The Mom Mafia

I have been reading Ayelet Waldman’s Bad Mom, which is quite judgmental about the sanctimonious mothers who over-judge each other &, more subtly, themselves. I’ll post more about that later. What I want to write about today is the positive flip-side of moms sticking close together.

I have a friend who is going through tough times. She had her second baby four weeks ago, and six weeks ago, her husband left her. Divorce is traumatic enough, but divorce plus childbirth is something I can’t quite imagine surviving. She’s suddenly a single mom of a newborn, with a toddler too, and absolutely no money. She moved back to San Diego to be close to family. She’s going to housesit for me this summer, which will be doing me and my cats a huge favor — but until then,  she and her newborn were sleeping on a pile of blankets on her parents’ floor. I loaned her the futon from our spare room. It should be a law: every parent of a newborn needs a bed. And a pillow. She didn’t have a pillow. The sleeplessness is bad enough, even when you do have a comfortable place to try to sleep.

There’s nothing like a mom in need to give me perspective about how great I have it.  

But she needed more than I could loan her. She especially needed a bouncy-chair or infant-swing, someplace to put down the newborn while she takes care of the toddler or herself. My non-parenting readers (bless you) may have no idea of the significance of these little pieces of infant equipment. I don’t think I can explain it, except to say, without a bouncy-chair, a parent will literally have trouble doing fundamental things like bathing. My friend hasn’t had time to eat a full meal in a month, because her kids don’t give her the chance. 

So I emailed a yahoogroups list called San Diego Parent Connection. At 7:30 in the morning. And the offers of free stuff for my friend are just pouring in.

Moms may come in for lots of criticism, but moms are also capable of helping each other out in ways that give me faith in cliched things like community and humanity and so on. I don’t know how to write this: I don’t want this to sound like, “I did a good deed, look at me.” What I want to say is, “I did a tiny thing, and a lot of people helped out, and it feels so amazingly good I may cry.”

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One response to “The Mom Mafia

  1. That is very nice of you to support your friend. My message to your friend is in the form of the following quote: “this too shall pass”. She must also remember that these things happen in life for a reason, although it is very hard to remember this when you are going through “the fire”. I like to remind myself on a daily basis tof the following:

    1) “whatever does not kill me will make me stronger”
    2) “the lord never gives us more than we can bear”

    I had a son when i was 18. When I had my son I had to move back home with my parents as well, but i also used the “downtime” and family support to better myself. I went back to school and empowered myself in the process.The father never contributed , in fact he has been hiding from his responsibilities for the last 14 years.

    Fast forward to 2007…I got married in November 2007 to what I though was a “good guy”, got the news that i was pregnant in May 2008. I really thought that i was finally going to have the life that most women seek to have (good guy+marriage+baby=forever). We planned the pregnancy, discussed plans for him to get another job so that we can affort the expenses associated with having a baby. We also bought a nearly new mini van. Things were going great or so I thought.

    By July 2008 (9 months) my marriage was over, my husband systematically engaged in a series of behaviours that would destroy any marriage . He got the vehicle repossessed by not making the payments,I had to bum a ride just to get to and from work and unfortunately the only person who agreed to drive me to work was a chain smoker (not good for a pregnant person). He did not even get the part time job that we discussed instead he just engaged in excessive video game playing and drugs between working at his fulltime job. He even threatened to divorce me and take half of my house. In fact without him contibuting financially, i almost lost my house. I had to borrow money to pay my mortgage on a couple of occassions.

    I ended up in the emergency twice in the last trimester of my pregnancy as a result of stress. My doctor ordered me off work for a week because of the stress factor and he would have had me off for 2 weeks if he had the choice but given that I was not getting paid for the time off , i could only take 1 week off. My husband…well he took a total of 4 weeks off and had the nerve to use “stress” as his reason for taking time off.

    My pregancy came and went and he did not purchase a thing nor provide a penny . I put aside whatever i could and shopped liquidation racks and bought some second hand items with every weekly paycheck that i got. My mother filled in for whatever else i needed. My friends threw me a baby shower and by the “grace of god” I managed to get everything my daughter needed before she was born. It was not walk in the park having to work the whole 9 months of my pregnancy given I as sick for most of my pregancy.

    My daughter arrived January 6th, 2009. I am a single parent for the second time. I often question the “man upstairs” as to what i did to deserve 2 men walk away and leave me “holding the ball”. I have since moved on and i take one day at a time. I focus on my children and lean on my family and friends for support. Things are alot better today than they were 8 months ago, although at the time when i was dealing with the abandonment, i could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    In the end it really isn’t the end of the world. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach , my children are healthy and I have the love and support of my friends and family. I even bought another vehicle. I also discovered that i am a strong individual.

    My last piece of advise that i have for your friend is that she must allow herself to ask for help from friends and family if needed.

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