A little over 3 years ago I joined a MOMS Club in my area. I was hesitant for several reasons.
1. I’ve never had long standing relationships with women or BFF’s because of the usual bitchiness and cattiness that often follows when involved with a group of women.
2. I was still adjusting to being a SAHM and didn’t know where I fit.
3. Getting involved with a group usually meant donating time and I didn’t want to get used.
For the first couple of months I was still on the fence. There seemed to be some groups within the club that I couldn’t find my nitch with and I started to feel insecure and didn’t think I’d ever fit in. I decided that I had joined this club and I’d give it my best effort for a full year. I’d volunteer for what I could do, and embed myself in the groups and attend as many activities as I could. After all there were MANY reasons why I did join and I needed to explore each of them. My reasons for joining were aplenty…
- Socialization for my son and myself.
- The need of support from stay at home moms in my area.
- Fun activities to do with my son and friends.
- A feeling of purpose and accomplishment through volunteering.
- To find my way as a mother and ENJOY being at home.
I think I’ve accomplished those goals and then some in the past few years. My son who was 9 months old when I joined is almost 4. I was basket case when he was 9 months and now I feel more grounded and confident in my abilities as a mother. Josh being the first born in both of our families – had ZERO playmates and now he reminds me OFTEN that he has, “…school friends, soccer friends, swim friends, and other friends.” My friendships have also grown since joining. I’ve met several really cool girls and we’ve become good friends. We have somewhere and something to do virtually every day we want to get out. In fact, most days we are occupied with friends and fun things from 10 to 2! Talk about socialization and fun activities – on those fronts we are not lacking!
For one of these past years I served on the board of our chapter as the VP. I coordinated fundraisers and charity projects so our group could give back to the community. I helped raise over $400 for Boys & Girls Country, over $800 for Houston Area Women’s Shelter, $500 for Bo’s Place and over $1000 for our own chapter. (We are a non-profit group) In addition to the fundraising, I coordinated a couple meals for the families who visit Bo’s Place, we made meals for the fire fighters of a local station, collected and delivered Christmas presents to a single mother and her child at Covenant House and smaller efforts too. One of my favorite things about being a member in this club has been the service to community. It’s helped me tap that need I have had to give back to the community and more than that. By giving back to charities I’ve received a sense of pride and accomplishment. I know that I can do more than just clean dirty diapers all day. (After all I like clean butts)
The support aspect of my club has been successful as well. I’ve helped make meals for moms who had baby #2, #3 or #4. When a dear friend of mine was suffering from severe Post Partum Depression, I was there for her and her family. I’ve also received support with offers of babysitting for my big boy before and after the baby gets here and people will do as I’ve done before and bring a meal by after the baby comes. I feel I’ve come full circle with MOMS Club. From a new mom in need to one fulfilled.
I received my renewal paperwork a couple of weeks ago. (we renew yearly – only $25) For some reason, I usually fill it out and send it back to the Membership VP within days. This time I’ve been holding onto it. I’m unsure if I still have a need for the club. There’s several reason for this though.
The past year, I’ve not enjoyed the club as much as I have other years. I blame it in part on those on the board the past year. Technically, they are outgoing board members, as their term ends at the end of this month. The outgoing board is not involved in the club and doesn’t attend much of anything. The board’s behavior and attendance to the club reflects on the morale of all members. There was a LOT of bickering during their year in office – amongst themselves, between a board member and a member, and so on. Lots of hurt feelings and problems really and they were honestly caused in LARGE part by the President of our chapter. I can’t say I helped matters.
Once I realized what the new President envisioned for our club I knew I was going to have an issue with her term in office. I attended every monthly meeting I could (I think I may have missed one) in order to hear whatever changes or issues were brought up at meetings. After all, this is still my club too and I felt very strongly that I should have just as much a right to speak up for what I wanted our club to resemble as anyone else. The meetings only became more intense for me. I’ve begun dreading them. Inevitably the President proposed a rule, a policy or a change that reflected a club I didn’t want to be a part of. With the friendships I had in place, I knew I had some people behind me and so I spoke up when I disagreed. This is very unlike me because I hate confrontation.
The thing is that I feel invested in this club, and I am. I’ve given time, money, presents, toys and large parts of me to this club and I know I’m not alone. I’m very passionate about MOMS Club and what it represents and moreover, what OUR chapter represents.
After this tumultuous year with the President and current board members, I felt very disgruntled. I didn’t like to attend any activity where the object of my annoyance could be present. I became a bit detached from our chapter and only planned activities with my friends (see: clique) I didn’t have FUN at MOMS Club things anymore. In fact, I even skipped MOMS Night Out, our monthly night out, because of my annoyance with the club and some of its members. I would look around at an activity and not recognize the club I’d joined 3+ years ago. Lots of the girls were sucking the fun out of the club with rules or complaints. Other girls were taking and never giving back to the club through requesting help with meals, or other things and when it came time to make a meal for a new mom, never reciprocating. My disgust grew.
Then in March at a FUN activity – strawberry picking – friends and I were talking about electing a new board. A fun bunch who would make the past year a distant memory. A dear friend of mine said she’d run for President, another chimed up and said she’d run for a different position and on and on the discussion went. I was early on in my pregnancy but having some skills with multi-tasking, I felt fairly certain that I could manage Treasurer and a new baby. After all, Treasurer was not as grueling as the VP role I’d taken on before and I could swing it. Even if I did need some help early on, I knew my friends would be there to help. So I threw my hat in the ring.
When the slate was announced I discovered I was running against someone. She’s a nice enough girl and I’m sure she’d do a good job. I considered stepping down from running because I thought maybe this was her attempt at doing exactly what I’d done before – getting involved in the chapter and giving back. Seeing as how she’s not attended very much and I felt many people didn’t really know her all that well, I thought maybe the odds were on my side and I could win. After some thought and persuasion from friends who were running for positions, I decided to continue on and see what the outcome would be from the elections.
The week of the elections, I became nervous that maybe the votes weren’t on my side. After all, I am pregnant and people could think that maybe I couldn’t juggle a baby and the books. Or, maybe I didn’t have the “friends” and votes I thought I did. I decided that I probably did have the majority vote since I’d been in the club 3 years to my competition’s 1.5 years and since I’ve done a lot for the club in the past, and because I am passionate about MOMS Club. Well, the results were revealed and I lost by a slim margin (so at least there’s that). It was 11 votes to the OTHER GIRL and 10 to me. I left the meeting stupefied. So did my friends who voted for me and even some fair-weather friends were stunned.
In the days following, lists were made and lines were drawn. What became clear was there were 4 votes that I thought I had and didn’t. There were 4 “friends” who really aren’t friends. I did find out who my true friends are and what lengths they’d go to for me. That in itself was awesome and a tear jerker all on its own. I was very sad I hadn’t won the election and even more sadden that the contributions I made seemed to go unnoticed or worse, unappreciated by those who didn’t vote for me. It just seemed to validate all that I’ve felt about the past year and my misgivings about the club. I’ve been a bit depressed about it all since the election.
The pregnancy hormones are suggesting that I confront those who I know didn’t vote for me. Call them out for the non-friends they are. Straight out quit the club with a public email explaining why I’m disgusted with the club. Maybe renew my membership this month but do NOTHING for the club or the members when they are in need of meals or support. Anyhow, you get the idea.
When I’m thinking rationally I know that none of that is the right thing to do. (Damn doing the RIGHT thing!) Though, I’m trying to decide if I should renew or not. I mean, would you?
By not renewing I will not be allowed to attend MOMS Club activities with my friends, I won’t be privy to the meals provided to moms after they have babies (my due date is almost 6 weeks away) and I’m sure I’d miss the group. I just don’t know if I should renew or not.
Small delimma, I know – still I just don’t know if I need MOMS Club in the way I once did. Maybe it is time I move on and find another group. I know there are other groups out there. I’m not sure where to find them though…any ideas? I think my needs have changed or maybe it’s just me.