6.22.2016

where have all the chill moms gone?

Monday morning I made the important decision to take Gracie to story time at the library. We left a little early and decided to walk around outside for awhile, since a local knitting group had taken it upon themselves to yarn bomb the town, and I can't get enough of it.



I underestimated the humidity levels in the air and walked into the library absolutely drenched. I have never been so uncomfortable. I looked and felt as though I had just dunked myself into a hot tub. I contemplated leaving story time and just going home, but since I am a strong, capable woman, I decided to stick it out.

I didn't have a lot of expectations. I haven't been to story time since I went as a little kid and just figured I would sit with Gracie on my lap while someone reads a book and sings a song. Maybe the mom next to me would be looking for a mom friend too, and then we'd go to lunch and braid each other's hair and bond over our mutual disdain of the word "babywearing" and our kids would grow up to be best friends? I don't know. Like I said, no expectations.

Rather, what I discovered is that story time is where the professional moms gather. I expected to be in my element amongst friends (read: books), but oh, I was not. There was one other mom in the room when I got there. I smiled at her, and she ignored me. It could've been the fact that my clothes were soaked in sweat, which is understandable. Her daughter toddled over to me and started hurtling books in my lap and staring at me, waiting for me to read them to her. I'm a relative expert with my daughter but no one else's. Once I'm placed with someone else's child, it's like I've never been around a baby before. I don't know what to do with them, so I stared back at the baby and waited for her mother to rescue me. She didn't.

Another mom walked in.

I smiled; she ignored me. She looked at Rude Mom 1 and said "Didn't I see you Thursday? At that workshop? At the other library branch?"

Rude mom #1: "Did you? I don't know. You might've. We're so busy. We're always somewhere."

RM2: "Oh my gosh, me too. We go to story time at another branch on Tuesdays. Our whole crew from this branch was there. I was like, 'that's our story time crew!'"

RM1: "Oh, well we go to three different branches. I have a schedules of all the different story times so we never miss one."

RM2: "Which branches? We'll join you. Sometimes we go to two story times in one day and then I just let my son play for an hour after while I talk."

It's a good thing they completely ignored my existence, because my jaw was on the floor listening to them. They have spreadsheets and schedules of story times all over the city. And here I was proud of myself for going to one story time a week at one branch and doing the dishes from breakfast before leaving. I finally started to get a picture of the kind of moms that hold auditions for their moms group.

The room quickly filled up with other moms. Everyone was divided into cliques like tables in a high school cafeteria. There was a large group of moms who barely spoke English, including one dad, and the rest were 30-somethings in their athleisure-wear. One mom was dressed to the nines and pulled out a cushioned changing pad from her diaper bag and sat on it.

Gracie sat on my lap, listening to the story and wanting nothing to do with the kids who were running around screaming. Every now and then I would hear RM1 throw out a tidbit of information, like how her kid just turned 14 months old, so "he's been walking for like a long time now." The kids were wild animals, chasing each other, running up to other kids and stealing toys, and throwing occasional tantrums while the librarian read a book about music. Every time I'm around other kids, I'm reminded how chill and laid back Gracie is. Let's put it in literary terms. She's like a Jane Austen book: definitely some drama, tears, and frustration, but lots of reading, talking, walking around outside, and giggling. The storytime kids were like an action-thriller: lots of running, screaming, stealing, and suspense. WHAT WILL THEY DO NEXT? You can't tear your eyes away for a second or you'll miss something.

There was a surprising amount of singing and hand motions that I was not prepared for. The other moms were more into it than the kids were, energetically clapping and dancing and trying to get their kids involved. Maybe that's why there was so much athletic wear? You'd think it was Zumba class with the excitement over hand motions. Gracie was completely uninterested, and no matter what I did she just wanted me to read books to her. It looks like I'm raising the next Rory Gilmore. All I have to do to complete the process is add coffee in about 15 years.

Regardless of our rocky start, we'll be back. Freshly showered this time. And if all else fails, I'll track down the yarn-bombing knitting group.

21 comments:

  1. "There was a surprising amount of singing and hand motions that I was not prepared for." LOL!! This is great!! I would feel just as awkward. And be totally annoyed by the other moms that you talked about. I will be a chill mom. One day!

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    1. I was SO uncomfortable! And the music...it was just so bad. I have zero tolerance for kid music, let alone hand motions. You will be the best mom one day!

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  2. I love your low expectations :) I'd be the same way- fantasizing about my new mom friends before I even met them. Hahaha! What an intimidating situation- go you!! People are so crazy. I mean, I am all about to-do lists and schedules, but those moms sound a little wacko... haha!

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    1. Also, you are a blog-writing machine lately!! Love it!

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  3. You and Emily are truly the same type of ~CHILL MOM~ I one day aspire to be. I wish you and Gracie and Em and her babes could all hit the town (library) together!!! PLUS ME, of course.

    But honestly, raising a little Rory Gilmore is kind of your dream, isn't it?!

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  4. The thought of having to make mom friends and other moms being like this terrifies me more than having children haha

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  5. This is hilarious. In our neighborhood, there are a lot of grandmas who bring their grandkids to the park and storytime (when I remember that storytime is a thing), so unless I want to be friends with ladies 50 years my senior, it's super hard to meet mom friends, especially chill ones. I met one the other day and I about lost my mind I was so excited. First one in almost two years of being a mom. Now, we've been too busy and I'm only home part time, so getting together hasn't happened yet, but it WILL. And please keep track of the crazy things those storytime moms say...I love that stuff.

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    1. Yes! Three cheers for a mom friend!! That is good news. There is hope for us all! I'm trying so hard to meet other moms, but I've pretty much gotten nowhere. At least it's giving me blog material ;)

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  6. We really should live closer to each other, I think. Except I can crochet while you knit. And I will need to quit my job.

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  7. Me too!!!!!! But Elle would tear that place apart. She is truly a wild cat (as my mother in law calls her and I can't get enough of it) I contemplated signing Elle up for our library play group, but just as I was googling the times she came over and dropped a ball on her brothers head I've decided we should probably wait until the fall.

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    1. Haha! Wild cat! I love that. Kids are crazy. I wish we could go to the same library group.

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  8. I'm obsessed with you. That is all. Hahahaha.

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  9. Gracie IS a Jane Austen, isn't she. Crossing my fingers I get that lucky. And those rude mom's, WTF?! If I held auditions for friends, you'd make the cut and they wouldn't.

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  10. And here I am in a milk-soaked shirt and unbrushed hair, grateful that I've somehow managed to wash the cloth diaper laundry AND have some time to read blogs :P This story is actually pretty hilarious, but sad. I hope that you can find chill moms in your area!!! Also, I love those pictures of your town, it looks like an absolutely darling place to live, and I am such a fan of those knitters. (while I crochet as well, knitting is my first language, and I have a huge appreciation for anyone who knits)

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  11. You are such a good writer. I have to say that first. I love the comparisons of the kids to the books. And your stories always end with such funny and interesting conclusions. I love the way you tie things up.

    I used to take the kid I nannied to story time on Thursdays since we could walk to the library from his house. I was so happy I wasn't obligated to become part of the various mom groups I saw there. He was so chill too and we always got there early so he could sit in front. I loved going just to watch his reactions to the stories and then we had funny conversations about them afterwards. There were plenty of wild kids and that's the other reason I liked going. So much entertainment!I haven't taken Avalon to story time yet though. That library has been under construction.

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  12. I go to story time to let my kids run around while I chat with other moms haha My daughter is the crazy one!!

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  13. Oh my goodness, your description is so stinking perfect! Both of the kids in the group and of the moms that can attend. I definitely don't have the brain activity to remember where and when each story time in the city is. We barely make it to the one per week at the library around the corner! But your note on the ignoring moms is a good reminder for me. I am terrible at meeting new people, so I can tend to keep to myself at story time, or other activities. But we're all hoping to reach out to other mamas at groups like these! We need each other! Even if only to help keep our kids from totally running amuck! Or to compliment the one chill one in the group (good for you, Gracie!) :) Lots of luck at your next story time!

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    1. Thank you! It's funny how many people have told me they've had similar experiences at story time.

      Don't feel bad--I'm also terrible at meeting new people, but I've been trying to make a concerted effort lately. It's a hard stage of life, and we do need each other!

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  14. Haha. This is so accurate! I thought maybe it was just military moms, but I guess its everywhere. I always feel so out of place but we keep going because Jed loves it!

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  15. I love yarn bombing. We were going to go to a story time but...I didn't feel like putting clothes on :)

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  16. As soon as I saw your pictures of the yarn-bombing, I was like, "Michelle: these are your people!" I'm so sorry the story-time moms didn't make the grade. I had really high hopes for you that they would be bookish and cool.

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