As a new mom I am still figuring out this whole mommy world. It really is like entering a foreign country where you don't speak the language but got plopped right down in the middle of this new land so now you have to sink or swim.
Most days it feel more like sinking.
I am pretty savvy with doing research so while I was expecting I got all the baby classes scheduled, researched the best products, interviewed multiple pediatricians and read every blog and post I could find to arm myself with knowledge on how to be the best mommy I could be. My situation was a little different because I wasn't having my child when all of my peers were so I didn't have a community of "mommy friends" I could tap into who were ready with hand-me-down onesies and tips on which was the best breast pump to get. I had to go it alone.
So Q is now 18 months old and I feel like we have done pretty well just us. Chris and I do our best everyday and we are blessed with a pretty easy going kid but at some point we do need to let her interact with the world and get her socialized.
We have gone out to the parks, children's museums, kid themed restaurants and Q does great with other kids. She even got her first kiss from a 2 year old Lothario named Jaden while waiting at a restaurant looking at a fountain. He snuck the first one in but when he came back for more Q put up her hand to block him. (#proudmommymoment)
The one thing I did not expect in all this child rearing stuff are a group of women I have come to call in my head the "mean mommies". Now I have no interest in mom shaming and I do my best to not judge other parents because I am far too busy with my own shoes than to walk a mile in theirs. Still I feel this is an earned name because as I step into "their" playground turf holding the hand of my beloved child- watching to see where her eyes go and see which directions she wanders (slide? wow! ladder thingy? yay! sand? nommy!!) I see them in their tight little pack with their collective brood who is running about the playground marking their territory. I swear when they see us coming they step even closer together sending a big ol- why are YOU here vibe to us?
Now Q is so little and she just wants to play so I feel she ducks this pretty easily but I get caught in it like a fly in a web. Any thoughts of going up and making some new mommy friends are quickly nixed. There is no welcoming, no warmth, no cooing at each others kids exchanging vitals. "how old?" "what's his/her name?" "how many teeth?" It's total mean girl lock down and no one else is allowed in.
I could almost convince myself it is just me if not for the poor dad I met at the park Friday. I was scoping out a new park that was a bit out of the way and seemed a bit more friendly and cozy than others we have been to so far. Aside from the MM's the only other people there was a dad and his 17 month old daughter. Poor guy was clearly out of his element trying to chase his girl, get her to drink from a fountain (no sippy cup?!! boy did he get a look for that!) and get all the sand out of her shoes.
Our 2 girls gravitated towards each other and began the process of checking each other out- holding hands, grabbing each others toys, his kid sticking her finger in Q's mouth (??!!- eh? Q didn't mind) so we introduced ourselves and the girls as they played. We talked a little and then Q grabbed a ball that one of the big kids had brought so I quickly asked the MMs if that was ok?
Even thought it was 90 degrees the look I got was worthy of Elsa it was so frosty. I looked back at my new dad friend and in one glance I knew he was thinking the same thing. He said he had been there an hour and they never spoke to him once.
Now I get it- clearly they are friends. Their kids go to the same school. They have a solid group of long term friends. They are involved in each other lives and I am just someone who grabbed my kid wandered into their world. But isn't this for the kids? Aren't we supposed to be setting an "everyone is welcome" environment? If they see you excluding someone how can you tell them not to do it themselves? In fact- they already are following your example as not one of the kids even glanced at Q. And when you are so busy talking ABOUT your kids to each other instead of interacting with them in the moment what are you teaching?
Sorry ladies but I pass. Give me the strays of the group. We will make out our group of misfit "Idon'tknowwhatIamdoingcanyoupleasehelp" parents. Our kids will get messy and crazy but they will welcome all the other kids and have fun.
And I will be right there with them soaking up as much of these toddler days as I can!