Monday, August 17, 2009

The club

I've noticed a very strange thing. I seem to be in "the club" now. The mommy club.

There are a few people in my family that I'm not crazy about, but that recently, I have enjoyed their company.

First, my DH's brother's wife. She is somewhat the outcast of my DH's family. Her daughter is 4.5, and she "withholds" her from the rest of the family. She has never let anyone babysit her daughter, not even her husband. He is not allowed to go anywhere but the local park alone with her (how weird is that???). She will never leave her daughter with the inlaws without her being there, and they can only see her on Saturdays when SIL brings her over, that's it. And these are really nice people. (In fact, MIL will be watching my Little One once a week while I'm at work, plus backup days as needed).

SIL seems to "disdain" them a bit because they work in the cleaning business. Meanwhile, FIL and MIL started this business from the ground up when they were newly married and struggling, all the kids (my DH, hers and their sister) work in the business, and it provides them all with salaries, medical benefits and a 401(k). I'll tell you what - I respect the heck out of them and think it's admirable that they have created a successful business that has provided for their whole family. And oh, P.S., SIL has never lifted a finger to ever earn money of her own, even with a college degree, and even BEFORE they had a baby. The in-laws (who are by no means wealthy) have bought them everything to help them out along the way (all their formula, diapers, groceries at Costco, even a mini-van). But yet she looks down on what they do for a living.

Anyway - I have never been a fan of hers, and I think she was completely intimidated by me when I entered the family - successful career, means to buy a nice house, vacation home, etc. Plus the inlaws and I get along great. She didn't come to my bridal shower (or even send me a card), and we've always been just cordial.

Well, since I've become pregnant, we've actually had some really nice conversations. Baby gear, challenges, the local schools, etc. And she hasn't been preachy, even though we will have very different parenting styles (stay-at-home mom vs. career mom). Maybe it's because we now have something in common, or because I've been asking her questions making her feel like the "expert". I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's interesting. She's even opened up to me about her relationship with her husband, and even their sex life (OK, definitely TMI for sure!).

And the other one is my cousin, who I've mentioned before (had a good career, married wealthy, quit her job, moved to a prestigious neighborhood into a 1.2m home, has 2 kids, but the hubby travels 5 days a week). We had a family party on Sat and her family was there. We talked a lot about babies, baby gear (she offered to give me anything I wanted of hers, as she is not having any more kids - a very generous offer), and the whole stay-at-home mom vs. career mom thing. She even opened up and said she really misses working and feels a little lost in her life right now. She feels irritated that she's basically a single mom with her hubby gone all week, and she resents the cattiness of the mommy-cliques. That even though you try to stay out of it, you realize that somehow you got caught up in it, just like high school. But when she was working at the beginning of raising her first child, she felt very left out of things by having to work and not being able to have play dates or socialize with moms during the week.

I thought she was being very honest and open about difficult feelings, where there is really no "one" answer, and I was surprised that she was being so candid and thoughtful with me.

So I wonder... are moms talking to me more now because we have something in common, or because the now see me as being "in the club"? That I'm somehow now "worthy" of their time because now I'm one of them? Or is it me... was I never interested in what they had to say as moms, and I'm just taking a genuine interest now? Did I come across as intimidating or dismissive somehow because I seemed to have a lot more to talk to their working husbands about?

It really does seem a little "us and them", and I want to be sensitive to that when I'm with my friends without children. I don't want to make anyone feel like a "them".

1 comment:

  1. Well, it must be that you are kind, approachable and bring out the best in them. Because, to be honest, neither of them sound like people I'd enjoy being around...generally. But suddenly here you are, having honest, real conversations with them. All I can say is, miracles happen! Enjoy it!