And Jerry wonders why I don’t have friends my age.
Women my age are mean. Most of us are brand new to parenting, so we’re this demographic’s version of a junior high girl. And heaven knows that junior high girls are the cruelest, wickedest creatures on the planet.
If you share with another new mom (or group of moms) a decision you made about parenting your small child (to spank or not to spank, day care or no day care, cloth diapers or disposable, breastfeeding or formula), you can pretty much guarantee that you will be made to feel guilty, unfit, and positively hell-bound for those choices. Almost always.
There are a handful of women in my life who don’t do this to me, and I love them. Most of them do not live here. I wish they did. I’d love to have healthy relationships with other women my age, who aren’t judgmental or harsh about other people’s parenting choices. It’s tiresome to be in this demographic. I feel like I’ve been forced to run a race I never intended to enter. I’d like to walk the course, thanks, and enjoy it, rather than compete with other women for the title of SuperMom.
There are other women in my life who are so gunshy by the experience of being around other mean and nasty women that they’re afraid to ask questions about what to do with their baby. Or they’ll call me to discuss a new decision facing them, and then feel compelled to make excuses for why they’re learning towards choice A or choice B. All I can tell them is the path that led me to whatever choice Jerry and I made, and say, “Every child is different. Do what is right for YOU and what makes YOU comfortable.”
I hate the constant comparisons. “My child doesn’t talk as well as Alice does, and Alice is younger,” or the reverse: “Look at little Johnny — he runs and jumps so well. Isn’t Alice doing back handsprings yet?” I detest feeling like we’re in competition. We’re not. We’re NOT.
So I tend to avoid my own demographic, choosing to spend my time in real life with women who have already DONE the parenting thing, or are further ahead on the course than I am. I can learn from their decisions without feeling judged for mine. They’ve outgrown the junior high mentality of early parenting, and have moved into the nurturing stage that is SO much healthier.
My dearest local friends are either childless, have teenagers, or are empty-nesters. I don’t really have very many close friends with little kids — maybe 1 or 2. And honestly, I like it that way. I love that I can talk to these women about something other than my little kids and how much better/worse at parenting I am than they are.
I’m so TIRED of the junior high attitude of young moms. Agh.