The moment I gave birth, my confidence about who I was faltered; everything seemed scary and lonely. I didn’t have friends with kids and I needed some. I needed women who could assure me that someday nursing would get easier, my c-section scar would stop itching, and I would stop crying—because WOW the CRYING! I needed a mommy group! I set out to find some mama friends and discovered several women from my prenatal yoga class had started a mom group. We’d gotten along well in class so I finagled myself an invite, thinking they hadn’t known how to contact me because I’d forgotten about the class ‘contact’ list.
When I finally went to a mommy group meet-up, OMG, was it awkward! I had nothing to say to these moms. They all acted perfectly “together.” Their babies wore spotless outfits, cloth diapers, and slept all night. They had perfect births, no feeding issues, and made homemade baby food. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but there I was, a week past my PPD and emergency c-section, pockets filled with mini snickers, with a baby who never slept! She was also sporting a disposable diaper and stained hand-me-downs. We were like their evil twins! Still, I tried to connect, but everything I said was met with dirty looks or blatant judgment. I left, assuming I’d never hear from them again.
Surprisingly, I was put on the group’s email chain. Had I just been paranoid? Was the first time not that bad? Maybe they thought my honesty about how parenting was kicking my butt was “refreshing”! So I went to a few more outings and just did “me.” Gradually, the emails stopped, I figured due to schedules changing. Despite not really connecting with them, they were the only mom group I had and I was bummed to lose it. Then, one morning, my daughter and I were at the park when “they” showed up. Yes, ALL of them. Because THEY ALL STILL MET. Without me. Ouch.
To describe that day as uncomfortable is an understatement. The “Perfect-Mommy Mafia” arrived, ignored me, threw homemade snacks out like confetti, and let their crazy-clean children overtake the playground, forcing me and my kid into the play structure that looked like a jail. That’s right. We were sent to jail. It was the game of Momopoly and I lost. Eventually, I heard the mommy group hadn’t liked me or my “attitude towards parenting.” I still don’t know what that means, but whatever. I have a great mom group now that accepts all my imperfections, store-bought snacks, and occasional meltdowns. I’ve learned I don’t need friends who expect me to change to fit in, nor do I want my daughter getting that message. More importantly, I never want to feel bad about doing my best. Because that’s all we can do, right? Parenting can be hard and isolating enough. Competing over who’s doing it best is a game I’d rather not play.