Bubby is a people person. He is outgoing and friendly just like his Daddy...
Mommy, not so much. I am what you might call "introverted". (whatever that means)
Up until now Bubby has been content with hanging out with Mommy. He tolerates my anti-social behaviour and knows when he wants to do something wildly outgoing, like going to visit the neighbour UNINVITED (gasp) on a whim, that he needs to talk to Daddy.
Mommy is busy hiding under the covers with a flashlight and a book...don't tell anyone I am home.
Ok, ok it's not all that extreme, I like people...a little.
I used to like people a lot. Growing up I had a good group of friends, was never home, always hanging out somewhere, and while I have always been shy and a little reserved, I also have a few extroverted tendencies.
But as it happens, life events led to most of my friendships falling away. Friends and drama always seem to go hand in hand, and as most of these relationships were fizzling out, I had met someone special. We started dating, got married, and I had little time for anyone else. And maybe it's because I didn't want to be hurt again or maybe I was just lazy and content. But when my friendships all died, my solitary nature took over, I did little to try and revive them or create new ones.
Then kids come along and your perspective changes a little. They of course take all your time, and energy. You love them more then anything, and although you are never alone, life as a mom can sometimes be very lonely. You can go days without seeing anyone but your kids and maybe, if you're lucky, catching a glimpse of your husband in the hallway.
All that time alone is not good for the psyche or the self esteem.
Kids have a way of shining a light on our shortcomings, not because they see them, because they don't, in their eyes,we are perfect. But it is because we want so badly to live up to that perceived perfection, to BE perfect for them that our flaws are so often brought to our attention.
We want to be perfect and to make the world perfect FOR them.
Suddenly you start longing for a friend, just one will do. Someone who understands the struggle, who gets you and can relate to you. A person who doesn't look down on you in those times when although you have everything, beautiful kids, happy home, you just wanna throw in the towel and move to Belize and start a new life. A friend that will simply listen to you and talk you off the ledge when necessary, and then show up at your door shortly thereafter with wine. (Like, is that sooo much to ask for?)
So, another mom right? That is what I need! A mom friend. That's my ideal BFF!
Moms. If ever there was a more terrifying group of people, I have not met them. Even though I am one, I am scared to death of THE MOM. You know THAT mom, loud, assertive, overbearing, know it all and above all judgmental. If you don't do things the way I do them, you are wrong. If you do not teach your kids what I teach my children, you are not welcome, if you do not give your children what I give my children (or can't give), I will snicker and look down on you behind your back.
It has even gotten to the point that the mere fact that we do things differently, is in itself viewed as judgment! If I post something on FB about breastfeeding (which I would never do because a) I don't know why how we feed our babies has anything to do with anyone else and b) I don't feel like getting torn a new one), I would be attacked for being judgmental or imposing my way of doing things onto formula feeding moms, (which by the way, I'm for both, just get a nipple in their mouth and shut them up) This behaviour is so ingrained in our mom society that it is now assumed if you do things differently, you are being judgmental! Try and wrap your brain around that one! I judge you therefore I can only assume you will judge me, so the moment you walk in the room, I have already decided I don't like you simply based on your life choices. Huh??!!
It is definitely a no win situation.
Just when I decide to get back in the making friends game, it is somehow harder then ever. Instead of other moms "getting" you and supporting you, (as you would think might be the case, since we are all in the same boat) we are catty, competitive and cruel to each other.
In reality, all this judgment, self righteousness and hate stems back to that light being shone on our own imperfections. In our futile quest to be perfect for our child, we stomp on anyone who gets in our way in order to feel better about our own failings. If only we could just see, we are all EXACTLY the same, sometimes unsure of our abilities, wondering if we are enough, striving to be the best mom we can be.
But is behaving like this really being a good mom? What is this behaviour teaching our children? What kind of person are we unleashing on this world?
These little humans that we have created, just trying to find their place. Are we setting them up to be kind, compassionate, gracious beings? Or self-obsessed, insecure little monsters? After all, children learn what they live, not necessarily what we teach.
Sending my son out into a world full of children who are the product of this oddly hateful society does not sit well with me. Watching him try to find his place in the world will be absolutely excruciating. When I know that it can be an exceptionally unwelcoming place. You would think that the people who get that the most, would be other parents...other parents who feel the same kind of overwhelming protection towards their own children.
But, those who should really know better are the harshest of all.
I am sure there are many of you who can relate. Those of us who shy away from our rightful place in this community just to avoid having to feel that rejection or worse, watch our children go through it.
But alas, Bubby is not having it. Mom's company is getting old, he wants to go out and become the person he is going to be. His outgoing personality is huge and infectious. So, it seems I will have to put my book down, emerge from the covers and go forth into this world. I know I will find, kind hearted and wonderful mom's along with the not so nice ones, but I guess that has always been the way. Social media has made the world a much less welcoming place. The loudest and most outrageous are the only voices heard, and their are a lot of sad people with loud, nasty voices online.
In this "social" society that is anything but, it can be hard to put yourself out there...
Nevertheless, off we go to make some friends. The first of many things I will have to do for the good of my children, that I don't really want to. And in truth it is probably exactly what I need, will no doubt expand my horizons and make me a stronger person.
Kids have a way of doing that too.
And after all, in the end, the lesson I want to leave my kids with is not to withdraw. Not to opt out of life because it gets hard or you get hurt. Be open and kind and loving and all the things that this world sorely needs.
All the things that Bubby already is, and I hope he will continue to be. Perhaps it is me that is learning the lesson and Bubby that is doing the teaching...