You know those people whose outgoing voicemail message says something like “Tammy, Nate and little baby oooh so huggable cutie cute Kaitlan aren’t here right now. Leave a message(small child sound)? If you’re one of those people then QUIT READING NOW. Otherwise… they must be stopped. I don’t understand the logic. I want to leave a message back to them that says “no one is leaving a message for your baby! Your baby doesn’t have friends! And if you’re leaving your baby’s name on the voicemail to let me know you have a baby please don’t! If I don’t know it by now then I’m not someone who needs this information!” I want to say this but thanks to the help of some Vicodin left over from my C-section I don’t. Look, I have a baby too, an extremely adorable baby, I might add, but you wouldn’t know that unless you are a friend of mine because I don’t have a brag book full of photos to foist on someone I just met at the dry cleaners.
It seems to me that becoming a parent is like joining a cult. Oh, the members may not dress up in orange jumpsuits or shave their heads bald except for a ponytail or walk around Westwood asking if you’d like to attend a Buddist meeting, but they’ve lost their own will just the same. Go to any Target at two in the afternoon and you’ll see women with “the stare.” The one that tells you they have been reprogrammed and you’ll feel a lot better when you start going along to get along. I plan to fight this cult with everything I have in me.
The “Cult of Mommyhood” isn’t even a good cult. There are no perks. At least with Scientology you might get a guest spot on “Fat Actress” or some inside scoop on Tom Cruise’s sexuality. All you’re privvy to in the Cult of Mommy is getting on a neighborhood email list that tells you when there’s a sale on Similac at Babies R Us. Apparently, in the “cult of mommy” certain things that were never a good idea before, suddenly seem appealing. Like bangs. Or green eyeshadow or paying $112 dollars for a baby bonnet at a store with a cute name like Jack and Jill’s. Some women are tougher to program. But I’ve seem them. The ex band tour manager who used to be slightly goth and now has a sensible bob, the slutty neighbor who can’t get the gardener to look at her twice since she had twins and gained 60 pounds.
It’s tough to blame them. I’m sure a lot of them fight it at first but when you’re sleep deprived and lonely and crazed with baby hormones your weakened mind is an easy target for cult members. Suddenly you find yourself saying things like “You want me to join a bookclub filled with Encino mothers? That sounds fabulous. In fact. Why don’t I host?” If you’ve never had a baby, it’s kind of like if you shop in the mall everyday, after awhile four dollars for a cookie at Mrs. Fields doesn’t sound so bad.
There are women who don’t fight the cult at all. Some of them are born to breed. They actually pop out a kid just to belong. Finally, a reason to be in Baby Gap 3 hours a day! These women who couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with their lives now have a purpose and they are more than happy to talk about the magic of breast feeding until you want to hurl all over their cloth diaper protected shoulder. They had a gaping hole in their soul and are grateful that a group any group took them under their wing and made it okay to have a Dodge Voyager.
It is my mission to stay out of the Cult of Mommy. Although I’m not working, I will never refer to myself as a SAHM. I’m embarrassed I even know what those letters stand for. I’m not a Stay At Home Mom. I’m not “Hi Doctor Laura, I’m My Kid’s Mom” I’m still Stefanie. And I happen to have a baby. And she’s not on my outgoing voicemail. For now.