Thursday, April 21, 2011

The big mommy jubilee

It's a social gathering of mommies clad in designer workout clothes and visors, with kids in tow, Starbucks in hand. Long lost classmates are reunited here. They bunch around one another, oohing and aahing over their preschoolers and babies; tossing compliments like Mardi Gras beads. Some are pregnant, others old pros. These women commiserate over sleepless nights, teeth cutting, colic and colds. They also embellish stories of their offspring's milestones with such phrases as "____'s so advanced...," and "____'s the only one...". You would think these groupies were at a class reunion, but they're not; they are shopping at Target. And their carts are bursting at the seams with bargains.

I used to be one of those. I would go shopping just to get out of the house, and I would buy things because they were such a steal. Target and Kohl's were my stomping grounds. Nicholas is the one who accompanied me most of the time because the other two were in school. (When he started kindergarten, he had shopping withdrawals and often reminsced about "the places where he used to push the carts around.") I would run into familiar faces and Nicholas would receive a lot of positive attention. My appetite for adult conversation would be sated. When I crossed paths with another mommy, we would practically grab each other and hold on for dear life; or I would simply stand back and observe the exchange of dialogue between the needy.

"Hey you over there, stop for a second. Don't I know you?" One would say.

"Umm, you do look a little familiar."

Scoping eyes would roll from head to foot and when the mommies decided they were similar, a real conversation would begin.

The boys' new bunk beds
Just this week I was reminded of those days of desparation because we bought the boys bunk beds. I had to purchase new sheets because the bottom bunk is a double, and we had no double sheets. So I went to Target. The week before Easter. It was one big mommy jubilee; shopping carts were adorned 
with pastel Easter eggs, candy, children's clothes, DVDs, Wii games and other good deals. Friends gathered and shopped after splurging at the Starbucks counter. In the checkout line, familiar faces enjoyed gabfests.

"You were on the drill team weren't you? Who'd you dance with?"

"Yes I was. I never took dance before the drill team, though."

"You didn't? Really?" Look of disgust, end of conversation.

As I went through the boys things later that day, I realized how many items were unnecessary purchases from those early mommy days when I just had to get out of the house or I'd go crazy. I had spent money to get a good deal, thinking the whole time that the kids would grow into the new clothes for next winter or use the costumes next Halloween.

Now someone will get those things I spent money on to save money, the unused items, from Goodwill.


jabblog said...

Motherhood can be quite isolating. There are several areas of London all known as Nappy Valley where the Yummy Mummies congregate with their designer children . . .

Linda H. said...

Bunk I always wanted one when I was little :-(
Katarina had the bunk bed thingy without the bottom bed, just a curtain that hung below for a play area.

I love the line in the story where you say-- often reminsced about "the places where he used to push the carts around." What a riot!

jkdavies said...

I loved this sharp glance into the life of a mother; I have a friend who is going through this in a culture not her own (China) so it's nice to see that this is "normal" and not just because of where she lives

Jeni said...

Great bunkbeds... I loooooved bunkbeds with Mary! One time the top bunk fell on her with me on top (i wasn't jumping on it - kissing the teen pics on my wall). She started to cry then looked in my eyes at my shock and started laughing and laughing and laughing. Such a good memory! Thanks Laurie :)

LKHarris-Kolp said...

jabblog & jkdavies- Thanks for your comments. It's also nice for me to hear that this goes on in other parts of the world.

Linda- I think Katie feels a little left out. That sounds like a neat idea we might pursue.

Jeni- I'm so glad you had a good Mary memory after reading this. Do you see the orb on the bottom bunk? That's scary that the top bunk fell. Now I'll worry!