Cherry Bomb Mama

The conversation about having children came up once with my son’s biological father (in the abstract sense, clearly not in the having-them-together sense). At the time, I was pretty adamant that I had no desire to be a mother. I distinctly remember him telling me, “Just watch, in 10 years you’ll be a soccer mom.” I remember it so well, because I was highly offended at the time.

Well. It’s 10 years later. And I’m afraid he might have been right.

It’s silly, but that comment is part of the reason I’ve refused to get a mini-van or SVU every time I’ve gone car shopping in the last 10 years. It’s part of the reason soccer fliers from school have discreetly gone directly into the recycling bin, without the usual, “Are you interested in this?” that I ask my kids about everything else.

And yet. I find myself leading the Girl Scout troop, helping correct dance postures, sewing on karate patches, gearing up for the lacrosse season, and having play dates with other parents and children. I work from home so we can save money on daycare, so I’m at the bus stop every morning and every afternoon.

And I am happy. But slightly lonely.

Turns out, there aren’t many other riot grrrl soccer moms. Especially in suburban CNY. Forget other young moms; I’m the youngest parent in both my kids’ classes. The next youngest parents are a good 8 years older than me; just old enough to have had little in common growing up. Most are actually closer to my mother’s age than mine (oh, the joys of chronic early motherhood in my family). Other mothers either have conventional, out-of-the-home jobs, or are stay at home mothers; both groups view me as belonging to the other. And I don’t have the typical “soccer mom” attitude towards my kids; as Urban Dictionary would say, I don’t view my children as “little angels” who can do no wrong.

As a result of the vast differences between myself and other parents, and the fact that none of my closest friends have children, I’ve found I actually don’t know how to relate to other parents. Like, what do parents talk about? I really don’t know. I know what I talk to my friends about: politics, social justice, philosophy, art, horror movies, books we’ve read. But as I said, most of my friends don’t have kids, and it hasn’t seemed appropriate to bust out with the philosophical/social justice debate while all the munchkins run around in dress up clothes.

So what’s a cherry bomb mom to do? Make awkward small talk at play dates and continue painting weird things at home, I guess. It seems a little like leading a double life. But, moms are pretty much superheroes, after all.

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