The Mommy Club

I knew of its existence before I became a mom.  I occasionally loathed or was frustrated with its existence.  It kept me on the outside.  I was a non-member.  When I became an aunt back in 2007, I was granted limited membership.  When I was pregnant, my membership access increased, but I didn’t become a full blown member until Oct. 2, 2009 when my daughter entered the world.  It’s The Mommy Club.

In my mid-20s, I was most often frustrated with The Mommy Club exclusion.  I’d be in a social situation and children would come up.  I had none.  I was happy being childless at that time.  But, for some women that would be where our conversation would stop.  They wouldn’t really know what to talk with me about if we couldn’t talk about kids.  It was frustrating.  Many times I’d complain to my husband that I was too old to relate to the other childless folks in my life who were still in college, but I wasn’t able to relate to others in my life because I had no child.  It was a crazy phase.  I’m sure that I’m not the only woman out there who has felt alienated from The Mommy Club.

Then my brother and his wife welcomed a baby girl in August of 2007.  I became a proud — and quite smitten — aunt.  This gave me an “in” with The Mommy Club.  When kids came up, I could at least interject a few stories about my niece.  It wasn’t the same, but it was some sort of common ground.

I still got comments about how I didn’t really know.  Or one of these days, I’d see.  Those comments continued throughout my pregnancy when moms warned me I didn’t know what I was in for.  I scoffed at them.  I rolled my eyes.  I knew it was going to be hard.  I didn’t need to hear it from other people.  Then I had my child and thought, “Why didn’t someone warn me and prepare me for this?”  I realized quickly that there is no way to truly prepare someone for parenthood.  It’s impossible.  Perhaps The Mommy Club needs to work on a better initiation in effort to prepare new moms-to-be.

Since having my own child, I know I’m now a full-fledged member of this club.  I also realize that it’s not that big of a deal.  It’s sort of like getting your driver’s license.  When you are 15 and waiting anxiously for your birthday, it seems like the biggest deal in the world.  Two months after you have your license, though, it’s old hat.  That’s sort of how it is with The Mommy Club.

I’ve talked to other moms about having babies.  It’s kind of what we do.  Mostly, I think it’s a survivor thing.  You want to seek out other women who know what it’s like to go through labor and delivery.  You want to seek out other women who know how you feel when you think you’re the worst mom in the world because you don’t know why your child is crying.  You want to seek out other women who know how your heart has completely exploded with love.  You want to seek out other women who know how hard it is to make your life revolve around one tiny person.  It just comes natural to want to connect with others dealing with the same things you are.

However, I’ve also tried to remember my non-member days.  I love talking about my daughter.  I blog about her often.  I talk about her to my husband, to my mom, to my mother-in-law and to my mom friends.  But, to my non-mom friends, I also talk about other things.  We talk about work, hobbies, movies and more.  Of course they care about my child, and I do share some stories, but I never want them to feel left out.  That’s a horrible feeling.

And I try to save my advice for pregnant friends and family.  I’m more than happy to share advice if asked.  Like most moms, giving advice makes me feel useful.  Plus, it goes back to the survivor mentality: “I went through this and survived.  Let me tell you how.”  But, I also know how annoying unsolicited advice is.  So, I try to refrain.

I’m not sure that there are official membership rules or anything for The Mommy Club.  I’m not sure that all moms even know they are in such a club.  I am pretty sure that all childless women of a certain age are aware of its existence, just like I was.  And to them, I apologize.  I say in advance that every woman has value and importance whether she is a mother or not.  I promise that you can find moms out there who most definitely will talk to you about more than just their children.

And to the other members of The Mommy Club, I think we need a pledge of some sort.  I propose the following:

We pledge to be the best mommies that we can be.
We pledge to encourage other mommies and raise them up when they most need it.
We pledge to be honest and encouraging to pregnant women.
We pledge to strive not to alienate other women without children.
We pledge to embrace all that being a woman encompasses.

What do you think?  Are you familiar with The Mommy Club?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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