By the time I had my son, I was an expert regarding what being a mother would entail. I’d glow while pregnant, women in the grocery store would unexpectedly grip and bless my stomach, and, once my baby was out and about in this world, I’d have a tribe of neighbors and mom friends.
Years of reading fiction had taught me that we’d leave our back door unlocked making it easier for friends to pop in and out of it, that when my husband and I were sick, kind neighbors would swoop in to entertain our son while we slept and leave delicious casseroles in the freezer for when we felt like eating, and that I’d probably join a knitting or mom-gambling club while gracefully balancing my career, breastfeeding, and tending to gorgeous flowers in the yard.
I could picture myself on a Wednesday, making coffee after dinner while loading wine glasses into the dishwasher with the sound of mom-chatter in the background, gazing from my kitchen window at a gaggle of kids playing in the backyard.
And then, there’s what actually happened.
While pregnant, at the age of 40 with an incompetent cervix, I was restricted to bed rest at 26 weeks, not allowed to fly and unable to attend my baby shower in Colorado. I quit working when my little boy was about four days old. My backyard is tiny, and I can’t see it from my kitchen window.
There’s also the fact that a lot of my neighbors are assholes.
Once I untangled myself from my job and realized that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, there was a hot July morning when I strapped my two-week-old son into his Baby Bjorn carrier, went outside, and walked. “Hello, Community!” I thought. “I’m ready to join your mommy clique now!” I walked with my baby and said hello to neighbors who didn’t reply and to others who did. I went to the small playground, and to the larger one, searching for my neighborhood mom village.
I never really found it, at least not in my neighborhood.
Today, I am part of the village that walks our kids to the bus stop each morning, waits with them, applies sunscreen at the last minute, wipes cream cheese from their lips, and reminds them to pick up their discarded backpacks once the bus arrives. But a part of the whole Mommy Clique thing? NotSoMuch.
Turns out, the Bus Stop Mommy Clique starts way before kindergarten. While they were chauffeuring their kids to the co-op preschool a few days a week, the short bus was coming to gather my little boy for seven hours a day of Preschool Autism Classroom (PAC) and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, and credit it for my son having found his words.
Luckily, once my son was three, and in PAC, I did find a mommy clique. It includes parents from PAC and online friends, and I am beyond grateful for each of them. For you.
From the ones that I am a part of and also from the ones that I’m not, I’ve learned a few lessons about mommy cliques. Here are a few of them:
- The good mommy cliques get you, don’t judge, and welcome new members easily and with grace.
- Mommy cliques that are not worth pursuing will judge, discriminate for things like you not being the same religion as they are, and will gossip about other members behind their backs.
- Cool mommy cliques say no to mommy wars and don’t care whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or something in between.
- Ones bred from kindness and compassion can save your soul. Sometimes simply because they offer you a glass of wine, or a hug.
- It’s good to have a village and to feel a part of a group.
- It’s not worth pursuing a village that makes it too hard to join.
- I think that trying to write this has made me realize how sad it makes me that so many of us feel alone – without a mommy clique, faltering and fumbling. Which also makes me think that those of us faltering and fumbling and wishing for a mommy clique are already together, in our own. Which brings me peace.
What about you? Are you in a mommy clique? Do you wish you were, if not? I’d love to hear other thoughts on this, as I’m torn about the subject.
***This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers and bloggers gather to complete the same sentence and share our variations on it with one another. Want to join? Or know what the next sentence is? Join our Facebook group!
This week’s sentence is “When it comes to cliques…”