Commiserating

Commiserating with mom friends is a must right?  

Raising kids is hard. It’s nice to be around people who get that. I kind of thought I would be awesome at it and I would have all these great instincts and my kids would act perfectly because of my superior mothering skills. Turns out, that’s not the quite the case for me. I’m often without instincts, my kids do misbehave, and no one has ever described me as superior! At this point in my life, I’ve given up the ideal of what I thought mothering would be and am just trying my best. Trying my best to raise my kids and trying my best to enjoy them, even in our messiest moments.  

Commiserating with other moms who really get it helps me to find the humor in our not so perfect moments.    

Here’s how a typical commiserating session might go:

Me: You are never going to believe what happened to me this morning! I was upstairs on the phone scheduling a doctor’s appointment and when I came downstairs I saw that one of the girls had been cutting her hair with kid scissors!

Mom friend: I know the feeling. My daughter and I walked away from her homework for a second to look something up on the computer and when we came back, her little brother decided he wanted to do “homework” too and colored all over her paper!  

And then we all laugh because at the time those moments are hard and stressful, but after a while it is funny, and it makes us feel better to get that off of our chests, and here’s another mom who really gets it. The rest of the day is a little easier.  

So, that brings us to this week. Here I am at a mom event, a play date, a meet up, an excursion or whatever you young moms are calling it now, and I am commiserating with another mom.  

Me: So get this, I’m running my 9 year old to the bus because we are late! Again! And my 5 year old apparently thinks I’m leaving forever because she runs out of the house in the cold with no pants on screaming, “Mommy, don’t leave me!”

I chuckle and wait for her to bounce a story back to me.  

Mom friend: (pensively says) That’s funny. But, yeah, how do you make sure they don’t go outside without you? My oldest can reach the door knob now and I’m a little worried about it. Did you keep your doors locked all the time, or did you have a talk with them about safety?

                   Ummmm. Ok. Not a funny story, but…

Me: I don’t know. I can’t remember if I locked the doors when the kids were younger. But mine are pretty obedient and it wouldn’t really occur to them to run out of the house without me. I think this time was like a one time thing.  

                   Ok, now that’s out of the way – let the commiserating begin!

Mom friend: Your kids are pretty obedient aren’t they? I saw them holding hands in the parking lot this morning.  At what age did they start doing that?

And then it hits me. Like a ton of bricks. We are not commiserating. She is asking me for advice! Which in and of itself is not a problem really. It’s kind of flattering actually. The problem is that I was seeing us as contemporaries and we were going to COMMISERATE! But what’s happening here is I’m the older mom! The more experienced mom. The mom she can go to with questions. I know these moms. I love these moms. I’ve peppered these moms with questions.  The their children seem great, so they must be doing it right, so let me get some tips moms. But that’s not me! I’m not “older.” I’m a mom with young kids!  

But then I glance over to this woman’s children, a three year old bashing blocks with a plastic hammer and an 11 month old gnawing on the corner of a board book. The rest of the room shows a similar story. The kids are teeny. Babies crawling around eating cheerios off the floor. Toddlers impulsively grabbing toys and shouting, “mine!”

My kids are 9 and 5. We haven’t eaten a board book in ages. My youngest can dress themselves, brush their own teeth, and pour their own milk (kind of).  My oldest is reading chapter books and gets off the bus on his own. She’s right! I am the older mom!

There will be no commiserating. There will be no laughing release of tension at the end of this conversation.

I politely answer her questions, give her all the best tips and tricks I can remember. I let her know she is a good mom and doing her best. And then I get the hell out of there! I certainly don’t mind giving advice to the younger moms. Just not when I thought I was one of the younger moms!  

I run home, pull out my phone and call one of my best mom friends for some real commiseration. “You are never going to believe what happened to me this morning!”  

How I Learned to Love the Chaos of My Big Family
Do You Love Your Kids?

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