I‘m just going to come out with it. I’ve met “The Mothers.”
If you had nothing more to go on, and you closed your eyes and tried, perhaps the following free-associations might bubble to the top:
Talk of product recalls
Tapered, stonewashed jeans
Jokes about wine and sippy cups
Designer strollers that cost more than your first car
No. No. Yes. And, no. Dayna, Devon, and Demi—the triple D’s with the double D’s—are not those mothers. They’re the motheryuckers. They live off the belief that everything and everyone adore children, most especially theirs, and that life should be “yukked up.” Literally and figuratively.
It was Demi, queen motheryucker, who’d invited me to meet her friends, the otherfcukers, and their accessorized younglings for breakfast. I thought it was wholly generous of her, especially with a name meaning “half,” to extend the invitation, and I’ll admit, I was looking forward to meeting other moms, even if our kids did attend different summer camps.
Demi scribbled the meetup spot on the back of an envelope she’d fished out of her Marry Poppins Purse. “Just a local spot.” One day and a twenty-eight minute drive later, I was meeting her and her crew at the un-local breakfast spot (although Demi lives around the corner, her friends were further out). It was your basic muffin and donut shop, with smells of cinnamon, butter, and the centers of wet eggy French toast triangles—only there were mostly offerings of egg white salad, flagels and diet lobster salad. In lieu of booths, stools and a breakfast bar, there were board games and newspapers dotted throughout the B-lounge, inviting patrons to settle in on sofas, to relax with a strong cup of coffee, maybe even make a new friend. Perfect.
Except, it wasn’t perfect. Before Luke, Abigail and I walked through the front doors, I crouched to meet their eyes, reminding them to be on their best behavior, “as you always are because that’s what we do in our family.”
Total side note: when my children do misbehave, and they do, I try to remind them, “You have very good manners and are such good listeners. And this behavior isn’t who you are, at all. I know that. You know that. So, let’s be ourselves now.” It works, unless it doesn’t. I’m learning to embrace the bad mother in me, the lazy mom, the mom who says that’ll just have to be good enough. But I always do try… unless they’re absurdly tired, in which case, I haul ass. Which, I should say, “sometimes involves leaving without getting my shit done,” but in truth, no. My checklist items are getting crossed off even if I’m cross with my overtired offspring. Basically, their asses will be dragged down with me.
Upon entry, we were greeted by The triple D’s, waving us down from their coffee clutch, glossy smiles, makeup, coordinated gym and tennis outfits. Each of them looked photo-ready. Their children, however, were another story—a poorly laid out story, with disjointed unruly little verbs and nouns bouncing from walls, weaving through the legs of patrons. To their little boys and girls, the armchairs and sofas were a theme park knot of slides, to be slid down, and climbed upon. Their tutu-clad girls with pigtail curls and sparkling light-up sneakers raced up and down the cafe, chasing one another, screaming full throttle. I looked over my shoulder; was I the only one seeing this?
It’s one thing when a parent is trying her best to handle the situation. She’s flustered, exhausted, an apologetic mess. But The D’s didn’t do sorry. And they didn’t come close to rolling out the “R” in “reprimand.” Instead, one seized a Splenda, offering up an unimpassioned, “Yeah, the staff just loves when they see us walk through the door.”
So here’s my question, can you really be friends with someone who raises her children in a manner to which you strongly object? We’re not talking some one-off bad day, where you just don’t have the energy to deal. I’m talking a consistent parenting style that evokes images of Mr. Wonka’s Veruca Salt. I don’t see how. Because I don’t want my children to be around that. I don’t want to be around that.
Though I will admit I do have friends, friends I adore, who have wild boys who play with sticks and throw things and act like sour patch kids. But it’s too late. I’m already in love with their mothers. I can’t take it back, even if I wished she could take them back. But starting out fresh, where I have somewhat of a choice in the friends I keep, if I judge them so harshly, how can I ever imagine being their friends?
I basically prefer asshole moms who don’t let their children get away anything. They might not always listen—what child does?—but their parents at least attempt to correct their child’s behavior. And what do I do about this? When my own children continually ask for a playdate with an adorable boy whose mother is a demi-glazed groaner whose stories make me want to debone a chicken and stab her face with its carcass?
Always be too busy.
Say you’re available when you KNOW she’s not, so you’re not the aloof stuck-up bitch.
If you must have plans, because your son really wants to play with hers, invite other people, so you’re not stuck with her one-on-one.
All sounds reasonable enough. Because I genuinely believe it’s crueler to have a conversation about it, and I’m sure she’s a good person who’s capable of taking a hint, right? Wrong. She calls and calls and emails and texts and does not go away. She gives me the opposite of a lady boner.
So, what is it? What is it about her that I really don’t like? Is it just her parenting? No. I don’t like how eager and panting, and negative she is. She’s OPINIONATED in a really aggressive way—like Phil and his mother. I don’t need any more opinion pushers in my life. You know, aside from when I ask for help and opinions, as I am doing here, now.
It dawns on me now that I actually liked the other two double D’s. It was just Demi splashing over that had colored my opinions of the other women. I don’t like how bothered I am by her, this person who clearly only wants to do right by her son. Perhaps it wouldn’t be awful if she’d say, “We’ll have a little wine while they play, just come over, you’ll see.” That relaxed way of doing things is what I need in my life. I don’t need wide-eyed heroin hopped up rats gnawing at me for plans. Just no. That’s not who I want to spend time with. Do I love Boca? I love the palm trees, love the weather and ocean, love being close to more family, especially my mother. I think I’d learn to love South Florida, I already am, if I found friends that inspired me, friends who made me laugh, that were characters or quietly interesting, but who were generous with their knowledge, contacts, friends and wisdom. Something I try so hard to be for my own friends.
There is a really shiny glimmer of hope: I have met a several women at the kids’ preschool with whom I’m genuinely looking forward to spending more time. Friends of friends have made introductions via facebook. Alexandra has thankfully introduced me to her swarm of Pine Crest alumnae. And we’ve made two “couples” friends in our greater neighborhood (within Woodfield, but not our particular development) with whom we’ll for sure include for game nights and dinner parties. I’m already thinking of a theme: Polynesian Night… where I’ll be serving a beef filet tenderloin with a Kona coffee demi glaze in honor of the friends I haven’t made. And piña colada ice cream, obviously.
All in, I think I’m doing pretty well. And so long as I’m real, I’m sure to continue to meet real people who’ll hopefully grow into real friends.