All right moms, how many of you have watched Odd Mom Out on Bravo already? If you have not, please allow me to suggest that you do so now and come back to this when you have caught up. The show is brilliantly written and hilarious, and it’s mostly because it’s so true. To quickly sum up the plot – the main character is a mother who lives in New York City’s Upper East Side where she is forced to navigate life with a bunch of trophy mom wives and their ‘perfect’ lives, $1500 Christian Louboutin heels and $4,000 Chanel handbags. She feels, well, like the odd mom out. What struck me about this show is the fact that it’s true in all aspects of motherhood. Even where I live, which is a small coastal Florida town along the Gulf of Mexico, we have the same issues. I’ve felt like the odd mom out on several occasions, and for very different – yet very similar – reasons.
Where I live, it’s all flip flops and tank tops. As I grew up and began traveling, I fell in love with things that are a little bit more couture and designer. So while I prefer Tory Burch sandals and Lilly Pulitzer shifts during the day, I do wear my Manolos and Choos at night, and my husband and I always dress for dinner out. No one else does. We go to a nice dinner in a nice restaurant and we are the only people dressed – aside from the older couples. Everyone else is jeans, flip flops, tank tops and casual wear all the time. I’m regarded as a snob most of the time because of these things, when I don’t actually care what other people wear. If I cared how others dressed around me, I’d have no friends. But, still, I dress differently than other moms around me, I work from home when everyone else I know is either a hardcore stay-at-home-mom 100% devoted to her kids and only her kids (I mean, nothing else, only the kids. Like, husband sleeps on the couch to make more room in the bed for the kids kind of dedicated) or a teacher or a nurse.
No one else I know is a writer. I’m not a teacher or a nurse, so I can’t discuss funny things that happened to me with a patient or a student that day. People assume I do nothing all day long. I also have four kids. Everyone else I know has two or three (well, that’s what happens when number three is three and four!) so people like to put me in an “Oh my,” category. Aside from our very close friends, who are all in our area but kind of spread out and not in the same schools, I’m often the odd mom out. I’m the one with my hair done, makeup on and a great outfit at drop off and pick up and at all school events to the sweat pants and flip flops or the jean shorts and flip flops of the other moms. I’m definitely the odd mom out in my area (and that’s not to say that every other mother around here doesn’t bother to get dressed, it’s just that they’re a lot more casual than I and I’ve yet to encounter many who aren’t very casual and very laid-back). Thankfully, I’ve gotten to know many of them, and they’re wonderful women and they never make me feel like the odd mom out (I do that to myself, really).
So how do you know if you are, like me, the odd mom out? Either all the time or just on occasion? Here are a few helpful hints that might point you in the right direction – but hey; being the odd mom out is not a bad thing. Being an individual – and being yourself – is what most of us prefer.
You Dread Classmate Birthday Parties
Dread; with a capital D. Why? Because you are the odd mom out. These are moms who have their own clique, whether it’s a designer bag carrying posse of wealthy socialites or a group of women in casual jeans and a tank top that have grown up together and raised their kids together and do not like anyone who is different to come into their lives. Unfortunately, somehow their kids and your kid ended up friendly and now you have to go socialize with them. Just hope that they like to drink so that at least you have something to look forward to at the party.
You don’t Look Like the Other Mothers
Whether you’re too dressed up, too casual or just all wrong in the eyes of the other mothers, you don’t look like them. This could indicate that you are the odd mom out.
Your Kid is Eating a Lunchable
Oh, yes. I remember being invited to a play date with a lovely friend, and we all packed picnic lunches for our kids. I’d never met any of the other mothers she invited along, and I was looking forward to getting to know them. That’s when I realized that while my kids were eating their lunchables, their kids were eating heart-shaped sandwiches made with organic ingredients and drinking hand-squeezed milk from the teets of cows raised organically and massaged while doing yoga in the middle of Swiss Alps on holiday. Oops. I called my kids over, offered them their processed meat and carried on with my conversation. If they other mother’s thought my lazy lunchable was horrific, they were polite enough to keep their opinions to themselves. I’m not ashamed of my lunchables.
You don’t do What Everyone Else does in the Summer or Winter
Whereas we spend almost every weekend traveling during summer, most of the people around where we live do not. If we are not traveling, we are on the boat. That’s what everyone here does. They boat. And we all love it. We scallop and play in the ocean and hang out and have a great time, but it’s always a little funny to me that so many people in our area do not travel, ever. It makes me feel like the odd mom out at times.
You Worry about the Menu at your Kid’s Birthday Party
I will never forget a woman I met at a women’s retreat at church telling me she was “Literally going to die,” if she could not finalize the menu for her child’s 3rd birthday party. I asked why (really, I’ll never do that again) and she proceeded to inform me that she was terrified of serving anything that anyone could be allergic to (gluten, peanuts, wheat, dairy) and that she wasn’t certain ‘how’ organic her food should be to make sure that all the kids were happy. Um, I mean, I never cared enough to put this much thought into it. We like to order birthday party foods we like, and if someone has an allergy, we hope that they’re smart enough not to eat that stuff.
Forget it…You Decide not to Invite Any Kids to your Kid’s Party if you are not Friendly with the Parents
That’s the end all and the be all of this one. It’s just easier, and it is how we roll.
You don’t know Every Single Kid’s Name or Their Parent’s Gossip
I know the names of my friend’s kids and their parents. I make this a point. But if my kid is not a friend of a child, I don’t know them. So it’s always weird to me to hear other moms discussing kids I’ve never even heard of, their siblings and their parents. And I love a good piece of gossip as much as the next person, but I do hate to hear some of the awful things people are saying. I like fun gossip – not the kind that’s hurtful. I’m an actively involved parent in my children’s schools, too, and I don’t know half of what these other parents know. I think that kind of scares me. How do they know these things?
You Listen to Gossip from Other Parents
Here’s the deal; most of us are okay with a little gossip, but I will say that I really, really, really have an issue with people that gossip to and with people that they don’t know very well. Case in point; when my best friends and I get together and share a little gossip, it stops with us. It’s not something we repeat to just anyone, and we don’t gossip about anyone we love. There is implicit trust in our circle. So that’s why when moms are willing to gossip about anyone to anyone, I feel very uncomfortable immediately. The odd mom out. There’s something about a woman like that I just don’t care for.
Your Kids do or do Not Camp
Where we live, kids do not go to summer camp. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. So when a friend of ours admitted that before she moved here her kids went to summer camp for weeks every summer, it was intriguing. “Everyone does,” she said. Here, no one does. The point is this; if your kid is camping and no one else’s is (or vice versa) you are the odd mom out.
There are Seriously Obvious Differences
When my daughter came home from first grade one day last year and told me that her teacher asked the class if anyone had ever been on an airplane before, she was the only one who raised her hand. We travel frequently, and it’s our preferred method of transport. But not one of the other 15 kids in her class had ever been on an airplane. It just seems obvious. Of course, I’ve never been to the Florida Keys and yet I’m a born and raised lifelong Floridian. Everyone around here goes two or three times a year and I’ve never been. We just choose places that are far away figuring we can go locally anytime we want; but it does make me feel like the odd mom out at times.
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