Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Open Letter to Mommies Who Just Don't Get It

Dear Mommies,

Lydia and Kate here. We started Rants From MommyLand because, though we didn't know it at the time, we needed it. It would be hard to find two more different women than the two of us. Yet our friendship and our collaboration works, because we get it. Sadly, there are a lot of mommies out there that just don't get it. As a result, they make life exponentially harder not only for themselves, but for everyone around them. And that has got to stop.

Mommies Who Just Don't Get It, or the MWJDGI, loosely pronounced Moo Wedgie...because that's what they need. A cow to wander up to them, say, "Wow, I get it and you don't. And I am an actual heifer. That is so sad..." and then YANK! Fantastic. Plus, we are adding it to the MDR and you moms-in-the-know can glance over at each other sagely, when one the clueless moms says something unbelievably stupid, and say silently to each other, "Moo Wedgie". There's something totally satisfying about that.

These moms are rampant and come in many shapes and sizes. We're about to describe ten types of Moo Wedgies. And in an effort to be totally honest, both of us are guilty of some of the behavior we are about to describe. We are fully aware that we are a couple of idiots who are not always on our best behavior, but at least we try. So here they are:

1. Pedantica (The Know it All)

She tells the teacher how to run the class. She has seen every movie and read every book and her opinion is the right one ("You actually liked Twilight?" and then comes eye rolling and numerous recommendations to help educate you). Wondering what mini-van to buy? She knows the make, model, options, and MSRP and if you don't take her advice then you are making a mistake. Feeling crampy? She can diagnose you with a food intolerance/allergy/hormone imbalance and if you fail to follow her instructions, go ahead and resign yourself to a life of abdominal bloating. Conversations about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are to be avoided AT ALL COSTS.

2. The Self Esteem Vampire
This person is potentially very destructive. They are equipped with a fully-loaded arsenal of methods to make other people feel like crap. We recently had a "friend" say: "I read your little blog! It was cute. You know, I thought about writing a blog but then I would never presume that my life was so interesting that anyone would actually want to read about it." A conversation with this person will make you want to go home and get in bed with your precious Target wine cube and not get out for a while.

The most evil version of this type will not only target you, but may also target your child. Or someone else's child. While we are ready to forgive and forget almost anything, this is Avada Kedavra. Unforgivable. You do not target someone else's child. Ever. It is NOT OK to making snarky comments on the side of a soccer field, or a sneak a quiet word with the teacher or coach about how bad little Johnny is (and how good your little Jimmy is), or getting a HERD of other Moo Wedgies together to gossip about a child's real or imagined short-comings. It happens all the time. It should be illegal. But it's not. So we should be able to rope and brand 'em, right?

3. The Catch and Release Friend
This mommy befriends you and is in contact all the time. Texts, calls, emails, Facebook. You're buddies - all of a sudden. While it may seem a little odd, but you go along with it thinking - maybe this is just how she rolls? Then just as suddenly, her calls and texts stop and the cycle of catch and release friendship resumes, sometimes with someone else. You are left wondering WTF just happened: are we friends? Acquaintances? Frenemies? Have I wandered into a time machine and found myself in 8th grade?

Both of our husbands love baseball, and they have term in that fine sport about making trades: Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). These mommies are the perfect capitalist model of friendship, trading their mom-friends based on some VORF model of whackness. Except that these capitalists are not in business. Unless that business is crazy. You're better off without them. Note: the real reason to be wary of this type is the fact that it usually involves your kids and her kids. While hers may be used to friends floating in and out of their lives, yours may not be.

4. The Issue Queen

Hey, you have 3,000 bumper stickers on your vehicle and always wear slogan t-shirts and you care and you are engaged and we understand that. But do not accost me in the parking lot about your issue or candidate. Do not assume we are on the same page. And even if we are, leave me alone - if I wanted to be an issue queen, I would be and I am NOT. And, if we were going to vote for your guy, we're not now. And, when we see him, we'll tell him why. Because that's fun. For Kate.

5. The Ruthless Leader

This mommy is the PTA president, troop leader, soccer coach or class mom. Not the cool kind, who make it kind of fun and has everybody over for drinks sometimes. This one loves the perceived power of her position. Which is kind of funny when you consider that about half the time, they can't pay people to take these gigs. And she is fiercely territorial of her little kingdom and ruthless to those she considers to be interlopers. She runs that damn swim team like she's Amanda from Melrose Place, plotting and scheming. This Moo Wedgie really needs to get over herself.

6. The Free Rider
This mommy is the Ruthless Leader's evil twin. She sends her kids every week but refuses to help with anything, even the lame, easy stuff. Guess what, hotshot? No one wants to break down tables and move chairs. Do you think I like going to Target and buying snacks for 30 ungrateful kids? Do I enjoy volunteering in the nursery and changing some random baby's poopers? I do not. But I do it because pulling your weight is the right thing to do. And every time you shrug it off and give some lame excuse as to why you can't help, it sends one message: "I'm too good to do my part. But since you are not as important as I am, you can do my part for me."

7. The Shameless Self-Promoter
Do you know a mommy who spends more time telling people about her volunteer work than she spends actually doing volunteer work? Who drops little nuggets into every conversation about how awesome she is? Things like "When I was student in London..." or "I taught competitive water-skiing for years" or "I'm on several Boards right now. I keep saying no and they just keeping asking!" At a certain point, you have to ask yourself - is this woman full of herself or full of crap?

We have dealt with this kind of mommy. What she doesn't realize is that she is not perfect, her kids are not perfect and she is being a tool. Once she slows down and stops trying to impress everyone, we're more than willing to split a bottle of Charles Shaw with her.

9. The Sad Sack

This mommy is always struggling. She feels terrible and everything is so hard. We've all been there. But the difference between the Sad Sack and everyone else is that hers is a constant state. We've observed that there are two kinds of people that are high-drama: (1) those that are always creating drama in order to get attention and sympathy and (2) those that have drama constantly thrust upon them. Those that fall into the second category are getting divorced, are sick, have special needs kids, a deployed spouse, are caring for an aging parent, have suffered a loss, and they tend to have both a good sense of humor and a good attitude. On the occasions when they don't - well, who can blame them? Pour another glass, sisters, tomorrow is a new day. For the first group - be careful - you go courting drama and some day you might really get it.
[This is sort of me. If I could just get some damn sleep I would be fine. - Lydia]

10. The Straw that Stirs The Sh*t

The sh*t stirring mommy knows things. Again, there are two kinds. (1) the Machiavellian type - strategic in how she dispenses her collected intelligence data. Then sits back and watches as people react, silently cackling an evil laugh. (2) The Unintentional Sh*t-Stirrer - This mommy may be a real sweetie, but she is clueless. Basically, she has no filter. And she needs one. Both are dangerous, but the filter-less one is worse because you never what she'll say, who'll she say it to or when she'll say it. God love her.

Being a mommy simultaneously offers you the highest highs and lowest lows that you can experience. And because it's our job to take care of everything and everyone, often there is no one to take care of us. That's where our mommy friends come in. They understand that hysterical, bordering-on-crazy laughing or heart-broken sobs or truly inappropriate humor or accidentally drinking an entire bottle of wine are all perfectly appropriate responses to life's little bumps. And they don't judge. And you find yourself feeling better. And you realize how lucky you are to be surrounded by mommies who get it. And keying the cars of the moms who don't. But fear not, you wielders-of-paint-destructive-techniques...they'll find a way to blame the world for it anyway...they you can sit back and cackle. [Editor's Note: Kate is #10 - can you tell???]

xo, Lydia and Kate

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