Thanks to a visit to one of my new favorite blogs, Parenting ad Absurdum, I was recently introduced to this hilarious YouTube video entitled “Pregnant Women Are Smug.”
Do you think pregnant women are smug? No longer interested in hearing the details of any subject that does not pertain to vaginal mucous, folic acid, stretch marks, or things you can purchase at Babies R Us?
That is … until I became one myself. And suddenly everything in my life was meaningless compared to the crushing importance of such riveting subjects as birth plans, uterine thickening, vagina exercises, and which brand of hemorrhoid cream on the market was most effective.
Of course this only refers to first time pregnancies. By the time you are pregnant with your second, third, or fourth child, you are too busy trying to scrub spaghetti stains out of your drapes to remember that you are pregnant and should be practicing your vagina exercises.
This also reminded me of a post I wrote way back when my bloggy was brand spankin’ new and my only readers were my mom and a few close friends who frequented Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip only because I blackmailed and/or paid them.
So here it is… I called it, “The Mommunity.”
Have you ever wondered why normal people who become mothers suddenly begin referring to themselves in the third person? Before I was a mother, I never went around saying things like, “Now, Naomi is going to need some time to herself in the potty, so please detach yourself from her leg and find something else to do.” Or, “Naomi wants you to come out from under the drapes and finish your breakfast at the table, okaaaay?”
But now, I blurt out things like this on a daily, if not, hourly basis. What is it all about? Is it a way of softening the abruptness of our language when we find ourselves giving constants commands and directions to our young children? Or is it a way of making ourselves feel more important because we no longer have real jobs and spend our days scrubbing poop off carpets and Play-Doh stains off our own rear ends?
Before I was a mom, I found this all very disturbing. When you are childless, whether single or married, spending time with mommy-types who go around referring to themselves in the third person is exhausting and, if you can’t see the humor in it, frankly annoying. I remember spending time with mommy-types before I was one myself. Not only did they refer to themselves in the third person constantly, but they also had a penchant for talking about the most insipid subjects in the world. Namely, their baby’s poop, their baby’s burps, how much their baby ate, their own breasts, how fat they’d gotten, and how lame their sex life had become.
Furthermore, this conversation was on some sort of demented repeat mode, like one of those never-ending tapes that loop continuously. So if you managed to zone off for a while and escape the inanity of it all, you were likely not to miss anything and find yourself back in the same place (“And did I tell you about little Antonio’s poop from yesterday after lunch? It was sooooo runny. Of course, it’s just breast milk, so it doesn’t really smell that bad, but I tell you! It was all over the place. I think that was the third, no, maybe fourth time I had changed him that day already. Can you imagine? And then, he had this massive burp. It was sooooo loud. You could have heard him from the other room. Except I was right here next to him, like I always am, because he is my very sweetest, most adorable, little cuddly bear in the whooooooole wide world … etc., etc., etc.”) when you returned from your daydreaming.
But then, of course, I became a mother and turned into one of those moms. It’s inevitable. When you become a mother, your world immediately shrinks. And suddenly, all the things that were important before don’t even exist to you. Current events, popular nightclubs, fantastic novels, the details of your single friends’ nightly exploits … it’s all meaningless.
But, your baby’s poop schedule, the fullness of your breasts, the contents of your baby’s last diaper, how to use a nasal syringe … now this is good stuff. Important, valuable information that you feel the need to discuss with not only your husband, midwife, and pediatrician, but also with random strangers you come across in Target and people you meet while unloading your baby in the parking lot of Whole Foods.
This is why all moms need a “mommunity.” What is a “mommunity”? Simply stated, it is group of moms who share your stage of life. They are also in the thrall of new motherhood. They are obsessed with the same things you are. They are looking for answers to titillating questions like, “What kind of nipple cream is best?” and “Are the generic diapers from Target as good as Huggies?” and “Will you look at the contents of my baby’s diaper and tell me if it’s normal?”
After my son Nino was born, I found myself a little lonely. Of course, it was wonderful being at home with my sweet baby, but there was no one to talk to, unless you consider passing gas a form of linguistic expression. My single girlfriends were tired of me calling them up and droning on for hours about our breastfeeding dramas and miracles, why I’d chosen to use calendula cream over normal diaper rash ointment, and how much my baby had grown in the last 24 hours.
Fortunately, I knew several moms who had babies my own son’s age. I decided to get all of them together and we formed a little playgroup. Of course, at the age of three months, Nino wasn’t really “playing” yet. But even if I got more out of it than he did for the first year or so, the playgroup turned into an amazingly beautiful experience for both of us. The women in the group became my confidants, my trusted colleagues, and my loving companions in the business of motherhood. They became my mommunity.
It was, and still is, so much more than an occasional play date. Over time, all the moms in the group became great friends and a supportive community was established. As years passed, many of us had more children. We threw baby showers for each other. We cooked meals for each other. We babysat each other’s kids. We picked each other’s children up from preschool. We did laundry for each other and cleaned each other’s homes while we were hanging out together. We loaned each other baby clothes, pregnancy clothes, and toys. We helped out in family emergencies. We supported each and took care of each other like a family.
My mommunity was one of the saving graces of my transition to motherhood. It helped me make new friends, answered my seemingly endless questions about parenting, and most of all, preserved my sanity. I mean, who else would still continue to be your friend after hours of listening to you refer to yourself in the third person? Who else would listen with rapt attention while you dissect, in excruciating detail, your genius new method of organizing your children’s bath toys? Who else would humor you endlessly as you wax poetic about your magnificent milk supply?
Surely only another mother in your mommunity.
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