Did anyone else watch Mean Girls, like, a lot? We introduced it to my sixteen-year-old sister-in-law at Christmas, so maybe it’s just fresh in my mind, but I’ve been thinking of the creepy Amy Poehler mom character in it a lot lately.
See, because, for a long time, I kind of thought of myself as a cool mom. Or, if not cool, then bohemian or…something. Not a regular mom. In western Massachusetts, I was a very young mother at 26, where many first-time mothers were a decade older, and it felt kind of edgy to have a baby when we were young and pretty broke. Also, at the time, I did other stuff, cool stuff. I didn’t just have a baby — I traveled abroad while pregnant! I worked! I finished a graduate degree and hung out at bars with my classmates! I’M A COOL MOM.
Let me be clear: I did not think that not being a regular mom made me a better mom. If anything, it gave me justification for so often feeling like a fish out of water, more than a little lost. I was younger, and poorer, and only slowly building up a tribe of kindred mothers who could share their secrets. I was on the fringes of Motherdom.
But increasingly, that doesn’t ring true. I don’t just have a baby — I have two kids, and one of them is starting preschool. (There is no cool way to say “the children.”) I also have a mortgage, and a husband with a real job. Now I attend mom events, like orientations and playgroups and La Leche League. In this season, my energy and time are more consumed than before with the tasks of motherhood. And I’m 30 now, in an area where women have babies much younger than where Pippin was born. I am not always overwhelmed now, though I often am. (That’s just the way I roll, I’m afraid.) In short, I am the target market for diaper cream applicator brushes.
This shift is good, and right, and humbling. I want to be a regular mom. I’ve met so many moms I admire, and I’m honored to join their ranks. I want to progress in motherhood gracefully, cheering on my growing children, slipping into comfortable mom clothes and mom interests (though never, I hope, becoming fully subsumed). I’m grateful to be in this difficult, beautiful part of life, especially when so many women I love long for children of their own. I don’t want to waste time grasping for youth and hipness, posturing and winking in a push-up bra like Amy Poehler’s character.
I’m ready to be a regular mom.