License to Mom: Mom vs. Mom

Rosie with baby Stella, a Queens Mama and family social worker, continues
her License to Mom series with observations and practical tips for all Queens
Mamas.  She welcomes questions and ideas

It’s like the bloods vs. the crypts.  I know women who avoid certain playgrounds at
certain times of day to avoid the “Mommy Mob”.  A friend of mine was once yelled at, in front
of others, at a birthing class, because she dared to say she didn’t want to nurse
her baby.  The Mommy Mafia at our
preschool pretends all the other parents don’t exist.  Every morning, I try a light smile or a nod,
and get no response (or a subtle little snarl). 
It’s very standard-issue cool-girl syndrome.  How many of us haven’t been subject to, or
taken part in, a mommy-centric gossip fest?

Wandering the streets in that first-month haze with my
newborn, I would see groups of mommies parading around together, but not have
the first clue of how I could possibly find a friend among them – which I
desperately wanted.   I’ve recently been
a rubbernecker to an ugly 37 message-long facebook fight between a working mom
and stay-at-home mom about whose job is harder. Why are so many of us suddenly
acting like we’re in 10th grade again? 

Teenage girlhood and motherhood do have a great deal in
common. Both groups are in a new, exciting, sometimes thrilling, and sometimes
overwhelming stage of life.  There’s a
great deal of expectation.  Some have
spent a long time planning and thinking, others are caught by surprise.  Everything suddenly feels different – life
perspective starts to shift, emotions are felt more intensely than usual, and
some people start to see themselves, and who they thought they were,
differently.  New, wonderful, emotionally
intimate friendships are made, but can easily turn into a clique that can
create group think that can lead to feelings of exclusion, superiority, or
wearing plain old self-centered blinders. 

is a test of character in many ways, but perhaps the real test is how we act,
in this regard, the second time around. We don’t have to repeat adolescent
patterns to learn from them. Not every Mama we meet needs to be or can be our
new best friend, but if we were to acknowledge one another’s differences while
also practicing courtesy, or if we were to strike up conversation with that mom
holding a 2 week old, sitting by herself on the park bench, or if we were to
smile and say hello to the other Mamas we see on a daily basis; it would be a
teenage re-do that we can certainly
do better than the first time around, and what a message that can send to our
kids! For many (including myself) it’s a chance at redemption and an
opportunity to grow a little bit more into our adulthood.  Although, I must warn you; in my experience,
this kind of behavior can quickly lead to email exchanges, phone calls, play
dates, nights out to the movies, poker games, and the occasional heavy drinking
at local bars.  At least this time, you’ll
be of age!


resources for meeting moms:


Where to
meet cool Moms online


Mommy and me
classes in Queens