I’m sitting on my screened-in back porch this morning, listening to the many birds of Sherwood Oaks, drinking my coffee, and thinking about my existence. About how I’ve always felt different from other girls and women of my age, about how I don’t quite fit in with them.
Does everyone feel this way? I’ve always been labeled as “too bossy” as a kid, “stuck up” as a teen and just “goofy” by a prom date. Oh, and that label “too sensitive” has been there since Day 1 of my life.
When I became a mom, this feeling became even more pronounced. At 29, I was the first of my friends to become mom. Also, none of my Bloomington friends at the time were even planning to have kids. This meant I really didn’t have any other mom friends. I did have a neighbor at the time who I was friendly with, and she invited me to her baby play group.
All of the other women were stay-at-home moms, and I was only working about 25 hours a week, but it set me apart. These women all acted as if becoming a mom was the pinnacle of their life. I did love being a mother, but I also loved music and movies, and politics and beer. They could talk endlessly about how to put sunscreen on a baby (true story), but didn’t know anything about current events. Or even seem to have a life outside of their baby. They were mostly frumpy but well-meaning ladies who seemed to have domineering husbands and mousy personalities. Not a good fit.
Reading this post over, I sound really bitter. I guess I kinda am. I wonder how much of my perceived not fitting in is me deliberately setting myself apart, though?
As Val got older, it became clear that she wasn’t your typical girl child, which further set me apart. She was a biter, and woe to the mother of such an aberrant child. I clearly had a violent household (as I overheard another mother say about me) or how else could my child be so aggressive? She was definitely not an obedient, quiet young lady in school. She talked a lot, blurted out answers without raising her hand, poked classmates with pencils, didn’t care what anyone thought. In eighth grade, she came out. And now i’m about the proudest LGBTQ+ mom you ever did see. Most other moms don’t have gay kids, and if they do, it’s not something they proudly proclaim. (I’ve always been an over sharer.)
Bella and her epilepsy set me apart from the other moms too—but through this stupid disease I’ve met some of the most amazing fellow moms whose kids are also developmentally different: Julia, Amy, Shelly, and more. It’s not easy parenting a kid with a chronic, serious disease. For a long time, and still sometimes, I am mad at the world and the unfairness of it all. I’m annoyed by the other parents who complain about problems that aren’t what I would call problems. You know the type: the moms who gnash their teeth and wring their hands when little Amelia doesn’t get into the gifted program or when Joshua isn’t in accelerated math.
Reading this post over, I sound really bitter. I guess I kinda am. I wonder how much of my perceived not fitting in is me deliberately setting myself apart, though? Or me just not having patience for women and their petty problems, and my attitude of “you think that’s a problem? I thought my daughter was going to die from a seizure right in front of me, THREE TIMES.” Or, “my gay kid was witnessed to at the South High School lunch table, and the other kid said she’s going to Hell.”
That chip on my shoulder gets pretty weighty sometimes, for sure. The older I get the more I’m trying to chip away at it. At my core, though, I’ll always be somewhat of a misfit in the world of moms—and I guess I’m OK with that.