I was NOT a very "tiny" pregnant woman...I'm talking rest the plate on your belly to eat (standing up) kind of big. People had a lot of fun with it, except for my husband who thought it was ridiculous, and I rather enjoyed that time myself. It was truly a ton of fun having the attention and service of everyone who crossed your path. People would literally go out of their way to help me while I was growing my kids INSIDE my body; and I guess you could say that was where the delusion of "The Village" of parents began for me. Chris and I looked very young for our age back then ( I swear, once you have kids, you begin to age in dog years) So when we would take our babies out in public, many times we would get the "angry eyes" stares, the all too common "tisk, tisk, tisk" as we pushed our baby stroller through the mall. Occasionally we would even hear groups of people (mostly women) express their inappropriate judgments out loud for all to hear. "Babies having babies! That's the problem with the world today! And OUR taxes are paying for it!" Keep in mind...I was 28! Certainly no baby!
What made it even harder for me was the obvious lack of support due to my assumed age. Heaven forbid I would leave my baby cry for 2 minutes while I looked for a place to sit down and feed him while pushing a stroller, searching a diaper bag for a blanket and juggling the bags of stuff I had bought. And don't even THINK about asking someone for help! One woman literally told me "You should have realized how hard this would be before you got knocked up!"
And that's where I began to realize, The Village doesn't exist anymore.
Still, my dream of support and a "sisterhood of mothers' wouldn't die completely, yet. It continued throughout my boy’s toddler and preschool years. I would join mom's clubs only to find that "play date" would have been more appropriately titled "bitch session" and trips to the playground were more like WWF competitions where everyone was picking on each other and fighting for control over the sandbox...and I'm not talking about the kids!
I guess I had an unrealistic vision of what this was all supposed to look like...I believed that things were like they used to be when I was little. If my mom had to use the restroom, or change a siblings diaper, or wash sand out of someone's eyes...the other mothers were right there to lend a hand. They would just step in and take over...it was seamless and it was acceptable...and it worked! So when did everyone become so against it?
Once my boys reached school age, I thought things would have to get better, right? If nothing else, there's always school spirit and a sense of community within a school district. At least that's how it was on TV and in the movies...so I just felt it THAT is where I would find my Village.
So I joined the PTA! That's where the REAL motherhood congregates...in my dreams we would plan dances and book sales, we would have Sunday brunches where we would plan field trips and count box tops. We would offer each other unconditional support and advice and it would be everything I dreamed of through those lonely pre-school years. Yeah.....no. Enough said.
That was the last straw...My dreams were officially dashed. I decided then and there that someone had nuked any villages that existed when I was a kid and there was no chance of rebuilding because the foundation was destroyed. So I holed myself up in my own little world and became "cordial mom". You know who I am. I'm the one who will do what you need me to do if it makes things better for the kids, I spend the whole time interacting with the kids...and then I go home.
It's not that I'm being rude; I just don't have time for anything else. I don't have time for girl chat at the playground because I'm too busy driving to stuff since no one car pools anymore. I don't have time to stay and help clean up after the assembly because I have to be home for my kindergartener to get off the bus because there are no block parents anymore. I won't be coming to your moms club meetings because I'm too tired of chasing my kids around making sure they don't do anything "wrong" and I have better things to do than judge the parenting of every other mom who's not there.
But more importantly, I'm really busy with reconstruction right now...
I've decided to rebuild The Village. I've taken a stand for the sisterhood...
So if your kid falls off his chair, and your hands are full...I'll help him up, sister.
If your baby drops his bottle and your on the phone and don't notice...oops! I'll get that for you sister.
If you need someone to sit by the pool and watch your child while you go change another one's blow-out diaper...take your time! I'm not going anywhere sister!
I'm here to offer a hand when you're struggling, suggestions without judgment when you ask and support when you need it. 'Cuz that's how sisters roll in My "Village".