The Mommy Mafia

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friday nights in America's suburbs are the nights of mommy happy hours. It's not the kind you remember from your twenties where you meet friends after work at the local bar. No, it's a lot more interesting than that.

There are neighborhood politics, gossip and tricky social ins-and-outs that need to be navigated through to participate. There are babies and toddlers, there are tasty adult drinks, and there are the inevitable alpha moms (and dads) that are the stars of the evening.

Usually, there is a "lead" mom that runs the show.  She is typically a stay-at-home mom who is highly educated and had a high-powered job in her previous life and who now channels all those leadership skills and intellectual prowess into creating a powerful neighborhood mommy mafia.

Within each mafia infested neighborhood, there are three groups of moms: (1) the moms that are totally out of the loop and know nothing about the mafia (don't worry, that doesn't make you a bad're either just new to the neighborhood or have a life of your own); (2) the moms that are in the mommy mafia (don't worry, that doesn't make you a bad person just either have a need to rule the world or are one of those really likable people that others want to be around); or (3) you know about the mommy mafia but you've either chosen not to join them or you've tried but been rejected (ouch...that hurts!).

Just to be clear, there's nothing actually wrong with the mafia moms.  Some of them are truly lovely and interesting women who, if you met at the park or a kid’s birthday party, you would hit it off with instantly (you may even develop a great friendship with one of them not knowing that she’s in the mommy mafia).  But together these moms have a certain influence and cachet in the neighborhood.

They decide who gets to participate in the happy hours and who does not. The ones that are deemed worthy of that social benefit are sent an invitation (oh, please let it be me!) and the ones that are not deemed worthy are accidentally or not so accidentally left off the list (oops).  In this type of situation, being totally out of the loop is a blessing. You don't even know that you've been rejected!

So what is a girl to do? You move into a new neighborhood.  You think, wow, this place looks ideal to raise a's going to be all roses and pony rides from here. And then you realize that you need to make some interesting choices, a lot like the choices you made in high school.  Who to hang out with? What to do on a Friday night?

The good news is that you're not in high school anymore (thank God!).  You can choose not to let those neighborhood workings bother you and to create your own happiness in whatever shape you want.  Whether it's having one good friend that you see occasionally or a hundred friends that you party with every weekend or anything in between.

It doesn't matter what you choose, as long as you don't take it too seriously. So this Friday night, grab a good friend (or ten) and have a delicious cocktail!

With a pounding heart and trembling fingers, I just submitted this piece to the Huffington Post “Blog Team” for consideration.  Apparently they get thousands of submissions a week so this is a real long shot but I’m trying to be braver and take chances.