|Print | Back||June 20, 2012|
Raising the Rising GenerationThe Mommy Club
by Emily S. Jorgensen
Years back, when "Sarah," a friend of mine, had no children of her own, she expressed frustration to me one day about what she called "The Mommy Club" in her ward. She felt she was ignored by most women her age who had children because she did not.
This was difficult for her in many ways. First, she wanted to be a mother herself, but it had not happened yet. Secondly, she had a very different lifestyle than the young stay-at-home mothers in her ward; she was pursuing her career and had a strict time schedule in which she could attend extra church meetings or do her visiting teaching. She could not always participate in the social activities these young mothers arranged.
The Mommy Club, as she termed it, all seemed to be friendly one with another; and why not? If they were anything like the young mothers in my ward, they chatted in the mother's lounge while nursing babies, they arranged for playdates for their preschoolers, they swapped stories of potty-training capers and how to handle sleeping problems and colicky babies.
"Jessica," another friend of mine, had also tried to conceive without success for many years. This was a constant source of heartache and challenge for her and her husband as well. However, I really admired the way she handled it.
She was well known and loved in the ward. She and her husband could often be found helping others in a myriad of ways -- going the extra mile for the families they home taught (I know -- we were one of the them!), taking time off work to go to girls camp, allowing relatives who were struggling financially to live with them for a significant period of time.
They were heavily involved with the lives of their nieces and nephews -- among other things, they would host an annual Halloween party at their house for all their siblings and their children, with games and music, and all go trick-or-treating together.
I don't think mothers ever intentionally set out to alienate non-mothers. I think they are so blamed busy they don't notice those who are outside the experiences they are having.
Jessica would help her sister with her children whenever it was possible for her to do so. Sarah really didn't feel she had the time for that. Subsequently, Jessica was involved in mothering experiences, though on a smaller scale than "the mom" would be. Still, it made her receptive to conversations about mothering.
As her friend, and a mom, I felt comfortable being honest and open with Jessica -- confiding in her the difficulties I faced as a working mom. I knew that, as my friend, even though our experiences differed, she cared about me, and that was way more important to me, and to her, than whether we were both mothers.
It is a credit to her that when I told her my own doubts and struggles about motherhood that she listened to me -- she never told me to just be happy I had children; she recognized that blessed with children or not, we all have trials.
Our friendship, which started when she was childless, has continued to grow. Now our 4-year-old sons have a weekly playdate.
Our family is blessed with an aunt and uncle like Jessica and her husband as well. My brother and his wife have yet to be blessed with children, but they are absolutely wonderful with mine. They remember all their birthdays, bring their tiny poodle over to be mauled by my children, and offer to babysit when we are in a pinch.
My childless sister-in-law is unquestionably in my Mommy Club. I would trust her with my children's lives; I confide in her my mothering horror stories and I will listen if she wants to cry on my shoulder that she doesn't have any of her own yet.
Maybe Mommy Clubs are somewhat inevitable -- all young mothers need desperately to feel the support, ask the advice, and get the help of other women. Mothering is a near impossible task to accomplish alone. However, the ticket for entrance need not be labor pains -- it need only be love for our fellow sisters in Zion.
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