I thought that when I donned a cap and gown, it would be the end of the phrase “talking crap.” High school fights usually stemmed from this eloquent epithet.
Boy, was I wrong. Talking crap happens more often in motherhood circles than it did by the lockers of Northridge High. What’s worse, topics aren’t much different than those I had as a teenager.
A couple of hours volunteering at Scarlett’s school comes with an all-out gossip-fest wherein we comment on Tammy’s marriage, Jane’s obnoxious kid and Sarah’s slim waist. And yeah, I hate to admit it, most times I leave feeling a bit better about myself. Until I turn the key in my ignition and start thinking “What are they saying about me?”
Just when I think I’ve met a group of women immune to drama, I find a pocket bubbling below the surface. With a little bit of pressure applied, it comes exploding through, spraying those nearby with accusations of, you got it, talking crap.
Drama seems to have tentacles that wrap around your ankle, pulling you in as your fingernails claw and legs thrash for freedom. Before you know it, verbal diarrhea spews forth as you unload every thought you’ve ever had about that person.
Psychologists say women are more inclined to gossip since we’re interested in relationships. A study by the Social Issues Research Center ballparks that around 67 percent of women’s conversations deal in idle chat about other people.
A group of scientists at the University of Michigan backs that claim — saying that women gossip because it reduces levels of stress and anxiety.
Before I had Scarlett, before I was submerged by all things motherhood, I honestly can’t remember feeling the amount of anxiety I feel now when it’s time to go out to converse. Play dates I thought would revolve around food, the latest celebrity pregnancy or diet craze morph into a game of adult telephone, and not the good kind.
Stop by any park and you’ll see mothers so engrossed in gossip that they miss little Timmy screaming “Watch me” as he swan-dives off the top of the Big Toy.
It seems to me that play dates are more and more about moms talking about one another and less about kids getting some social interaction. I’m losing faith in the whole institution of play dating. I may actually be forced to have one-on-one time with my kid.
Family magazine listed 10 rules to having the perfect play date; No. 9 was keeping adult conversations about the kids. It also listed three taboo topics to avoid while the munchkins battle it out over toys just feet away: sex, religion and politics.
I would add anything mean-spirited that would end with hurt feelings.
I’m no Pollyanna, I enjoy a good chat as much as the next person, but I just so wanted to leave the wild world of high school antics behind. I want to sit down with other moms to discuss the latest drama in MY life, to feel comfort when I’m frustrated, or know that my kid is just like everyone else.
When I gave birth, I didn’t know I was signing up for my own version of “Desperate Housewives,” only with more stained clothes and less makeup.