When I was pregnant with George, we switched from our church’s grad-school Sunday school class to a young marrieds class. I was on the hunt for mom friends, especially as I had no idea what I was doing, parenting-wise.
I was fortunate enough to be adopted by a lovely mama whose daughter is the same age as George. She has an older son, so she knew the lay of the land. She’s also one of those women who seems to know everyone, so that’s always helpful when you’re fairly new to town.
After introducing baby George and me to the best park, walking trail (there are turtles involved), and local events, she suggested we join her and her daughter for Music Together class.
OK, this is going to sound a little judge-y, but I was a bit skeptical. It sounded a little silly, especially since my son couldn’t even walk yet. Did I really want to be one of those women who catered to her 9-month-old by paying to sit criss-cross-applesauce in a circle of fellow catering mothers, their offspring, and a man strumming his guitar and making us dance around the room?
I was determined (still am) to not be one of those women who completely lost her identity once she had children. I mean, I always include my own face in my Facebook profile picture rather than only featuring my children. If that doesn’t say, “I am my own woman. Hear me roar!” then what does??
…the things we do for our children.
George and I found ourselves gaping at a theatrically mustachioed, exuberantly singing man once a week. (I later found out he was in a local theater production, so the mustache was only temporary. He might should’ve mentioned this week 1.) George just sat in my lap and stared. Other kids clapped along, but I got very little response from my blue-eyed boy. I think he was a bit confused.
Once we got into the routine, however, I enjoyed having a weekly social engagement on my calendar, so I continued to register George semester after semester. I mean, he did like to beat on a drum. Plus, let’s add that little sprinkle of mom guilt pushing me to expose George to anything and everything that could get him into Ivy League, eh?
In a much later semester, as the moms were skipping around a circle—much to the consternation and confusion of the toddler crowd—a snarky fellow mom muttered, “Do you think someday they’ll ask us, ‘Did you dance around me in a circle with other people?'” Considering George can’t remember ever visiting the beach, even though he did two weeks ago, I seriously doubt he’ll remember a group of stay-at-homers skipping in a circle. However, girlfriend had a point.
Music class lasted until George turned 3 and Olivia turned 1. Yes, I even schelped my newborn and her toddler brother across town for a few semesters. We celebrated their birthdays in a joint party with the music man, and I decided to call off our weekly visits. George had turned 3, and, well, he was now a 3-year-old. If you catch my drift.
After a year breather, I started to notice something (yes, it took me an entire year). Olivia danced every time she heard music. And she doesn’t just kind of head bob. Girlfriend starts tap dancing as fast as she can. It’s. The. Best. And I’ll be sad when she outgrows it.
OK, OK, I can read a room, and so it was time to re-enroll in music class. Plus, with George going to preschool three days a week, I decided mother and daughter could use some mama-daughter time.
And, of course, she loves it. George rarely, if ever, participated. I know he got something out of it (as he liked to beat on a drum during “Big Box of Instruments” time), but he never really dove in. Olivia, with personality a’burstin’, claps, sings, and dances her way through the 45 minutes.
How can two children with the same parentage come out so differently? It’s amazing.
And so, judge if you’d like, but I’ve become one of “those” moms. I still like to think my identity is intact, but I don’t mind acting like a complete goober for the sake of my kiddos. I’ll even sit in a circle, criss-cross-applesauce, with a group of 10 other women and pay a man to teach my children to sing and dance.
What’s something you’ve done for your children that took you a bit out of your comfort zone?