Take, for example, the park.
The L.A. mamas are preternaturally chic in a languid, Sunday-morning way with their Bugaboo strollers, non-fat soy lattes, and matching husbands. They all wear their hair pulled back in effortlessly highlighted pony-tails. Yoga pants with price tags hovering around $150.00 hug their tight little asses, and their boobs defy gravity.
These are the mamas who only buy organic food and one-of-a-kind wooden toys handmade by magical Norwegian elves. These are the mamas who give their babies designer names, and schedule play dates two and a half weeks in advance. These are the mamas who plan their pregnancies.
And, they’re all friends.
I am not one of these mamas. Little Homie sits pretty in a hand-me-down, Gerber prune-stained Snap ‘N Go (and yes, everyone assumes he’s a girl because what mama doesn’t get a blue–or at least a gender-neutral–baby carrier for her boy-child?) I never do pony-tails, and my highlights are usually the orange side of blonde. I can’t pull off the svelte yoga look–trust me, I’ve tried.
And the worst of it is, it’s not like I’m too badass to care what these other women think of me. In fact, I face these Stepford mamas and their cavalry of color-coordinated Bugaboos with what can only be described as desperate optimism. Alas, while they simultaneously flash their polished teeth in a Miss Manners smile, the muscles around their cheeks and eyes don’t flinch.
They give me the once-over, size me up, and then turn back to their earnest discussions about the best organic toddler snacks at Whole Foods. I stuff M’s goldfish crackers deep in my purse, and try to join in, but suddenly, they all seem to get very interested in their children.
Or cloud formations.
Most days, I feel like everyone but me got a manual on how to look, dress, and act like they have their shit together, and while I thought I had evolved past that feeling of awkward loneliness, it’s amazing how being snubbed at the playground by the cool mama clique can slam you back in time. Just like high school all over again. The good thing is moving to the other side of the world is like changing schools midyear–it’s a tough transition, but you get the chance to reinvent yourself.
Sarah packed up her life in LA and moved to a kibbutz in Israel with her husband and two young children. She is the only woman who walks around in what can only be described as “hooker boots.”