I have endured some uncomfortable situation in my life. I have stood tall in times of trial and at times of challenge. But after all of that... I am still not prepared for the ballet class waiting room full of other stay-at-home moms!
Phew! This is one tough crowd! My youngest just started taking ballet last month, so I am a "new mom" to this group. Today I sat under the disguise of reading a book, when I was actually taking in all of the happenings in this room that would make a seasoned politician and world leader crack under the pressure. I kept thinking that this was like high school with the barriers that were silently made.
On one side of the room you had the nursing moms. They all had a baby stuck to their body and sat happily chatting quietly with one another. Now, watching them I knew that their conversations were about babies and nursing them. I could see some of them trying to form a sentence but then forgot what they were about to say...because as any mother who has nursed a child knows that these precious little lambs are simply sucking your brains through your boobies at rapid speed.
The other side of the room were the moms with the older toddler boys--these boys were maybe 4 and came complete with Gameboys and made sound affects such as bombs being dropped and guns being shot. Now, having a son myself, I am fully aware of the sound effects and I swear boys have an extra gene that enables them to sound like a machine gun. I have tried many times to make this sound with my son--but he says I do it wrong and am no longer allowed to even try. Whatever.
Throughout the room were other groups of moms-some who just decided to talk to the person next to them, some content with reading a book, and some catching up on their checkbook balancing. I am one of those moms. I just sit and read and will talk to the person next to me if they deem me worthy... usually I bury my head in my book and enjoy the semi-quiet.
But... smack dab in the middle of the room is the "I am such a good mom and so important" mom group. We all know who I am talking about. They are in every waiting room across the country. They are the perfectly manicured moms with the perfectly styled hair that drive up in a newly washed Lexus or Hummer and their purses are full of survival tips that would make any Army Ranger feel inadequate. Today one mom pulled out a dryer sheet that was neatly folded in a zip-lock baggie and rubbed it on her daughter's head to combat the static cling. I sat amazed! Another one pulled out a necklace that she and her daughter had made yesterday during "craft" time at home and it looked to me like it could have come directly out of a Tiffany's catalog. I have craft time at my home too... it entails cut open grocery bags and finger paints and it usually ends with finger paint on the walls, the chairs, the floor, and the dog. I can't fit all of that in my purse.
I was listening to them say things like "did you hear about so-and so" or "my husband bought me a yacht last weekend just because" or "I am going to fire my cook... she is putting too many carbs in little Ashley's lunches!" and I started fighting with myself inside. Part of me wanting to be a part of this group, much like I wanted to be a part of the popular group in middle school so desperately that I swore my devotion to Duran Duran and ignored my friend who I had had since kindergarten. The other part of me said "now, I am sure they are perfectly nice women-why am I judging them?" and another part of me said "no thanks, I will sit here in my hand-me-down maternity top and read my book happy with who I am!" That was the hardest part to listen to.
Why is it that we judge other women and either want to be like them or want to loathe them? Oh how I long to be the type of lady like the Grandma that comes in with her hot pink ball cap and her "World's Best Lover" t-shirt and happily chats with everyone in the room not caring what they think of her. I end up sitting in judgement of myself mostly. Why don't they talk to me? Why do they look at me and then just look away? Do I have a boogie coming out of my nose? Does my hair look that bad today? Is this top really that bad? Then I settle on old faithful--the answer I use to appease my insecurities... they must be jealous of me right?
What is it about other women and friendships that makes us all (or at least me) lose our bravery? I am a military wife for goodness sake! I run this household with my husband having full faith and trust in me. I raise my children the best way I know how and I can be the voice of calm reason when there is chaos surrounding my family... why then does the ballet waiting room make my pits sweat to the point that I have to sit down and scratch the heck out of them (which may be one of the reasons why I sit by myself come to think of it.)
I would like to fast forward this waiting room to one year from now. I will probably still be one of the moms that sit on the outskirts reading my book and listening to the "important middle-of-the-room moms" say things like "I just don't think one nanny is enough for our family, I am thinking of getting an assistant for our nanny." I only hope that when I look around see the new mom sitting by herself that I will have the courage to get up and go talk to her. You never know-she may be the treasured friend that God has planned for me.