By Kayci Villarreal
A friend recently invited me to join a local moms meet-up group via facebook. Despite my inner introvert cringing and hissing at the prospect, I decided to check out their page anyway. I mean, it couldn’t be that bad, right?
The group’s cover photo was of women in matching dresses, standing on a winding staircase with perfectly coiffed hair and expertly-applied makeup. Their group events included things like “First Tooth Party!” and “Fitness Scavenger Hunt.” They meet up every Tuesday for yoga in the park. It took me about 0.2 seconds to determine that these are not my people.
The Pinterest moms with their process-based art and homemade desserts shaped like various cartoon characters: these are not my people.
The Instagram moms with their stylized floral arrangements and matching mommy-and-me OOTD: these are not my people.
The room parents at my son’s school who–bless their sweet, overachieving hearts–decorate doors for Earth Day and organize costume days for spirit week: I love what they do, but these are not my people.
The mom at the playground who clutches her thermos of (probably not spiked) coffee while retying her struggle bun with one hand: she is my people. She calls out to her kids, “Hey, be nice!” and adds in an almost-whisper “…for fuck’s sake.” She checks her phone while heading over to break up a fight or help a kid climb up the slide the wrong way. Her kids want snacks; she offers a half-smooshed granola bar and points them in the direction of the drinking fountain.
Her kids are fine–hell, they’re having a blast. They’re free to climb too high and run too fast and yell to their little hearts’ content. When they inevitably fall and come over to show her their scraped-up knees, she gives them a hug, some kind words, and sends them back to play.
She’s not perfect; a bit too sweary and a bit too sarcastic. She doesn’t have her shit entirely together, and the fact that she doesn’t care about that makes me love her even though I don’t know her.
Moms like her – moms like me – we maybe don’t fit into the Pinterest-perfect world of the other parents, and that’s okay. We don’t need to compete with the Instagram moms, with the room moms or yoga moms. They’ve all got each other and their projects and they’re crushing it as parents. But so are we. We still show up to support our kids, we put our time and energy into the things that matter to us. Our kids may not have homemade sensory bins, but they have pillow fights and dance parties and spontaneous karaoke in the car. We still love them with everything we’ve got.
So, to my people: let’s forget the craft hour and the bake sale. Let’s get together in each other’s living rooms for coffee (spiked or not) and swear a bit too often and a bit too loudly and let the kids run wild while drinking non-watered-down juice. Let’s go shopping together for non-homemade Halloween costumes. Let’s celebrate the fact that we are our own tribe, beholden to no one, and that we are pretty damn good moms.
About the Author
Kayci is a working mom of two hilarious kids living in Southern California. Her hobbies include reading in two-minute increments and sneaking cookies when her kids aren’t looking.