Fear and Loathing at the Moms' Club
The pages were stacked neatly on the kitchen table, and I regarded them with the same anxiety I would normally reserve for a bikini wax from a beauty student. It was my first moms’ club application.
I had fallen into a routine of counting down the minutes until my husband came home, and, upon his arrival, I would greet him by tossing the baby at him and running off to lock myself in a closet for few quiet minutes. I was pretty sure this wasn’t great for our marriage. I needed another plan, and everywhere I turned, I got the same advice – Mom’s Club.
Resolved, I set out to try Club #1. They were having a Saturday morning book club, and, really, if I couldn’t bond with these ladies over books, I had nothing. I easily spotted the knot of mommies at the appointed café and drew in a deep breath when I noticed something – I was easily ten years older than almost every mom there.
During the course of book club, I dazzled no one with my amazing reading list and thoughtful analysis. Rather, they dazzled me. First, with the history of the moms’ club. Turns out, they had founded this particular club after being booted out of the teen moms’ club. Rather unfairly it seemed, as one mom complained, “Really, I’m only 20!” And second with their solemn attention to the image of the club. They had recently been on a mothers’ night out at Joe’s Crab Shack, and someone had posted the pictures they took down their blouses to the website. The mom in charge gave them all a scolding reminder this was bad form.
I’m not judging young moms at all. In fact, the moms were all very gracious and welcoming. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. I soldiered on.
Next up, Club #2 was having a mothers’ night out at local pottery painting shop. The moms turned out to be roughly my age, but it was clear to me from the get-go these ladies all knew each other very, very well. I stood to the side and pretended to really concentrate on which piece of pottery I wanted to paint, while they greeted each other with compliments and hugs. I finally picked out a plate and spent the rest of the night at the loser table with another mom who just nodded nervously at the coffee cup she was painting. I listened to the other moms giggle and gossip at the table right behind me and really thought I might cry. No one said hello to me until it was time to leave.
At this point, my prospects were dimming and my hopes were dashed, but I decided to give it one last try. Moms’ Club #3 was hosting a playdate at a mall, and I hesitantly packed up my son and went. As I sat taking off our shoes, a woman in her 30s with a son only two months older than mine sat down next to me and smiled. A few more moms came and smiled. Someone broke the ice with, “Did you ever picture yourself doing this for real?” Everyone laughed, but I’m pretty sure I was in tears. But this time it was because – hallelujah! – I had done it. I had found a moms’ club, and…that woman in her 30s? She became my best friend.
Robin is a writer who happens to stay at home with her son.