The Bittersweet Feelings Of Mother’s Day

Mothers Day Photo

This is my mom, Eileen. She was probably 5 or 6, placing this photo right about 1950. It is undated but the back has details about the colorization. I “appropriated” this photo when I was packing up my grandmother’s house. For as long as I can remember it sat in a corner cabinet at the end of the hallway. You could easily walk past it and not even notice it among the tchotchkes and beads that my grandmother hung on a specially made holder my grandpa made.

I always noticed this photo when I’d visit my grandparent’s home. There were many photos of my mom around, but this one has always captivated me. Originally shot in black and white, the fact that my grandparents had it colorized always intrigued me. I’ve asked my grandma what made her decide to colorize it but she doesn’t remember. That was over 60 years ago.

I don’t have a lot of photos of my mom. She didn’t like her photo taken. She didn’t feel beautiful. She was. My mom had a great smile, which she shared a lot despite the challenges she dealt with daily. Her eyes sparkled when you looked at her. The last time I saw my mom, she was in a coma. Her eyes would open periodically and that sparkle was still there.

She wasn’t here when I became a mom, which is why my daughter shares her middle name.

Mother’s Day is a day we celebrate the women who gave us life, the women we are because of our children, and the other phenomenal women who mother, teach, and love us unconditionally.

While I miss my mom terribly, I am fortunate to have a heart filled with the love of so many other women who also taught me about the love of motherhood.

If, like me, you find Mother’s Day a challenge, I hope you know that you are loved and with time the heart will heal and seal in all the wonderful memories.

Sara

The Pink Elephant In The Room: Hazing in the MOM Sorority

 

Woman Head In Hand

When I was in college I thought about being in a sorority. For a hot second. But I had enough of the ‘being mean for being mean’ sake when I was in high school. I didn’t need my ‘friends’ to put me down all in the name of belonging.

So here I am, 8 years into motherhood and this group is a lot like a sorority. And it’s call MOM. And like most sororities there are chapters. That is no different within MOM, as evidenced by the various groups – SAHM, WAHM, Working Moms, Ladies who Lunch, Homeschooling Moms, Mom of Special Needs, Mom of Gifted, Mom of Boy, Mom of Many, and the list goes on.

Like me, you probably belong to several of these ‘sub-chapters’. Which only brings on more group dynamics that need to be managed. Personalities that need to be stroked and massaged. As well as those to be avoided. More people to work with so that we somehow ‘fit in’. Many people to judge. And be judged by.

I never knew about the hazing in the MOM sorority though. Not that it would have changed my decision to become a mom. But knowing that this dynamic existed would have been good to know. Unfortunately, it’s more like a secret society and no one talks about what happens.

The mom-on-mom judgment, snark and eye-rolling is horrible. It’s bad enough that many of us doubt ourselves. But to add insult from people who know what we are going through, to me, is repugnant. Women who have experienced the doubt, the struggles, the frustration yet look down upon and judge other women do nothing to help.

No one wants to talk about it. We turn a blind eye. I don’t find many credible sources of information that looks at this dynamic. The behavior is nothing we’d encourage for our children, yet women across the country engage in what has become much like a rite of passage similar to many sororities. Grown women. Adults who know better. Women who don’t want to be degraded, put down, judged or blamed for their mothering choices. But do so to other moms.

Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t get it. Why does it matter to anyone else what brand of diaper bag I have? And if I didn’t spend $1,700 on a stroller, do I deserve you looking down your nose at me? And don’t get me started on the buzzing that happens when a young child is seen with a cola drink. Bring up breastfeeding in public and the gloves are off.

I’ve been on the receiving end of some of this hazing. The moms who ask the brand of clothing BabyGirl is wearing and then roll their eyes, reply with rude or snarky comments or even worse, just walk away talking to her friend like I didn’t even exist. The moms who think they’re better than me because they go to the gym and have their ‘pre-baby’ body while I don’t. And, of course, those moms who somehow think my decision to homeschool is a personal affront to them that they need to put me down for my child not having opportunities to socialize like their kids have.

I try not to take their judgment, snark and bullying personally. But it’s hard not to. The saddest part of all of this Mom on Mom hate is that many of these women call themselves my friend.

When did it become acceptable for moms to be mean to other moms ‘just because’?

 

Note: Thank you to my husband for coining the phrase “The Pink Elephant in the Room”

Sara