I must confess: I’m not really the mommy group type. Sure I like to cook, but that’s really where Martha Stewart and I part ways. I’m not into scrap-booking, failed Grade 8 sewing and am generally turned off by all the “oohing and aaahing” over china patterns and pressed flower arrangements.
Which is why I dropped the first mom’s group I went to like a very wet diaper. Before I get any hate mail, let me just clarify: I like doing crafty stuff (I suck at it, but that’s what makes it kind of fun). I’m even thinking about making my own baby food. But while all the women at the mom’s group seemed very nice, I couldn’t crack their veneer. They were too nice. Too happy. Too damn pleasant and perky.
There I was, making a baby foot print shadow box for my in-laws and I gotta say: I wasn’t feeling the love. I was tired, cranky and dammit, my nipples hurt. Sure I love the bejesus out of baby N but I was having a bad day. Apparently, I was the only one. Everyone around me was all smiles and hugs and “oooh that paper is just the cutest!” and “I’ve already made two scrapbooks to commemorate the first two weeks of little Janie’s life!” I left there feeling disconnected and glum: maybe mommydom wasn’t for me after all.
But a great thing happened. My neighbour (who I didn’t know all that well) invited a couple of new moms and I over for lunch and yes, even a glass of wine (before I get more hate mail about being a deadbeat alcoholic mom, breastfeeding guru Jack Newman says it’s okay to indulge now and then). The four of us sat there, babes in arms or tucked away in a vibra chair and something amazing transpired: we dished it out straight, even though we barely knew each other.
We all, it turns out, have moments of sheer love, panic, joy, insanity, peace and frustration over being new moms. We sat there and laughed and bitched and laughed–about sleepless nights, stupid things our mates sometimes utter, the cute little things our babies had started doing, the consistency and regularity of poop, the crying, the cooing, the hormonal up and downswings, the fact that we felt unprepared. And then we laughed some more until we realized we’d been sitting there for over four hours. All without having made one shadowbox, assembled one scrapbook page, or having decided on which ‘special guest’ we could bring in to tell us how to feed, bond and burp our babies.
Yet something was acheived that day: we all found a place where we could be our messy, complicated new mom selves without judgement and without having to accomplish any task other than to enjoy each others’ company. And now a group of six, we’ve decided to do it every week.
It’s real, it’s raw, and I must say, it’s something I look forward to every Tuesday!