When you become a mother, it should be like joining a sisterhood – you are all mothers, here to support each other and look out for each other in this not always child friendly world. Right?
It took me a while to figure out – hey, it takes some social workers a while to figure this out too – that there is a serious chasm between mothers. What should be a sisterhood is a world full of judgement, I-can-do-it-better-than-you and you-are-making-me-feel-insecure-so-I-shall-be-a-real-bitch syndrome. Although…what is a sisterhood anyway?
When I first became a mother, I thought – okay, so the older mothers judge me, so I’ll just hang with the younger mothers. There were lots of groups for young mums, after all. I thought I would be accepted.
It took me a hell of a long time to learn that it doesn’t quite work that way, and that broad generalisations of a person’s marital or age status isn’t really the key to success in securing friendships.
So I’ll talk about the two BIG discoveries that I’ve made: which single mothers, and with teenage mothers.
Teenage mothers: That was the thing – we, as an isolated social minority group, we should stick together, right? I overlooked one important detail; well, it was hitting me square between the eyes, but somehow I overlooked it at the same time. At antenatal classes, contrary to popular opinion, everybody was in a couple but me. When I was giving birth, they were doing the same holding their partner’s hands. Their lives were evolving much different to mine. Sure, they were young, but they had partners. And families gathered around them. I finished high school, started uni. They either never had those goals in the first place, or they could ‘take it easy’ – they had the support of others around them. It drove a wedge between us – they couldn’t relate to the experiences I had, and I to theirs. Sure, we could relate to being harassed quite often -but that conversation dried up quite quickly. I also cannot stand those mothers who call themselves ‘young’ – in their extremely late teens, or their early twenties. Far, far different experience to having a child in high school. Whenever they brag, I want to hit them on the head with a brick.
Eventually, I stopped basing my friendship compatibility with other young mums – the compatibility just wasn’t there. I now do have a ‘young’ mum friend – who had her daughter at nineteen – but she also happens to be single, extremely poor, with minimal family support and intelligent. There, we can click. The others? Let’s just say that they’re a distant memory.
So, honesty. When it all boils down to it, I can’t really say that my experience is that of the ‘average teenage mum’. But it’s my experience as a teenage mum, and that’s what I’m blogging about.
Single mothers: So, once I’d discovered that young mums were out of the question, I started connecting more with single mothers. There’s much less chasm between single mothers, I found. I do click with a lot of them – we have the same concerns. The rifts are major, but overlookeable – I guess because our lifestyles still are similar to one extent or the other. Except for those single mothers who’s ex-husbands have the children fifty-fifty and left them all their assets at the divorce – that’s just living the high life. Somebody can argue that one with me – but that’s what it seems like.
Anyway, probably not the best quality blog I have ever written. Was just putting my thoughts out there – how naive I was in the beginning, and what I have learned over time. Lots of my friends don’t even have children.
I just learned not to base my assumptions of compatibility by such a large stroke of the brush. And to disregard any advice social workers would tell me, that, hey, she’s also a young mother, you’re going to get along just fine. Never mind she drives the most expensive car in town, and her husband is loyal, treats her right and has lots of money.
Yup….we’re going to get along just great. She’s really going to understand me.