I am not a group person.
I don’t really like to sit around with other moms and chat about my baby, and then their baby, and then whose baby rolled over first. I actually really do not enjoy it.
I am barely interested in when my baby rolled over, I am definitely not interested in when your baby rolled over.
Sad, but true.
Maybe that made me feel a bit alienated from mommy and baby groups. I am interested in chatting to moms about what they go through, and how they struggle and how they overcome the things that plagues us all.
When I sit and chat with moms the conversations seem to flick very quickly to junior and what colour his poo is, and that he is just the best baby in the world, and how much mom just loves being a mom, and that he is already walking and able to program the DSTV, and then the gushing goes on for a bit too long.
I love the fact that moms are proud of their offspring, but frankly I am just not interested.
I love my kids, I even like my kids, but I seldom share with the world when Georgia managed to sing all the words to “Peg Leg Jack” I am super proud of her and she does the actions.
But I am fairly sure no one else gives a toss, so I do not sit and tell them all about it.
Normally as I am being given a blow by blow rendition of how junior managed to pee into the potty on command, it is at this point I start to feel somewhat uncomfortable. I shift around awkwardly in my seat and start staring off into the distance.
Usually my mind starts to drift and I start to think of how I am going to escape, or what time the bottle stores close on a Saturday.
Basically I start planning my exit strategy quickly, but still trying to appear like I am interested in the consistency of junior’s snot!
I have always felt really different from other moms. I have felt alienated from them, and I feel like I cannot relate to what seems to interest them.
Maybe this is why I have never made friends with moms-with-babes (or maybe it is just that my personality alienates them, or that I have body odour …. or ….. you can see how this can go on.)
I do not have any friends who have babies! Seriously not one.
My friends have either chosen not to have babies, can’t have babies, or are not ready to have babies, or have not met the sperm provider with whom they wish to have babies.
Bear in mind I am in my late thirties, so my friends are not twelve years old, they are generally in the mid-thirty range. But strange as it is, we are the only couple in our group of close friends who have kids.
With the result I try not to talk about my kids with them unless they specifically ask. I can’t think they want to hear about the defaecate movements, projective vomiting and sleeping patterns of my brood.
I had a friend, who had two young children, and then when I had Connor, she and her husband moved away. Not because I had Connor, you understand. But because they had work obligations that sent them out of the country (or that is what they told us at any rate).
Before blogging I did not realize there were bloggers, I did not realize there were forums.
There are in reality tons of bloggers and tons of forums. (I was so naive about this entire sub-community that exists it is frightening and embarrassing.)
One tends to look around and then find and connect with the one (forum and/or blog) that most reflects who you are, or what you are interested in reading/hearing about.
I stumbled across www.pampers.co.za about 18 months ago, and it has a very active forum.
I joined and most of the conversations I saw were about poo and what colour it was. But every now and then I would read a post and something in me would go “hey that sounds like a mom I can relate to…” and then I started commenting on threads and started threads.
Initially I felt awkward, but as time moved on I got a bit more comfortable with myself. I realised who I was, and though I was different to the masses, it felt like there was a space for someone of my ilk on the forum.
I decided that instead of being the “mommy-and-baby mom” I will actually just be me, the reluctant mom, it was good, and it made me feel good to be me and be honest, instead of standing there with a saccharine smile on my face!
Pampers’ forum went through some changes and it no longer felt like a good place to be.
I started looking around for a new forum, as it was strange how familiar this little community of people had become. I missed their chatter, and I missed the conversations and how good it made me feel, and I needed to find another forum and see if I could “move in there”.
Moomie came along, and initially I missed old pampers, but in no time a lot of the “old”crew moved over and lots of new moms joined, and the chatter and sense of community started again.
I am not a mommy’s mommy. But, I have enjoyed the sense of community at Moomie.
I love it that there are moms on that forum who maybe want to talk about something else. And who also struggle a bit like I do.
I have enjoyed the honesty that many of the moms have been brave enough to show. Sometimes I get private message comments from moms that warm my soul.
Moms who feel a bit embarrassed to say something on the forum, but feel comfortable enough saying it to me, even in a private message, and that makes me feel pretty good.
Last weekend we arranged a moomie meet in Cape Town and some of the moms got together at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. I only knew one of the moms by sight, but it was really nice to sit around in a spectacular garden, have a picnic, and have our kids running around and feel a connection with a group of people, who I would usually feel a bit alienated from.
I think what being part of a forum has shown me is that I am not as unique as I led myself to believe, there are more moms out there who struggle with the same or similar things that I struggle with than I realized.
And sometimes, it is nice to have an accepting group who understands what you are going to as a sounding board.
I am still not big on groups, and I do tend to hold myself on the outskirts, as that is where I feel comfortable, but I think the point I am trying to make is that a sense of community with other moms who are going through what you are going through – I think especially if you can find moms who are brave enough to be honest, is a very valuable thing.