I was told by someone during my exit interview from college that I was, 'essentially the queen of the mall, that I led the way through this social circle that dictated appearance, gatherings, and nuances. That I lived in this building and walked around hand in hand with my star soccer player boyfriend, where others wanted to come in but could only window shop.' Hello Elle Woods. Snob? Imagine my rage at the time. How dare someone say that to me, right? What would you have done? But essentially that person was telling me I had created some sort of sorority, i.e. 'mall,' and in all honesty, looking back on it, I don't really think that it was that wrong of me to do, I was 21 years old. Sure, this person totally misunderstood my heart, but I was loud, I was rowdy, and I had fun, and I am sure that is the way I came across until you got to know me, because malls have automatic doors you know, you can come and go as you please, I never felt bad or apologized for being me. I said my, 'hi, how are you's,' to every single solitary person I passed in a hall, but more on the fun nuances of christian schools at another time.
There are tons of sororities throughout life if you think about it. Right now, I am a lifelong member in Delta Mama Kappa Nu. The sorority of motherhood. Why don't you come to our mall, window shopping is definitely recommended. Membership is quite easy, by accepting a bid ,all you have to do is become completely responsible for a tiny person's life. That's it. Do you sometimes look at your kids and are taken a little off guard? I mean really look at them, typically when they all are having a meltdown at the same time, and just you just sit there staring, mind wandering, thinking, 'who decided this was ok for me to partake in?' In essence, who let me join this sorority? Rush week was fun and all, with my significant, but wowee, the hazing never stops once you are a Mama Nu.
Girls in a sorority usually have things in common, something that unifies them, a reason they chose that particular sorority over another. Other normal standards are the following: Most sororities have a color or two that represents them, and some greek letters. They volunteer and fund raise, they have social events. They have rituals and symbols and structure and organization. They have membership protocol. They have houses that are home base. They are also surrounded by criticism.
So it's quite simple. As you have seen above, being a mom puts you right into a sorority whether you want to be or not. Let me break it down real simple.
*Our greek letters are pretty self-explanatory, although they aren't greek, but they should be; MOM
* Our colors do not require us to go out to the store and buy something new, how cost efficient, right? It's homemade. It's our children's bodily fluid. That yummy greenish brownish shade that comes only from poop, snot, vomit, spit up, dried urine, slobber.
*Volunteer, Fundraising, Planning and Attending Social Events.
Is this not a given? Seriously. As a mom, I tell you, I end up volunteering for more then I should be with three kids, but you just do it because you do it. Not even because it is the thing to do per se, you do it because the preschool kids need one large can of pumpkin to make their pumpkin bread. You can't make pumpkin bread without the pumpkin!
And sometimes don't you just wish the fundraising was for you ,and for a sponsored day at the spa? Right. We fund raise for kids teams, their class, their friends mothers brothers sister who needs new teeth. We do it with such fervor that is almost is overwhelming. I mean once you start getting a positive response, you just go with it, like its a game or a challenge. I will sell the most wrapping paper!
And social events. I am not complaining or saying that all social events are just terrible. But the number of parties that your children will attend in a year is just obscene when you think about it. And you go and they go because they are your children's friends, and sometimes even your friends, and they came to your kids party. It's cyclical like that. In the previous case, you attend to provide moral support for your friend, to help set up and clean up, to play bouncer, because let's face it, 20 four year olds wreaking havoc can make your hair stand on end if you had to forgo it alone. But the kids love it all, and that, in the end is why we do it.
My favorite social events in this sorority are get togethers that we say are play dates for the kids, but they are really for us. And when you have kids the same age it is great. You open the playroom door, proclaim, 'have at it, and don't tattle tale unless someone is being physically harmed by someone else to the point that there might be blood on the carpet or a broken bone.'
And then we get to to sit and drink our coffee and eat something that consists of more than a handful of dry cereal for breakfast. It's lovely.
*Rituals. Really every member of the Mama Nu have their own entity in their own clan. But when you really compare, almost every Mom is doing the same thing as you are in those high traffic times, as I like to refer to them as. We get up in the morning, there is diaper change, peeing, telling them to get their pajamas off 68 times, peeking at where the shirt tag is to make sure the shirt is on the right way before they stick their arms in because god forbid they get in on backwards and have to take it off and put it on again, this is just not feasible. There is the search for a hair brush, a little girl whining about knots, toothpaste on shirts to have to go and find another one or pretend you just don't see it. There is another diaper change thanks to the morning poop, daily, talk about rituals. There is breakfast, and milk and cereal rings on left on the table. All of this and more are typically go on at other high traffic times of the day that being dinner time, and bed time. We are all performing our rituals at the same time, becoming very ritualistic. You follow?
* Symbols. The ultimate symbol of Mama Nu is of course the mini van. You see a mini van nine times out of 10, there is a Mama Nu driving it. I cannot clearly fathom why on earth anyone other than a Mama Nu might need to be cruising around in one, well I am sure there are exceptions, but you know. Another is a home that is cluttered with laundry, small toys, juice boxes, and fruit snack wrappers.
* Structure and Organization. These are the two words we are constantly chasing after as Mama Nu's. Who doesn't want a set bed time, who doesn't want their closets cleaned? Who doesn't want a kid who always remembers to say please and thank you, and puts the toilet seat down gently and not slamming it down with all his might? There are moments of shining glory where you get to the bottom of that dirty laundry pile, but quickly someone spills a whole glass of chocolate milk down the front of them. There are those moments when you are yelling, 'Where are you, we have to go!' And they answer, 'Waiting for you!' And there they are by the front door, smiling, with their coats on, and shoes on the right feet. It is amazing what they can achieve when a Mama Nu keeps her eyes set on the prize, and that being raising functional human beings.
* And as a Mama Nu, we don't have a set house to gather, every one's house is the sorority house. And they all look the similar. Sticky floors, finger prints on windows, cats walking across the kitchen table, that might just be my home, whoops, a toilet unflushed, and a pile of little kid clothes set in such a way that it looks as though they just stepped right out, that's weird right? Shoes, socks, pants, underwear, one on top of the other, like the child evaporated. But they all look busy, right? That is a Mama Nu house. There is always something to watch to entertain you, or do to entertain you. Most importantly in a Mama Nu house you feel comfortable, not like a toddler in a china store.
*And Mama Nu's are typically always surrounded by some one's criticism. How we discipline, when we discipline, when we don't. What school our kids go to and where they don't go. What we feed our children and what we don't. And how many glasses of wine we drink at the end of a hard day. It could be rough if you let it.
And that is where another experienced Mama Nu steps in and says, 'there is no right or wrong way, what works for you is what works for your family, if your heart is in the right place, it will all come together.' There is no set feeding time, napping time, bed time, play time, silly time, learning time, and that is what is awesome about being in this sorority. You can stay in your comfy clothes all day long, and it's ok, this sorority is also a tough one, filled with responsibilities, if you didn't get your mascara on today, we forgive you. But isn't it fun to have the camaraderie?
Most recently I have seen a bunch of brand new Mama Nu's join the sorority and have loved to watch other members huddle around them and make sure their hazing is a little bit easier then their own. That's sisterhood.
And to my darling husband...if you are wondering why the socks aren't organized, it's not because I don't love you, it's because I am part of a sorority with a lot of expectations, wiggle your toes a little and be thankful that even if it took me 30 minutes to find a matching pair, at least I did it, and found outfits for all my kids for the day, at the same time. Yeah Mama Nu!