My town (called so very loosely, as it's more of a collection of planned housing developments spread over a large swath of former farmland), at the time we were looking to buy a house there, was affectionately referred to in some online reviews as "Stepford." If you've ever seen the movie, The Stepford Wives, you may know what I'm talking about (except for the robots part...). Every house is the same, the yards well-kept (by the home owners under the ever-watchful eye of the HOAs), common areas maintained beautifully, safe enough to (almost) keep your doors unlocked, well-dressed, well-behaved children in nearly every household and the greatest transgression by teenagers being the covert drinking of beer in a friend's basement or sneaking the occasional pot brownie. The number of stay-at-home moms is staggering.
One of my little fears when we moved in would be that the moms at school drop-off in the morning would be partaking daily in what I called (in my head) The Mommy Parade, a vision bred from TV, no doubt, or from accounts in books and magazines I'd read over the years. A vision in which the local mothers, in their need to compete with each other, would participate in a ritual of having hair and makeup done, being dressed to the nines, just to drop their kids off at the door and present them with an air kiss goodbye. That these same local moms would look upon those not in their clique of local-moms-who-walk-their-kids-to-school with disdain, pausing in their conversations about little Joey's Cub Scout award, peering over their designer sunglasses to appraise any new-comers who dared to tread on their territory.
I wonder if this is a vision that all moms have when their child starts school or when they move to a new place?
But I am so happy to say that I was completely wrong.
Not only were the local-moms-who-walk-their-kids-to-school incredibly warm and welcoming, inclusive and supportive, but they had as little interest in getting dressed in much beyond the sweats they'd slept in as I did, as little inclination to even brush their hair as to brush their teeth. And, with a 7:30am drop off, I was so, so grateful of this complete shift in my perspective about this new town to which we'd moved.
One neighbor, with whom we walk most mornings, even gives my child a surrogate's kiss on the forehead as Sammi lines up behind the woman's own children to say goodbye. A group of us occasionally gather on the corner on our way back home to chat about the weather, the school, our houses or our jobs. And in a townhome community, having this kinship with the people we live so tightly side-by-side to is invaluable.
The Mommy Parade, at least in my neighborhood, is a myth. How is it in yours?