Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Quit the PTA

I became a mom very, very young. 19, to be exact. My boy is 10 now, and when I stop to think about the fact that my little mini-me {not so mini anymore} is now closer to the age I was when I had him than he is to his birth… Cue twilight zone music because it's freaky. It's no small miracle that our family made it. I stop and think about the fact that I've been married over a third of my life, and I don't turn 30 until June. Crazy town! If Connor walks in the door with some babe in 9 years and says they want to play house get married, y'all will probably never see us again because we're changing our identities and moving to Siberia. 

I knew it would be hard. I prepared myself in every way possible. I read all the parenting books. I obsessed over everything from what kind of laundry detergent to buy to every medical decision under the sun. I thought about educational opportunities, I prepared for the up-all-nights, and bless my little heart I was learning how to wife as a teenager. I prepared {as much as one can prepare} for the terrible twos--those never happened for us, but lordamercy I think I had a glass of wine in my hand every night during the threes. I accepted the fact that our bank accounts would be empty, but our hearts would be oh-so-full. Oh, how they were!

I knew this was a huge undertaking, and I felt really prepared for the journey. I knew my son would, at times, make me go crazy or turn my hair prematurely gray {that hasn't happened yet thank the Lord almighty! Thanks up there to You!} I prepared for disaster. I prepared for diaper blowouts. I prepared for toddler meltdowns. I prepared for boo boos. I prepared to read a gazillion bedtime stories. I prepared for exhaustion. I thought I had prepared for it all, and then I became a citizen of planet mom, and I DID NOT prepare for the other moms on this planet. I did not prepare for the all out hostility that can exist over on planet mom. We were isolated at home a lot during the toddler years, but once he started Kindergarten, I was so excited to get some other mom friends. 

….and then I joined the PTA, and I'll tell ya, my experience there wasn't a good one. No offense if you're a member. I do hope your experience there was far better than mine. For me, it was the suburb's version of being in a cult. These moms I dealt with were extremely judgmental, rude, and just plain awful to be around. I was constantly feeling judged for not eating organic everything all the time {give my child a bag of Doritos and you'll be both amazed and horrified that any human can consume anything that fast}, not having a child who sat perfectly still during circle time {these moms had kids who always look like models for GAP Kids, mine isn't afraid to slide in the dirt behind a bush to play hide n seek--he has never been still--even in utero!}, not throwing huge blowout birthday parties {Little Caeser's and a few cupcakes did the job back in my day}, not wanting to continue to stay home {I just wasn't cut out for it. I'm a far better mom when I'm working} this list could continue all day. Judgey, hateful moms just ain't my jam, and the longer I was around them, the more judgey I became myself {both to myself and to other moms}. So I left the group. YOLO! 

Some moms are married living their picket fence dreams in the burbs, and some moms are flying completely solo.
Some moms are crafty and throw crazy cute birthday parties, and some do last minute store-bought cupcakes with no decorations. 
Some moms look like fitness models, and some moms have some extra padding.
Some moms buy all organic everything, and some moms would be lost without pop tarts.
Some moms make crazy great food for their families, and some moms are crazy great at ordering takeout. 
Some moms have spotless and perfectly decorated homes, and some moms have sticky floors. 
Some moms contribute amazing things to the PTA, and some moms run from the PTA screaming. 
Some moms homeschool their kids 4 grades above level, and some moms happily wave from the porch as their kids ride the bus to public school.
Some moms bring home the bacon, some moms stay home. 
Some moms have roast beef, some moms have none. {Sorry--too many years doing little piggies to resist!}
To ALL OF YOU I say: well done, good and faithful servant. You keep doin' you. God made you exactly the way you are on purpose. Use your God-given gifts to raise your kids and bring value to your family in ways no one else can.

My best mom friends have been found in the heart of the storm: during an atomic three-year-old meltdown in Target, a special lady gift from God who was a few years ahead of me in the game walked up to me and told me that I wasn't alone, this mom thing is crazy hard, I was doing the best I could, and kids melt down. They just do. Her spidey senses were up that day that I was questioning EVERYTHING I was doing as a mom, and she extended kindness instead of judgement. We ended up talking for almost an hour, and I've loved her ever since. She was my port in the storm that day, and I've made a point to pass on her kind spirit onto other mamas in my path. I do my best to smile {in lieu of the typical evil eye} at other mamas who are just trying to buy their crazy, cranky, crying kids some cheerios and go home. 

Momming is hard, y'all. We're all in this tribe together. Let's change planet mom into a place where we love each other so very well. Let's lean in to be a lifeline instead of giving the stink eye from afar. We don't need to judge other moms for doing the best they can with what they've been given, because all the best moms I know are already judging themselves hard enough. Let's not speak judgement about people,  let's speak life into people.


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