Crazy Mommies

The weird alphabet soup of the mommy cult

“So, my DH and I were TTC for a while, and one day, after many years of trying, one day AF simply did not come, I decided to POAS, and then boom, BFP. So here I am, FTM and WM with my LO who I EBF’d until he turned one. I’m getting all sorts of parenting methodology advice — from CIO, to BLW, to AP — all of which which I am trying to vet and understand, even though many times, I’d rather be a SMUM.”

(Translation: So, my dear husband and I were trying to conceive for a while, and after many years of trying, one day, Aunt Flo simply (menstruation) did not come, I decided to pee on a stick, and then boom, Big Fat Positive. So here I am, first-time mom and working mom with my little one who i exclusively breastfed until he turned one. I’m getting all sorts of parenting methodology advice — from cry-it-out, to babyled weaning, to attachment parenting — all of which I am trying to vet and understand, even though many times, I’d rather be a Smart, Middle-Class Uninvolved Mum.)

Yes, acronyms are apparently a big deal in the mommy groups, and to be honest, that’s something I’ve never been able to completely understand. I mean, what global mommy referendum did I miss where they all took a vote and decided to call their kids “LO”? Whose Aunt is “Flo” and why did they name menstruation after her?

My foray into this wild, wordy world was through the TTC support groups. I derived immense comfort being among women with the same fertility issues (where we talked freely about whether or not a menstrual cup after sexual activity can effectively hold sperm in, and shared grainy photos of pregnancy test sticks with each other), but I have to be honest, I spent an inordinate amount of time just googling what those acronyms meant and it annoyed the bajeesus out of me. The seconds saved by typing ‘BF’ instead of ‘breastfed’ are negated by the minutes lost by another mom who can’t for the life of her figure out why someone else’s baby is BoyFriend.

If I might venture a potentially unpopular opinion, my guess is that this preoccupation with acronyms and secret code is symptomatic of larger exclusivist, “my tribe vs your tribe” tendencies. If you know the secret code, you’re mommy-approved. If not, you can’t sit with us. For example, if a parenting group espouses a particular agenda, stating a view even remotely contrary to that agenda is met with censure (“that post is against the rules, mommy” is a line I have seen hundreds of times, and btw, can that ‘mommy’ in the end be more passive agressive?), not with engagement, compassion and conversation. I am still astonished at how this “you can’t sit with us” vibe — a vibe that I haven’t felt in a long time as a grown-up, self-confident woman in an adult world — is so prevalent in some mommy groups. I am even more astonished at how debilitating and unnerving it can be.

So dear veteran mommies, if you feel the need to bust out your esoteric acronyms to prove your mommy street-cred, please try to picture the bewildered first time moms out there, overwhelmed by the relentlessness and (loneliness!) of new motherhood and reaching out for allies. I know because I am one of them. They (or, more precisely, we) have neither the time nor the emotional resources to figure out your weird alphabet soup.

Be wise, compassionate and clear, or STFU (no translation necessary).

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