High school was tough. The Mommy Wars are worse.
My parents sent me to a prestigious all girls private school thinking this would help me to avoid some of the social landmines that most teens face. That plan failed. There were still the cliques- mean girls, jocks, theater kids, etc. I never really found my place and often got into verbal altercations with other girls- yes I was THAT teen. I rebelled- hard. I found my own group of friends but it wasn’t exactly the wholesome experience my parents were hoping for.
In college I found my rhythm. With each passing year my confidence grew and my partying slowed.
I established a solid group of friends. I got married and had children before most of my childhood friends, however, so I was craving a new social crew. A nice mom invited me to a group for new moms at a local hospital. As soon as I stepped foot into that room, I felt a sense of relief. I had hit the mothering jackpot. These moms were amazing–welcoming me with open arms and moral support. I gained a few close friends from this group.
Similar to a new romantic relationship, we began to court.
First, the exchange of numbers. Then, the first text and the plans outside of the playgroup. I was fortunate enough to hit it off with a few amazing women. As many relationships go, we entered the infatuation stage. We were all just so happy to have other moms to connect to and friends for our children to engage with.
As the months went by, however, that uneasy feeling crept in. That feeling of being judged, of questioning my actions. I saw my son not getting along so well with the child of a friend. I hate to say it, but I was deeply conflicted about what to do. This mom had become a close friend, we saw each other almost daily, and I didn’t want to start the mommy wars. On the other hand, I also saw my super sensitive, sweet kiddo struggling with this other child. They just didn’t mesh. Instead of talking to my friend right away, I let the problem grow. Other moms became involved, texts were exchanged.
I finally got up the courage to say something face to face and lets just say it did NOT go well. The backlash was big. The text messages, emails, and phone conversations that ensued were toxic. I was quickly transported back to my 15 year old self, except this time the messages were typed behind a screen instead of spoken to my face. This one small issue between our toddlers turned into a much bigger thing. Our social group was irreparably fractured as moms felt like they had to take sides.
While I know this all may seem trivial, these moms were and still are my life. As a SAHM, these women understand my day to day and help to keep me sane. I had to mourn the loss. Looking back, I should have handled things differently. I should not have hidden behind my phone. This parenting thing is hard enough and we owe it to ourselves and each other to be honest and to be kind. We teach our children this every day but often forget it as adults.