Mothering as work

I was feeling a bit flat about the day as I got dressed this morning. I don't have anything scheduled so it's just going to be me and the boy and that can get really really intense and it often doesn't bring out the best in me. I was mentally going through what needs to be done in the next two weeks and realized my New Parents' Group (aka mother's group, aka baby club) is one of the rocks around which the rest of my life eddies and flows. I do everything in my power to ensure I don't miss Thursday baby club, which is really weird, because generally I dread social situations like that. I don't like all the mothers in my group yet I'm scared of not fitting in and being liked by the group, I'm bothered about the reputation mother's groups have for being focused on most boring minutiae of childrearing and for sly competitiveness over which baby is hitting developmental milestones or has the most expensive toys and equipment not to mention the depressing (to me) suburban middle class-ness of the concept of organized social groups that aren't self-selected.

So why, despite all indications to the contrary, do I love my Thursdays? The potential for unpleasantness is very real but when it comes down to it these women are my colleagues in this job of mothering. Just like colleagues in any other workplace I have made some friends and work to remain on good terms with everyone. The talk as we sip our coffees has the same tone as workplace gossip and I mean that in the most positive way possible. We talk shop about feeding and sleeping, we learn different ways of doing things from each other, we compare notes about the fathers (there are no single parents in the group) and our domestic situations and we commiserate with each other over difficult inlaws and having to go back to paid work.

The baby is waking up, so I'll leave my discussion of how this ties into the book I'm currently reading until another time, but I guess that this confirms that I'm not cut out to work full-time from home or work on my own.

I have consciously talked about mothers in this post rather than parents. In part it's because I don't know any IRL Stay At Home Dads at this point and also because I think that although SAHDs would experience some of the isolation there is a whole other bag of familial and social expectations, identity and body issues that SAHDs would not need to confront in their role (although there is a bunch of other crap they would have to face).

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