Moving across the country is tough. Doing this alone with a two-year-old and no money is beyond difficult, but we managed. My instinct was to join a parenting support group and meet other fighting mothers as I settled in to my new residence. The day I landed in my new town, I needed to add 3 hours of adventures, lease a car, and discover somewhere to stay. I landed a micro-apartment near a great college campus.
Once we were settled, I put my son in daycare and went jogging around the campus, in which I found a flyer on an kiosk to get a parent support group.
There was an image of multicultural women and their little ones — so I assumed the group who made the flyer could look exactly the same way.
That was my first error.
My very first evening at the parent support team should have been my last, but I am a positive person. The room was bright and open. A vibrant alphabet carpet was occupied by happy kids. Near the narrative nook, there was a poster that had “hi” written in a variety of languages. Before I could introduce myself, my son took off to join the other kids. He was two at the moment, and there wasn’t anything terrible about it. My precocious child was decided to be buddies with everybody.
I want my very first encounter was as welcoming.
Among the women (let us call her Megan) approached me with a tight lipped grin.
“Yes. We only moved here.” I smiled and held my hand out to shake up.
“We hug around here!” She grabbed me until I could deny. Usually I am terrible at hiding my discomfort, but on that day, I deserved an Oscar. Following a embrace that seemed to last minutes, she introduced me to Carol. Carol gave me one of these “we understand each other” smiles and I panicked, thinking she went to college with me or something. It had been worse than that.
“Yes, we kind of met in the parking lot along with her babysitter!”
Now I was very confused. My babysitter? What was she referring to? This moment, my face matched what I had been thinking. They chuckled, then Carol allow me in on the joke.
Before we walked in, my son and I sat on a bench away from the middle. He had been taking photos on my phone, and I had been typing on my pill. I barely looked up when a girl walked by, saying a thing about him being very good at using technologies for this little boy. The humiliation was overpowering.
Their continuing criticism of women who were “too lazy” or even “too greedy” to get off their telephones was quick fire after that. Neither Megan nor Carol looked aware of just how condescending they were.
While my son played, I sat at the center of mothers sharing their general disgust with “most parents.” I had been the poster child for “most parents”: My son watched TV, we only spoke one language, and we ate fast food. By the time the kids were getting their sweaters, I had been doubting all about my ability to take care of my child. Additionally they throw bragged about their husbands and how much better their children might turn out because they stayed in the home. This was a pretty rough 45 minutes.
From politeness, (or even perhaps guilt), I signed up for their parent’s service email list. Despite my experience, my son needed a whole lot of fun so I went back. Much like the week before, the team was still all-white, rescue my son and me. Megan and Carol were giggling at 1 corner, so I moved to the other. I introduced myself to Diane, that had been a divorced mother of two, engaged to some large shot.
She started into describing why I need to choose my “baby daddy” to court for child support, and informed me I would have to split the money with any of the other “baby mamas.”
In the most threatening voice I could muster, I dropped her offer and motioned for the son to come back over. We left without saying goodbye.
Since then, I have combined other parent support groups that are actually supportive. I remember that experience, though. It’s always perplexing to discover mothers who try to. Most of us make errors, and every parent has their own style.
The absence of empathy among mothers is devastating.
The 1 thing the experience helped me recall is that I have options when it comes to that I spend some time with. The whole reason we’ve parent support classes would be to stay strong together. Plenty of people can not help but judge how we raise our kids, but only know that I love you and I understand that you are doing the best with what you have.
With a kid is exhausting, and I think you are doing a great job!