Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Mommy Brigade

I like to say that although I drive a minivan, I don't drive or act like I own a minivan. I've always known there were THOSE moms. The ones who look you over when they meet you and your child, that discuss their child's lives like a soap opera, they drive minivans or SUV's like it's their second home. I became very close to what I call the "mommy brigade" when Ariana went to Safety City. All these minivans, SUV's, and cool station wagons (are those every really cool?) pulled in. Myself included with my lovely burgundy Venture. Then the mom's and children started piling out and into the building. Mom's who know each other wave and start chatting about how their summer is going and whatnot. And the cliques are happening while our kids are out a fucking two hour safety class. I came into the building with no makeup on, my hair in a ponytail, and shorts with a Cher t-shirt. The mommy brigade all wore capri's in like color with a white or light colored non-descript shirt. I'm not kidding when I say they ALL had the SAME hairstyle, the bob that barely brushes the shoulders. Each of their children are in picture perfect clothing that all matches and their hair is combed and styled with lots of frilly bows or gelled into a nice preppy look for the boys. Fine. I get that things needs to be perfect in their world. That's alright with me. Just don't expect the same damn thing from me and my children.

My child has dressed herself that morning in an outfit that does not match if it's a two piece. Dresses are easy since it's just the one article of clothing. Pants or shorts with a shirt...well, you never know what she'll come up with. I love the fact that she marches to her own beat. But I also worry about it too. I want her to have the confidence in herself to say "screw the matching shit" and wear whatever. Do some of her combinations make me cringe? Sure they do. But I know that if I suggest another shirt or bottom, she'll get pissy. It's not worth the battle and if she likes it, who am I to say she can't wear it. Her hair is rarely in a pony and within an hour of brushing, it looks like a nest again since she is such a active fart. Oh well, I tell myself.

Back to the mommy brigade. That week passed quickly (thank god) and I didn't really think of the mommy brigade again until school started. Then the minivan, "perfect" moms arrive with their children and they group up and it becomes apparent that they are discussing all the kids (and parents) they don't know from 4K. What the fuck. Who gives a shit? Seriously. Who's child doesn't go and play right away, who cries when it's time to go, who listens the best. On and on, and on. Who fucking CARES! I quickly dropped that crap from my mind and onto our own little world did I go.

Until I went on a field trip last week with the kindergarten classes to the farmer's market. The parents were paired up with another parent and 5-7 kids per group. I got a mommy brigade mom. Perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect makeup, get the picture. She asks the following questions in quick succession:
Which one is yours?
Does Ariana have a nickname or does she go by Ariana?
Did she go to 4K last year? (to which I say yes)
Oh, she must have been in the afternoon class? (yes)
I figured that since I don't recognize her from my daughter's class. She was in the morning. (well, duh I'm thinking)
What do you do?
What does your husband do?
Where do you live?

You get the picture. I felt like I was having a mommy interview. Each group was assigned a color and the kids had to find fruits & veggies in their color. We had six kids and guess who was asked to pick out the items first. This woman's daughter and her friends. Ariana and four of the other kids (all from the afternoon class) are ignored. And quite honestly, they didn't say anything so that may have been an issue as well. Finally, the kids got into a rotation so that each child had the opportunity to select an item. Afterward we were finished and heading back to the bus, the questions started up again. I was never so happy to get on a bus before. And when we arrived back at school and was preparing to leave, I passed the mom, smiled, and said goodbye. She looked at me (or at least I thought she did), turned her head and walked away. My first thought was that, ooops I must not have passed the test. Of course, I try to give the benefit of the doubt that she didn't hear or see me. But I think she did. She went over to the other moms she had been hanging out with in the beginning and the chatter started up.

Quite frankly, I try not to give a shit about crap like that. But I do. A small part of me still feels like I never quite fit in. Doesn't everyone want to feel included?

Another thing that came up with another mommy. I don't listen to children's music every time my kids are in the minivan. I grew up listening to my mom's music and I think it helped expand my listening opportunities. I had a friend, who does do the whole kids music thing all the time, mention music the other day when she heard what was in my CD player in the van. With Phoenix in it at the time. "Don't you listen to music for the kids when you drive?" Hell no, is what I really wanted to say. I said that no, we occasionally listened to a Disney CD, but that we listen to whatever while I drive. If it happens to be a soundtrack, or Metallica, or classical, that's what they listen to. I do try not to have lyrics that include swearing on while the kidlets are in the van, so if one of them says Fuck You, it's not from the music. It might be from a driver who just cut me off (no, I'm kidding, alright). If I listened to kid's music daily for more than an hour, I think I'd drive myself off the road.

I know I'm rambling, so I'll try to wrap this up. I guess what I'm trying to say is that no one is perfect. Everyone has something that they'd die if others found out. No one's kids are perfect, all the time. If you wanted a perfect child, you should have stuck with a doll. It doesn't matter how much money you have, one can still be a rockin' rental unit if you don't have a lot of money. It doesn't matter if you spend every waking minute with your kids, thinking of your kids, doing something for you kids...those of us who don't are still good parents.

I'll leave this for now as I'm losing my train of thought as Phoenix bombards me with screaming requests for a second popsicle. Nice, huh. I feed my kid a popsicle to keep him occupied so I can write this up. *wink* Think of me today, tooling around in my minivan with Yoda at the helm (I'm serious, I have a Yoda up front with me) and Godsmack blazing from the speakers.


Niki said...

Denise, I love to read your blog! You are frickn' hilarious! I can totally picture the mommy brigade and am looking at them with disdain.

Jamie said...

I think it must be a traveling mommy brigade, kind of like the gypsies or something because they are here too. I think they are the way they are because they never fit in, but it makes them no less annoying. You are awesome!!!!

Aunt Becky said...

Ah, the Mommy Brigade. I've never fit in there.

~Denise~ said...

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has experienced the mommy brigade. ;)

Lisa said...

I know exactly how you feel. I thought it was bad at Luke's school but it is much worse at Brianna's preschool which is at a Lutheran Church. I feel like they are all just staring at me.

Anonymous said...

The thing about those women I believe, is that they have everything "looking perfect" when in reality their home life sucks, they're truly unhappy or something's not kosher behind their perfectly painted closed doors.

And with music...the kids LOVE "Enter Sandman", as well as "Pour Some Sugar On Me", which is what I blasted when Colton was in utero. ;) (It's one of his faves!)
I can only handle so much of the damn Hampster Dance!

Sarah said...

The mommy brigade! My mother has breast cancer, and the last time I walked the Komen walk all of the women showed up, at 7 a.m. mind you, with matching track suits and tennis shoes, hair done, nails done and makeup on - TO A RACE! I felt very out of place smoking and eating a bag of chips in cutoffs and flip flops.

Jen said...

Gosh, you are crackin' me up today D!

I think my sister is one of those moms...sigh.

I saw we're having a PE meeting in November. Will you be there? I think I can make it.