Advice for Misfit Mothers
How to handle snotty moms’ groups.
Esther Crawford, mother to a 13-month-old son, recently decided to cut back on dates with on her playgroup–mainly because she got tired of trying to fit in with the other moms.
“I had imagined the playgroup would be a place for moms to get together and connect as adults,” says the Milwaukee mother. “But it’s really a place to talk–even more–about your child. And the truth is I don’t care to hear about [other] children.” The women in her group, Crawford says, “are obsessed with every tiny milestone. I love my son with all my heart, but I don’t need to read a dozen books before giving him solid foods.
Besides, she says, the women in her group also abuse the email list. “It’s like they all signed up to sell something from home–Barefoot Books, Lia Sophia jewelry, Mary Kay make-up. The requests to attend these horrible parties go on and on.”
Crawford’s experience may sound extreme, but it’s not that unusual. Women, once they have babies, are often eager to connect with a mother’s group to establish some camaraderie with other mothers.
But getting sucked into a group that doesn’t meet your needs, or worse, erodes your self-esteem, is counterproductive, says Andrea (Gaynor) Bonior, www.drandreabonior.com, a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. “If you find that you can’t be yourself, you feel embarrassed about aspects of yourself or your baby, or there is an ‘in- crowd’ versus ‘outsiders’ vibe that dominates the circle, it’s best to reconsider.”
Cliques and comparisons among the kids aren’t the only pitfalls moms can experience in a group. Sometimes the expectations just seem way too high, especially for mothers who work outside the home.