Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've Heard That One Before...

So a Buddhist, a Jew and a Muslim walk into a coffee shop...

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke right?  Oh you've heard that one before and so you'll stop reading now...meh.  Oh you're shocked by how politically incorrect that sounds and so you'll move on now...meh.  Oh you're too focused on what you think this is instead of seeing what it actually too sometimes, and so here we go.

I am often frustrated by how groups of mothers can't find anything else to talk about besides their kids.  Actually, it makes me crazy!  It's like we forget about who we are in addition to being mothers.  And just stop, before you think you hear me saying I am not proud to be a mother.  I am proud to be a mother.  I chose to be a mother.  Some days I am a mother first, before anything else.  On the butt wiping, laundry doing, appointment scheduling, toy cleaning days...I am a mother only, in spite of everything else.  But the other parts of me are still under there...somewhere.

Here in The Middle, it's tough to find a mother who's willing to admit that those other parts are under there.  We cling together like refugees and connect because we have a common crisis; toddlers with drippy noses, struggling readers, babies with separation anxiety, 4 year olds that are still in diapers, 2 year olds that aren't talking yet.  Common crises.  They are very real and very present, but sometimes I wish I could just set them aside for a few hours and go looking for those other parts of me.

So when a group of moms refugees that I know suggested we meet one evening a month without our kids, my first reaction, honestly, was, "No thanks."  I've been to that meeting before.  I've already heard that joke.  You can stop now...meh.

In classic Nancy fashion, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.  I don't do anything in a small way.  I miss out on things when I am too focused on what I think something is, instead of being able to see what it actually is.  Damn.  Damn.  Once I took a tiny moment to see that I was missing out on an opportunity to add some new friends to my collection, I decided to join them.

Hands wrapped around warm cups of coffee and glasses of pinot noir we floundered for just a moment with conversation.  We started with poop, preschool and how fast their little short legs are growing out of their pants...sigh, here we go...and then someone showed up with an enormous piece of coconut cake and three forks and the Mother Load fell away.  It turns out she was so excited to have cake because they don't eat gluten at her house and she was so glad to be sharing her cake because she wanted to and not because she had to.  It turns out we all love coconut cake and novels about girls with tattoos and shamelessly watch reality television even though we know it's bad for us.  It turns out she is a nurse and she has a husband who travels a lot.  Huh, never knew that before...  It turns out we're all struggling with the same things in this tiny town where we live and none of those things have anything to do with potty training or homework or laundry.

In a tiny moment you can see what something actually is, but only if you're looking.  Only if you suspend your judgment about what you think you know, or what you think you've heard. 

A Buddhist, a Jew and a Muslim walked into a coffee shop...turns out this time the joke was on me.   

Thanks ladies.  See you next month.


  1. rock the house! that sounds like a very good time. very good.

  2. Wow! I need a group of ladies like this. I was just pondering this very same thought a couple of weeks ago, but I was thinking about how my kids only know the "mom" Annie and not Annie, the person apart from mom. Glad to know that I am not alone out there!
    Thanks for stopping by and following.:)

  3. I couldn't agree more! That's why Chicago was so great - we talked very little about our little ones. I agree that you can be a very proud Mama Bear & still maintain who you are and what you're interested in. In fact, it's completely healthy to do so. Bring on the coconut cake!