December 7, 2011

Losers, Overachievers, Sluts, and Ethnic Moms

Over the years, I've observed that groups of people can usually be broken down into three subgroups:

  1. In school, you have the popular kids, the losers, and everyone in between. I don't think I was a loser, but being a band geek (I played the piano and clarinet) and honour roll student definitely kept me out of the cool club.
  2. At University, there are the overachievers, middle of the road "C's get degrees" kids, and the drifters who don't know what they're doing there other than getting drunk and laid all the time. Although I didn't have a 4.0 (A) average, I consider myself a part of the first group as I managed an A- average working 30-45 hours per week. My degree took almost six years to complete as I changed my major four times (Biology, Kinesiology, Business, Geography), but I don't regret it. I now know a little about a whole bunch of subjects!
  3. When I taught English in Japan, my colleagues were either running away from something (bad job, bad relationship), running towards something (wanting to learn Japanese language and culture), or just there to screw Japanese girls (sluts). I was there for the cultural experience but looking back, I think I needed a break from my controlling boyfriend too.
  4. Upon my return to Canada, I joined a local hiking group and quickly noticed that the members were new to town, newly single, or had no hiking friends. I fit into all three groups (my boyfriend of 4.5 years broke up with me by text message one month before I was to come home), so could happily relate to most of the people I met. When I became a volunteer coordinator, K signed up for a backpacking trip I led and we connected instantly. At the time I was seeing someone else, so we shared nothing more than some lively conversation, but two years later, when I was single, we started seeing each other. Within a few months, we were living together; a little more than a year later, we were married; 10 months later, M was born; and 20 months later, Em was born. Everything just clicked because we shared common interests (hiking, cycling, kayaking, backpacking, travelling) and had complementary personality traits. It's been a wonderful 4 years (3 married) together and I look forward to many more!
  5. When M came along, I knew my life would never be the same, but wasn't ready for the isolation mommyhood brings. I arranged playdates, brought baby in the stroller downtown to show off to my coworkers, and signed up for weekly free classes at the library. Friends recommended I join a playgroup, but when I asked around, no one had in fact joined one. One day, after storytime, I stayed for the library's "Meet Other Moms" session. A whole bunch of moms, babies and toddlers came into the room and promptly settled into various corners of the room. There were the following groups:
    • The Older Moms: This over-40 crowd seemed interested only in meeting with other moms their age and discussing how expensive their in-vitro was. No offense to any older moms out there; this is just what I experienced at my local library. I would have been happy to talk with them, but they went to the other side of the room and left me with...
    • The Ethnic Moms and Young Moms: This group consisted of me (half Japanese), three Chinese moms (one who I am now good friends with), an East Indian mom, and two Caucasian moms in their early 20s. I wasn't surprised that the visible minorities would gravitate towards each other, but was surprised that the young mamas felt more comfortable with us. Maybe they saw us as kindred spirits, fellow marginalized members of society? In any case, we got along well. We talked about our kids' sleeping, eating, what kind of work we did before having babies, and classes we were taking with the kids.
    • Everyone Else: Four 30ish white moms made up this group. They talked about the same stuff as the ethnic moms and young moms (random Naked Mommy trivia: I have crazy selective hearing, I can track conversations across a crowded room if I want to.), but in their own corner. I secretly called them the skinhead snobs, but apparently they knew each other and weren't interested in meeting new people. Why they didn't just have a playdate at someone's house is beyond me.
Em likes losers.
I haven't forgotten about types of mommies; that is to be a post on its own as it deviates from the three groups rule. 

Were you a cool kid in school? What kind of student were you? If you'd been at my library's mom's group, would you have sat with me?


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