Saturday, September 19, 2009

There Are Soccer Moms and Moms of Kids Who Play Soccer. I Think (Hope) I'm the Latter.

Some days I think - no, I know - I don't fit in to this town.

This morning at M's soccer game I observed several moms yelling - YELLING! - at their 9 year old sons for not making plays and for how they were guarding the goal and things like that. It wasn't pleasant to watch. I noticed, though, that the moms who were behaving like this were some of the more "popular" moms in town. Cliques do still exist, long after high school. It got me thinking a lot about the social structure around here.

I was never very good at the superficial chitchatting that goes on at soccer and baseball games. I think that comes mostly from insecurity, but I understand that it can sometimes come off as being aloof. It takes me a while to really make friends - but if we become friends, I'm fiercely loyal (my friends become friends for decades, not just short periods). I don't tolerate stupidity and cliquey behavior very well. I commit to what I believe in.

Clearly this has cost me over the years. Mostly I've been okay with that. Some days are harder than others, though. It would be nice to have more of a local social life.

It may be affecting my kids more than I realize. I don't know what to do about that. Parents not wanting to have their kids hanging around with the kids of that uppity J.

In the last two weeks I have:

  • Asked people (via email) I thought were close enough acquaintances and generally reasonable people to come to the school committee meeting to see what ludicrousness abounds. I said it didn't matter which "side" you were on in terms of the start time change, seeing the tone of the audience was important, and important to try to bring back civil discourse to this town. Not one responded - and two have refused to look at me at various town activities. What the fuck, people. Yes, I still believe the time change is the right thing. It's in place and the kids are doing great with it. Really! They've all adjusted just fine. It's the parents who are still freaking out, still trying to bully the administration and the school committee and I am doing by best to stand up to that.
  • Called out a local mom who inappropriately culled emails from a school list to advertise for a private venture - which happened to be a introduction to field hockey series for four and five year old girls (fine) called "Junior Chix with Sticks". Euw. Lets start objectifying girls really young! I knew this because I have one email account that is school stuff only. If a friend had given her an email address, I would have received it on a different account - and still would have been grossed out by the title but just plain ignored it. I've been out on enough real estate lists by people inappropriately using class email lists that I have low tolerance for it now.
  • Had an issue with the local Girl Scouts when I emailed the mother of one of S's friends about possibly attending sign up night together. S has expressed an interest and I've tried to be open even though my Girl Scout experience was terrible (worst bullying of my life was in Girl Scouts). Imagine my surprise when I learned that S's friend's mom had been contacted in the spring about signing up by a person who said, "I want to get a troop of girls and moms I like together before regular sign-ups." I kid you not - the mom forwarded the email rather innocently (I think). After asking around a little more, I learn there's now this troop of Kindergarten Daisies that are now known as the "good" troop and a waiting list has been established for it. What the hell? That kind of excluding going on when the girls are FIVE! Contacted the local council and asked if this was an accepted practice. Never heard back. My daughter will NOT be doing Girl Scouts.
So I guess with all that, it's no wonder people don't speak to me at soccer games. But do I want to be part of that whole culture? I don't know. I do want my kids to have the option to be a part of whatever it is they want to be a part of, and that may not be possible with me as their mother, at least the way I am right now.

The idea of putting on a false smile and pretending, oh, I don't know what, makes me cringe, but I'm starting to think I may have to do that. Maybe I do have to let my daughter join Girl Scouts and pretend "Junior Chix with Sticks" is so cute and shut up about the time change and all that. Maybe I do have to become a full-fledged soccer mom instead of a mom of kids who play soccer.

I don't know.


eba said...

By being true to yourself, I think (definitely imho) that you set a far better example for your kids than by kow-towing to adult bullies. Your kids don't seem to be lacking in a rich life, either. As they make their way through the minefield of adolescence, they will also have to learn how to choose their battles - and their friends. And what better way than by following your example, or at least having your example as one of many to choose from. -- e

Ruthie said...

I think the answer to "But do I want to be part of that whole culture?" is a resounding no. You're doing great. Your kids will learn to be principled and not to tolerate excessive bullshit. That's a great quality.