I think the biggest misconception about stay-at-home moms is that we have tons of friends and lots of playdates.
I can deal with being accused of having it “easy,” being accused of letting myself go, and constantly having to say the words “no, I don’t work,” as if tending to two small, terrorist children is the same as sitting around watching movies all day while shopping online.
But let me clear a couple things up, I do not have constant playdates and I do not have many stay-at-home-mom friends. I have two, to be exact. One is my sister-in-law and the other is a friend that lives 1.5 hours away…safe to assume that I don’t see her much outside of daily photos sent via text message. I do not belong to any mommy group besides one I have been a part of for three years…online. It’s an amazing group, but I can’t call these ladies up and meet them at Starbucks or the park. That would require a plane ride and I am just not feeling up to traveling with two babies on most days. Call me crazy. (I’ve lived through a plane ride with two babies. I am a survivor.)
Now, to be fair, I have not put a great deal of effort into finding more SAHM friends. I am not one to run up to a mommy stranger and ask her to have coffee, and I have a big issue with going on MeetUp.com and looking for a group as if I am online dating. “Pick me! I’m fun as hell! And I won’t curse in front of your children, it’s something I am really working on!” As if I am test driving friends. What if I go meet up with a group and we just really don’t click? How am I supposed to break up with them? “It’s not you ladies, it’s me. I am just really not ready for this commitment right now. I’m super busy with my kids…and my husband…I know I told you that he travels a lot and I am lonely, but I was just kidding. I am not lonely. Not lonely enough to hang out with you.”
I mean, I don’t have time or energy to take on this stressful situation. I will admit that I absolutely love a little drama here and there that doesn’t involve one of my kid’s butts exploding on the carpet (that is what I consider good drama these days), but I think I’ll take my drama in the form of The Bachelor. “He didn’t pick Becca? Oh my gosh, that girl looks so desperate and what the hell is she wearing? Ew! Who in their right mind would wear that dress? So not flattering.” Yeah, I think I’ll stick to drama that is contained in a square box, has nothing to actually do with me, and can be watched while wearing stretchy pants and sipping wine. I can’t sip wine and eat cookies while breaking up with a Mom. Come on now, that would be tacky.
However, I have come to realize that I have been part of a mommy group for a long time now. I was just unaware. I guess I wasn’t looking for the group, so it just kinda snuck up on me, and forced me into its secret society.
Target. I belong to Target.
From 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, I am part of an extremely large SAHM mommy group. We all come and gather around groceries, bath towels, clearance hand soaps, cute storage bins and a large assortment of crap that only costs a single dollar. Crap that we don’t need. Target has everything our hearts yearn for.
I’ve noticed that there is a strict dress code for this group and, thankfully, I have been following the rules all along, unknowingly. You must look like ass. Workout clothes that you have not actually worked out in is what most faithful members wear. The Messy Bun or the ever so famous Top Knot are the preferred hair styles. Thank goodness I have always rocked the Messy Bun, and recently adopted the Top Knot. Except my top knot does not capture the essence of a poised ballerina, well, maybe. It’s like I’m a ballerina that was attacked by a stray cat in an alley while running late to ballet class. I didn’t fix my hair after I was unfortunately mauled by the crazy feline, because I was late. It’s just a little rough is all.
In fact, I have actually seen security guards at the entrance of Target making sure that the dress code is indeed enforced. Just the other day, I saw one man tell a lady dressed in a freshly pressed blouse, pencil skirt and shiny heels that she had to come back at 11 a.m., because that is when people who look like her are allowed to shop. True story. She was pissed. Sorry lady, not just anyone can be part of this group, you look too damn good. Toodles.
And what about makeup? Here’s the funny thing about makeup. Many members are seen pacing up and down the cosmetic aisles, but they don’t actually wear any. At least not to group meetings. A lot of women wear ball caps pulled down so low they can barely see where they are steering their loaded-down shopping carts, as if they are trying to hide the fact that they are not sporting foundation, eye shadow or blush. Lipstick? Is that the same as balm for chapped lips? If so, I love EOS lipstick. Lipstick is a foreign word to me. Is this a German word? Lipschtichhhk. I’ll look it up later. Most members of this society only wear mascara, and the brave ones, the bravest of all pledged mamas, wear nothing. GASP.
You must have kids to be in this secret society. Most have multiple. Target, in this 2.5 hour window, is a battle zone. There are arms and legs being thrown around everywhere. Groceries and distraction toys are constantly being chunked at you from all different directions. Gotta move quick, gotta be on alert at all times. Kids are licking random things. I once witnessed a toddler take five shoes out their boxes and lick the bottom of each of them before he was caught by his mother. Clearly, she was distracted. (Stuff like this is funny, when it’s not your kid at risk of contracting some bacterial disease.)
The kids. They are freakin’ nuts. And usually tired, nap time is approaching.
I’ve noticed that most of my fellow group members are outstanding negotiators. They always come to meetings prepared with bribes for their young shopping partners. Some moms let their kids wear silly hats around the store, some let them play with toys that they have no intention of purchasing, many mothers resort to shaking macaroni boxes (this gets old real fast), and others are packin’ sugary sweets in their totes as a last resort. An act of desperation, if you will. “Abby, please just sit on your bottom for 5 more minutes. Mommy is looking for clothes, honey. Please Abby. STOP! ABBY. ABBY. ABBY. ABBY. ABBY I SWEAR IF YOU DON’T SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN YOU ARE GOING TO GET IT! OOOOONE! TWOOOOOOOO! Abby, no! Don’t touch. ABBY! ABBY! SIT. Here, eat this applesauce.”
Abby needs to get her crap together. Doesn’t she know the spandex workout pants are on sale? When the clearance racks are stacked with Champion and Xhilaration workout gear, it’s worth the battle. Find one we like, and we buy six pairs.
I am so glad I found this group, or, I am glad they found me. All the members are so nice and welcoming. They don’t judge each other when their kids are acting like raging lunatics. If anything, they smile at each other, as if to say, “It’s okay, mama, hang in there. Soon they will be asleep, and then you shall be set free from your current state of toddler hell.”
We all get it. We all empathize with each other. This group is so special to me. It offers support that I have not found elsewhere. Wal-Mart? Gross. Whole Foods? Only when I look good. Kroger? Produce section always seems to suck. No. Target has it all.
I love my Secret SAHM Club. And I love all my crappy lookin’ friends.
I finally can say, I, Jennifer Todryk, belong.