A few weeks ago, I started a conversation with my husband doing something that women just should not do: I compared myself to other women, other moms. I quizzed my poor husband about whether or not I am completely anti-social or inappropriate because I do not do some of the things that some other women do. Just how bad do I suck at being a woman, a mom?
I am slow to befriend new people. Sure, I will participate in activities that support the schools or organizations in which my children participate but that doesn’t mean I am going to swap telephone numbers, email addresses, or submit (or accept) friend requests. I am there to be of service, not to increase my number of contacts. No, my friendship has to be earned over time. I am not shallow or snobby; I just find that I am most comfortable with a small, select group of people with whom I have history and whose company I authentically enjoy. That takes time to develop.
Part of the concern that I expressed to my husband was the feeling that while being ThatChik was acceptable to me, I wonder whether I have, in turn, shortchanged my children? ThatChik is also “that mom”. Have I robbed them because I am not that mom who befriends other women and then organizes nifty little play dates or dinners with their children? I am that mom who lets her children develop their own friendships and if they want to host or attend social events, I am happy to chaperone or chauffeur. Have I shortchanged them because I tend not to micromanage their social lives? I do not know. I do know that I feel better letting them cultivate their own friendships, even when my eldest had a friend that neither my husband nor I particularly liked. Our child eventually outgrew that other kid and the friendship ended naturally.
ThatChik is that mom who tells her children the truth. I never made up cutesy names for male or female genitalia; they learned the proper name for each one. When the tragedy of Sandy Hook took place, I did not make up cutesy stories about the event. I told them the facts, as I understood them, as gently as I could. Did I suck at not being a more warm and fuzzy mom?
Some time ago, ThatChik was that one mom who did not express interest in providing my child with an award that was not earned. The other mom who was collecting money to cover the cost could not believe that I was declining the offer. I tried to explain that my child was old enough to understand that the award was not deserved. I also thought it was a life lesson that every one has to work hard for accolades and even then, not every one gets one. I suppose to her that was a perfect example of how I sucked at being a mom. Oh well.
Being ThatChik is a journey in also being that mom.