Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Fail at Mommy Group

I think that I am a very good and capable mother to Baby Lawns, but I am a terrible "Mommy" and by "Mommy" I mean that I am just not one of those women who can identify themselves wholly as "Mommies." Like Mommy Bloggers. Mommy is who they are. These women all dress alike, drive SUVs and aren't seen without Starbucks in hand. It's very important which preschool their baby gets into because that means a good elementary, and even better high school (private) and naturally Ivy Leagues will follow. So if you're kid doesn't go to the "right" preschool then pretty much his or her life is over and count on having a pole dancer or a car thief in eighteen years. And I can't. I just can't do it.

I joined a Mommy group because I was lonely and wanted to meet other women and I wanted Baby Lawns to play with other children because she so loves that, but these women are neurotic as hell and they get on my nerves.

Here are things I've learned in the mommy group:

1. That other people are obsessed with shoving snacks in their children's mouths. Oh my God people let your children play without stuffing them constantly. What the hell? We have a rule that there is no eating outside of the high chair. This saves lots of mess and prevents bad eating habits. These women think it's ok for children to eat all over the place and all the time. I have no idea why. One women spoons yogurt into her baby the whole time the child plays to the point where it actually prevents the baby from playing. Drives me nuts.

2. I've learned that I am apparently extremely lax in my parenting because I allow Baby Lawns to play and explore as she wishes without constantly standing over her telling her what to do and how to play. Cheese and Rice people, leave your kids alone. I don't mean that literally. I never have Baby Lawns out of my sight, but I'm saying stop interfering. Only get involved if there's danger. These women are on top of their kids in such an overbearing, stifling way. "Here honey, play with this." "Don't put blocks in the basketball hoop. That's for balls only." "Why don't you play with the kitchen set instead of the ball pit?" It's a never ending barrage of orders to the very small children and they never allow the kids to play and develop their love of exploring and learning things for themselves. It sucks. I never do that to Baby Lawns.

3. That rich white women have no qualms whatsoever about leaving their babies for weeks at a time with nannies and in one case their husbands' secretaries to go on cruises. I know it's not PC to judge other mothers, but I'm judging. We're talking about babies. Five year olds fine. Maybe. But one year olds? I can't even imagine. When you have a baby you give up certain freedoms for a little while until the children are bigger and ignoring your kids and leaving them constantly so you can go have fun will cause them to end up as drug addicts a lot faster than attending the wrong preschool will. And what would be so bad about taking your child on vacation with you? I've done it three times now and we've had wonderful trips each time. And if you don't believe me about how these kids end up, ask my sister who went to a foofy private school here in town which was filled with messed up children ignored by their busy and uninvolved parents. The valedictorian of her class, a beautiful girl with a Masters from Boston College, died of an Oxycontin overdose a couple years ago.


I get that there's a contradiction here. One one hand I said the mothers are overbearing and won't leave their kids alone and on the other hand I said they ignore them. It's a weird dynamic that's going on and yes, these two things can co-exist. You just have to see it. One mother actually complained that she has a nanny and a housekeeper and still can't find time for herself. She doesn't work either. What the hell is the matter with these people?


Inappropriate Things That Have Happened at Mommy Group


1. Vagina Exposure. This should never happen. One of the mothers wears skirts and no underwear and sits cross legged. God help her. At least we see she's kept up with her Brazilian waxes post-baby.


2. Hard-Core Gangsta Rap. We meet up at this local place where they have open play in a big safe room full of wonderful toys. It's a great place. I love it. One day we were all sitting there, kids playing when all of a sudden we realized we weren't listening to "The Wheels on the Bus" anymore. Something about Niggazz, Bitches and Hos was booming out of the stereo and Eminem was cussing about something and "Fuck this" and "Fuck that" in a duet with I think Jay-Z maybe, and good Lord we had no idea where it was coming from. It was like the cd player revolted and decided it couldn't take The Wiggles anymore. The mommies were appalled. I thought it was hilarious.


3. My child beat another child over the head with a frying pan and gave him a black eye because he tried to take a wooden pepper away from her. Bless her heart. She's all mine.


4. Baby Lawns and her cousin both like to deep throat the plastic cucumbers from the play grocery set. It is extremely obscene looking and does not bode well for their futures, but I'm sure they'll be quite popular with the boys.


What I Wish The Other Mothers Would Learn


1. That "Share" is not a command. That children this little don't understand what you're talking about when you demand they share. That its ok to be upset if someone takes something from you that you were playing with and being upset about it doesn't mean you aren't sharing. If you want your children to grow up as generous, sharing individuals you have to demonstrate sharing yourself. You have to show them that sharing with others feels good and is fun because you don't want your kids to share just because you told them to, do yo? You want them to share out of the natural kindness of their hearts. I hope so at least.


One mother snatches things from her one year old and says "Mommy's turn. SHARE!" I think this is vicious and hateful. It upset me profoundly. That's never going to teach her baby to share. Depending on the child's temperament, it's going to do one of two things. The child will either become timid and turn into a doormat or she will learn to go aggressively snatch things from other people and demand that they "share" with her.


2. That children will work out disputes on their own for the most part and that you should only intervene if things get ugly, such as when my child beat the boy over the head with the frying pan. Let them learn to solve problems on their own. They will and they'll be better socialized people for it.


Next post - the assholes at the playground. You'll love this.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I failed at Mommy group, too!! I went with my son when he was around 2. I found the EXACT same things you talked about. all of it. Stuffing food into the kid's mouths, WHY?! and the "play with this instead" drove me batty. we went twice, I never felt like I fit in, so we never went back. they were NUTS!!!

Emily said...

Thank God, you're back. How I've missed you.

katezales said...

It's been my experience that people tend to be very negative and judge the most harshly on what they're afraid abides within them. It seems like you spend a lot of time being judgmental and condemning a lot of other people's behavior. Maybe you could find more satisfaction and peace in focusing more on what you like about them, and yourself.

Head Ant said...

I have failed at not one, but four groups. The groups all started nicely, but slowly showed their true colors with intolerance and cliques. There has been some very catty behavior I have witnessed.

Out of those four groups, I can call one of those moms a true friend. One.

If have some stories if you ever want to hear them.

Anonymous said...

katezales,

Or maybe Wide Lawns is accurately (and humorously) describing what she sees. That's what has made this entire blog worth reading after all. FWIW, I've seen the same things. Oh, and it's been my experience that people who get defensive when someone points out the bad behavior of others are usually those who are share those bad behaviors. So which is it? Taking vacations without your toddlers, micromanaging their play, mommying without underwear? Although as a Dad who is a primary caregiver, I'm not going to complain about the last one.

Melissa said...

I failed at mommy group too. Like you, I found the parents to be insufferable and overbearing. I actually LIKED hanging out with my kid and let him explore his world so we didn't have a lot in common anyway. The boy is 16 now and hasn't drank or smoked anything he shouldn't have or impregnated anyone so I am calling this a parenting success.

Ann said...

I never had a structured mommy group, just play areas at the malls and the like but the moms I always ran into were the ones who would ask about your child like they were interested but were just using it as an excuse to tell you how much better their kid was.
"Is she walking yet? Little Timmy walked at eight months!" "Does she have teeth yet? Little Timmy has five!" "Does she like to paint? Little Timmy likes to pull up the Louvre website and draw the Mona Lisa!"

And katezales, as far as focusing on what she likes about them, she did mention the vagina lady had a nice wax job.

Blue Lotus said...

It's so nice to read a new post.

I've had really good experiences with playgroups here in Japan (are they actually called "Mommy groups" there? Ugh). Maybe because the expats, immigrants and internationally-minded Japanese people who join have been exposed to a few different lifestyles so are a bit more relaxed, or maybe it's just luck. I think Japanese parents are relatively sensible about most things anyway, at least in the preschool years.

Some of what you describe is just outrageous and I fear for those kids. The share nazis exist here too, and it really bugs me. Aren't kids completely unable to understand the concept of sharing until they're like 6 or 7? Gently demonstrating the basics at an early age is great, but jeez. At a play centre recently my 1 y/o son tried to take a toy off of a toddler, (because that's what babies do), who naturally got upset. His grandmother had him in tears trying to make him share. I kept saying it was OK but she wouldn't let us leave, saying he had to learn his lesson. He went on to have a tantrum and it was awful.

kerry said...

I think I'd fail at the mommy groups, too. Those women definitely sound nuts. Telling your kid every second *how* to play with a toy? Really? They'll figure out what they want to do with it and it's all fine unless they're trying to do something dangerous. Nurture their imagination!

katezales said...

Anonymous - reevaluate your definition of defensive. I didn't actually comment on any of the behaviors and their level of acceptableness or otherwise...just that maybe Lawns herself would be happier less focused on the negativity. I've read this blog for a long time and left comments running the gamut from objectively critical (like this one) to laudatory to empathetic.

I also do so publically - not anonymously, because I don't fear any backlash as I'm not attacking anyone. It does not appear that the same can be said for you.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me if I'm wrong but don't writers have to "judge" in order to record what they see? She is simply recording what she sees in a thoughtful and hilarious manner. In a sense, you could argue that all writers (or even artists) are judges.

One Mean MFA said...

I don't have children, as you know, but I live in an area with a lot Mommy groups. I have a girlfriend that you've described almost wholly. When I see women behave this way, it makes me wonder if I'm going to be viewed as a horrible mother when the time comes. I feel blessed that my mother never hovered over me and let me become the creative, imaginative human I am. If we want to have creative children, we have to LET THEM BE CREATIVE. Don't tell a child he can't put blocks in a basket ball hoop, maybe he's onto something and you've just messed up his groove.

Also, starbucks should start selling yoga pants, as this is a staple in a "Mommy's" wardrobe. #vomit

Anonymous said...

and being positive is subjective. what may seem positive to you may not seem positive to another person. if we all wrote about how lovely everything is we would never read great pieces of literature, especially ones that are hilarious.

skip 2 colorado said...

My kids are all grown up, so maybe I'm out of touch here...but I remember a lot of the same crap at mommy gatherings in the 80's, switch yoga for jazzercise, pop on a neon headband and you're there. I'm being negative and judgemental, but I mean this in the nicest, happiest, most well-balanced way: nasty people generally don't transform just because they squeezed out a baby human. If they were self-absorbed asshats prior to parenthood, chances are they're now simply self-absorbed asshats with kids.

Anonymous said...

You have certainly become the kind of Mom others hate. The Mom who is perfect, whose parenting ways are superior and thinks everyone should parent just like her.

kmerryday said...

I quit mommy group after a few months an my daughter is only ten months old. I joined to meet some other moms and for my daughter to have some socialization. It was a complete clique and we were pretty much ignored. So we stopped going, too bad that was the only one I could find.

kmerryday said...

I quit mommy group after a few months an my daughter is only ten months old. I joined to meet some other moms and for my daughter to have some socialization. It was a complete clique and we were pretty much ignored. So we stopped going, too bad that was the only one I could find.

greyspasm said...

These groups are not for the children, they are for the mothers. They want to show how great their kids are and how wonderful their parenting skills are. Spend time alone with your kid? Who benefits from that!?

Melanie said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your parenting philosophy and I'd bet my bottom dollar that Baby Lawns grows up better adjusted than any of those other kids (poor things).

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