Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Starter Mom

My husband and I brought my son to look at a preschool this morning. This means that in the not too distant future we will pay other people to watch him smash play dough and snatch toys from his unsuspecting peers. But it means something else. Something much more sinister.

I am no longer a starter mom.

Starter moms, not unlike starter homes, are new to the whole experience. They are the moms of infants and toddlers, women still straddling the white picket fence of maternal transformation. Their past is still in sight; they can almost taste the salt on the last margarita they drank, almost remember the back beat at the club they danced at until two in the morning. Like a starter home, everything is still beginning. Your bohemian past is close enough to smell like the lingering odor of patchouli.

Then. You cross over. You have a preschool aged child. You no longer can claim postpartum status. You can't blame your jiggly belly on your recent pregnancy. (It's only been three years...) Now, like a huge house in a established subdivision, your life secures you. Your life traps you. You are mom. You have a mom belly. Mom pants. A mom voice. Never mind that on some level--deep inside--you're still that hip, groovy gal you once were. A line has been crossed. Soon, the PTA.

Frankly, I am appalled. How could this have happened? I just wanted some kids. And now, much to my utter dismay, I have joined a rank of human beings that at one point I mocked. I could not understand their mom bellies, their mom jokes, their mom sweatshirts, their mom insistence on vegetable eating. Now, I'm on the other side folks. See me waving from over the fence.


  1. Some of us like to straddle the fence -- it's okay! You can come sit with us.

    We support to school but refuse to join the PTA. We have playdates with wine. We play drunken Wii with out friends and make the kids watch. We drive minivans but we can't wait until we don't. We have part time jobs that have nothing to do with our children.

    BTW, this coming from a totally attached, loving mama ...who is more than a mama.

  2. Are you also the lady with chickens? Who lives in Johnny Appleseeds town? You're one cool mama.

  3. Some of us peek over from the other side of the fence (the childless side) and want what you have. Well, some of the time.

  4. Yes, I can understand that. To me what's amazing is the deeper sense of transformation. I am only mocking my life in a bloggerly way; I wouldn't trade it. Doesn't every body, sometimes, wonder what it's like on the other side of the fence?

  5. Yeah, but the great part is - some time without the kid!! (I mean really, they're great and all, but at some point they need to learn that other people want to play with *the very same toys* - besides their siblings)

    The Goobs has had such an immense social transformation since starting daycare. Granted, he was just about 1 when he started, but even now it's clear he's much more comfortable interacting with other kids than are some of his peers who are still at home full-time. It's for his good, AND for yours.