The Outsider Inside Her

ed: updated below

Outside/Inside

When your first child was born you were alone. Unable to talk to the other moms at the playground or the Music Together class or the YMCA. Every time you opened your mouth everything came out wrong so you stopped even trying. Everywhere you turned you found yourself faced with another mother's subscriptions to parenting philosophies you didn't understand.

You were almost part of a group once but it didn't work out. You weren't their type. You knew it the moment you pushed your son into the shade of their tree. You were "so young" they said, patting you on the head like a puppy, so cute how you always forgot to bring extra wet wipes, so sad that your son's fingernails were always too long and so dirty.

"When was the last time you cut them?"

"Um... Wait. Are you serious?"

You thought you were becoming friends until that one day happened when you all went to lunch and everyone ordered while you were in the bathroom (trying to workshop a diaper that exploded and the tantrum that followed) so your food came late and no one waited and it shouldn't have mattered but it did and then everyone left while you were still eating because "the kids were rowdy and sorry about that. Hope you have a nice lunch."

So you ate alone with your baby in your lap as everyone else walked on, pushing their matching strollers in their matching yoga pants down the boulevard as you sat by yourself at a vacated table for six, dejected and that was the end of that.

You never found your group so you stopped looking. Pulled your hood over your head and called yourself a misfit. Crossed the street whenever you saw a stroller coming in the opposite direction. Smiled first but always crossed the street.

You threw away emails from PR people trying to sell you antibacterial detergent and tupperware and khaki pants, free samples of hamburger helper, coupons for baby food. You changed the channel whenever accosted by the white-shirted "every mom" and her perfectly white walls without fingerprint stains.

Birthday parties were always interesting. You never knew whether to stand by the BBQ or watch your son on the bouncie thing. You were awkward with introductions, felt like the token little girl at the adult table because you were young and new and never attended parenting classes or lamaze or even college. So you said, hello, and sipped your tap water and checked your cell phone for missed calls you didn't have.

Sometimes it's safer that way. To be on the outside. To stand in the back of the birthday party and watch all the other parents drink beers and talk about private school and when a good time might be to fix the deck. It's safer to take your place on the outside. So instead of making small talk you try to visualize them all having sex with each other and when they ask you what's so funny you shake your head and say, "kids say the darndest things."

You always felt like a child with children. You wished you could find a group of moms who felt the same way, who were just like you in a land where everybody ate together at lunch.

Then one day you wake up to the face of your second child, your baby, and you realize you're kind of a grown-up now so maybe you should start acting like one. You're twenty-seven years old. Which sounds so much older than twenty-three when you say it aloud.

And you go about your day feeling differently about people and yourself. Less need to rebel against the stereotypes you were always afraid would swallow you whole because you've been a parent for four years, now, and you've never stopped being yourself.

"No one is going to steal your identity," you tell yourself. "You can relax"

You feel like a grown-up now. Like someone who has a husband and a family and a career. You never felt like that until now. Until the baby came. No one is going to steal your identity. You can relax. It's called growing up and you're happy to do it. You're tired of sitting at the kid's table. The chairs are too small.

You start to look closer. Pay attention. Listen. Strip away the twin jogging suits and matching strollers. Forget about the age differences and opinions and the fact that you will never remember to pack extra wipes, until everyone is just like you. Not on the outside of course. Not in experience or in parenting philosophy but in the way you always felt like you never belonged.

And the next thing you know you're at your son's friend's birthday party, talking with the other parents, and it isn't weird or awkward but totally organic and even though you don't have a deck to fix you do have an opinion about private vs public schooling. Something you never had an opinion on until recently.

You're on the inside, with no recollection of how you got there. Surrounded by other mothers. Mothers of all ages and opinions and styles and professions and you're proud to be among them. You don't want to stand by the BBQ or by the bouncie thing but with them -- you want to hear their stories and share yours. You wonder what changed. Was it them or was it you or was it the weather? Global warming is known to melt ice caps.

Everyone is just like you on the inside, you think. Outsiders who don't know who to call or where to sign or how to belong or which PPO plan is good for their families. And everywhere you look you see the women in their matching yoga pants and strollers, jogging down the sidewalks. Except you see them differently all a sudden. They no longer scare you or threaten you or cause you to turn around.

Instead you keep walking, maybe even wave because we're all in this together. Because sometimes we have to run away before we turn around and come home. And it's nice to be a part of something.

You don't always have to be on the outside of things to be yourself...


How has motherhood made you a misfit? Have you found that parenthood has made it easier or more difficult to make friends? Do you rebel against the cliches of modern motherhood or embrace them? How have you changed?

I'll pick one commenter at random to win a brand new Micralite Toro stroller (pictured above and below), care of my fab friends at Micralite and Scandinavian Child.

Winner will be picked at random by noon PST Wednesday. Good luck!

GGC

....

Update: Thank you so much for your stories and support and ever honesty. For reminding me daily that I'm not alone. For reminding each other. You are my people, my mom's group, my best friends. I love you all and wish I could pick all of you at random to receive presents.

Congrats to Sarah at Becoming Sarah for being comment #110 (random.org) and sharing your story. Enjoy your new Toro stroller and congrats on your pregnancy!

And to all you local-to-L.A. moms -- I'd love to organize a "judgment free" meet-up so we can love on each other, make friends, lend support, compliment each other's shoes. Please email me if you're interested!

380 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 380 of 380   Newer›   Newest»
Lara | 3:06 PM

I am still waiting for my "grown-up" moment. I had my daughter, Bella, at 23 yrs. old and now I am 6 months pregnant with baby #2 at the age of 27. My issue of fitting in really comes down to finding a happy medium. My girlfriends are just starting to get married, but still no babies and here I am on #2. I would love to be that mom that registers for "mom and me" classes by the deadline or joins the neighborhood play date group, but the reality is I work full-time and I can't seem to make that initial leap. As the years go by I am starting to see and appreciate all the different parenting styles that are out there. My little girl is 4 1/2 and has an easier time socializing with kids in class and making "insta-friends" then I ever will....so, I guess I am doing something right!! Your posting was fabulous!

sunny | 3:08 PM

31, three kids - 7, 4.5 and 8 months. Luckily I've done it all with my best friend and that made all the difference. We did it all together - playdates, mommy and me classes, swim lessons, etc. She's so much more outgoing than I am. Easy at chit chatting and always the social buffer.

By the time our kids started preschool and went to different schools I feel like I had finally developed enough confidence to do it on my own. I feel like I can do anything now...and i really believe I can. I'm thankful for our togetherness in those early years. I wouldn't trade them for anything. But now, I'm on my own. Older and wiser, i guess.

Andrea | 3:24 PM

I am probably one of those yoga-pant-wearing 32 year old moms with the stroller and the degree. But I still feel like the outsider mom.

Im staying home with my 1 year old daughter and dying to make more friends because stay-at-home-mommying can be quite boring at times - Im searching for adult conversation during the day.

Ive tried out 3 different mommy groups, but not clicked with any of them. It's like dating all over again. I find that if the group is already established, all of the moms have already made friends, and have children of the same age, and arent necessarily open for one more with a baby that cries and spits up - they are passed that stage and view me as an annoying step back.

So most of the weekly playgroups arent really about befriending one another. Rather, it is an exercise in small talk about the latest sale at Gymboree, and commenting on how the kids are interacting.
And I think the mommies in the group meet in 2s or 3s at other times during the week for real conversation, or have girl talk on the phone.

So I gave up organized playgroup last month, and just started taking my daughter to a weekly storytime at the library. There I met a wonderful mom who Im becoming friends with, and really click with. I think once I stopped trying so hard, it all worked out.

g_unit | 3:28 PM

Holy mother of freak. What DID people do before the Internet, other than feel and be all alone. I have to repeat lots of other comments by saying you are freakishly in my head. I'm a pretty social person, some might even call me fun but when I get around other moms and dads, hard as I try, I become either mute and socially defunked. I mean it's (sometimes borderline most times always) awkward. I'm getting to the point (babygirl is 1 1/2+) that it's not painful for me or others, but I have literally chased people away when trying to make conversation at a Babies R Us. True story. The thing that is strange is I've never felt more at peace with myself and proud for helping bring this little girl into the world who will be changing it - when I look into her eyes, I rock. As we walk toward the park or attempt to participate in a mom's group or play date it all fades and I become this irrational kid who can't make eye contact and has a mild/major case of verbal diarrhea. Insecurities set in and I am lost. I'm not sure when, why or how but I have been able to come across this viral community that even though I may sit/read in a distance I find solace that I'm not alone. One day things will turn right side back up and if I'm not one of the cool kids, I hope to not be that awkward girl to steer clear from.

khairun | 3:30 PM

I still have a while to go before motherhood takes hold of me-5 months to be precise, but I am already feeling the sense that Im being judged. Most of it are hormones running wild Im sure and the emotional courage that I feel I dont have in order to enter a whole new world. The world of parents! I hope i can get there in one piece, but most of all, that I'll find a supportive environment. Reading your post has made me think that it can't be an impossible thing. We are after all, in the same boat, just wanting to do whats best for ourselves and our children. The feeling of being judged, once I remind myself of this, becomes less of a fear, even if its a persistant nuisance. Kiss my well-rounded arse is what I'd say! Im looking forward to prospect of just keeping things real,instead of being a wallflower. Mummy power!

Kristi | 3:31 PM

Well...I live in isolation (no for real...I live up north...takes a little bitty plane to get here and I've heard the co-pilot once held the door shut until it finally latched when the plane took off...crazy -sorry I get side-tracked) and there is not one other mother around me in my circle of friends. Not one other kid around. I think this makes it hard for them to spend time with me and I often think to myself..."was that okay that I just said that my son stuck his hand in his diaper and pulled out poopy fingers?" I now realize too that I've been afraid to be the Mom I want to be for fear of others finding out that I'm far FAR from the norm! Or maybe I am the norm. It's all so confusing! Great post! It's definitely me.

Megan | 3:46 PM

I'm still afraid of the other moms, but I do have a group of girlfriends who don't scare me. I think that having kids has made me realize more about how vulnerable I am to their whims. Like, I totally get my feelings hurt and take it very personally if the boy doesn't want to hold my hand. The day is coming when he won't want to hold it ever and seriously the thought of it breaks my heart. I never thought I would be so resistant to them growing and gaining independence and slowly becoming adults. It sure doesn't feel slow.

whatthekel | 3:47 PM

I found myself choosing new friends instead of the ones I had, for years, because I just can't handle their choices anymore. It is long and involved and messy...and it hurts. I have a responsibility to my sons to make choices based on their safety and their lives. But in the 4 years now that I have become a Mama, all my friends now are all Moms too, they are drama free for the most part, and good people. I KNOW that I have changed, so much. I am so proud of the person I am and I only hope my children will be proud of who I am too.

Nicole B. | 4:00 PM

I have found that I fit in and connect with strangers more and at the same time my closest friends (with kids)feel more distant. It's odd, it's cool, it makes me sad and other times it makes me smile. I'm still sorting it out.

OEsme4046 | 4:08 PM

I'm not lucky enough to be a mom yet, but I have seen my fair share of 'mommy moments'.
For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a mom. I wanted to get married young and have three or four kids by the time I was thirty. Well, I just turned 26 and I have no kids, and I don't even have a boyfriend. I am surrounded by friends who are starting to have children and I feel left out in that sense. They are all moving on with their lives and I am stuck with nothing.
At gatherings, my friends are always talking about the new and funny things their kids are doing and I feel left out and out of the loop.
I'm constantly reading blogs about motherhood, helping friends with their kids, and it's a never ending, internal struggle.

Lialadee | 4:21 PM

Thank you for posting this. I feel like I'm not the only 'outcast' momma. No one ever really invites me to playdates or anything like that. Which isn't a problem I guess, but it would just be nice to have my son around more children. (we do go to the park on a regular basis so he is around other kids) Once in awhile I will get together with my SIL for a playdate but I hate asking her because she's always busy(having 4 kids and all) and she lives 45 minutes away. I guess what really sucks is I can't just call up a mom and be like yo, meet me at the park in 5.

HennyBeeMama | 4:24 PM

rebecca,
i totally relate to so much of what you just said. i was nodding my head and tearing up in solidarity. i ended up being a young mom, even though i felt totally ready, willing and able. it turns out that most of the moms who i became friends with, or ran in the same circles with, were at least 5 years older than me. at first i felt SO self conscious about my age. i would never tell anyone how old i was, unless they asked. i felt like a teen mom, even though i was doing an awesome job and was mega-confident about being a mama. more confident than i had ever been in any other area of life.
i felt a shift too after i had my second child. i started to not give a shit about my age and actually feel pretty psyched that i'm young. i am inching toward thirty and i'm actually dreading it. i like being a young mom. i'm hip, i have energy, i have my whole life ahead of me to enjoy my family and a career when the kids are older. i know that i'm a bad ass mom and i don't care what anyone thinks anymore.
and btw, if we didn't live on different coasts, i would LOVE to start a play group with you!

Cave Momma | 4:27 PM

I feel I am the outcast you described but I believe most of that comes from my own insecurities. I don't have the newest stroller or the cutest diaper bag. I don't always dress my baby in the trendiest clothes and I definitely don't have the most awesome mom-car (yet).

Although motherhood has estranged me (and my husband) from most of the friends we have, I have found it has made it easier to connect with people even if for only a moment. No matter what, every mom can relate to poopy diapers, tantrums and big gummy smiles.

I am still struggling to find the right group for me but I know I will get there eventually. I struggled with fitting in for a long time but I have learned to embrace life and my differences and I know everything will find it's place.

Great post, great blog. My son is almost 6 months old so it has been fun watching our little ones grow up "together".

Desiree Fawn | 4:35 PM

We are young parents. I'm 22, he's 28.
I am SO grateful to have young mama friends in our lives -- I know it would be nearly impossible without them, their love & their support.
<3

Jae | 4:37 PM

I feel like kind of a misfit because I make it a point to take a shower and put on some make-up everyday whereas the women that I know who have kids don't shower everday and are shocked that I have a well-stocked make-up drawer that I use daily.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a glamour girl on a daily basis but I slap on some concealer and some mascara, even if I'm just hanging out at home. Like you said, you're still you. This helps me to remember I'm still me. The old me wore make-up everyday, the new mom me is gonna do it, too.

wimbittworld | 4:42 PM

Wow. Just WOW. I was 23 when my son was born. I was always the young one of the mothers in public, but the old one of mothers in my family. I come from a deep south mostly uneducated bunch and to them I was an old maid. I was trying desperately to break away from my family, they are a terribly dysfunctional group, but i couldn't find anywhere to be because I wasn't like the other mommies. I hadn't gone to college, I hadn't had a career that I bravely left for the sake of a family, I couldn't afford to shop at Oilily, or even The Children's Place. I didn't have a husband, I was not the same as they were. When my son was very small, the only place I found acceptance was at a church. I wasn't even very religious, but those people opened their hearts to me and my baby. The old ladies knit him blankets and hats and booties and the young women passed him from pew to pew when he wouldn't stop complaining out loud. I eventually moved away and didn't go to church anymore. I eventually married. I eventually had two more children. But I never have had good friends among other mothers.

Becky | 5:01 PM

Wow, I love it. I had my kids at just 23 and just 26. It's so comforting that other younger moms felt the same way - I thought it was just me, but perhaps that was the isolation speaking. I'm also 27now, and with my second child and time, I have finally gotten comfortable in my own skin and parenting skills. I wish someone would have told me this back at 23 with a newborn and no clue.

Ellen | 5:13 PM

i definitely feel more like a misfit... and a hermit. But I do things my way... and love being a mom.

Caressa | 5:13 PM

I read what you write and I find myself thinking, "Yes! Exactly." at every turn. Is is just as you said--when you're new, you're on the outside. You just are. Even if you seem "accepted," you're really not ... not necessarily unaccepted by others, but by yourself. You never seem to fit the mold you have in your head of a "Mom." But as you gain experience, you come into your own. That's what happened to me. It was either time, or experience, or my darling baby girl's birth, but something changed. And the scared, awkward, shy person I was as a mom in front of other moms with my infant son is a polar opposite to the comfortable, confident, knowing mom I am now with both my kiddos. Now I can smile a "Kids sure are a handful" smile with another mom in the grocery store without worrying (re: caring) about what they think my smile means.

Mommy Melee | 5:23 PM

I had a baby before all of my friends did. In fact, most of my friends are still single. For the first two years I struggled to meet anyone I connected with. I didn't know about mom bloggers. I was over on Livejournal writing with other people who didn't have kids, or who had kids in high school. I felt lonely and isolated. But last year I finally met cool moms in town, and we all had babies within four months of each other. I finally feel like I have a tribe and it feels damn good. On top of that, I got on this blogging kick and I've made oodles of friends online. Things are looking up for me, mom-wise. I'm grateful.

Anonymous | 5:27 PM

I love this post. It really sums up how I felt in the beginning and how I feel now. I wasn't as young as you when I had my first but most of the moms near me are close to 40 if not 40 already so 28 was pretty young to them. I thought I could fit in because I always got along better with older kids in school but this was different. They were way more conservative than I was and I was much too relaxed about my child for their liking. I have finally found a few people similar to me that I can just relax around but it took almost three years and another child to get there. Thanks for posting this.

Mae S.

Amanda | 5:37 PM

wow, I thought that because I'm a lesbian mom I felt these things that you write of...I guess it's an "every mother" issue... thanks, I needed that.

Rosanna =) | 5:52 PM

I'm about 9ish weeks away from being a mom but why do other moms feel the need to make me feel like an outsider because I'm choosing to have a natural birth? I'm tired of the sarcastic "good luck" responses.

Rebecca, I'd join your mommy group any day!

P.S. I just won last week and we already have our stroller so pick someone else if my number comes up!

=)

carolasamom | 5:53 PM

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was a senior in college, a month from graduation, had broken up with the father of the baby, and all I could think of was “my life is over, my life is over”… over and over again. And when the father of the baby refused to be a part of this experience, this new life, I thought for sure, “my life is over, my life is over.” I envisioned a life of shame, a life of regret.

Never, will I be able to go back to the life I had before. It’s been a year since I’ve found out I was pregnant. It’s true that I’ll never be able to return to how life was, but if given the chance now, I would never want to return to my life before. Never, in a million years, would I be able to envision life like this, happy like this, a life so full like this.

The only moms I know are 30, 40+ with children in high school, women part of the church I go to. I’ve discovered that moms are a part of a secret society – induction only through giving birth. And though we have barely anything in common, we are united through motherhood. Just knowing that they’ve gone through the contractions, the labor, the pain, the sleepless nights gives me enough comfort in knowing that I’m not alone, that every mom shares my indescribable joy and unconditional affection that I have when I look at my own baby.
So though an outcast I may be amongst the ‘typical’ moms, I am a mom, nonetheless. And nobody can take that title away from me.

jjlibra | 5:57 PM

Don't need a stroller- thanks anyway- but wow can i relate to being on the outside when it comes to other mothers. I was 19 when i had my oldest and have always been the youngest mom in the school yard. now that i am 33 with a 5 year old the age thing has evened out (even though i'm on my 3rd and the other moms are on first or second) but i still feel like an outsider. i went on a class trip with my daughter and i had nothing to say to the other mothers. i'm not a snob. i have lots (by lots i mean like 5 really good friends) of friends. friends without kids and friends who were my friends before they had kids. but making with friends with other mothers? not so much. it's funny that this post comes now because just last week i did actually make a friend with another mother. she came over with her daughter for a "playdate" (argh!) and gave me the "oh we need to leave in a little bit because we have company coming" and 3 hours later she was still at my house and we were talking and laughing and acting like idiots. she's ten years younger than i am. and she's black in an all white (white/chinese) neighborhood. i have befriended another outsider and it felt so right. but i can't seem to click with women my age who have children. i don't know why. maybe because i'm silly? maybe because i like to do the robot at totally random times? have they all lost their sense of fun or are they just pretending to be "mature" because they think they have to? is it immature to laugh and dance and make innapropriate jokes? i don't know but if that's maturity then i don't want to grow up. i just wish i wasn't the only one on the playground that felt that way.

Erika | 6:01 PM

It's funny how much I relate to your post. I've always been a misfit though, never sure of my identity until later in life. At 33 I had my first kid and suddenly I was the older one. Yet, I knew nothing and was at square one like everyone else. I flitted from one group to another trying deperately to find my place. Worrying that if I couldn't my son would suffer and be just as much of a misfit as me. Finally I realized we really are all in this together. If we listen to each other and care about what the other is saying there is so much good stuff to learn from each other. I'm still a misfit, still don't quite fit in with the other Mom's at the breast feeding group, storytime or local rec center. But you know what I go when I have the courage and I always walk away with a way to get through the nights of no sleep, or the fevers or the what on earth do I feed a 10 month old? Then I read my favorite blogs, laugh, cry and remember that a mom is a mom; we love, we laugh and we are not perfect.

Anonymous | 6:01 PM

wow, this is exactly how I feel almost everyday of my life. The funny thing is when I am at my most insecure about my parenting abilities, that is when someone tells me that they admire my style of parenting and want some advice. I just have to look at them in disbelief. How could anyone think that I know more than them or care enough to hear my profound opinions when I am struggling to not look like a fool around the other mothers. I guess we all feel that way at one time on another.

Jacque | 6:01 PM

What if I'm not a mom yet? Probably doesn't count huh?! But that Fable sure is cute!! Can I borrow her?

Lauren | 6:26 PM

Honestly, when I read some of your posts, it is like you are in my mind. I was just thinking about this and how I fit in to the whole "mommy clique". I too, was young when I had my first and totally felt like an outsider but now with #2, I am finally finding my place in this mommy world. I can't really explain what changed. Maybe I feel more comfortable in my own skin now that I feel a little more experienced? All I know is that once I dropped my insecurities and let my guard down, other mothers welcomed me with open arms and it feels great. Thanks for a great post.

Danielle and Connor | 6:34 PM

Motherhood has alienated me from my previous life. I'm an attorney at a large law firm. And although I'm not a young mom -- 29 years old! -- most of my peers/friends do not have children yet. I no longer get invited to many social functions. I took six months off work and when I went back, I felt like I had traveled to the moon. I absolutely adore my son though. It's all worth it -- but I'm anxious to meet other mothers in my situation.

Great post.

Allison the Meep | 6:38 PM

The first part of your story could have been taken from my journal. I don't have a second baby, so I haven't gotten that far yet.

But being 23 and having a newborn in L.A., and not fitting in with the cool moms was really rough for me. It made me a total hermit. I turned to books, good movies, and being crafty to make me feel happy instead of trying to fake it with the moms I wasn't cool enough for. I tried it for a while. I put up with atrocious behavior, just because I wanted to say that I had a girl friend. But it never worked out for me. L.A. was a really tough city for me to have a baby in.

Things are much better now that I'm living in a new town where people will talk to me even though I'm not someone impressive. I hope the next time I have a baby, the new mom thing won't be such a tough gig.

Beanhead | 6:40 PM

Holy Hell. Where do I start with this entry?

I have 4 daughters. I have suffered from postpartum after each one of them. That alone makes me feel like a misfit because it seems as though none of my friends went through it. My 4th daughter Holly (who is currently 6 weeks) has been a good baby for me. However that lonely saggy feeling of depression has been creeping it's way back into my life again. All of my friends are done having their babies therefore their children are a bit older. So I feel trapped within my home with my 2 youngest children.
Everyday is the same day...over and over. Now that spring has arrived after a VERY long winter I can start to find freedom again outside these walls however I find once I am around moms again. I get shy, worried about what they may think of me. Call me crazy for having 4 children when the standard seems to be 2. This is what depression does to me. It lowers my self esteem.
I know that things will get good again and I will be back to normal, but it feels so strange and wrong in the meantime to speak with other moms.
I know that this has gone on a bit of a rant of sorts but I must say that it feels quite nice to write as though I am speaking to another mom who has no judgements.
Maybe it is easier to have my kids as friends during this period of time. They at least don't judge me.

Postpartum sucks.

trisherann | 6:52 PM

I was older when I had son but I wasn't the traditional married mommy and daddy. I have always been a single mom doing it on my own and you described how I feel at each and every birthday part to a T. I think that each of us feels inferior in our own little way when we start.

It's refreshing to hear that maybe it is a little different with your second.

Lauren | 7:09 PM

Oh gawd where to begin. I just squeezed out my first blue-eyed darling. One year ago I was living in London working as a high-flying art-buying lay-dee. Then I found out I was pregnant. My husband works on nuclear powered submarines and we used to meet up all over the world for subterranean rendezvous; now he flies to me and the babe. I've never been in one place long enough to find a play-group so I am enjoying these new roots. I take my son everywhere and love him so... but I simply cannot subscribe to the Pledge, Bounty, and Sham Wow school of paranoia parenting. My son is tousled and filthy. Isn't that what being a child is all about?

I've certainly changed. I am quieter, more circumspect. I am unwilling to waste my time on unworthy folks because, hey!, I could be spending that time bonding with my little family. What exactly ARE the cliches of modern motherhood? Is it characterized by an excessive use of hand sanitizer? Because if so -- yes, I rebel. Ooooh, I rebel.

Samtastic | 7:15 PM

Motherhood has turned my world upside down. I was 21 when I got pregnant and it was completely and totally unexpected and unwanted at the time. (Of course, once I found out there was no decision but to grow up and become a Mommy, but having a baby at 22 was never the dream!)

Having a baby has made me feel more introverted and sulky than I have ever been in my entire life. For the duration of my pregnancy and several months into my son's life I was holed up in my house and I didn't want to come out. I don't know how to make friends, and why would I want to? To compete for who has better things, who's baby develops faster? Please. And the friends I had, how would we relate now? How could they possibly understand what its like for me now? Not to mention, why would they even want to hang out with me, the lame-o Mom who wants to be in bed by 10? Socially I felt like it had ruined me.

I'm only beginning to feel better. I do find that I am uninterested and a little intimidated by making Mom friends. I just look and them and realize that's not who I want to be. I feel inadequate. I feel like I will be judged for what I have or haven't done, and I don't really have time for that bullshit right now.

Most days I just tell me myself the pre-baby friends who have stuck around are more than enough. They loved me then and they love me now. At this point I am not looking for new friends. It is hard enough adjusting to my life as it is - I don't want to throw any new people in it yet.

Owen's Mom | 7:37 PM

Great post! I'm not a young mom though I was the first among my friends to have kids. Then moved across the country where we have no friends and family. Would love to try again to find a network of mom friends but it's hard to track down moms these days when we don't do a lot of the structured activities the other toddlers' families do, and they're almost always nannies anyway....

kim | 7:39 PM

First, I have to say that I love how unapologetically honest and raw that you are. I feel like everyone can probably relate to something that you said in this blog. For me I guess I am the younger mother in my circle of friends but my kids are older than theirs. Finding the connection wasn't difficult with my closest friends, because we were priorly connected. The thing is my family and I are always at different stages and places than our friends, and sometimes it's so difficult for me to feel like they can relate. A mommy needs to be able to relate so that they don't feel crazy when their 3 year old spontaneously starts stripping her pants off in the middle of the mall because they were bothering her (sidenote- eeekk!!). Instead I am often the mommy with the kid that does freaky things until their kids finally catch up a year or 2 later and they realize - oh that was just a stage & my kid isn't acutally crazy. Or now they finally realize why we couldn't take our 1 1/2 year old out to dinner at 9:30pm. And in a couple of months they will realize why we didn't like it when they suddenly changed locations on us for our neice's birthday lunch 3 times while our 6 1/2 month old was screaming waiting for us to finally stop the car so that he could nurse (they have a daughter but she was adopted at 1 yr old and therefore nursed). Plus, I am always the pioneer and it would be nice for once get to learn from someone else who has gone through the bedwetting, pacifier weaning, etc. etc.

Ok, I think that about does it. Did you ask for a comment or an entire post in your comment section? ;) I am glad I found your blog, it's refreshing.

Mommynightowl | 7:39 PM

you are such a good writer. The first part hit home.
I haven't made my way inside yet. I am very shy when I first meet mothers. I'd rather follow my daughter around practically on top of her rather than strike up a conversation with another mommy I don't know. Motherhood had made me a misfit with my friends. I was the first to have a baby and they never realized I couldn't do certain things anymore. I have found being a parent has neither helped or harmed me in making friends, I am so socially akward when I first meet people I never talk first. I think I rebeled at first but have finally started embracing cliches. I think motherhood has forced me to mature. To think more about the future. Start to re-evaluate how I spend money, go back to school, etc.

ACTing Like A Mama | 7:40 PM

I was 25 when I had my son. I never thought that I was young, but all my friends where so surprised (especially as it was planned) that I had decided to be a 'mum'. It made it hard to find anyone that was supportive in a truly productive way. When I arrived at mothers goup (HAving just turned 26!)I realised I was the 'baby' of the group, out of 13 mothers I was the only one in my 20's - the rest where in their 30s & 40's. Some of the comments and judgements made about me really hurt at the time, but luckily for me, two friends shone through the haze of 1st time motherhood. A girl with tatts all over her body and a tiny quiet girl who had a lot to say, but rarely said it. We joined together, us motherhood misfits, and have created hopefully lifelong friendships not just for us, but for our children.

Kriss | 7:40 PM

I've always been kind of a misfit. Talked too loud, laughed too long, wore generic clothes which were ill-fitting on my chubby body. Motherhood at the ripe old age of 36 hasn't really changed any of that.

The biggest cliche I've tried to rebel against is this whole "club of motherhood" thing. I was infertile for 6 years before my son came along last August, and that was so much more lonely and isolating than motherhood could ever be.

I can't ever see myself socializing with women I don't like, just because we both have children. My friends are my friends, regardless of their parental status.

lien | 7:51 PM

I am a fairly new parent. Being a mom turn me from being happy to be an outsider to wanting to be an insider so my daughter can have a chance to socialize with other kids. My daughter knock down my wall and brought in sunlight.

Sabrina K. | 8:14 PM

With my first it was all about trying to hold on to my single childless friends. The mom friends I made were all flaky weirdos to me, but my single friends (for the most part) weren't ready to deal with the reality that I had responsibilities to someone else. I stayed friendless for a long time.

With my second child it seemed to intensify, this lonliness. My baby was sick. He wasn't like other babies. I couldn't stay involved in anything because I always had to be home, scared to death he'd try to die again, watching him struggle to grow, to develop, to breathe. No one could relate to my fear, my needs, any aspect of my life. I finally found a niche.

Here we are almost 3 years and one MORE move later, and I'm back at square 1 for the thrid time.

I don't think the need to fit in and the unique situation each woman is in with her children are always compatible. I mean, even women with the "right" number of kids, who wear the "right" clothes, who have the "right" hair, makeup, and body shape still have tourble finding a great mom friend, or even a great childless friend who can accept their motehrhood for what it is.

Windy | 8:18 PM

GREAT POST GGC! You always get me thinking....BTW This is one of my favorite "misfit" outlets ;)

Motherhood has made me a misfit in a way that I never thought it would. I never had a good relationship with my own mother and so in certain ways I feel like I am a misfit for just plain not knowing. I always assumed that because I was outgoing and easily adaptable that my streamline into motherhood would happen effortlessly. Boy, could I have ever been more wrong. For beginners, motherhood can be very isolating whether you stay at home or not. I have learned this from the few Mom's I have met who work and who do not. What is not isolating is knowing that we all feel this way at times. I feel that as a mother I can always do better. So do they. If we stay at home we have guilt over things we cannot control, if we work we have guilt over things we cannot control. Simply put, we simply cannot win. Making friends has been hard and easy. It has been easy to make friends who share the commonality of having children but aside from talking about children, playdates, strollers, breast pumps, and nursing bras there is not much else to discuss or the time to discuss it. It has been hard to make friends who have bothered to get to know me as a person, what I aspire to be, (besides a, dare I say it...Mom). The kind of friends I had before I had my children. Why is it so hard to get the "Moms" together for a Taco Tuesday say without belonging to a Mom's group? When we were single and we were on a man-hunt we went after work and didn't miss. Some of the cliches of modern motherhood I have embraced, like investigating double strollers, slings, and mommy blogging and some I have rejected such as kid bragging, frump dressing, and one-upping. There will always be another Mother who has more patience than me, who cleans better than me, who bakes better cupcakes, with nicer nails, who shows up smiling and on time. There will not however be any other Mother who loves my children more than I do, and if I can say at least that with conviction at the end of every head banging, pulse pounding, crazy, dirty diaper-filled, pancake-making, craft-doing, want to jump-out-your-first-story-window kind of a day, then I know it doesn't matter where or with who I fit in because at least I fit into me.

citycradle | 8:20 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience. Becoming a mom has sure changed even the way I view friends. I have lost a lot of myself in the last few months raising my twins and I am finding I hang on much tighter to the relationships I have with other MOMS. If for nothing more thank maintaining my sanity!

My handle is Craezie Lady: this is what I'm all about. | 8:20 PM

I feel like you've written a chapter, not only about your own life, but mine as well. I know I didn't have my first child as young as others out there (I was 21), but if ever I felt I didn't belong, it was when my son started daycare at age 2, when I realized that I was the only under-thirty mom in the class. At my local library and playground, I'm still the only under-thirty mom with more than two kids (try 4) and none of them still in diapers, but I don't feel like an outsider anymore, either, because I know that I know just as much about being a parent as these other moms, if not more. I know that my kids and I are happier as we are than we would be if I was a schmutzy 9-5'er with a mortgage and a fancy car and a stick up my butt. Believe me, there was at time when I wanted that life! But the reason that I'm no longer an outsider is not because I'm an insider, rather because I don't want in anymore. Public vs. private? Homeschool all the way, baby! Picture perfection? More like comfortable in my own skin! I'm married for the second time, because I didn't value myself the first time around and neither did he. So I'm at a place in my life when I don't need the approval of the mommy-in-crowd to feel secure about my own mommy status. I'm one non-soccer-mom, I'm a craezie lady, and I'm happy with that!

Becky | 8:28 PM

I've always been into the idea of being a Mom....Just always been wary of having my outside match how I feel on the inside.....(oh, the jeans with stretchy waistbands, the sweaters with holiday themes, the short, dorky haircuts)....So I occasionally dye my hair purple and have kept my nosering so I won't look like a Mother so totally devoted to her kids that she forgot to look in mirror.......Aside from that one little thing......I felt pretty good on my own being a Mom......but MAN, was I lonely......I found so many women on the Internet as a new Mom, but no one in real life....THAT was the hard part. I've since met PLENTY of Moms, all with different views, some of the yoga pants variety, some not.....I've learned it is just a question of knowing where to look.

Being a Mom was never about giving up who I was, or altering my personality, appeance or views for the benefit of others.....Mother or not, you will like me based on me, and not the kind of stroller I push or my views on baby wipes and circumcisions for boy babies.

Backpacking Dad | 8:33 PM

I embrace the cliches of modern motherhood.

My nipples hurt and the sippy cups are always dirty.

gypsy | 8:33 PM

I am pregnant with my first kid, and I'm already a misfit. I am an old mom - just getting started at 35. My friends and I never grew up. We were partiers, wild girls, swingletons.

Now many of them don't call me - what would be the point? I can't stay up late and drink with them. I'm married and don't chase boys. They could care less what kind of strollers and baby bottles I'm researching, and they've heard enough about baby decor to choke an elephant.

I do have some friends who have kids, but those kids are 12 and 13 and 14 years old, and my friends are going back to normal, where they get to go out on weekends and they don't dicuss daycare costs or the best diaper brands anymore. They're over it. They did this in their early 20's, like NORMAL people.

Also, my husband is on the road for months at a time now, trying to save up enough money that we can actually afford to keep the critter that is growing inside me, so I'm more isolated than ever.

I think that stroller would make me feel better. ;)

The Adventures Of Mama Sun And Baby Light Beam | 8:49 PM

I remember sitting at my first La Leche meeting, 12 weeks pregnant, and feeling like I would never fit in. I was too young (at 30!) and I looked out of place with my dreads and skinny jeans.
But now that baby is here it's amazing how much everything kind of clicks into place and you find yourself so passionate about all things mummy and baby related.
I do however, feel more like a misfit than ever because my own parenting "philosophies" seem to go so very much against the grain. But then again, maybe everyone feels that a little.

As for making friends, it's been much easier now than it was when I was pregnant. But it's a new type of friend...mums. And we're connected through our shared experience of motherhood rather than similar music tastes or because we hang out at the same bar.

Melissa | 8:50 PM

Love this post!! All of my friends in my town are much younger- they are in my husband's graduate program (or their girlfriends). I felt like the misfit before- being married, over 30 (they are all 23-26 and nowhere close to married), and a having baby. My mommy's group makes me feel sane. They know what I'm going through, and they get how in love I am with my 5 month old. It is so refreshing and welcome! I still love hanging out with my childless friends, but it is so nice to have friends who are in the same place as I am. It is a common bond that ties you. I feel like motherhood has allowed me to befriend people that I normally wouldn't, and I've learned so much about myself through these new friendships.

humpsNbump | 8:51 PM

My first baby is due in a couple of weeks, and I can already see myself heading in the 'misfit' direction. While a few of my friends have kids, I am still in denial about the fact that I will be a mother. At 38 weeks, I'm in denial.

Apart of the reason why is because I don't know how to redefine myself as a mother. It's the world unknown and I don't know how I will react to it, or what kind of mom I will be. (I write a bit about that in a recent post - http://humpsandbump.blogspot.com/2009/04/big-day-leaving-work.html).

Thanks so much for sharing your story in this post. It's beautifully written, and like everything else on this blog, it's real. Thanks.

~ humps

xxoo | 9:05 PM

I have always been an outcast. I never was apart of the dominant religion in Utah so I grew up knowing that my idenity was determined by being different. I embraced it when I was younger by swearing and talking about all the sex I wasn't actually having.

As I read this post I began to cry. I have 0 count them 0 friends. My old friends wife has a child around my daughter's age (8 months) but she is super mom and I feel so inadequate. Her baby is younger by 3 weeks and is crawling while my baby is scooting with no intention. She has a happy husband (who used to be my friend) and I am mid break up with the father of my daughter.

I moved to the suburbs trying to get more help. I want to look at the moms in my neighborhood in their brand new cars with expensive clothes on there kids and yell. I want to yell that I was considered cool in many circles. I know people. I was wanted by many men. I want them to be interested in me but alas they are not. Not a hello, not a smile because they have not seen me in church therefore I am (as always) the outcast.

There are no playdates in my future. No mothers to hide from because they hide from me. I am afraid my daughter will not have friends because I do not have friends. I have my mom and hopefully my little Sophia will be happy with just having me.

*mary* | 9:22 PM

Well said! I still feel like the misfit, at 31 years old. I have such a hard time identifying with the mothers where I live, but I am always willing to try. This is my first go-round. Hopefully it gets better.

PS- that lunch story just about made me cry. Awww, they LEFT you! Cold.

breedermama | 9:32 PM

That was me. I was 21 when I had the Bear, all of my friends were non-breeders so I went out into the wide world expecting to bond with others who had procreated.

Bear was 3 before I found my tribe... and even then I felt awkward.

Little Biddle came along and it's a whole new world.

.jennifer. | 9:36 PM

I remember sitting in the hospital after my first daughter (now 4 1/2) was born and crying. I cried on the way home. I cried days later in the bathroom. I cried weeks later in my bed with her cradled in my arms. I can't say that it was sadness, but certainly some of it was fear.

When my younger daughter was born fourteen months ago, I remember thinking "let's do this." We came home and we just went to it. The four of us fell into our routine which in it's own way is it's own tragedy. There was no drama. There was no life altering, debilitating fear. There was us. A family.

I look back now a little over a year later and see the beauty in both of those memories. However, I am a changed woman. I think as I type that... woman? Really? I'm 25!!! Where did my childhood go! And I realize that although my childhood has faded into ever after, theirs has only just begun. Our family is just like any other family except that we're special to each other. We're just like my co-workers except that I don't hate my family. We're just like my family without the dysfunction.

How awesome is that?

AmyAnne | 9:42 PM

Great writing. You expressed almost exactly my metamorphosis. And by my 3rd child I'm a outrageous combination of I don't care, all grown up and "Hi, I'm Amy."

Suzie | 9:42 PM

I went from a shy, quiet one who would rather run and hide than talk to a new person to an outgoing, slightly demanding mom of four. Now I won't hesitate to step up and say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done...or dye my hair pink! I have become, at my ripe old age of 36, a mom misfit!

rollergirl | 9:51 PM

Wow... I am not the only one. You have just summed up the last seven years of my life. I was totally in my element before having my first baby. Always comfortable at parties, totally confident in my job, lots of friends. Then wham! I found myself an outsider in the park, at the playgroups, fumbling around in the baby stores with no idea what I needed to be buying. When I met other mothers I just didn't want to talk about baby things. They didn't get me, and I couldn't pretend to be like them. I had never felt loneliness like that before. I couldn't talk to my husband about it. None of my before-baby friends had babies back then, they were all at work all day and out at night. So isolating! But I made it. Now after my second, I have re-connected with many of my before-baby friends (my real friends) who now have kids, and I am very precious to them because they actually think that after all these years I know what I am talking about. Thanks for articulating it so well.

Rock It | 10:00 PM

I'm in that boat right now. I always wanted more friends and now that I have a baby I really wish that I had mommy friends and didn't feel like a misfit. Being a young mom like you say is such a big issue to me. Going anywhere and feeling like people are looking at me like poor her, poor baby. I'm in my 20's and made a very happy decision and my baby is happy so don't feel sorry for me. Looking at mommies with their fancy strollers and fancy expensive baby items is so frustrating because I wish I could have that and give those "things" to my girl but were doing great without them. (Although that stroller your giving away looks great and I want it...lol) Thanks for the post, as usual I loved it.

kathryn | 10:18 PM

i have had a really hard time finding a mom identity, and thus finding kindred moms. during maternity leave, i felt like i could start going to baby book hours and parent-baby yoga, but didn't let myself get excited about those things because i knew i would have to give them up in a few weeks. then i became a working mom on a team full of single people, and that was lonely. then i became a laid-off mom, which was kind of like maternity-leave mom all over again... and now i'm back-to-work mom. it is hard to meet up with other moms for a stroller stride when the ground keeps shifting under your feet.

Barb @ getupandplay | 10:24 PM

I live in a culture (Mormon Utah) where at age 26 I am one of the "older" first time moms. I feel that I am becoming a mom (two weeks ago!) at the perfect time for me, yet I see women all around me who are mothers of several young children. It's a difficult place to be without falling prey to comparisons. So and so is the mother to four, whats-her-face isn't married but is getting her PhD, that one over there has traveled the world... I wonder how much of it just has to be with being a woman. We feel like we can (and should) accomplish anything and everything and feel an unspoken competitiveness with each other. My goal for myself is to approach motherhood as a personal journey and to seek out friends who uplift me in that journey instead of make me feel inadequate.

Craftless | 10:36 PM

Like other comment writers here today, I feel like I could have written exactly that (though not quite as lovely.) I am young, too. 23 with a three year old. That one on the outside, because I don't have the right house, right car, right clothes, hair, who knows. And I guess I don't care what they think of me, but when it comes down upon my child.. That bothers me. I might be a misfit, but he isn't.

Pam | 11:02 PM

It's funny. I would have never guessed I was a worrier. I was carefree, before child. I am a 41 year old with a 6 month old. I am the oldest mama on the block and in that respect feel like a misfit. I find that I am my worst critic, my worst enemy. Guessing and second guessing, my mommy insticts. The common thread would be that in the end, we all do our best with what we got, and that has to be enough. It has to be.

courtney | 11:22 PM

Yeah, I'm so much still the misfit. I'm still the child raising a child. I'm still embarrassed to share my parenting thoughts and yeah. Sigh. I hope I'm not the misfit for forever, but I'm just so damn awkward.

the bellyacher | 2:55 AM

I would SO love to win that stroller (less than 7 weeks to go until my first bambino arrives) but I have a feeling that my choice to move to the UK (from sunny California) will affect my eligibility. Oh well. Good luck to everyone else. :)

the bellyacher | 3:12 AM

Oh...but I can still leave my 'misfit' story, right?

As mentioned above, I'm waiting for the arrival of my first child so I'm at the stage where I'm almost in the 'mother' club...but not quite yet. What's worse is that I'm living in a different country than my own while experiencing all these new (pregnancy related) things. I've had to learn a new vocabulary that includes nappies (diapers), dummies (pacifiers) and antenatal (prenatal). My mother is nowhere near me (ha ha...could be a good thing...could be a bad thing) and neither are my close friends. Everything is shared either with childless friends who will most likely disappear the moment they lay eyes on the wee one or via facebook and skype with friends and family who feel much too far away right now. Perhaps I am a misfit of my own making then...choosing to have a baby far away from 'home.'

Buffy | 4:03 AM

I don't feel like a misfit in the motherhood community. I was embraced by them, and am totally grateful for such. I feel like a misfit now in my group of friends, because they do not have children, and when I talk about my child, I get the eye rolls, and shoulder shrugs, and the whispered comments that they think I cant hear. I don't get invited out anymore, I don't get phone calls or texts, or invitations to birthday parties, and I have come to accept this. I say, if they don't want to include me and my child in their world, then who needs them, because my child is way more important to me than some friends who can't accept who I am.

Ashleigh | 4:08 AM

I'm pregnant with my first baby, one of the few in my peer group (27 here) that are pregnant...and I feel good, although very apprehensive as I feel I'm approaching a major life change that none of my friends have. It's strange.

Lisa | 5:41 AM

as the first one among my friends to get knocked up, i'm having a hard time adjusting. i guess being the designated driver when i'm not home napping has made me a lovable misfit. the nesting instinct has caused me to embrace the cliches so far - i'm sewing bird softies for a mobile...

Katy | 6:03 AM

My role as a step-mother has thrusted me into not being just a misfit, but an Outcast.

I am the reminder that marriages and relationships fall apart, and subsequently, another woman will enter the picture.

As soon as the other moms see me hug and squeeze my step-kids, it sends a chill up their spines, while they unknowingly spin their wedding rings.

They huddle in groups and smile and nod as I unfold my soccer chair and get my video camera queued up.Though they put on a friendly face, their is a force field up between them and me, which I dare not permeate.

They wonder if I am mean. If I neglect the children when they are in my home, if my kisses are just a front to get them off the scent of my inherent meanness.

They wonder if I try to make the children love me more. If I am always overly fun and cool, while making Mom look like the mean guy. They think to themselves "How dare she!", when they imagine the time I take the daughter to get her ears pierced without clearing it with Mom first.

But, most of all they wonder if I stole him. If I walked right in Her home, and snatched him up when She wasn't looking. They wonder if he was late coming home from work. If he was riddled with lies and reeking with my perfume as he slinked into the bathroom, to freshen up, as she waited to interrogate him.

They wonder if I am a homewrecker....... And no matter what the truth is or is not, they always think that I am.....Because it is easier that way... It is comforting that way... Malevolence is always easier than compassion in the face of what you fear the most.

Sarah | 6:35 AM

I am a first time Mom-to-be. And already feel like an outsider at times. We are far from a lot of our friends, some of whom are having kids. So the camaraderie is difficult. And at work, it is totally lacking. People ask how you are, but don't go beyond that :-). I've already felt myself changing though. Feeling less selfless, concerned for different things, changing my priorities. I can't wait to be a mommy, and I think I'll pick and choose my cliches! :-)

amymelchiors@yahoo.com | 6:54 AM

Hey Bec - I had my son at 22. I was every after-school special cliche... in a bad, abusive relationship, college dropout, living in Minneapolis with no clear future. One month before my due date, my parents couldn't take the phone calls about the fighting, asking for money, and tears anymore, and they came and got me. I now live in small town Wisconsin. I'm now educated with a really good job, a master's degree, and a great 11-year old who is one of the wisest people I know. He's in orchestra and gifted and talented, behaves in restaurants, reads book voraciously and still loves hanging out with me. Becoming one with your mama-self is just one piece of the puzzle. We don't fit in here. The other mamas at his school are either ignorant or awful or both. They think I was too young to have him (last time I checked 22 wasn't *that* young). They've said I married my current husband for all the wrong reasons. They criticize our Land's End parkas and our Banana Republic sweaters. They make me feel exactly the same way that you do. On the outside looking in... I tried to like them, tried to make nice at the school carnivals, tried to understand them... But, I'm young. I'm from the "big city" with those "big city" words and wardrobe and social skills.


Thing is, now I kind of like being on the outside. It's better here. Eventually we'll find our niche, but for now, I'm more concerned about raising a good man who will be a good person, than fitting in with the redneck conformist jerks who don't really get it anyway.


p.s. We're moving to Seattle this summer for the aforementioned job, so good riddance. I hope Seattle moms are cooler but deep down I know its up to me to find the good ones.

kerrim | 7:21 AM

I had my daughter 2 months ago and still trying to figure out who I am as a mom. I did not feel like myself at all after she was born and that was one of the hardest things about having a new baby. I hope to fit in one day but sometimes feel like I am older than a lot of moms I meet. I am 34 so that is something I need to work on. I am confident in my ability and that is all that should matter.

Amy E. | 7:30 AM

I never expected to be a mother and then I was at 22. It tore me apart at first. I couldn't reconcile the partying, independent, feminist, career-oriented part of myself with the fact that I was 22 and a stay-at-home mom. It took years of sitting at the kids table for me to finally figure out that I was the one keeping me from being an adult. My daughter's five now and I finally feel like a "grown up" though my tastes have hardly changed.

I find it easier to make friends now. I've lost the chip on my shoulder. When someone doesn't like me because of my age or how I parent, at least I know I have my husband and daughter solidly by my side. And I've come to realize that the "oh you're so young" comments are often said out of surprise. How could someone so young be as successful and happy as I am? Why don't I fit the stereotype we're fed of young mother=bad mother? I realize it often makes people uncomfortable, even jealous. I can tell that some ask themselves how I have the same things that they do (happy marriage, great kid), but ten years before they did?

The best part though is that I have finally found women I love to be around who may or may not share my parenting philosophies (or be parents at all), but who always accept me as I am. And now I have a lot more sympathy for the girl standing alone by the BBQ. I was her and what I really needed was just a smile, some acknowledgement from someone that they'd been there too, and time to learn this new role of mother.

Ashley V | 8:21 AM

This feeling of being an outsider, and alien an abandoned chick. I had a little boy when I was only 16. The looks the stares the whispers. "Oh my gosh is that young girl pregnant?" I think I staid in my house the last few months of my pregnancy just to hide away from the outside world. I tried so hard to block myself away from everything. Well... I guess they could all assume right. I was a teen mother. Who was I to kid? I was going to raise a kid? Pshhhh I was so lost. I got over the staring and the whispering the best I could as he grew older. Knowing that there was always someone judging me. He started school at age 6. Kindergarden. I think he was excited. I was terrified. Terrified of being judged again. Terrified of the ugly looks. My dad offered to put him in private school. I was thrilled and excited for him. I knew the snarls were going to come even worse though. I remember that first meet and greet, I wanted to pull my jacket over my head like a little kid. "No! I'm not his sister... I'm his mother." I stood in the corner of the room while the mom's got to know each other.
I look back now and wished I could have relaxed. In realizing that I was judging myself probably more than they had judged me. It has been two years now since that first day of kindergarden and I have grown accustomed to being the "young" mom. My little boy actually thinks it's cool as do his friends. The other mothers never shut me out, I only shut myself. I learned to open up and realized that these mothers aren't here to judge. Some of them are first time mothers as well. Maybe not as young as me but going through similar things.

littlebirdlost | 9:15 AM

I'm the ultimate misfit.

Knocked up by a man who I would later find out is married, alone, single in the city, working in an office full of newly pregnant mommy-types living the traditional life. I never went to a birthing class, never been to a mommy group, and live paycheck to paycheck as happy as can be with my little partner in crime. I may not be doing it right by others standards, but the two of us are pretty kick-ass as a team and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thanks for this post man, you own.

littlebirdlost | 9:15 AM

I'm the ultimate misfit.

Knocked up by a man who I would later find out is married, alone, single in the city, working in an office full of newly pregnant mommy-types living the traditional life. I never went to a birthing class, never been to a mommy group, and live paycheck to paycheck as happy as can be with my little partner in crime. I may not be doing it right by others standards, but the two of us are pretty kick-ass as a team and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thanks for this post man, you own.

ec | 9:16 AM

i love this. it is raw, real and relates to so many of us in so many ways. i have felt what you felt, and now feel how you feel.

i remember shopping in orange county at fashion island, at the ripe old age of 21 with my 9 month old little girl and getting some of the craziest looks. i was confused at first, because motherhood was what i had wanted, what i had chosen ... but then i started to get it. i hated when other moms would talk about their pasts ... i would get quiet, because i didn't think that i had much of one.

now i know we're all in this together. i feel like i'm doing what i was meant to do, and when people see my swollen belly and make comments like, "oh boy, you're going to be busy," and then glance at my two girls keeping close to me, i say, "yup, and i love it." because i do. i don't even cringe when the fact that i'll be a month shy of 26 when my third babe is born comes up ....

okay, enough rambling.

thanks for this though.

Michaela | 9:22 AM

I definitely feel like the outsider. I've tried the mommy group, and I've just never felt right. I'm the youngest, un-married and work full time. They are in their 30's and stay at home mom's and all about to get divorces. My best mommy group is made up of me, my daughter and my mother...now that's a mommy group I can deal with.

tallia | 9:41 AM

i am 21. one baby on the way. when i first found out i was going to have a baby, that me and my husband would be parents, i was freaked out. i am still a baby! i can't have a baby! it was bad enough i got married when i was 20. but in the past few months i have felt myself growing up a little, bit by bit. we are moving right before the baby will be born, and i am scared of being alone and lonely. no school no job just me and the baby and all my baby-less friends far far away. but at the same time i am excited for the new experiences and to keep growing up, along with my baby.

Jump Mama Jump | 9:41 AM

Love this post, and loved the one about fear.

I've always felt like an outsider, and now I feel like the kid sort of insulates me somehow, like oh well, now I have my OWN team, just me and him!

I'm a single mom, accidental pregnancy, 27 years old, master's degree (this shocks people), on welfare, tattooed, dyed hair, living back in the suburbs with my parents, no nursery (we share my sister's childhood room), queer, staying at home, looking for work, scared of baby daycare, but just cannot keep staying at home, breastfeed in public, disposable diapers, driving around with his carseat jammed into my 1969 vw bug, friends with his dad, most of my friends are in the big city I was living in when I got pregnant-- a 6 hour drive north of the LA suburb I'm in now.

But that's cool. Like I say, I'm used to feeling like an outcast and I'm down to have him as my teammate.

Ashley | 9:50 AM

Motherhood is another "belonging" for me. First, belong to your school and your grade. Then, belong to your clique of misfits. Then, belong to your university. Then, belong to you sorority. Then, graduate. And swim in a sea of un-belonging ... even asking a co-worker in a new town how she made friends ...

Then, belong to a couple and a marriage. Then, have a child and belong again. This time, the clique of motherhood and mommies groups. I belong, again.

mybabyweight | 9:51 AM

If you don't stop provoking my thoughts, why I'm gonna... wait no, you're giving me good blog fodder.
Since becoming a mother I've become a complete misfit. I have friends who are "Whatev' the kid will grow and he's healthy, why are you over-researching strollers?" And others that make their own baby food and teach them sign language and on and on. I'm kinda in the middle; not really fitting with anyone. One friend will *gasp* if I'm not cloth diapering and the other will roll her eyes because I use Pampers and not generics.
I. Can't. Win.

Steph | 10:07 AM

My answer is a little different. See I have felt like an outsider to many of my friends for the last 5 years or so because they've all become moms, had 2nd babies and have less and less in common with me as years pass. It has really sucked in some cases. But as we grow up, evolve, and take different paths our friendships change too.

I'm 31 and now pregnant with my first! I don't feel old by any means, but I definitely did things different than most of my friends.

Can't wait to see how things are gonna change in less than 7 months! :)

Miss Tricky | 10:08 AM

I think a big part of the reason I read your blog Rebecca is because you feel so familiar. I had my boy at 23 and I didn't seem to fit anywhere. I was tattooed and potty-mouthed and didn't care if his outfits matched and I was in a new city. All of my friends were single and childless and I had a baby and was hiding in a marriage we ALL knew wasn't going anywhere. My oldest sister was pregnant at the same time as me and she had High Tea baby showers and perfect maternity dresses and an actually designed nursery- I was even the outcast odd-ball in my family so I hid even deeper. I refused to talk about kids or diapers, I started a Myspace blog and forged bonds with people all over the country while I sat in my house all alone with my son. And when the world ended and my marriage fell apart I woke up and found myself in a middle class suburban western Pennsylvania townhouse community with a recently diagnosed autistic little boy. Again I was the tattooed too young mommy, but now also single and with a child who would not play and be nice. I retreated even farther, and they wanted me to. I was scared and hurt and different and alone. I wrote about anything but my son and his autism, I tried to be the 22 year old girl with no clue that people seemed to see me as. I am not sure what changed in the past few months, but I am suddenly able to use the word "mother" to descrabe myself. I am his advocate and playmate and mother-and I am perfectly suited to the job. With a new love and now a new city and treatment plan on the horizon I am totally ready to dive in and declare myself a member of the "Mom Crowd".

Thank you so much for sharing your story too.

Miguelina. | 10:11 AM

I'm happy you've found your tribe. I was lucky to find mine early on, and I've found that making friends is easier when you have something in common (like motherhood)

:)

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:15 AM

These stories are amazing. It's mind-blowing how universal the "experience" is, isn't it? Thank you all for sharing your stories, helping me (and everyone else) feel not alone.

Sallie | 10:16 AM

Yes, I definately feel like a misfit. My daughter is two, and since she was born we have lived in three houses in three different cities, and we are about to move again. We have lived in rural areas, and here, you are very weird if you breastfeed (wakeup, Hannah Rosin! Not everyone lives like you!), so I am super weirdo because my toddler still nurses. Not that I tell anyone that.
Motherhood has changed me in some profound ways, and some silly. I am much more forgiving and less judgemental about women's appearances. My own, too. I wear things now that I would never have worn before. So my belly pokes out more than I like? Who cares! On a deeper level, I am more outgoing about some things. I am a musician, and before childbirth, I was terrified to play solo in public. Now, I think "hey, I gave birth, I can play this dinky bass..."
I am able to stand up for myself and daughter, which I wasn't able to before.
I'm happy to hear that you eventually start to fit in, and not run the other direction, which is what I do.
Thanks for the post. Keep 'em coming please!

Pop Wahm Buzz | 10:24 AM

Your post is so on the mark for me. But the people I suddenly feel on the outside of are my friends. Three of us had babies within 6 months of each other and I tell ya, nothing brings out the differences in people like parenthood. Although none of us have ever said it out loud, we all know that suddenly there is this thing, this THING, between us. I am the obvious outsider, the midwife using, (almost) home birth having, co-sleeping, vaccine uncertain, baby wearing, cloth diaper using mom. Any time we get together I face a subtle front of incredulity mixed with a soupcon of patronization. Hard to swallow? Oui. Friendship ending? I dunno - I keep hoping that the attitude is just a result of first-time parent jitters, before you realize that just because someone's parenting style is different doesn't mean they are calling your parenting wrong or bad. I try to be zen about the whole thing but if I get one more "She's STILL sleeping with you?" I may have resort to the old "I crush your head" (I apologize for the Kids in the Hall Reference) Oh and long fingernails are a baby's only weapon against cheek pinching strangers!

Heather | 10:40 AM

Your words rang true with me and I am first time mother at 36. Motherhood hasn’t made me a misfit, but it hasn’t made me feel welcome either. I’m not sure where I fit in or where I will fit in when I am 41 and my son is in kindergarten and his baby brother or sister is 3.5 years old.

As for modern motherhood and all the motherhood clichés…I’d like to say I am going to walk my own path and whatever beat it happens to play for me on any given day is going to be good enough. At least I hope with every fiber of my being that it will be good enough.

Bobbi Janay | 10:47 AM

I am the only mom I know who doesn't want to quit her job and stay home. Also I am the one who in their eyes is mean because my baby sleeps in his own room in his own bed. Your blog makes me realize it is my baby not theirs so do whats best for us not them.

Rebecca | 10:57 AM

I wish I could have found this blog so much sooner. I was 22, scared, and alone. I was an outsider too. I felt like I was going to lose my identity with every single dirty diaper and spit upon shoulder. I gave my son up for adoption a year ago, when it just seemed too hard. If I would have stuck it out, then I would still have my beautiful three year old son. I gave it all away because I was on the outside of everything. And I'll never regret anything more in my life. Now that he's gone I truly don't have an identity now. I'm lost, broken, and ruined. And I'll never forgive myself.

js0512 | 11:01 AM

Amazing. Everytime I read you, I feel I can identify in some way. I became a mom at 21. None of my friends had children, so we drifted apart. They didn't get why I couldn't run to the bar with them at 10pm only to stumble home drunk at 2am. I still haven't (8 years later) found my group of mom's. I'm one of a handful of single moms at my daughter school. I feel like the other women think it's a disease. When I show up to parent teacher conferences, or take her to parties, I have been asked, by the women wearing pastel plaid L.L. Bean outfits, "Are you her sister?" They look questioningly at my ripped jeans, the black knee high boots, skull t-shirt, leather jacket and one too many necklaces. I tell myself it's their loss that they don't get to know who I am inside. But I'm the one that feels lost.

Venti Vixen | 11:07 AM

Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t, right? I never set myself any great expectations for motherhood. Life is way too short to be trying to live up to expectations daily. A bazillion other people before me managed motherhood and I knew I wasn’t such an imbecile that I couldn’t, so it never scared me at all. Because of that, I’ve maintained some sanity - despite having an almost 4 year old who doesn’t deem sleeping through the night important. At. All. I never planned to center my world around my son but rather strived to make him a part of our world and that’s worked out well for us. Never in a million years would I have ever pictured myself as an active member of a Mother’s Club like I am now. I’m a working mom, so definitely a minority in the club on that front. I've met some amazing women through the club and some I could live without ever seeing again. What else can I say? My kid probably watches too much TV, doesn’t eat solely organic food, was in daycare, has had formula and wore disposable diapers. He might have even run with scissors a time or two. But, he’s happy, healthy and loves me like no other. That’s all the proof I need that I’m doing the right thing as a Mommy. And I never cared what anyone else thought about me before so why start now?

Knitterista | 11:17 AM

That's awesome!

Kate | 11:19 AM

Ok, now add to all of the above that you are a STEP Mom and see how wierd it feels to be at swim meets and soccer games, school plays and doctors appointments.

The payoff finally came when I heard one of stepdaughters say "of course I don't look like her, she's my Step Mom, I just act like her."

The Mom | 11:20 AM

I always expected to be a mom and a stay at home mom at that. My husband and I planned our lives to make this possible. The thing that I did not anticipate was that I would not want to do it forever. I expected to be 100% fulfilled by this whole motherhood thing, and that is just not the case. I never imagined how my identity would slowly slip away and how I would become somewhat of a child myself. Let me set the scene for you: the property tax bill comes when my husband is out of town and I panic. I no longer have any idea how to transfer money from our savings to our checking account. Not that this matters anyway, because the bill is not due for months. So, not only have I lost the ability to bank, but I have also lost the ability to read a bill. I call this my 60s housewife moment. Once upon a time I lived in a city far far away from this calm California suburb and I had a job, which I used to pay my own bills. I had a car, which did not smell of soured milk and stale throw-up. My clothes were tailored and crisp; and I only wore workout clothes for, well working out. It is literally another lifetime for me and while at times I find myself at odds with this moniker: mommy. I would not change it for the world. I love my children with all my heart. They are the best of me and without them my life would not be complete.

We are all moms, young or old and we all feel like misfits at times. Yup, even those allegedly “perfect” moms with their matching sweat suits, big shiny SUVs and $800 strollers.

Shannon | 11:23 AM

Great post, you're very open and honest. So different than all those mom's who say ohhh, everything is so great and what I expected it to be!

I wouldn't say that I'm quite to your extreme (extreme in a good sense) but I do like to march to my own drum, always have, and it hasn't changed since I've had kids. Actually, maybe my conviction has gotten a little stronger. I want my kids to be their own person, not caring what other think. Say what they want, do what they want. Just like their good ol mom. :)

Jeff & Jenny | 11:28 AM

My motherhood experience is not the typical one. My husband had 3 children from his previous marriage (16, 11, 9) and we married just in time for him to go on a 6 month tour of Iraq, leaving me at home with the kids. It was a trial by fire to day the least! He is also 8 years older than me, so I tend to be at least 8-10 years younger than the parents of my step-children's friends as well. I have ALWAYS felt awkward and out of place among them. I feel like I have 2 strikes against me: STEP-mother AND too YOUNG. I very much empathize with your description of staying on the fringe and feeling marginalized. I hope I can find the key to "fitting in" someday as well....

Kate | 11:29 AM

Though I feel as though I've always been a misfit, becoming a mother has made me more confident about it. Last night as I stood on a chair at an indie rock concert with my 28 week belly sticking out, I felt incredibly at peace. Most definitely out of place amongst the audience, and then my friends—none of whom have children or are ready to—but totally secure in my decisions to start a family. I want to raise my kid to have the same confidence in being a misfit and not feeling pressured to fit in.

Sarah | 11:59 AM

I'm the first of my friends to have kids and while the baby is not yet here I already feel like an outsider to them. My sister-in-law is no help either, she stays home and is so sure of her mommy skills and I don't even want to talk to her about our baby. It's so hard to just be excited and happy when you feel like you are falling out of one group and there isn't one to fall into...

maig | 12:01 PM

i definitely hear you. i actually just said to a friend of mine this weekend that sometimes i feel like a teen mom even though i'm 30. i look young and i am constantly aware of looks from random people that i imagine thinking "that poor young mother, how could she forget: ____."

to make things more difficult i was the first of my friends to have a kid. i am happy with my timing but without camraderie it is so, so isolating. and i felt that way no matter what mommy and me class i attended on maternity leave.

i remember right around the time i was getting ready to go back to work i went to my last baby and me yoga class and it was split between moms fresh out of the a-ok from their 6week doctor visit and stay at home mom's with older babies. i was stuck in the middle, i was going back to work soon and did not feel welcome in either camp. one mom loudly invited a bunch of women in the class to her house for coffee after and it was pretty clear that it was an exclusive offer. i packed my son up and pretended not to hear or care about their get-together, when really it was like that scene in the middle school cafeteria all over again. you're there, you're new and no one is offering you a seat.

now my son is 15 months and as he grew up, i got more confident. its still not easy for me to join in with a bunch of mommies in a clique, but regular playground banter on sleeping through the night and birth stories and siblings and daycare are coming much more naturally. my friends are joining me in motherhood and i have made a few close bonds with new mom friends around here so i don't feel so alone anymore.

as far as feeling like a teen mom...that's lessening too. It's like sometimes I can't believe I am a grown-up. But the other night when I was getting my son's milk ready before his bedtime, I reached into the fridge and realized that I purchased milk on a grocery run knowing we were low and wouldn't have have enough for the coming week. it didn't really sink in until i grabbed the new gallon of milk and i just stared at it and thought...'dude, you are a grown-up.'

maybe it just takes a little while to get your sea legs under you. its cliche, but it does get easier.

PS-long time reader, first time poster...i love your blog and momversations...you have no idea how much it helps to have you guys out there.

amy | 12:19 PM

very much the introvert, i've been content to be on the outside. now with my six month old son i find myself desperate for friends... to know that i am not alone in this confusing sea of motherhood...oh i wish for your confidence...to venture beyond the safe into the inside...thank-you for the words to feel not quite so alone

samantha jo campen | 12:21 PM

I feel like an oustider because I work full-time. I live in a wealthy white community where suburban moms meet at the local starbucks before doing their stroller power walks in the morning. Story time at the library. Gymboree dates. Moms at the park with their cell phones and manicured nails on the benches. "Your son is in. . .DAYcare?" "Why aren't you still nursing? Aren't you home with your baby?" Um, no. I'm the only one with a job and I have to work. My husband got laid off. I need to put food on the table, but hey, thanks for judging!

So in that regard I feel like an outsider, but when I'm at home with my family, all is as it should be. I feel comfortable.

samanthajocampen at gmail dot com

NoPoGirl | 12:36 PM

I could have written this, but with a slightly different context. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I spent every weekend rock climbing, camping, bike racing, skiing and traveling. There was a stretch there when we didn't sleep in our own beds during the weekend for SIX MONTHS. It was fantastic.

At the time, we had trouble making friends who were as active as we were. Oh, we had friends who skied, friends who rock climbed, friends who raced bikes. But none of them were gone every weekend or were interested in being gone with US every weekend (maybe that was the real reason!).

Then, we had Hazel. We continued skiing, rock climbing, traveling, bike racing, camping. And let me tell you, it gets lonely. I have yet to meet a mom who is interested in doing these things with us. In fact, the most common comment I receive is, "How can you even do that with a kid?" How can you NOT? This was me before I had a kid and it's still me.

Last weekend, I did a three-day bike race. As I scanned the group of 27 women (warriors all), I realized I was the only one there with a job, and a young kid. Talk about being an outsider- they all train to race. I race to train because I don't have the time to train during the week.

I am starting to think there is no one similar to me in the whole freaking universe. It sucks. I would love to go camping with another mom and her baby, to spend the next day climbing in the sun while our babes get covered in dirt and to sit around the campfire drinking. To have the dads sit around toasting with beers whilst changing diapers on the picnic table while the moms compare climbing routes.

It seems it's not to be.

eringremlin | 12:41 PM

I love reading your posts- you are eloquent, hilarious, and it certainly doesn't hurt that your entire family is so damn good looking.

As far as fitting in, I only made cursory attempts at making mommy friends. I've had the same group of very close friends since high school. Crazy, I know. And so very lucky. I'm the first girl to have a baby, but I have a stay at home dad friend right up the street, and another friend is trying soon (with my bro- gasp!). So yeah, its just a matter of waiting for the others to catch up. And The Beef will have lots of little cousins!

Maya | 12:51 PM

90% of my friends are single with no children. I got married at 23, had my twins at 26. Having a family unit at what these days is considered "young" def makes you feel like an outsider.

My friends who are single cannot relate to the fact that NO, I cant go out right after work because if I do, then I wont be able to see my daughters for the last 15 minutes of the day before they go to bed."

Then of course you have the stay at home moms vs the working moms (i being a full time working mom outside the home). You just never feel like you truly belong anywhere.
The only place where I feel like I belong 100% is when I am home with my husband and daughters- my family. The family I made for myself. Everyone else can suck it.

JachiCue | 12:51 PM

I'm not a mom, but I've watched my sister-in-law and I'm amazed at her. She doesn't conform to the normal mom sterotypes or fit in that mold. I admire that she's stumbling through this motherhood thing and figuring things out on her own.

She made the decision to go to a mom's group and has begun making mom friends. But all in her own time and way.

Motherhood changes you, but you're still you at the core.

Anonymous | 12:57 PM

Well, I'm 5 months pregnant with my first child and so far "motherhood" has left me with no energy or time for all my old friends. I can only imagine how it will be once I actually have the baby to take care of....

meg | 1:12 PM

I felt like a child parenting a child as a new mom too...except, like a child, I did not have a firm self identity. I didn't know who I was, and that made getting to know my child really complicated. I surprised myself everyday with the self discovery forced upon me by this screaming person. I never realized how much I needed personal space, how sensitive I am to sound and touch, how much I need to talk to other people. I never realized I would need to abandon my entire belief system, shed my religion, my roots, and dig down to my very core before I would find ME. Once I did, I stopped feeling like I was faking it, and really stepped into motherhood.

kdk | 1:20 PM

I am due in 7 weeks and I am the only one I know in LA that is pregnant let alone with a child. So, I have the feeling I will feel like the "mom" at any occasion. Hopefully, I will find ways to meet other mothers.

Anonymous | 1:23 PM

I couldn't agree with you more!! My biggest issue is that we are a military family so we move a lot. Once I have made friends and feel comfortable-we move! Then I have to start the process again. I also have found that some moms are not as open as I am with the struggles I face with my children. I am very honest about my trials and tribulations with my kids sharing or using their manners and some moms act as though they have never had those problems. That makes me feel alone. Thank you for this blog entry... I think so many of us can relate!

Christine in Cali

Brooke Trout | 1:45 PM

I always thought that waiting longer to have children would give me more confidence in my parenting abilities, but there are definitely times that I feel maybe it has backfired. Maybe I worry too much because I know more. I've known people who have suffered infertility, birth defects, unpredictable & disastrous accidents, behavioral disorders. And will I be one of the lucky ones? One of the ones that will have a healthy, normal child? Or one of the VERY lucky and have the good fortune of TWO normal healthy children?
I doubt that my worries are too much different than every other mother out there, but like you said, this mamahood thing can make you feel so alone.
I'm in this hole between my friends who had kids in their early/mid-20's and those who still haven't had any. I can't stay awake past 10 and that's when they are all just getting started.
Do I miss it? Sometimes. More often than not though, I'm having a blast playing with my boy, giving him a bath, and rocking him to sleep. I wouldn't trade these moments for the world.
The misfit portion? I don't necessarily feel this way the majority of the time. Mostly I feel like an outcast just because my life is so different from my friends' right now. The one time I felt like a misfit was when I was at the play area at the mall and another mom with a child nearly the same age as mine was feeling me out to see if I would be a good person for a play date. Then she asked the question, "Do you work?" and I have never seen someone get shot down faster than I was. Not that I was looking for a play date, but I was amazed at the dramatic shift in her attitude.
It has been hard to make new girlfriends that have children close in age to mine. I still feel like I am treading around looking for people, since my son is only 15 months old. I haven't had a lot of luck, but am starting to develop a few promising leads.
I think that's why I turn to the internet - to you and Dooce and the other 'Momversation' crew. To revel in your escapades with your children and feel a sense of normalcy in my life that has so dramatically changed in the last 2 years - and is set to change even more at the end of summer with baby number 2 coming down the pipe.
So thanks to you and the other ladies for putting yourselves out there and opening your lives and your mothering up to criticisms by a few because there are so many more of us out here that appreciate what you do and what you have to say.

JessicaToday | 1:54 PM

i know this is supposed to be about my own story, but i decided to go in a slightly different direction...cause i felt it needed saying.

like a million others, i feel like the thoughts-turned-words-turned-revelations- you put down in type are the same ones floating around in my brain... they're there, but hesitating to break the surface until a connection like this takes me there and opens up real understanding. the good old "ah ha" moment, if you will.
its amazing, rebecca, how your honesty and life path have turned you into someone random people look to for guidance and advice, isn't it?
for me its a blessing, and through reading your comments and seeing your popularity, i can tell its a blessing for others as well.
that must feel so good. :)
all you're doing is writing how you feel and being honest about how you get to the places you do inside your own head...and its like a magnet.
people cant turn away.
its in the journey and challenge that we look to each other for a sign of understanding and common ground.
you are a voice that is being carried straight to the hearts of "young" mothers who use the blog world as a connecting device. and you tell such a heartwarming tale.
not because its easy or always beautiful, but because its real and your not afraid to put it out there. you have an amazing gift, to be so articulate in the way that you are.
i relate to you because like me you had your son at 23, after only knowing your husband a few months.
you chose archers new life over your old one, and along the way you picked up the pieces...sewed them together, weaving out a new existence.
your new role was a strange one and you looked at the new world with an outsiders eyes.
although it was confusing and difficult to mourn your old self while being pushed into a new one, you didn't give up your personal expression, you made your new role fit you...and it shows.
you are a role model for me, and for the new generation of mothers who became mommiez in their twenties...in the 2000's, who want to be themselves in this craziness that is motherhood, but who also want to redefine what it means to even be a mother, and the level of fulfillment it has the potential to bring... if we could only pay attention to ourselves and break old stereotypes of what it means to be a "good" mother.
to live our lives in direct accordance with our own ideas of who we would like to be, and not someone elses.
you have done that.
you do that.
and that's why i read you.
and that's why i get you.

Mirinda | 1:55 PM

I am 31 with three kids ages 7, 6 and 4. The majority of friends my age are just having babies. So I still fill like the outsider :( Like I'm some old fart now with "older" children. Blah. Makes me want another one...actually, add that to the long list of why I want another one!

K little a G | 2:09 PM

Misfit? hmmmmm, did I mention I am pregnant....not married....I am not getting married.....one of seven kids from a very strict Mormon family.....all of my friends are married.....no one I tell has or will say "congratulations"....I probably won't have any friends left.....So misfit? Difficult to make friends? Rebel? I think I might fit all of those categories. Its cool though, life is good. The best days are yet to come.

PS I have a girl crush on your blog

Dani | 2:26 PM

Motherhood definitely made me more of a misfit. Even more so than I already was before. I have a special needs child, and other moms didn't know how to include us, so they avoided us. My next door neighbor would host play dates that I could hear and see from my kitchen windo, yet she would never ask if we wanted to come over and play. It broke my heart every day. After my son turned two and started preschool, I found a few moms who were not intimidated by my son, who didn't care about having a clean house, and who thought showers were optional. We bonded immediately. The key for me was finding women that I would have been friends with whether we had kids or not.

jervell | 2:35 PM

Yea, I feel like that. Awkward around moms that know what they're are doing.

Frozen Eights | 3:12 PM

Oh, good. Looks like I have something to look forward to. Definitely an outcast here. I'm 22 with a 1-year-old. And I'm married. I have nothing in common with my high school and college friends. And the only thing I have in common with other moms is my child. It certainly doesn't help that I'm a pastor's daughter who grew up in front of my church, only to have them secretly shun me when I got pregnant while I was ENGAGED. It is difficult fo rme to make friends...I'm kinda stuck in the middle...not really fitting in either clique. That's my sob story. I love being a mom, by the way :)

Alicia | 3:24 PM

Wow - this is why I read your blog! Your post is such an encouragement to me. I am a new young mom and none of my close friends have children yet. I don't feel like I completely belong in their world anymore but I also feel on the outside of this new mommy world. I am determined to find other mommy friends I can relate to, but the transition to motherhood has been so difficult for me to navigate! Thank you for making me laugh and giving me a confidence boost. I needed this reminder that things WILL get better.

The Brown Fam | 3:32 PM

Wow...well, I'm 25 and just had my first baby(okay, 4 months ago...but it seems like last week.) the majority of my friends are just now beginning to get married...or thinking about it...so it's lonely. Most parents I meet are about 10 years older than me...so I don't fit into either club...not that I want to. I do find that I sometimes try to strike a common chord with other moms, only to feel snubbed or like I'm the geeky girl trying to hard to fit in with the popular chicks at the high school lunch table. Since I've become a mom...I really don't care quite as much about the "cliche" things, and really worry most about what's best for baby! I love him so much and wouldn't change a thing! (except maybe that I would be a millionaire who could stay home in my jammies with him so as not to miss a moment of his ever changing little personality!)

Abbey | 3:48 PM

Your post was so spot on for me.I had my first son when I was eighteen. I always got the "looks" from people who disapproved. But what I remember the most was taking him to his first day of kindergarten. Everyone assumed I was his sister so when they realized,Wow, can you say cold shoulder! Only one other mom would speak to me. None of it was ever easy but I would relive it all again because my son (who's 16 now) is the best thing that every happened to me. Long live the outcasts! I now have been blessed with another son (who's 4)but it is almost harder this time around now that we are of "acceptable" age.

laura | 4:09 PM

Wowzers! I seriously thought that you knew me and were writing about my life. Unbelievable.

lla.ma. | 4:33 PM

im a nanny which is pretty much the ultimate outsider of the mommy club. i work fifty hours a week, do all the shopping for a kid, sign him up for all his classes, go to the parks and the doctor and the playdates, but there is no support. no one talks to you, no one includes you, no one takes you seriously at 22.

its fun.

the chelle box | 5:46 PM

alright... i do not need a stroller. i just wanted to say that you are amazing. your pictures are cute, and beautiful. and thanks for sharing such eloquent and personal writing.

Liz | 6:10 PM

I'm gonna pass on the stroller, as cute as it may be...but just wanted to share that my whole life for the last 4 years has been trying to NOT fit in with moms. I don't get the whole forsaking of yourself to be a mom. Not necessary. I bought your book when I was going through my postpartum crap a second time...it's on my night stand. Started a blog recently about the whole deal...would be so honored if you checked it out. http://but-then-i-had-kids.blogspot.com
Thanks.

kate g. | 6:14 PM

I've lived in los angeles for almost two years and have yet to meet anyone i would consider a real friend. I'm expecting my first baby and kind of daydream that it will be easier then, but this post kind of scared me. I try to tell my husband all the time it's not that I actively dislike most people, but there are just very few people I would choose to spend time with. I think I have to force myself to though, or I will have hermit children!

Kristin | 6:38 PM

I felt like a misfit when I had twins and all my close friends were having one baby. Their complaints left me feeling angry. Boo hoo, poor momma can't juggle your dry cleaning, the baby and starbucks! I was pissed at my life. And then they all had their seconds and I sat on the playground drinking my coffee and laughing my ass off as they chased their toddlers while attempting to nurse a crying baby. Sweet revenge! hahahahaha

Little Red Dog Studios | 6:54 PM

Great post. I went to a mom's group reluctantly in my urban setting when my daughter was first born. Although I truly felt like an outsider and hated it I kept going and you know what? It actually worked out. I didn't make besties but I did find a great network of parents and advice that I would've been lost without. I just moved, 2 days ago, to the burbs and feel completely lost. REALLY the outsider. These moms are SOOO different than my city moms but I am going to do my best to put myself out there for daughter so she can have some playmates. I learned the last time that I don't have to be best friends with the moms but I can certainly relate to them on the parent level.

Shannon | 7:17 PM

I was 27 when I had my first baby and the first in our group of friends to have kids. I had a really hard time being the "mom" in the group. They were all neck deep in careers and traveling all over the world, enjoying their DINK-dom. After a few months they just stopped inviting us to do stuff. They did not get why we could not go out, drink all night, and crash on their couch. They are slowly starting to reproduce and a few of them have quit to stay at home, and they are finally understanding that my life has not been a cakewalk the last 5 years. The big careers and vacationing all over the world was WAY more glamorous, and easier.

Lalapoo | 7:29 PM

I have never been the popular girl with lots of friends but now that I am a mother I seem to have lost most of my friends along the way except for maybe a couple of mommy friends (okay I admit I only have just one mommy friend) and the one that lives too far away for us to get together for a cup of coffee.
Mommyhood can get lonely sometimes.
Pat

alice | 7:48 PM

I have always been somewhat of a social outcast/rebel/misfit if you will and I prob will continue to be that way once our baby gets here in about another 20 weeks. I am sure my priorities will be affected but I like who I am and I don't foresee any drastic changes in my personality or my philosophy on life.

abc | 7:51 PM

I'm the outsider by NOT being a mother when everyone else around me is. And I've been trying my hardest for almost 2 years now, but no one knows that.

Katie | 8:20 PM

I am about two weeks from my 30th birthday and pregnant with my second, and I still AM a misfit. I guess I have matured in the way I dress, but I still go against the grain on modern motherhood. I live in a small town with typical "rich bitch" mothers who all like to pretend they have perfect lives. Thing is, I have the inside scoop on these "perfect mothers" since my sister graduated to THAT neighborhood by marriage. I feel great when I get to sit back and listen to them mumble about how great everything is for them, when in reality they are just as messed up as everyone else.

Sometimes I think I need to suck it up, since I am looking like a bitch too.

mames | 8:57 PM

first, wow, what a post. it was lovely to walk that journey, the one of your motherhood. thank you.

i am not sure where it is i fit in mother-world. i have two or three other mamas in my life that i do not make enough effort to see, not as much as i should. my sister is a mama but she lives so far, and we find each other when we can and connect solidly on all points of mama-hood because we are sisters and we love each other deeply. i did a group with other twin mamas but i did not find a fit there, too many things different than similar, despite the fact that we all had twins.

i like other mamas but i feel no need to find them. it is so much as it is with my boys, my work, my family. i do not feel the need to compare and contrast, to ask and advise. i do not want to freak out about every little thing they do and have to explain again why i have the time to sew my own clothes or knit them hats (uh, live in grandparents). and maybe that is it...i have my own mother with me, giving me support and love and courage to just be the mother i am. and watch over them when i just cannot, allow me to work or play at the sewing machine.

still trying to find where i am in my mama-hood. glad you have found where you are. and fable's half year song was so great. as is she.

Terri | 9:46 PM

It may sound weird, but I must be the only Mom who tries not to brag about her kid.

My oldest son is way ahead of the curve and I always feel like I'm trying to not alienate the other Moms or be "that Mom"

Anonymous | 9:52 PM

Wow-where are the people like you? I had my first child at 19 and was so in love with him but felt totally awkward with other mothers. I just wanted him to feel like he was a "normal" kid, and I wanted to be like the "normal" moms. He is now 14 and unbelieveable....I also now have a 4, 3 and 7 month old. I was 28 when my 4 year old was born, and I, too, finally felt like I was a true adult...with my younger 3 I feel nothing awkward, like it is legal this time or something weird...Anyway, I wish more moms thought like you and were so carefree and in love with their children....not so much themselves:) Thanks for your inspiration.

abi | 11:20 PM

I'm still in that outcast stage. Being a working mom has alienated me from the mommy group people I met before I returned to work; they don't understand how I can not stay home with my baby. Being a proponent for baby wearing/herb using/home birthing has alienated me from the moms that I work with who all have a more "conventional" take on parenting.
Thanks for giving me some hope for fitting in later. : )

Kayla | 11:28 PM

I never thought I'd would make it to where I am Today, being as I'm only 20. I gave birth to my son at 19..he was the first child I ever held. The first of any of my friends to consider having a child, I knew I was in this alone.
Misfit is a term I don't like to use, I am myself.I may not look like a "mom", with my red hair, tattoo's and ecentric home and wardrobe...but I don't need to feel normal to feel like a good mom.I know that I'm wonderful at raising my son, and therefore do not feel the need to force myself to become a sterotype.
And the day I can to terms with this, and took it for what it was...life came with ease!

Tanyetta | 11:31 PM

How has motherhood made you a misfit?
With my first child, I was a child with a baby and pretty much didn't care what people thought or said about me. With my second born, he came 16 years later and I craved friendships or just about anyone to talk to about anything. I joined a moms group and never looked back. This time around, I feel like pulling back and never leaving the house. Because I feel like I'm going to be the OLD mom of the group now.
I'm trying to stay open to this parenting the third time around gig and find myself thinking long and probably too hard and being too hard on myself.

MamaVee | 11:42 PM

I didn't really have friends with kids. I had acquaintances with children, but not friends. They looked at me sideways because I carry my baby in a sling, not in a carseat like they did, I breastfeed past six months, and GASP! co-sleep. So I felt totally like a mis-fit and an outcast.

Then I joined this really great mother's group, and there were 8 other women there, with babies the same age as mine, and we were all on the same page - even though we were so different, in age, in economic situations, in parenting and lifestyle choices. But it was okay, because we were mothers, we were in the same boat: we all needed other mama friends. That was the best thing that ever happend to me.

Jacqui | 1:40 AM

Found the second time really difficult as most were first timers and had different worries, mainly if my older son was going to stand on their baby.

We have moved too much as well, hoping if there is a next time I will be there for longer than a couple of months

xx

Chelsea | 1:40 AM

I'd say that motherhood has probably made it harder for me to make friends, but not for the usual reasons. I'm selfish with my time, and with my family's time; and while my son is young (almost a year and a half) and is still an only child, I want to spend as much time as I can with him. I can honestly say that I've been lazy about making new friends, and even keeping up with the ones I already had. He's not old enough to play with other kids yet, so I don't really give a crap whether we hang out with other mums and kids for his benefit.

I do still have close relationships with two mum-friends whose babies are only months apart in age from mine. We probably have a lot of parenting similarities, but there are definitely some major differences in our styles as well. I find that my own parenting style feels perfectly natural to me, but it goes against a lot of mainstream ways. I spent some years in the big city as a nanny, and I honestly think that it's given me a lot of self-confidence as a parent. I had a chance to see many different parenting styles from the families I worked for and the families on the playground. I'm now comfortable doing research on parenting issues and combining that with my own practical experience. So while I feel like my parenting style goes against the mainstream, making me a misfit, I'm also okay with that.

nan | 5:09 AM

Being a mom is great for me, I can finally relate to other women and have something to talk about them with!

Wendy | 5:22 AM

I find it very hard to make mommy friends. Even at events where there are a bunch of us, I can never seem to say, "hey, wanna hang out and let our babies stare at each other?"

MaeghanD. | 7:00 AM

I am a 27yo, married, mother of a 21 month old with a baby on the way in October. I am NOT the norm. Well, not the norm in my corner of the earth. I am incapable of discussing baby barf and diapering preferences for hours on end. This does not mean that I am not a good mother, and it took me a while to realize that. I went to one "new moms" meeting and was probably the only one with breastmilk stains and a kid who was not wearing every piece of the latest gymboree "cupcake" line. It was my first and last meeting. I had never felt so loserish in my life. It made me want to run out and buy bugaboos and 7 baby jeans and juicy sweatsuits (doesnt everyone want their post baby jiggle to have JUICY stamped on it?). My husband talked me down from the bloomingdales ledge and made me realize that we were apart of a new generation of parents. Cool ones. I can still go to local pubs, wine tastings, concerts in the park.. all while wearing my comfy jeans, breastmilk stained t-shirt and my baby in her carrier on my back. I found other parents that were in our same boat and I think one of them said it best at our easter party this weekend. "Can you say fuck at a kid party? Cause Ive said it like 12 times already... I never know how to act at these things" It was her kids party. We all have a lot of learning/tolerating to do.

Almudena | 7:56 AM

I thought I would be a load of self-assurance by now. I thought I had served my time in the Insecure of Who I Am Penitentiary. I mean, high school ended 12 years ago - didn't it? But here I am. Still. Just in a different cell. With a beautiful baby in my arms. Still wondering what the other girls are thinking. Am I smiling enough? Do I seem happy enough? As happy as they are? And can they see my belly roll under this shirt?
Funny - I could have sworn I was past this. But here I am - the 30 year old teenager - wondering when she will ever grow up.

Andrea | 8:03 AM

When my first son was born I joined the mom's group and spent the next 8 months comparing myself to these other mothers, who were definitely in a different income bracket and age group than my husband and I. It wasn't until I stopped comparing and realized that this was as much for my child as it was for me, that the friendship actually started in earnest and now two years later I've got a great group of friends.

Nicole | 8:26 AM

When I had my daughter, I was 22. I had hoped that when she finally did come, I would have overcome my fear of being the young mom in social situations. By the time she was 2 months I still hadn't really left the house. I was terrified of people thinking I was underqualified to be a mom, terrified of what they were thinking of me. I knew how much I loved my child, and how I wanted to give her the world -- but I felt like no one could understand that a person my age could be a good mom. I tried to meet other moms, but it was like they already had their Mommy Club and I was just a few months late. I tried to join them a few times -- but it just didn't feel right.

I had always had so many "friends", but since my relationship with them can be summed up with the time I told my "best" friend I was pregnant.. her response was "that sucks, who will i party with now?" (I was elated when I found out I was pregnant. It was a suprise and I was terrified but.. thrilled.)

My Daughter is now a year old and I'm finally beginning to feel like people can look at me as a MOM, and not a YOUNG mom. I'm not totally there yet, and I still get a little jealous when I see a group of moms and strollers walk past my living room window. But I'm getting there -- slowly. I made a person! I can pretty much do anything.

kwərk | 8:56 AM

I'm just the outsider for wanting a baby, which is apparently weird for a 25 year old.

I love your writing, so honest and relatable. :)

The Monkey's Momma | 9:05 AM

I felt like this post was about me. Most of my friends from high school don't have kids yet. I have a 4 year old and an 8 month old. Some days I feel like the most grown up of my friends, and other days I feel like I have no friends and am a child still myself. How can we have anything in common when our lives are so different? I have 2 kids and a mortgage, and have been married for 5.5 years. They are still partying every night and have no responsibilities. Because I feel like I don't fit in, I spend more time with my mom. She is my best friend. One day I'll have to make other mom friends, but right now, it's too much work and I need someone to help me along day to day, not cut me down because "I'm doing it all wrong."

I really loved this post. I've thought most of these thoughts to myself. Thanks for sharing. You are not alone.

Skipsy | 9:23 AM

Goodness! Do I ever sympathize with being the "young mum"! And I was the ripe of old age of 26 when I had my girl. Now all of R's little playmates have younger siblings (and uh, she's 2 next month) I feel like I'm the outsider with no imminent younger sibling. Three year age gap FTW. One benefit to being the young'un is not having to fight a fertility window, with which I also sympathize, lest you think I'm a mean young'un.

Love the blog.

Mamacita | 9:30 AM

Rebecca, I am floored by your blog and just how heartfelt and intuitive it is- as always.

I had my son at 22, he is now 4 months old. There are days I feel like such an idiot. I have definitely experienced that whole nail clipping thing.. I also live in a metropolitan area, and every parent here is about 20 years older than me with a JD and two masters degrees. Even though I went to college, I still feel totally uneducated around them. I tried going to a playgroup after a friend of mine encouraged me to join one her sister is in. I felt like their pity case. "I don't think I could have done this at your age.." The few women I have met my age (in my area, not online) are single mothers who I can't identify with either.

But I realize as time goes by, I was just as much of an "outsider" before I was a mom. In college I spent the majority of my weekends away from the frat parties, camping and hiking or visiting new places. I was on the outside then. Parenting has been the same way for me. I now do everything with confidence. Before, I introduced myself shyly, waiting for people to judge me by my age. Now I act as though this is exactly what I planned, and sorry if I'm not a lawyer, but I still know what is best for my son in our situation. And you know what? Since I have adopted that attitude, I have a lot more friends. Being in comfortable in your own skin can do wonders.

mrs.notouching | 9:40 AM

Colic colic go away go and see another...nah...just go away... I've been trying to reply to this post since yesterday, but I'm sure you know how it goes with the newborn. Well, the long reply will have to wait, just wanted to say I always liked your blog, but now after my daughter was born - I love it. After some awkward conversations with other moms I come here just to feel normal again.

orbgirl | 9:58 AM

Motherhood has only shed more light on the misfit in me. Crazy, party girl grows up and has a baby...wants the best for her little one, but feels all that is misaligned with who she really is.

I would have to say it's harder to make friends AND easier! You become friends with someone you may not have been friends before because you share this thing called motherhood and have that in common. Our prebaby personalities sometimes don't shine through and it's also hard to peel the mother 'layers' off the people you meet to really see them for who they truly are as a person.

I'm not sure that I am a rebel or that I embrace motherhood cliches because I'm not really sure what they are! I have definitely changed in that I think about the future a lot more than when all I had to worry about was myself.

Mena | 10:12 AM

I became pregnant at 20 and had my beautiful daughter three months after I turned 21. No one else I knew, friends I thought were steadfast, stuck around after that. The weekly calls and emails turned to monthly and then... nada. It was like I entered a different dimension and my friends couldn't (or wouldn't) follow. I was married and had a baby... my friends were still scared of the world, and I had just jumped in the pool headfirst, no bathing suit, no floaties.

I have never felt so singular and groundless. Yes, I had my lovely, sweet little daughter, a wonderful husband, but I felt left behind in a way, even though I had plunged ahead. It was a strange dichotomy.

Now I feel more comfortable, maybe because I am getting used to the singularity of motherhood, but I still feel left out of my circle of friends, even new ones I meet. It doesn't seem to matter that some have kids, and are also young, it just seems like they have it more together than I ever will.

But I love my daughter, I love being a mom, I love my life. I realize that no one else but I can establish a working rhythm from the chaos of life, only I can take the reins and decide not to worry about feeling left out, being a misfit. That is what makes life beautiful and worth living, the differences between you and me. and the rest of the world. Yup, I score Fs in the Social department, but I'm OK with that.

Kelli | 10:12 AM

I totally agree that we really should be warned when we have children that we will have to regress back to Junior High. The awkwardness, the Does My Kid Fit In?, Do I Fit In?, ahhh fuck it. Im doing it my way, and I hope it works.

Jen | 10:24 AM

Being a mom has really introduced me to a whole new set of women to be friends with. I was lucky enough to move to a neighborhood jammed with ladies my age who shared pretty similar parenting philosophies.

Lucky. Because I had friends who were parents and we were sure we'd only become closer friends when I had my daughter. Twas not meant to be at. all.

Abby | 11:04 AM

I'm a motherhood misfit because I am pretty much the only person in my close group of friends who is MARRIED (gasp!) with a BABY (gasp!). I'm over it though. I love, love, love my husband and child.

I think once my girls join this club, I'll be the head master who they defer to with all their baby drama. Cause I'm all, been there, done that!

Love reading about your and your sweet family, Rebecca!

Tatiana | 11:22 AM

I’ve changed in so many ways. I’ve got a smaller butt and a bigger waist. I’ve got a much greater appreciation for my own parents and the difficult choices that they made. And I think I finally get what this whole life thing is about: rolling with it and enjoying the ride.

Krista | 11:37 AM

How has motherhood made me a misfit? Well, I guess I don't think, for me, that it has. Motherhood feels like a pretty natural thing to me. I think the part of me that cared about fitting in with certain people sort of died when I had my son. Not that I am above worrying about what others think of me -- I still do. It's just the other mothers I've connected with (through a parenting group arranged by the hospital where I gave birth) have been wonderful -- accepting, encouraging, totally non-judgmental. It probably helps that we are all first-time mothers. So I don't feel like a misfit there. And as for friends who don't have kids yet or don't get the whole parenting thing, that doesn't bother me. I didn't get it either until I had one.

Who Loves The Son | 11:48 AM

I have always not "fit" in with the majority hence my teenage angst years hence my love for rock n roll and punk music. Having an unplanned baby at 22 when I was not married and had no intentions of getting married, still going to school and living with my mom, made me feel like even more of an outsider. It felt like my teen years all over again where do I fit in? With my friends who still go to shows and bars and drink massive amounts of booze and smoke too much pot? Or should I sit with my new mom friends at starbucks and talk to them about the money, the husband, the house, the everything I don't have and they do. My baby is 6 months and I still don't know where I fit in I've given up on trying to meet and be like the mom's around my town, they will never understand. Yet it's nice to know that there are others out there that do.
Love this post
Lynn

Vodka Mom | 12:15 PM

I don't want the stroller-

but I DO want to say......bravo, bravo, bravo.


wonderful post.

Luann | 12:19 PM

I tried all thru my 20's and early 30's to have a child, and finally at 38 adopted my first child. I have been asked a few times if I was his grandma. So I feel like a misfit mom at times.

Sarah | 12:26 PM

hmmm. I think blogger ate my post. Weird. I swear I was here three hours ago. (My apologies if this is a double post and I'm just blind.) Ah well, too late for the cool stroller, but here's my thought:
Just the other night I told my husband that I felt as though I had just been given a ticket into an elite club: the mommy club. I’m 33 and I have been standing on the other side of the velvet baby gate for a while. Three months ago, we finally got waved in. (We spent three years trying unsuccessfully to adopt internationally, then turned to domestic adoption and were waiting for a nanosecond before our daughter arrived. But that miracle is a story for another day.) Just this weekend, the weather finally turned springlike and we took our girl (three months old) on her first big walk around a local lake. The entire fertile population of the city was there, along with their jogging strollers. An armada of carefully equipped parents and children, perambulating the lake like pilgrims in a religious ceremony. I have run around this lake many, many times as a freewheeling non-parent, running fast and seemingly invisible to all the mommy masses.
But this time it was different. They saw me. They made eye contact, shot me knowing smiles and tried to get a look at my girl. On the one hand, I thought, “Hi nice to see you, too. It looks like we’re kind of doing the same thing here. Cute kid.” On the other hand, it was totally creepy. It was like I had joined the Masons and was just now realizing how many people know the secret handshake. Now, I am not going to deny that parenthood has rocked me to my very being and already changed me. My daughter is beautiful and miraculous and gives my life a depth of meaning that I didn’t know I could experience. At the same time, I want to smack those other parents and remind them that I did actually exist before I had a kid. Because I have a lot of friends whose life circumstances mean they might never join the club and I never want to make them feel like they are less of a person because they don’t have a child.
And, I should mention, just because I got waved into the club doesn’t mean I’m not going to get kicked out when they discover that I’m not very good about brushing my hair, I have no gnarly birthing/breastfeeding stories, my car seat does not match my jogging stroller, I do not have matching yoga pants even though I used to teach yoga, and I’m really bad at gossipy girl talk. And when I sat down halfway through our walk to bottle feed my beautiful girl, I could already feel the mommy club bouncer quietly coming up behind me. (I wondered if maybe getting a tee-shirt that said, “We adopted. These boobs are just ornamental. And the formula’s organic” might help with the dirty looks.) Sigh. Oh well.

Kirsten | 12:32 PM

I often feel like an outsider... but I think that has much to do with living in a new place where we know no one. I've met a few mom's through church...even joined a woman's bible study.

But, honestly, I am so tired of their perfect Betty Crocker answers that I just want to scream. And I wonder if I'm the only one who actually disagrees with certain issues or has a differing opinion... I feel like I am since I'm the only one who ever shares an opposing view.

They all look at me like I'm crazy and then I feel like even less of a good-Christian mommy. But the truth is-- deep down-- I know I am a good mom and a good person and the questions are good... they always lead to more knowledge and understanding. Okay, that may be more than what you asked for, but boy did it feel good.

cristina | 2:15 PM

I live in Portugal, in Lisbon. so what that means? first thing about portuguese people: we think, generally speaking, that is a waste of timem travel with little children, take them to restaurants (because they are noisy and is not a proper place to be....) or to do adult programs with old friends (some don´t have children) even during the day.
I was mother at 34. But my husband was only 23. So all of you can imagine! Our daughter was a planned decision for both. First question in mind people: was an accident?
The second strange thing is that we always loved to travel (even to strange places in world), and we decided still doing it, since she was only 3 months. The second holiday we took was to Croacia and Bosnia! So you all can imagine the comments! Not from our family, because they know we very well.
On the third summer we have crossed europe, by car and and boat. In italy, where we went more than once (and where people think the same way portuguese do) we were also aliens, even between friends. And we are aliens between portuguese friends. Even so, I can say that we still have some of the old friends, and we have news ones.
But is challenging thing, of course. And the best thing about this: i love to be a mother, and I would like to share this happy feeling with the rest of the world. Having children made me change, many things. The first one was learning to choose what to do first, and what I want from life.
:)
cristina M.

Erin | 3:39 PM

oh man! why don't you live in Chicago? I'd love to be a part of the "judgment free" meet-up. Too bad for me. You seem like the coolest mom and as a new mom, I'd love to have peeps like you around for support. Your story made me sad. Those women suck (oops, that was a bit judgmental of me!)

Geordy and Pete | 4:47 PM

you are wonderful!
first time commenter, long time reader.
have a 3 motnh old and live in australia.
wish we lived in LA now so we could join the 'judegment free' play times.
we laugh and cry with your blogs.
you are doing an amazing job.
well done.
x

Anonymous | 5:39 PM

Absolutely beautifully written. How could anyone not adore you? So glad you stayed yourself. What confidence. Stay just this way: honest, clear, vulnerable, real. Great job, cried reading it. I think anyone that is drawn to your blog and what you have to say will feel the honesty you share with us. Loved it. Thank you. Wish I knew you. You are so young to have your self concept intact like this. Takes some of us too long, and we waste too much of our lives, trying to get others to like us.

Anonymous | 5:51 PM

You know what? I LOVE that picture of you being you at the end of the post. YOU WON!!! Awesome. What is sad is how much time women waste trying to fit in, which makes them miss out on time they could be happy with baby. Yes,friends make life easier, but we can't abandon or lose priority on what should be first and foremost: our bonding with our baby. Screw it. Moms like that are just toxic. Be happy with baby, and realize that you are the best you on your own. The haters just zap your energy and drain away happiness. Toxic. Run far far away...Great post.

Holly | 7:46 PM

I really needed to read that. I just moved to a new town and everyone seems to be more 'mommy' than I am. Although, I totally wish I was in LA to meet with you.

Liz | 10:59 AM

I know it's too late to win, but I just had to post how much i appreciated your words and all of the comments as well. (made it through quite a few!) I was the first one married, the first one with a kid, and all of my parent friends are at least 5-10 years older than I am. I'm 25 and expecting my second in September ...and yes, its been weird to finish college AFTER having a kid. I'm a very social person and that has helped, and I've also grown up hanging out with my older sister and her friends, which also helped. I think the oddest/scariest/most embarrassing moment was when a mommy friend met my mother. After talking a bit we realized she's closer in age to my mother than to me! (and by more than 5 years!) Also quite common for people to assume my FATHER is my HUSBAND if we happen to go anywhere together with/without my son. SO FREAKY TO ME!
It's comforting and also discomforting when my mommy friends remind me that I don't seem so young to them. What's wrong with me seeming young? I AM YOUNG!
I wish I had closer mommy friends, but I'm starting to get there a bit. Let's just say without our involvement in church I would have no female contact whatsoever!
I'm really hoping that my son going to preschool next year will help me branch out a bit more.

Anonymous | 7:37 AM

My sister is a guidance counselor at an alternative high school. There's a program for girls who are pregnant or who have babies. The girls spend what little money they have on ridiculously expensive strollers, baby clothes and fancy infant gear. One of them says she got pregnant thinking "they" (i.e. welfare) would get her an apartment where her boyfriend could sleep over and they could party with their friends. She was surprised to find out that wasn't going to happen and now she and her baby live with her mom and stepfather in a one-bedroom apartment.
The girls spend much of their time doing each others' hair and makeup and trading laughingly incorrect information on how not to get pregnant. neem oil seems to be the favored method.
I've noticed that slightly older mothers, those in their early twenties, have a better grasp on reality but even they sometimes fall short of providing for their babies simply because they don't have the education to land decent jobs. I was married and in law school when I was pregnant with my first baby. At 24 I didn't feel like I fit in with the young partying moms or the SUV-driving older moms. But at least my husband and I had enough sense to put our money into buying our first house and starting a college fund for the baby rather than blowing it on designer clothes and electronic toys. Raising a child is hideously expensive and it requires maturity and a willingness to be self-sacrificing that comes with age and experience.

Summer | 10:30 PM

I find that I'm an outsider on the inside. Which is a weird place to be. My opinion is always different, I'm always the first to say something honest and shocking, but the last to jump on any bandwagon.

But, I like it. I'm me. I don't mind being the odd one out.

How I wish San Diego wasn't so far from L.A. Because that play group sounds like my kind of moms group...

In fact, I wrote about that whole thing here...
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1544501/the_truth_about_playgroups.html

Summer | 10:32 PM

And by the way, this is so me:

"You were awkward with introductions, felt like the token little girl at the adult table because you were young and new and never attended parenting classes or lamaze or even college."

lamaze, what? college, huh?

Anonymous | 1:24 PM

Rebecca, when I was 27, I wanted to be married, with a two kids, a boy and a girl. I'm almost 33 now, and I remain sans husband and sans kids. And...I'm happy with my life. Still open to marriage/kids; sometimes still REALLY want it, but again, I am happy.

I love hearing about how awesome your life is and I am so stoked for you.

I think this all just goes to show, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, and get what you need.

:) Ginger O

Stefanie | 8:11 PM

I want in on the playdate. Nice post and even at 42 I never have wipes. And I have fucking twins!

zjahazel | 12:53 PM

Im still feel like the young outsider :(

Anonymous | 6:21 AM

I LOVE you!! I would NEVER have ordered without you and left you eating alone! Why is it that the only women I really relate to are the bloggers I read online? Who live nowhere near me, of course!

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 380 of 380   Newer› Newest»