The Mommy Cult

Rather than always focusing on what we hear about in the media, today I’m going to gab about what we hear about on the playground and in our emails and during baby happy hour – this idea of the mommy cult.

Is it inevitable that once you have a baby and it turns your world inside out, you then can no longer have time for friends without children? Or even worse, you then only want to talk and think about babies, that you really feel like you have nothing in common with childless friends?

KT feels like this is a theme that has come up and I am more aware of since having had a child. I suppose it’s partly because I’m at the point in my life where not only are we all of child-bearing age, but most of us are more financially stable and many of us have been married for a number of years, so having a baby is a natural next step.

Or is it?

Which is another topic that, in my mind, comes under the umbrella theme of the mommy cult. The baby pushers. Those annoying mom’s who want to proselytize the rest of the world to move forward and have children. After-all, they have children and they love it, so shouldn’t everyone else?

Can I get a “hell no”?? Is that what I am hearing from across the land?

I don’t know. And I think I am bringing up some topics that can really hit a nerve with a lot of people. So, like always, I will just tell you what I think. And how all of this applies to MOI. Because, isn’t talking about myself, what I do best here at KT?

I think that once you have a child, it become impossible for anything else to captivate your mind more than your child. And not necessarily in the “isn’t she so beautiful and such a prodigy way” but also in the “holy shit, how am i going to get all this done, do i really have to change another poopy diaper again, am i ever going to sleep again” kind of way.

What really struck me upon returning back to work after maternity leave was receiving emails from dear friends who are also childless. Many of the emails included links to the latest in spring fashion or shoes, and I recall thinking that I barely got myself dressed, let alone teeth brushed and out the door that morning, I really didn’t have time or the energy to give a rip about those fashion links. I had bigger things to worry about. Including fitting back into my old clothes.

But, I also forced myself to play along because what those dear friends were doing hadn’t changed. They were still the same people as from the last time I sat at this very desk and did my work. It was me that was different. And so, it wasn’t for me to sit there and think that suddenly, I had more important things to worry about.

But even more importantly, these dear friends, without even knowing it, were giving me back a piece of me. I like to joke that my memory came out with my placenta. Well, I’ll be damned if certain parts of me came out at that moment too. Like my love for shoes.

Which brings me to my next topic – can we still keep up meaningful friendships with childless friends.

Me thinks YES.

Does it sometimes take more work and effort because you each have different priorities?

Yes. Is it easy to think – shit, their day isn’t hard because they don’t have to worry about keeping a life sustained.

Well, yes. But it’s really not a competition. And I want to have things in common with childless friends, and I know they want to have things in common with me because I am THAT interesting.

We have friendships for many reasons, not just because we have children in common. And we have an identity that encompasses more than our children. I think it’s natural for some friendships to drift as time goes on and we all just naturally change, but I don’t think that having children or not, needs to be the sole reason for it.

During busy times and stressful times, it might be easier to keep up with those who you know can immediately identify with you – and for me, much of the time it is other working moms because they KNOW – to their core – exactly what I mean – but don’t we all go to certain friends for certain reasons anyway?

And finally, the baby pushers. I really don’t like those people. There is no bigger commitment than having a child because, you can even walk away from a marriage, but I sure as hell am not going to be friends with anyone who walks away from a child. It is an irreversible decision. And not one that everyone needs to make. So why some women feel compelled to push childless friends to have babies – just because they are on a mommy high – will never sit right with me.

SO kittens, are you wondering if I’m rambling? Because I swear, there is a common thread to my entry today.

It is the mommy cult.

I do believe that there are people out there who do all the things I just typed about. And I think there are childless people out there who push away their friends once they have kids because they just are bored by the kid conversations. But I think there is a happy medium. I think friendships change over time and that’s to be expected.

I think it’s sad that there is a mommy cult – only allowing in those who also have children – but hell, I think there are subsets to the mommy cult. I think the judging and criticizing takes a lot of energy. I think we all make decisions for different reasons and life is more interesting with a variety of friends, like a closet is more interesting with a variety of shoes.

And so dear kittens, if you are a member of the mommy cult, I’m sorry for you, and if you are a childless friend pushing away friends with children, maybe some of what your friends have to say about their kids really is interesting – but that’s for all of you to decide. I’m writing about it today because I just feel like I keep hearing about it.

4 Responses to The Mommy Cult
  1. Selfmademom
    April 5, 2007 | 3:42 pm

    did you read the Juggle yesterday on the wall street journal kitty!??

  2. kittytime
    April 5, 2007 | 3:50 pm

    no…i didn’t – but apparently i should?

  3. chrissy
    April 5, 2007 | 4:09 pm

    I prefer the term “childfree” to “childless”. Childless implies that we’re less than for not having kids. Childfree implies a certain choice in the matter. And since your blog is generally about the privilege of having a choice, I thought I should make that distinction. It’s subtle, but important – like the difference between anti-choice and pro-life.

  4. tweenietime
    April 5, 2007 | 5:34 pm

    …don’t forget the childfree friends who ADORE their friends’ kids…and who LOVE hearing about their friends babies and who wish they heard more details (daily)! :o)

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