Bex pointed out a sign up sheet for Mommy and Me classes the other day. I acknowledged it with my customary cave man grunt but I really didn’t think much about it at the time. The class was called Mommy and Me, not, Mommy, Daddy, and Me. Until Bex recruits me to chauffeur, I have zero obligation to care. But between you and me, I’m starting to rethink my position on this.
For those of you who don’t know, Mommy and Me is a two pronged class. On the surface, it’s a place for new moms to gather together and support each other in a friendly, judgement free zone. Within the safety of the group they sit in a circle, trade breast feeding tips, sing kid friendly songs, and discuss diet and developmental milestones for their newly arrived bundle of joy. This is all done to acclimate these women to their new full time job of motherhood. I know this because I used to teach the aquatic equivalent of these classes. We would do all the same stuff but in a pool.
I was a pretty big deal with babes and babies if I do say so myself. One of my biggest hits was:
“This is the way we splash our face,
splash our face,
splash our face,
This is the way we splash our face, so early in the morning”
There wasn’t a dry swim diaper in the house when I pulled that old standard out.
Remember when I said there was a second layer to these classes? I’ve seen it first hand. Believe me, on sea or on land, it’s always the same. Usually there is a queen bee that “runs” the class. By that I mean that she is the one who keeps everyone on task, uses hottest new gadgets, and always has the most up-to-date do’s and don’t for everyone else’s baby. She’s not afraid to share her opinions on your parenting style either, whether you want to hear it or not.
The following is an actual conversation I overheard at the pool. A new mom had made the mistake of changing her baby’s diaper in the bleachers, right next to the Queen Bee. Let’s call her majesty, Doris.
“Oh, you’re using Pampers wipes? I just couldn’t put all those chemicals on my little Ashleigh.”
Of course Doris would spell her kid’s name wrong. Mom’s like that always want to make their little angel stand out in a crowd. Now they can’t risk being too different by naming their kid something far out like Angus or Porsche. Something like that could put them at risk for scholarships and country club memberships later on in life. Instead, they get all creative with the spelling of a normal name. It’s misguided decisions like this that fill our world with Kymie’s, Nikalus’, and sigh, Ashleigh’s.
After making the new mom feel self conscious for using a perfectly safe butt wipe on her kid, the kid that she is already overly nervous about screwing up because, hey, NEW MOM, Doris proceeds to rub salt in the wound.
“I only use organic. It’s a little more expensive but we’re really saving in the long run. Don’t feel bad. Being a new mom is so overwhelming. It’s easy to make mistakes like that.”
Then Doris offers to share her organic wipes. It may seem like a kind gesture but it’s a malicious trap. If the new mom rejects Doris’ offer, not only will she seem rude but she will also make an enemy of the queen bee on her first day. She can kiss her baby’s social life goodbye. So, the new mom is forced to accept not only the organic wipes but also Doris’ dominance.
In that one seemingly insignificant moment, the queen bee has reminded all the other new moms what grade school hierarchy is all about. What’s more terrifying is the amount of moms who just go along with it.
Sometimes, I try to imagine what a Mommy and Me class would look like if it were run by daddies. . .
First of all, I am certain that it would be scheduled at a convenient time like Sunday afternoons. We wouldn’t want to leave out those guys who go to church in the morning.
There would be no queen bee. Instead, we would designate an Alpha Dog. He would be chosen based on the size of his fridge, television screen, and cable package. It would be in his man-cave that all the other dads and their babies would congregate.
Songs would still be sung. The national anthem and Shout will rank as our all time favorites.
It would be a judgement free zone. No one will care if you use the wrong wipes or feed the toddler junk food because we will all be doing it too. As an unspoken gentlemen’s agreement, we play by Vegas rules. What happens here stays here. This is because nobody wants to hear “Don’t tell my wife.” or “Don’t let Bex find out.” Twenty or thirty times in an afternoon.
Best of all, our children will receive some quality bonding time with Dad as we cheer on the Buffalo Bills together.
Come to think of it, I just listed all the reasons why dads don’t have organized support groups. Most of us are lazy slobs who would rather sit on our own couches, drink our own beer, and watch our own t.v.’s. So forget what I said about the queen bee. Even if her methods are manipulative at best, at least she’s trying.