Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mommy factions!

(I wrote this post way back in 2012, but I was too afraid of its transparency to publish it 'real time'.)

This is possibly the hardest blog I've ever written. Particularly because it involves a large chunk of my audience who are also my real life friends: The Mommas.

Insecurities mess with those of us that seem the most confident. There is strength in vulnerability so I am not ashamed to admit that tonight I'm feeling lonely and left out. That may surprise some of you, others not at all.

Appearances aren't always what they seem, and though I laugh hard at the worst of times, if you prick me do I not bleed?

These emotions didn't well up suddenly overnight. They've been brewing for a few weeks, and tonight following a run of meaningless social and Facebook incidents, I came up against the straw that broke the camel's back, I've been left out of a party.

I know, small beans right? Normally this wouldn't matter. But for some reason it does - it really matters to me. And considering how close I'd considered our friendships to have become - both the kids and the Mommies - I'm feeling somewhat deflated about everything.

I know - very melodramatic - especially when all we're talking about here are a few party games and a slice of cake. I checked the calender the second I walked through the door, and YES I am due to be PMS-ing, which possibly explains a lot...

If it had been an isolated incident, or any other time of the month - I know I wouldn't give a bugger. And what's more, logic and practicality tell me that it's not personal. Everybody can't be invited - there has to be a line drawn somewhere. I'm just not cool enough to make the cut-off. 

And I know, if they'd have invited me they'd have to invite so and so, and so on.. and blah blah blah blah blah. 

I get it. But still

There's a little nagging paranoia demon in my head taunting me:

They don't like you. They don't get your British humor. They don't want to be written about in your blog. You have too may children. You're a heathen. You talk too much. You smell. etc

Everybody says that when you get a bunch of women together you always get problems. It's inevitable - there'll be bitchiness and catty behavior eventually. I don't know about that.... 

The Mommas in this area are pretty remarkable. Had it not been for the existing Momma networks (and the local library) having babies would have been dangerously lonely in this town. In fact, ironically, I've never had this many friends before. That's probably the problem.

Maybe I need a 'clique'.

A bit like the pink-ladies. Four exclusive close friends with similar mindsets..

I've already noticed an existing 'clique' or two within the Mommas. And that's okay - great for them. I don't think I've ever had my own clique (but maybe you can't see it's a clique unless you're on the outside). I've always fancied myself as a social chameleon (or social butterfly whore as one boozed up friend fondly dubbed me). With an uncanny knack of fitting into any group.

But who am I kidding? It can get lonely being me. 

Really all I've ever wanted was a best friend. Just the one. A person I can trust with all my insecurities and my deepest darkest secrets. Someone who'll laugh at my cray-cray and listen when I vent. Hmmm, that sounds more like a therapist than a friend. 

Ally McBeal had the right idea. I remember telling my Mum that one day when I was rich I'd visit my counselor weekly (along with my hairdresser and masseuse). Of course I'd pick the day my cleaner was coming over.....

Anyway, that special friend.. you know, the one I was just talking about? I had one back in Scotland and I left her behind. It's impossible to take your friends with you across the world. And although phones and the internet keep impossible relationships ticking over, it's not a patch on watching a movie together or chatting over a cuppie in the office, or drinking a beer at the local pub.

This last move (four years ago) had me running scared, because three years before that I got very very lucky - and it was almost too late back then (I know it's never too late). Lifelong friendships were already established among my colleagues - making time and energy for a newbie was a burden for some, especially a flighty newbie who wasn't likely to be in it for the long haul...  

I'm not a kid anymore, I'm a married Momma and the social scene is very different in this 'New' world. Our friendships are interlaced with our husbands' and kids' friendships and as such are just as tentative and fragile.

Saying that, one or two of my Mommy friendships have really solidified - and I have my favorites or 'besties' as they call them over here. But it's taken so much longer to form those everlasting bonds that took barely days back in college. To be fair, we're somewhat preoccupied with our own lives and families these days. It's not all slumber parties and dressing up for a night on the tiles anymore (those were the days)! 

I don't remember my own Mum chatting with her girlfriends or disappearing for a girly night out. I've never asked her if she was lonely staying home and looking after us....

It's funny how long since buried memories resurface when certain emotions are evoked. 

I haven't felt this way since I was 12. 

I remember we created a best friend 'gang', which consisted of 15 best friends - all girls. I think there were less than 20 girls in our school year, so it sucked to be one of the five who didn't make the cut. Lucky for me, I made the cut (phew) but it was still ridiculous. 

I was 'best' friends with girls I hardly knew, but we were all linked together in some way or another and closer to some than we were to others. If I was friends with a girl and she was friends with someone else then mathematically I had to be friends with that person too.

Your friend is my friend and my friend is yours.... totally stupid, right?

I think it lasted a day before everyone fell out and it all went back to normal. But in those 24 hours or so, jealousies and insecurities ransacked the group. You couldn't trust anyone - not even your 'real' best friend! We were a gaggle of two-faced bitches. A hierarchy was quickly established and a popular clique emerged within the 'best friend gang' (which, of course, I wasn't part of).

The whole thing sucked. And, as is evident by this blog post, scarred me for life! 

I just want to be loved by everyone. Is that too much to ask?


  1. I love you Jo! But I don't count cos I'm only a 'pappa'!


  2. I remember the bitchy days of girlhood. We were four girls who lived in the same apartment building when I was 10. We swapped best friends everyday. It was ridiculous and we were mean to one another. I hate remembering those days.

    As a mum of school-aged children, I think I keep to myself more. I have long distance best friends from every place I ever lived, and I know that given the opportunity to be in the same room again, it would be as if no time had passed. But currently, in my city, I have only two good friends whom I spend time with, but that might be only once a month. I realise that the kids aren't always going to be there, so I need to nurture my friendships more.

    Josie, I hope you find your 'bestie' soon. You sound to me like someone that anyone would be lucky to call her BFF. I know if I lived in the area I would love to be your friend, um, please don't take that in a stalker-ish kind of way. ;-)

    1. Thank you for those really sweet words Shelly! Thinking about it now, not having that super BFF living close by is partly what inspired me to start writing my thoughts down in the first place - and in doing so I've made many wonderful online friends in the process! x

  3. Motherhood can be so lonely and so hard, I know! Scratch that, mom or not, going through this life is not an easy thing. I struggle to find my "group" and friends too, and know it's not the same thing, but know how much you have people online who think you're fantastic!

    1. Thank you Meredith - I wasn't fishing for compliments when I wrote this post, but it sure is nice to read such kind comments as these! I think all of us (even the most popular) struggle with finding 'true' friends at some point or other; I've seen 'Clueless', apparently being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway!;)

  4. Well, I doubt it will come as a surprise to you that I completely relate to this. I HATE feeling left out of a club, and I am rarely cool enough to make certain "cuts". Blogging has really illuminated this for me, as I keep finding networks of bloggers doing awesome things together and thinking "Why can't I be a part of that?" or worse, seeing Top Ten Mommy Bloggers Who Think They are Funny and Have Two Kids and Their First Name is Stephanie and discovering that i'm not even on THAT list! (OK, I am embellishing a bit too much, but you get my point.) Well, lady, you've got a friend here who totally gets it, ok? Oh, and by the way, why can't Ally McBeal be MY best friend? Sigh.

    1. There was this Mommy bloggers night out not too long back, and they were all out together drinking and dancing in New Orleans - At first I thought "Why didn't I get an invite? I'd be SO down with that," even though the chance of any of those 'A-listers' knowing I even exist is slimmer than Kate Moss! Then I thought it was for the best as I'm not nearly funny or witty enough to lick their Top Mommy Blogging - boots, and I'd probably keep coming out with really awkward and desperate jokes ;)

    2. Woman, you're hilarious. I have no idea how some bloggers are famous and others aren't. I contemplated writing a blog titled, "I'm Jealous of Your Blog" b/c I'm jealous of every blogger that has more followers than me and/or is funnier. Sad, but true. I just might write it. I'll have to make it funny or I'll just sound like a big whine box - which is really how I feel - here's an invitation to my pity party - have em' almost every day!

  5. Great post and I can remember the days of feeling like I was left out of the circle too. :( I think it was my own fault though with 4 kids something seemed to always be going on stuff at school, a sick kid here and there, etc...Enjoyed reading this post!

  6. Well, the last line made me laugh out loud. I would totally invite you to a party if we ever had one and if we lived in Texas. I've found it VERY hard to find close friends since college. Between geographical proximity and busy schedules it's hard to maintain solid friendships. I'm an introvert, so it's not such a big deal; I'm cool with one or two. But, I need to have at least one good friend that I can be an idiot around and admit all the stupid and horrendous things I do and not feel judged. Thankfully, I found a friend a few years ago. I also have my sister, but she lives an hour away. I would love to have a friend that lived right next door. How awesome that would be. And I get the 'feeling left out' thing. I always feel like I'm on the outside of cliques, but like you said, you maybe never know if you're in a clique, unless you're on the outside. So, I've probably been in a few and just didn't realize it. It seems to be extra hard when you're a mom of young kids, somewhat confined to your house, especially if you don't work outside the home. Oh gosh, I could go weeks without seeing anyone (outside my family) except the people at the grocery store/Target, and church, I forgot about church - but even there, I don't have any really close friends - at least not any that go to the same service as me. Ok, I'm totally rambling. I'll shut up now. Great post! And you're not alone.

  7. Well, Texas is pretty close in proximity to Utah, right? You should totally come over for a drink. I always wanted to be in the pink ladies!
    I've always been on the other side of the clique; never quite fitting in. I appreciate you telling your honest feelings on feeling left out. I think a lot of us feel that way at one time or another.
    Just know that in Bloggy-land, you are loved by a crazy lady named shellybean.