Friday, October 17, 2008
So I am in a moms club, and have been since my oldest was 6 months old. The camraderie and support have been a lifesaver. In the almost 4 years that I have been a member we have been mostly free of any controversy, until now. As the population of our club increases, so does the variety of personalities. We communicate by an email group, so of course the amount of emails have increased as well. This is where the conflict lies.
Some of the moms were annoyed by the amount of emails,and then offended by content. This prompted our dear leader to send out an email that was basically a copy and paste of the bylaws. She is a cool chick and she is just fulfilling one of the roles of her position.
Well this made me, and some of my more vociferous friends, to wonder if it was something in particular that we wrote that provoked this smackdown. Was it the email thread about penis water bottles, sex in exotic places, discarded foreskins or alcohol consumption, we will never know.
So everyone was on eggshells, sending out emails with disclaimers stating, I hope this is ok, I hope nobody is offended, I hope this is within our bylaws. I of course was one of those people and I sent it out tongue and cheek thinking this silliness would blow over and we could get back to the camraderie I thought all of us were enjoying. Wrong. I received a personal email back setting my ass straight.
This email was long, and swaddled in phrases of support for fellow moms, like respecting other mother's time and being sensitive to other mom's thresholds of offensiveness. But none of this could hide the underlying tone of condescension and control. I don't do condescending or authority very well.
After reading this email I was fuming. I tried to sleep on it but that didn't work. I sent it to some very close friends to get feedback and that didn't quell my anger either. Then I sent out a smartass remark about mom's being too tired to use the delete button and that started a shit storm.
An onslaught of emails were posted by women whining about having to wade through a barrage of emails they found to be frivolous and inappropriate. They complained about their precious morning, and afternoons, being wasted because they had to read all these offensive emails. What ever happened to the delete buttons on their computers? When I am confronted by a boring thread of emails, I just delete them, no big deal.
As for offensiveness, this really gets my goat. We are mothers, we are women, we are adults. To paraphrase a dear friend, you have to have sex to be a mother, it's kind of a prerequisite. So even if you adopted your child or used IVF, it's most likely that you at one point had sex and figured out it wasn't working like you planned. Even if you are a lesbian mother and have never had sex with a man, you at some point probably had sex with your partner. (And seriously if you have ever gone muff-diving, I am thinking you don't have a conservative bone left in your body. )
Considering the level of alarm that some of the mothers have expressed about the content of emails and conversations at our mom's night outs, I am thinking that their children are a result of virgin births or sex through a hole in a sheet.
Yes, you heard right, somebody complained about the adult conversations at one of our recent mom's nights out. Once a month we have a mom's night out event, with no children allowed. At the last event no children were present and somebody actually complained that we were talking about sex.
If there are no children present then adult conversation is not inappropriate. Adult conversation should not be censored from email as well because it is assumed that a child is not reading an adult's emails. It is a parent's responsibility to make sure their children are not subjected to anything beyond their comprehension.
I am not alone in my opinion. I have received personal emails from women not easily offended, who agree with me and are dismayed by the path our club is taking. What is appropriate for adults is not appropriate for children. A successful mother's club realizes that distinction. What the new moms have yet to learn is that you can love and serve your children without sacrificing yourself. It is totally ok for you to be your true self and positively channel that into your childrearing practices. Otherwise you are going to be left alone with your husband, and you are going to be nothing but a shell. I am not talking about a pretty abalone shell, I am talking about an empty snail shell, with cobwebs.
It is absolutely fine for you to still hold onto the interests you had before becoming a parent. You may have to get a sitter to participate in them, or even delay those activities for a few years, but you should not give them up. I enjoy cooking, dining out and reading. I can cook for guests while they watch my kids, and keep them out of the kitchen. I get a sitter to dine out, and I read before bed when my kids are asleep.
What I really miss is listening to classical music and doing jigsaw puzzles. I know, I know, I am a closet nerd. I can put on classical music but my kids would eat and/or destroy a jigsaw puzzle so I don't even try. We are working up to camping and hiking. My point is that you don't have to completely give up who you are to be a good mom.
So is this division in the mom's club, from new, inexperienced moms or is it a deeper division of philosophy? I recently went to a new member's house and saw a giant cross hanging on her wall. If I was a vampire or a werewolf, I would not feel safe in this neighborhood. As a Jew, I felt a little squirmy. I had a paranoid premonition that things in the mom's club were gonna change. Turns out I wasn't so paranoid. I really hope that is not it. If this sudden upheaval and outrage over behavior we have grown accustomed to, is because of an infiltration of conservative christians, then I hope they join a mom's club in their church, or I will just hit the road myself.