The first time I stepped foot on that playground, I felt as if I was in a whole new world. Sure my baby was entering Kindergarten, but it was like a new world for me to. There were so many new people that I didn’t know. Plastering a smile on my face, I held fast to my scared little boys hand not letting him see the fear in my own eyes. After he was in and settled, I lingered there for the parents meet and greet. Since I was new to the are, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to start to make friends with the people whose children nine would grow and k earn with. I was so excited that these were the parents who would stand beside me as we faced trials and tribulations together. I had visions of fundraisers, sporting events, school dances in my head. Moments later, my visions were crushed and I went home with my pride limping behind me. Everywhere I turned I was snubbed, from the Moms in pj pants with slippers to the ones in the jeans and rock shirts and the ones dressed for work, not one of them glanced my way. My smile was met with a forced show of teeth, bared as if to pounce. My words cut off suitably shorts. My greetings falling on deaf ears. Did I say someth I ng wrong? Did I smell funny? Dress too out if place? I couldn’t figure it out. Chalking it up to first day jitters I limped my pride home and was ever so hopefully for day two.
The days came and went like the ones before. It didn’t matter what I wore, how enthusiastic I was or what I had to say. These women had known each other for ages or just didn’t need a new person invading their territory. I began to blame myself for the fact that my son never brought home friends. Because his Mom was a little too different. A little to single. A little too New York. I tried again two years later, when my daughter joined him in school. I went to my first PTO meeting. But the results weren’t much better. I spoke a little too much, my ideas were a little too strange, I was a little too much. So I began to make up excuses not to go. They never asked for a reason but it made me feel better just in case any of them cared, I knew they didn’t.
When I moved into a new neighborhood I thought things would get better. I never realized how wrong I would be. My kids still go to the same school. But now the stakes are up. Because I don’t fit into the socioeconomic structure of where I live. I get by because I fight to do it. My kids are put first because that’s where I put them. But the cold shoulders never seem to cease. It’s like I have taken out an add for an airplane that Flys overhead with the sign that says outcast her perpetually over my head. My efforts to fit in have fallen to the wayside. I am just not part of the cool Moms club. I don’t go to PTO meets and don’t discuss plans with other Moms. There are no hang outs or coffee dates because really why would I sit around to be ignored. And on regular days, I am ok with being the odd Mom out.
But today is the anti bullying rally. Something I have brought up time and time again. I was supposed to have a large role in it. And once again I was passed over. Now instead of being a part of the assembly I am passing out stickers. Because that’s what they really need me to do. Out of everything I could have done. Stickers. Because I am not a PTO Mom. Even though the teachers know me. And that I am a champion for the cause. Stickers. Because the popular girls are more popular. Now you tell me how that’s not bullying. How that doesn’t make a person feel invalidated. You tell me I’m wrong.
I believe in this cause because I am the odd one out. And it hurts and feels bad and makes your heart break. And that’s what my heart is. Broken. This is not the side I show my kids. This is not what adults should do. But adults can be bullies too. Im stronger than what anyone can throw at me. Im know in my heart i am a good person and a good Mom. I dont have to change myself to fut into a stereotype to meet what they need me to be. This is why I’ll never step foot inside a PTO meeting again.