Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Special Guest Writer: Mommy Cliques

I hate cliques. If you haven't seen "Mean Girls", check it out. Tina Fey did a fabulous job of conveying in just under two hours the lifetime of damage high school cliques can do to a person. I especially recommend this movie if you have a girl. I was fortunate enough to attend a high school larger than all but two towns in the state of Wyoming, so the cliques were big enough that they had lost all exclusivity, thus rendering their powers useless.

But parenthood changes many things, and now I am part of a Mommy Clique. Oh, please...like you aren't. Anyone with a child HAS to join one. There is no way around it once the child is in school and doing afterschool activities. I'm sure we are all familiar with the cliques, but I will list the most common ones (at least the common ones in my neck of the woods) and its high school equivalent for ease of identification.

The Volunteers-A-Lot Mommy (Student Body Officers, Yearbook Staff)
Identifying characteristics: Always out of breath when she speaks to you, as she is rushing from one volunteer project to the next. Constantly asking about your Sally Foster or Creative Works order. Has every parent's phone number stored in her cell phone. Never, ever answers her phone when you call. Actually owns a sewing machine. Drives large 10 seater SUV to cart around art supplies, Girl Scout cookie orders, and entire soccer teams.
Little Known Facts: Afraid earth may stop orbiting the sun if she fails to help with reading workshop. If made to feel that her "work" is not important, may turn violent. Extremely fun while drunk. Surprisingly cool.

The Popular, Gorgeous Mommy (Cheerleaders, Soccer Stars, Prom Queen)
Identifying Characteristics: Never seen alone, usually in groups of at least three. Always looks great, even at 8am Saturday soccer games, with Starbucks grande skim no-foam latte in hand. Wears $1200 Aquascutum jacket to Field Day. Drives Mini Cooper, and makes sure you know she saw Cold Play when they were in town, because she's cool, damnit.
Little Known Facts: Had awful post-partum but is fine now, just fine (with the help of medication). Has hot husband who makes bank but insists that house be spotless 24/7. Depends on friends as lifeline to sanity. Has random, geriatric hobbies like crocheting afghans or watching Lifetime movies. Gets silly with a little provocation and likes it.

Four-Under-Six (Kids, that is) Mommy (Key Club, Church Youth Group)
Identifying Characteristics: Considers Chapstick to be makeup. Has runny-nosed toddler on hip, is expecting again, and has a standing order for Prozac at CVS. Wears grey sweats and hair in pony tail. Drives Blue Honda Minivan.
Little Known Facts: Has banned Cabernet from her house, as it was how last two children were "accidentally" conceived. On more than one occasion has threatened to chemically castrate her husband while he sleeps. So deep in The Blur (see post 11/4/09) that she may no longer respond to her own name (only to "Mommy").

The All-Natural, Organic Mommy (Loved Phish, the outdoors, Birkinstocks)
Identifying Characteristics: Wears all natural, non-dyed clothing made from renewable bamboo fibers. Does not inoculate her children or allow them to trick or treat during Halloween. Only eats vegan, certified organic food from Whole Food or Trader Joes. Nursed babies until they were in preschool. Drives hybrid vehicle.
Little Known Facts: Is not actively trying to make you feel like crap because you give your kids Happy Meals, but the sense of superiority derived from this helps make up for the fact that she can't eat bacon. Is acutely aware of the fact that she is judged for her "lifestyle choices". Unashamedly loves bad-ass, nerd icons like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars and has mad skills at unexpected things that make her very cool (frisbee, beer pong, unicycle).

The High Powered Mommy (AP classes, National Merit Scholar)
Identifying Characteristics: Very rarely seen, as is constantly in meetings with Exxon Mobil and/or Senator McSleezy. Has carpal tunnel syndrome in thumbs from typing on Blackberry 15 hours a day. Severe haircut that is ridiculously expensive to maintain. Wears Donna Karan suits and heels that hurt to look at. Drives an Audi or BMW, or other sweet car which the children are never allowed to actually sit in, as they might spill on the leather seats.
Little Known Facts: High Powered Mommy is often Single Mommy, often out of necessity. Envy her ability to go out to lunch, look great, pee alone and make uninterrupted phone calls. Pity her the fact that if her nanny flakes one more time she could get fired, her kids alternate between being clingy and mad at her, and she never stops feeling stressed. Has the best and worst of both worlds. If she doesn't drink heavily, she probably should.

As in High School, it is possible to straddle more than one group or move from one group to the next. For example, High-Powered Mommies often become Volunteer-A-Lot Mommies when they get laid off or have another baby and cut back to part-time. Popular, Gorgeous mommies often become Organic Mommies in an effort to become The Perfect Mother, but quickly find that they now even annoy themselves.

I am, as I stated earlier, part of a clique. But it's a very, very exclusive clique and has stiff requirements, i.e., the ability to open a bottle of champagne with one hand and make an entire dinner out of appetizers. Other identifying characteristics include giggling, talking trash about our spouses, and making jokes in very poor taste. The key to our mommy clique is that we use our powers for good and not evil, though we are all thoroughly rotten.

That is really the key to cliques when you are a grown-up: recognizing them for what they are and should have always been - support. Come as you are, we love you anyway support. In High School, we may have been guilty of "girl on girl crime" (as Tina Fey put it in the movie). As adults (and mommies) we are more focused on taking care of other people and making it through the day. And hopefully, after years of careful practice, we have learned to subdue our inner bitches. Sure, there are some Mean Girl mommy cliques out there that use their power for evil. We call them covens. We avoid them like the plague and never, ever invite them out for drinks.

--XOs from Kate and Lydia to our very first SGW, Jenni C, who penned this little gem.

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