucks, but you can't be anything but who you are. People who are real tend to make those who aren't uncomfortable because you unnerve them. any who would you rather be? a mum in track pants and diamonds (that was funny :-)) or the one and only indomitable maggie? no contest really

modaspia said...

i think i need to come down to SD and kick some mean girl butt.

PurestGreen said...

Fucking bitches! Me thinks it is likely that they and their husbands sleep in different beds. I think of Oscar Wilde and I spurn these pleasure-less idiots. What dolts.

adrienne said...

it sucks, yes.

though i think there is a lot more to it; we are social animals and perhaps in lots of ways these moms aren't 'your' people, but they ARE the women raising the children lola is spending her days with, learning with, learning FROM.

it DOES matter that you are outside and of course it hurts really deeply and i'd never say fuck them.

i'd say fuck their attitudes and the human habit people of scapegoating folks who shine; weirdos, renegades(!).

i'd say it sucks that being someone whose creative power fuels evolution also means being someone who inspires the mainstream to shroud themselves in garlic and thrust crosses in your face.

it's painful...heart-breaking, alienating, and feeds all kinds of self-doubt. if you find a silver bullet which makes it hurt less, please let me know dear maggie may.

in the meantime, a kiss on each hand which types beauty for us all and holds gently the hand of the next generation.

Sam said...

OMG! It soounds savage!! You know what? When I first arrived at the place I work at now - 8 years ago - I was shunned and people were hostile and snooty and bitchy and generally ghastly - and it got worse!! I couldn't understand it - what was I doing wrong? Over the years however, that original pod of 7 nasty people eventually left one by one - and the place - I wouldn't recognize it - it is plain sailing now that they have gone! Phew!! I think these women at your daughter's school are just bitchy and into status and that's just the way it is - you can't change 'em they are born that way! You will eiter have to go to another school or find an ally or put up with it unfortunately. They are not nice people and that's that - they have been like this since the moment they were born. I feel a great deal of sympathy for you! Good luck!

Tiffany said...

Look back at your Aug. 10th post and then hold your head up like Mr. Curry says. That picture shows how very much you are loved and how proud she is of you.
You are real, authentic, genuine. And it is they who cry at night from sadness of absent husbands and fathers and real down to earth love.
You may be poor, but you are the richest woman on earth Maggie.

Just.Kate said...

Lord. It's so funny/strange: so many moms commenting. and from what I can read most are very very different from one another. It simply makes me wonder- how many feel snubbed the same time they are seen as the snubber?

P.S. I'm a co-sleeper, long nurser, organic, poor, well educated single mom. I stick out, too, and mostly can't fit with anyone.

Hmph. Believe it or not, though, this post has given me hope. :)

Rachael said...

While it's entirely probably they are just being bitches, maybe they are just operating from their own insecurities, prejudices, fear? Aren't mean girls and bullies really just hurting lest they be hurt? Doesn't make it right, but...
kill 'em with kindness, I say. And, hold your head high while you're at it.

Glimmer said...

How about this: Beeline for their husbands every chance you get and flirt up a storm. Then they gon wanna be yo fran. The other southerners will recognize this devious tactic. HA HA HA HA!

HeureuseLesFleur said...

Well it seems like the other kids accept your daughter and things are okay there.

Step nailed it completely!

I am sure they are hearing all about how cool you and your DH are and they are totally jealous. If a husband is too busy for the kids, you know the wives aren't getting any either. lol Plus your children are happy, I see it in the photos, and that is a lot for them to be jealous of and it totally confused them.

Can you imagine the looks I get when I say I am a home-schooler, a liberal one at that, nobody likes me or accepts me in their little closed net society. I am just different and that is something to be proud of. I just turned 40 and it has taken me awhile, but I embrace that I am not like everyone else. There are other mothers who feel this too, you just need to look for the others who are left out too.
If you lived around here, we would have fun indeed!

Step nailed it completely!

They just need to get laid, that's all.

magnoliaamber said...

I am very sure they cannot write a wonderful blog like you and they do not have a sense or art and appreciate poem like you. They can pretend but they are not honest. Lola was right, the daughters must be upset for their Dads are not interacting a lot with them. You have Mr. Curry.

I used to be underestimated like that. I saw my mum being treated exactly like what you have just experienced. We were poor and we know that, but we don't care because my mum send me to school to be educated, and to mingle with those mothers is not part of her job. She taught me to not care at all. (It was hard but I tried my best to do that, though...)

Ten years later we heard some rumors those mothers are trapped with Credit Card bills, and their children (my 'friend')did not turn up to be somebody ordinary at all.

I am sure Lola would make you proud.

Cheer up, Maggie!
xoxo

copiaverborum said...

Ironically, I'm a 2nd grade teacher. I see it all. And, from an outsiders perspective. I see the "workout" moms and I see the "working" moms and I see the moms who are "shunned," and I just don't get it. It's SO interesting to watch.

Don't get down on yourself. You are unique and special and we all see how wonderful you are. Others see it too.

The parent/school dynamic is fucked up. Hang in there. ;)

~carpeviam

Elizabeth said...

I'm with Ms. Moon. And Mr. Curry. Hold your head up.

Oh, and perhaps they're just a teeny, tiny bit intimidated by you? Because you ARE beautiful and incredibly smart and have a sex life, etc. etc.

My other thought is to move. HA!

Dingo said...

You don't want to be an Other Mother. I have no doubt that you are a Better Mother.

Lola said...

Oh, honey, listen to me when I say that YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE PART OF THE INSANITY! I know these bitches. I've never met "your bitches," of course, but they're exactly the same as the pack of wolves that roam the halls of all the schools.

I have friends that drive themselves crazy to be part of the pack, and guess what they find out once they're in: The pack is a miserable bunch of posers. Don't ever let them make you feel bad, because you truly are better than them in every way!

Maggie May said...

Damn you guys are making me laugh out loud (to the interest of my family n the living room) and get teary eyed. I feel like I've been to the movies!

culdesacchronicles said...

I wish I could put my arms around you. There are few hurts worse than being on the outside. One would hope that this particular brand of cruelty would end after school, but some people never grow up. I don't think I've ever read a post that made me angrier than this one. I'm so sorry. I have no advice except to nurture yourself and listen to those who love you, and maybe Mr. Curry's advice is the best after all.

mames said...

this is why my husband is my best friend and i think i will home school my kids. fuck those moms.....it's too bad as they probably never do get fucked from those absent husbands.

i hate the thought of you standing alone and quiet...how women reduce each other to nothingness. and i know exactly what you speak of, surrounded as i am by southern california's culture of fake.

live your life loudly, maggie. that is the only way to do it. and do not apologize. fuck em.

Maggie May said...

thank you guys, thank you. it IS the 'standing alone and quiet' part that is SO hard. i have to work on how to move past it.

Paula said...

What a great place to vent. I would have given any thing to have had this medium in high school, I would have sounded just like that.

We live in a land completely foreign to us, Texas. We watch Bill Maher and CNN, voted for Obabam, drink dark beer. Absolute heathens, we are. And, all behind closed doors. My husband and I keep the curtains pulled, do what we do, attend ALL functions together, soccer practices, games, etc. And I just thank God we have each other to stand awkwardly next to.
In other words... I feel ya and I guess I share your husband's sentiment... Fuck em.

Taymar said...

Oh, sweetie pie! That sucks! You are such the awesome mama, these women are missing out on the good stuff. I feel sorry for them that they lead such sad, false lives that they feel threatened by somebody who lives in truth. Anyway, fuck the girl scouts. Tell Lola she can be in the Grody Scouts with Caspian and Michelangelo and Lily. You can be a Grody Scout camp leader with me. I love you to death, and I will never judge you. Anyway, that's the first rule of Grody Scouts, no judging, no excluding, no stupid cookie selling. (Michelangelo made up the Grody Scouts when we were river rafting and they discovered a giant, incredibly foul mud pit full of green gunk that literally smelled like shit. They were covered in it and throwing it on each other, and afterwards Michelangelo proudly exclaimed that they were Grody Scouts. I love it! I've made up all kinds of Grody Scout tasks and badges, and it's awesome!)

Bee said...

I read an interview with Kate Winslet and she talked about the school yard mothers assessing her and judging her -- and probably gossiping about her, too. With everything that Kate is and has, it still hurts her a bit -- being shut-out like that. And she is Kate Winslet!!

And you are Maggie May.

It's the dark side of being a woman, I guess. Maybe even worse when we have kids because we are always so sensitive about defending our own choices (if only to ourselves). Does it help to realize that they are probably vulnerable, too? You have your own people, MM. But I know it's hard to walk that gauntlet.

la fille vanille said...

Be proud that you are different - and have chosen a path less traveled (by them moms at Lola Moon's school)... Your post touched me deeply, women can be so hard on one another... Be strong...

E. said...

Thanks for this honest post. Funny how childhood insecurities raise their ugly heads and how grown women can act like junior highers.

mieletcannelle said...

This was the way they treated my mom. My mother always laughed about our disfunctions, was always proud of the strengths they gave our family - periodically absent fathers, sick or mentally ill children , poverty - she took them all in stride and made no point of hiding them. It took more time and effort to hide them than to actually just deal with them. Now, as we reach some kind of strange homeostasis of normality decades later, it is those mothers who have kids that have always been sick, husbands that are newly absent, and they never knew. And they never knew, and still don't, how to handle it. And now, my mother is there, with time, to help them. She's a bigger woman than I, I would have laughed in their faces.. But the point is that we, her children, are happier and better adjusted for her not being included. You are such a lovely mom, you remind me of my mother, of such strength, such class and love and sex and wonder - *hug*

Simply Mel said...

"Because my house is messy and filled with art and animals and books everywhere and my husband and I slap each other's asses in public and I cosleep and long-nurse and organic and FUCK." We share the same worlds...and believe me, I am never acknowledged on the playground or invited to join playdates. My husband and I are always together and with our little crumb, and all the other mothers look at me with utter discuss, but really I believe they are jealous that my husband wants to be with me and that he jumps up and down on the playground or rolls in the sand with our crumb, he doesn't care about being part of the 'golf chuckle club' - he is an artist, he is a lover, he is my Renaissance man, and my baby's daddy! We are a team, and the other mothers don't have their team mate.

I am never asked to join the other mothers and their kids after music class or dance because I don't wear the right clothes, share the same nanny (or even have a nanny for that matter), or gather forces on how to get my crumb into the best preschool. I don't care! I give her love, I breastfeed her to sleep (still at 18 months old), she sleeps with us, she LOVES us. I get the demeaning look of "you are spoiling her and she will be an awful child" because she doesn't sleep in a crib. But as my husband says, "fuck 'em" - we are in love, they are in denial. I know this is true, and I believe the way I choose to raise my crumb is right for us, but still, it hurts to be shunned and made to feel like a poverty-strickened mother because I don't wear Juicy and Uggs and neither does my child. Or because I have no money for a babysitter or nanny, and therefore, I am not able to leave her on a whim to go to cooking parties, book clubs, pedicures, etc. And then they look at me cross because I never joined a mommy's club! And the main reason being, I know they are clubs filled with endless chatter of backstabbing and gossip. I'm not in high school any longer. And there is a huge world outside of your circle, you mean mothers, that matters. Important things to worry about. I tell myself this, but still, it hurts to be 'left out of the circle' - a circle I really do not even want to be a part of, yet I ask, "why does there even have to be a circle"? I am sad because I know my crumb will have to face this one day soon. It's a cruel world, but I hope I can overcome it and show her that it's okay to be brave and just enjoy life and meet those ugly glances and snide remarks with a big "Fuck 'em"!

Laura said...

Wow that is terrible that they treat you that way. Its sad and pathetic and definitely not setting a good example for their children. You should be glad that you aren't readily accepted into their "group". That would mean you were like them, petty and jealous.

My child is almost here, and we are no where near going to school yet or having to deal with other "mothers", but I can relate to some of this. My husband and I are always together. We really enjoy each other's company and experiencing life as a team. This can make other woman very judgemental and jealous. But really all they want is more time with their partners and it makes them uneasy to see you can get what they cannot.

anymommy said...

Maggie, you know I adore you and I think you are fabulous. If we had a playdate or a coffee date or any kind of date, well, I wouldn't be able to ask you enough questions and hear enough about you. So many people have said the obvious, screw them, you're awesome, mean people aren't worth it and it's true. These moms sound horrid and if they are intentionally ignoring you I hate them and you don't need them.

May I offer a slightly different view? Because I'm one of those moms (roll eyes here), not mean, I hope, but on the board of our preschool, very involved. And through that involvement I've made some really close friends, (we're not rich or perfectly made up or anything like that). I try really hard to remember what it was like when I didn't have them, but sometimes, I admit, I'm in a hurry, or three of my four kids are screaming and I need to talk to one of them about something, or I haven't seen them in a week and I'm engaged in telling a story. My point is, sometimes I wonder if I don't come across to others this way? Like we are exclusive or a clique? In reality, the reason I love these women is that they are SO open, so loving, so kind, but I honestly don't know if that's how it always seems.

Well, anyway, I have been on the outside and it sucks. No one should ever fail to smile at someone, we all need all the smiles we can get, I think.

All This Trouble... said...

What I can't figure out is if we all seem to feel misfit, how do those Other Mothers gang up on us? How is it that none of us can seem to find a kindred spirit? I feel out of place, too. I did with my oldest and now again with S in Pre-K. And I'm the school nurse for godssakes! Now that makes me feel weird. Like it makes them hate me.

katiecrackernuts said...

So much I could say, but it won't change how YOU feel around these women.
First, Lola can sew her own badges on. She is a Girl Guide. I am a leader and don't care if the badges are pinned on and when the kids moan that their mums don't do it for them, I tell them to do it themselves. They usually do in big brave, hope-that-holds stitches.
Secondly, I am 35. My eldest is 22. I am a step-parent. Lesbian. Do I win in the I don't fit in stakes? I did go to a Parent and Citizen meeting, actually, I've been to many, but this one a doctor's wife, no less, said loudly, behind her hand: "there's that woman that the editor of the paper left her husband for". Newsflash honey, everyone knows. It's a small town. To my great pride, two women I worked with who also had children at the school got up and walked over to where I was sitting and sat either side of me. It was a small meeting leaving very few people sitting on one side of the room. I was also apologised to by the gushing and very humiliated principal. Ha. Those two women will never ever truly know how important that moment was for me. Hot tears well as I write. It was more than 10 years ago.
Thirdly, your husband - the man you chose above all else is right. Fuck 'em.

Amanda said...

Yikes. Motherhood is the single most driving factor in forcing me to mingle with other women.

That probably makes me sound like a snob.

I'm not. I just like to avoid situations like that if at all possible...

sarasophia said...

They are faint shadows, while you are the light they cannot grasp.

They are hollow, Maggie.

You know it.

HOLLOW.

and you.
are.
full.

iloveyouinmydistantinternetyway,
sarasophia

mel carroll said...

This post struck a nerve with me - I could babble for ever. I am a misfit mom and a former serial volunteer who has begun to believe my hubby's creed that friends are overrated! Finding good people to know is so hard. I began my mommy journey wide eyed and clueless, but now I'm more jaded, and a little bitchy on the inside. I tend to ID and dismiss the stupid, the shallow, the mean, the overly needy and the just plain crazies, and I know that makes me mean now too, but it's about survival these days, life is too short. And smart, real, interesting moms like you are RARE. The ones who shun you, I recognize them, they are usually deeply unhappy and unfulfilled and they get most of their joy from hateful gossip. Many end up divorced, cheating or cheated upon, and many of their kids are entitled, sneaky little snots. I decided lonely with a few good and decent friends who adore their children and their mates was the only road for me. And my kids have grown beyond elementary school and I have learned the power of saying no and sticking to it. It is a little lonelier now, but it is the road I have to travel. And your hubby is right too. Thank goodness for the wisdom of the husbands. Hope you find your people IRL, and thank goodness for the internet.

starrlife said...

Well, what's there left to be said! You rock and roll Maggie- don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I'd be your friend/mom/hanger outer anyday! I too am an outsider/ignored one and I think it's mostly because I work full time and can't bake and all of that stuff. I hate holidays and cute little decorations, I hate the theme days, I never make cupcakes for the class and I don't volunteer for any committees!
People are mostly sheep looking for a shepherd I've found and in groups lose all of their awareness of inclusion and simple good manners! Hugs....
I've truly enjoyed this discussion and all of the comments- what a range of responses.

San Diego Momma said...

I relate very much. I spend a lot of my time "on the outside" it seems.

I just moved to the North County area of San Diego and my daughter started kindergarten last week and already I feel out of the mold.

Stay how you are. You know yourself. That kind of conviction and self actualization scares people. (The wrong kinda people.)

Zip n Tizzy said...

This is the hardest part of going back to school for me... that we have to go back to school, with our kids, and relive it.

Jenn said...

But my dear it is jealousy. They can not understand how they have let themselves become who they are now because in the past they probably used to be like you - a feeling, emotional person who takes it all in, good or bad - and now that they have joined the Motherhood (I swear its a Union and I know a few who belong to it myself) they can not fathom how someone is not "perfect", how someone can do whatever they want outside of the herd. These women might feel trapped in their lives but can not seem to escape. They are jealous because you do not compromise yourself (or the self of Mr Curry) just to raise your beautiful children. And from all I've read here those kids are better cared for, more loved and happier than half of the kids who are given "everything" they could ever want. Yours already have it, and they know it and they will turn into loving and amazing adults because of that!

Mr Curry is right, fuck em!

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

It's so tough, I know. I go through it myself, because I'm not like them. But I don't want to be like them, never have, never will. And although a part of me definitely wishes I could be accepted (whatever that really means), a bigger part of me is very proud of who I am, and I wouldn't change it for anything.
And neither should you.
You just have to ignore the sheep, because that's what they are. Anyone who stands out, who is different, doesn't fit in, and if that's how they judge their friends, it's their loss.

Erika C. said...

I can relate to what you say here. I just found your blog because it was listed on Lydia's Writequake blog and I am glad I found you.

I have been making it my focus this fall to try to reach out to the suburban moms because, though it is challenging, I feel it is important enough to create community where I live.

So far I have lived for three years in this community after several moves and have sought my community and my tribe elsewhere because it is so much easier to connect with people who share my interests and creative pursuits. But my kids go to school with kids in this community every day so I am determined to make the effort and put aside my personal judgments. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. And what I forget is that now I am a suburban mom too. I like to conveniently forget that I live here too.

You are an inspiration and I know you will find your way without having to give up in any way on who you are. That is my goal as well.

Lacey said...

Listen to Mr. Curry. He knows what he's talking about.

julochka said...

i'm a little behind in my blog reading...but i think this is a really important post.

it outlines so well the cultural divides that have become more prevalent in the US in the past decade. those gangs of stay-at-home moms have to exclude someone like you, who fairly exudes LIFE, real life (i can't tell this from just the internety side, but am certain it's even more marked in person), because you remind them of their lack of life. the absent husbands says it all. and why do you suppose they're absent? because wifey won't work and they have to work their asses off to pay for the minivans and all the trappings of the picture they want to present. and probably because those women are such raving bitches that their husbands don't want to spend any time with them.

but i can imagine that it hurts. it does hurt to be rejected and not feel part of things, we're flock animals and we want to belong. i don't really know what to say to that except that they really aren't worth it.

Reyna said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm in college now, and I think I just recently realized that my mom went through and is still going through this to a certain extent. But if her life is proof, then it does get better. Promise. Organic co-ops and la leche league certainly help :)

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