It used to be a word I associated with warmth, goodness, band-aids lovingly applied and cookies. There was a time when I looked forward to a little one using it to address me (hopefully) with tenderness. The responsibilities inherent in the word would provide a new and challenging dimension to my life and, no doubt, make me a more patient person. That was before infertility reared its ugly head.
Today the word taunts and excludes me. It’s a little word, but it packs a punch: MOM.
During the course of an hour yesterday the word was used no less than 50 times. Why on earth, you ask? It was a business presentation in our office on the power and reach of today’s growing and influential Mom’s Clubs. As the presenter made her case the word came at me with increasing force: mom, Mom, MOM!!
I could feel myself twitching as if getting an electric shock each time the presenter uttered it placing the emphasis on the MOM of Moms Clubs. On the screen behind her were adorable images of children hugging their moms, moms looking concerned while tending to a child or moms laughing with other moms, exchanging knowing glances because they shared the trust and loyalty of their MOMs Club.
Talk about feeling ostracized, isolated and left on the outside looking in. By the end of the presentation she had me convinced that my life was utterly lacking in camaraderie, joy and togetherness. As a non-mom, I’ll never get the little jokes, the inside community scoop, the invitations to hang out in the MOMs Club and the benefit of having an ever-expanding community social calendar knit together with children’s playdates or cupcake recipe swapping. You see MOMs are more organized than ever today. There are nearly 5,000 MOMs Clubs in the U.S. with an average of 200 members all busy swapping ideas, creating events and networking with other moms usually under the leadership of their uber MOM, (a Momzilla perhaps?)
When I was a child my mother hung out with neighborhood women while the neighborhood kids ran around the local park, scout troop or ice cream social with, let’s face it, no where near today’s parental supervision. My mother and those in her peer group were nothing like today’s MOMs who seem to take being a MOM to a new extreme.
And because of today’s MOMs’ newfound pride (I am MOM hear me roar, I belong to a MOMs CLUB!), those of us who could not biologically get there despite all sorts of superhuman efforts are left feeling unwelcome and dare I say it, unworthy, because we’re not MOMs.
From an infertile’s point of view this new Club mentality feels divisive. All things considered the 1950s had nothing on 2007. Adult social circles today are now forming around the ability to reproduce. No child. Sorry no admission to the Club.
P.S. Thank you, all, for the comments and insights around the “do you have kids?” question. Great discussion.