There are actually several reasons why I don't do Mommy Groups. One reason is that I don't like paying for an activity that requires a specific time and day of the week which is in-evidently often missed when you've got two little ones. That is just way too much pressure. It's not that I have anything against them because I do think they can be incredibly helpful for some people. It's just that it doesn't work for me on several levels. First of all, I have twins. And for those of you that are moms of multiples, you understand what I mean before I even write it. Getting twins dressed, diapers changed, enormous diaper bag filled with the shit you need for the day or for that hour, is the most daunting and exhausting thing even for a mom of a singleton. I also live on the 3rd floor of a walk-up. By the time I load them in the car, I'm so worn out that I already want a cocktail or two. One for each monkey I've managed to wrangle in the car and not leave on the curb. By the time I get to the location, I seriously want to turn back and go home. Why? Because I've endured countless minutes that seem like hours listening to one or both scream/ cry because they want out of that bloody, uncomfortable car seat they've been in which faces the uninteresting backseat of my car that they've been staring at for the entire journey. Sound fun? That's only the beginning.
Getting my ridiculously huge stroller out of the trunk of my car nearly destroyers my back. And if I don't get the damn thing set up fast enough, I have monkeys screaming at me again like I'm an asshole. To make matters worse, after I put them in the stroller, I realize I didn't pack enough of their favorite toys to keep them happy. Yup, the anxiety has only begun.
Photo: Shea Curry
Well, I've made it to the location in one piece with both twins and for the moment things are looking up. Then suddenly, I feel this overwhelming serge of suffocation as one mom after another starts asking me a thousand questions. Don't get me wrong, I'm a friendly person and like meeting new people. I enjoy chatting, but a dialogue of just questions is not conversing in my opinion. While I feel obligated to answer these questions in a respectful manner, I also want to politely say, "Aren't we here so the kids can play with each other? I just want a little down time. I just need a break from the animals I entertain all day, and I was hoping your animals might be that distraction I've been so desperately looking for all week." Hmmmm... That probably won't go over well so I answer one question, after another question, after another question, until I feel that I've been interrogated by the KGB.
So I've answered the questions and now the real hell begins- the unwanted advice and solicitation of how I should rear my kids. Now don't get me wrong, I think it's a natural instinct for women to want to help each other. Which, by the way, I think is wonderful! However, when you don't ask for it, it kind of makes your skin crawl. And it REALLY crawls when moms of singletons tell me how to handle my twins. If you think you're some fairy who has figured out all the answers to child rearing, I encourage you to shut your mouth and save your opinions for someone who asks for them. We're doing just fine and if I need advice, I'll ask for it. Trust me I will. And on the flip side, I'm happy to offer my two cents if you ask me, but ONLY if you ask me. And even then, I would preface my response with, "This worked for me, but you have to figure out what works best for you." I have had friends ask me lots of questions about what I did about this or what I did about that when it comes to my kids, and I always end it with, "There is no right way. You have to do what works best for you. This is just what worked best for me and my girls." Even when I had friends that made choices that I didn't think were in the best interest of their child or I disagreed with what their doctor was telling them, I kept my mouth shut. I just find that this is the best way to keep the peace. Like I said before, I'm only here to have a break from the insanity at home. And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather talk about that much needed vacation we all need. And believe me, all moms, even moms of singletons need a vacation.
To conclude, why I don't do mommy groups, I'd like to add that packing the kids up and heading home is always worse. They're so tired and ready for a nap and the drive back always seem to be when the rush of traffic begins, only fueling the car craziness. Then once I'm home getting them up 3 flights of stairs is just a killer. Fun, fun! So no, I don't do mommy groups. I have play dates with other friends and their kids, and it all seems to work out fine. No pressure if one of us is running late or if one of us has to cancel. There's no financial obligation at risk like so many of these mommy groups. No popularity contest to get into a certain group. No wait list if it's full. My play dates are free. They are free from so many unwanted questions. Free of judgment. But NEVER free of fun!