Dear Mom Clique at Library Story Time,
Did you notice we were not there today? Probably not.
Actually maybe you did since last week I happened to be the only parent holding the markers, meant for name tags, over my head and out of my three year old’s reach, while simultaneously blocking the doorway with my entire body so my toddler could not escape.
Anyway, you all seem to have a monopoly on the story time social scene. I really was not prepared for this. Who knew you could feel alone with two three year-olds and a toddler climbing up your side? Somehow, now that I am in this stay-at-home mom world, the cool group seems to not need to wear make up or even clothes that don’t look like pajamas to be the in crowd.
So last week, while you ladies were chatting and I was beckoning my son down from that enticing tower that holds the puppets, I was so excited when you started talking about choosing the perfect preschool. I saw my chance to jump in on the conversation. Do you remember your response when I mentioned the school I intended to visit? Well your stroller-clad ringleader scrunched her nose immediately, letting me know with a loud whisper that that was the school “where lots of special needs kids go.” And the rest of you? Well you didn’t skip a beat nodding your pony-tailed heads in holier-than-thou agreement. I should avoid this place like the plague, according to all of you.
Since this was during the day and my oldest was in school, the “AUTISM” sign affixed to my forehead was not lit up and blinking. Regrettably (to put it mildly) I did not say enough in response to your ignorant comment to blind you with my fluorescent headdress.
So I will say it now…
Acceptance and inclusion are priceless, beautiful things.
Autism affects 1 in 100 kids ladies, add in all of the other disabilities or should I say, different abilities, out there, and you are looking at a much, much greater number than that. I’m sure your clique has created a solid bubble of blissful ignorance but you are headed for the real world and it is soon to burst. When it does? You will have done your children no favors.
Let me tell you about my children and every other child, not sheltered by their close-minded parents. They will be able to manage in a world that comes in a million different shapes, sizes, colors and abilities and, most important of all, when one of your children gets held up in class for failing a math test or not being able to pay attention to the teacher, our children won’t give your children a second glance.
Actually, they will…
to let them know they saved them a seat at their library table.
The Mom Proudly Wearing Her Beautiful Autism Light
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I really like this post; it reminds me so much of how I have been feeling lately!!! I often feel that type of judgment when I go out with my wonderfully unique family. My greatest wish is that for just a moment they could put themselves in another person's shoes and look with understand instead of judgment.
Well said!! I feel like I should stand to applaud this…
Well said. Around here where I live in CT moms are just ridiculous. They have completely lost touch with reality. But I don't have to worry about seeing them at storytime, I hang out with their nannies while they are out at the club, spa, or salon.
This is beautifully written.
Jessica I admire you and your wisdom. I look forward to your fabulous blog posts. It is a shame that those women are so blinded by their ignorance.
Shine that light, mama. What a shame that people are so closed off like that. I hate it!
Beautiful post as always. 🙂
d, the undomestic ho says
What horrible women.. That's was so rude.
I have to say, since I've been blogging and reading all of the wonderful mommy blogs like yours, I have a developed a greater awareness of autism and many other issues that I previously was a little ignorant on. I hope I was never that ignorant sounding, though. That's just horrible.
Sigh. There is nothing I hate more than people trying to make someone else feel small. It's so nice when someone decides that everyone else's decisions are stupid without knowing anything about them.
Thank you for shining your sign! As a mom of a daughter who requires me to wear one of those signs, it's tiring having to flash it at people who apparently have no sense at all!
Great post today!
What a great Mom you are! Thanks for being so inspirational!
I wish I had a table so I could save you a seat! You rock!
Say it, sister….
and MARRY ME? Please?
Definitely, I keep telling my husband we need another wife to keep up with this life of ours. Had no idea someone would be proposing right here on my little blog and to think it is famous YOU.
Sarah Halstead says
Aww. I am so sorry. I know exactly what you mean. That is why I stopped going to story time.
Debra Bonson says
A-MEN! I hope the library clique just so happens to read this post. Shame on them! As an educator, I couldn't agree with you more regarding inclusion…Thank God we aren't all alike and have something to learn from everyone we encounter.
Mrs. Jen B says
Another shining example of the fact that most people don't mature past the high school level. Which is such a shame. Also an example of why I can't stand most people.
You make excellent points. Sadly, one day those mothers will "get it", and it won't be a good day for them.
I always called those 'ladies' the Hags – I think you should have taken the moment to educate. Because here, you're preaching to the choir. Your post is beautiful – but none of those Hags are probably going to read it. Jonathan went to 'that' Preschool, trust me – I've encountered plenty of Hags and they've all needed educating.
Leigh Ann says
Oh, I'm sorry this happened to you. Moms (ok women in general) can be such biotches. I'm the opposite — I feel like i am wearing my tshirt and jeans while all the other moms look fabulous. With their 1 kid. Clearly you are a better person than they are (not b/c of the clothes, just because you are).
By Word of Mouth Mus says
Whenever you hear the words 'likeminded' run for the hills
its synonymous with narrowminded ….
you have to be a teeny bit glad that you don't fit in with those women!
Go girl, another proud moment for you!
Allison Fields says
Bless you sweetie. I don't understand why some moms have to be that way. It makes me cry.
Wow. Can I say Amen? Your daughter is very blessed to have you as a mother, and so are the rest of your children.
I'm so glad that you wrote this post. Every child — and every person — is a blessing, and more people who realize that, the better a place this world becomes.
People have a lot of nerve. In situations like this I really like to push buttons (sometimes, not always). I would have asked what she meant by special needs and then told her about your AMAZING child. Take that, ring leader.
Thank you for following me on twitter…and I'm so glad I checked out your blog. This post brought tears to my eyes!! So beautiful. You seem like a strong, caring, and wonderful mother. Screw the "in" crowd.
Thank God for mothers like you who raise their children with a social conscience, morals, and acceptance. I am angry at these women. Good for you for getting them where it hurts, through kindness.
Thank you for such a wonderful post. My son (now 9) attended our county's integrated preschool program as a typical peer model, and my 4 year old daughter attends there now. My son is the most caring and kind kid, who does not hestitate to help or include anyone and is not at all phased by meltdowns or differences in needs. His friends are just his friends, period, regardless of where they are developmentally or socially. I am so grateful for the chance my kids had to be included in such an amazing program. Those other moms have no clue what they are missing out on! You go girl!
I'm really glad that you wrote this- for so many reasons. It was poignant and strong and perfect. Cliques are scary at any age- even pajama clad ones (genius line). But cliques that have so very much learning to do? They scare me the most. For the record, i like your neon sign. XO
Oh my god. As a member of the no-makeup-wearing, ponytailed hair crowd (I don't wear clothes that resemble pajamas though), I want to vomit. I don't even know what I would say if somebody said that in front of me. Either slap them or vomit.
And sadly, when they knowingly run across those special needs kids, they'll silently think that it was caused by something the parents did or did not do, because that kind of stuff "only happens to other people." So they'll never, ever get it unless it ends up happening to them and realize, "Oh, hey, to everybody else, I AM 'other people.'"
Branson Merrill says
This is a wonderful post… even if I wish posts like this didn't have to be written. I can see those moms in my head, and they make me sad… *sigh*
Aunt Nancy says
Jessica – I couldn't be prouder of you! You have been and continue to be an amazing advocate for Ashlyn, for autism, for moms like yourself who have suffered the unfathomable loss of a child, for premies and others. As an amazing speaker and writer, you've added the ability to raise others awareness levels. Hopefully one day we will be in a world that has learned to embrace differences, I'm afraid we have a long way to go….
Thank you, love you!!!!!!
Yay for autism lights, some people are so dim really and just don't get it until they have the experience. I don't mind that, I even understand it, but to avoid different ability and talk about it that way, well, ok, I will follow Jillsmos lead and not swear here! Jen
Jen Troester says
This is why I kinda hate people. And by kinda I mean really. Seriously, what is wrong with people?
Um. I'm not allowed to curse here so I'll just say that I love you 🙂
This type of stuff- this is why I don't even bother trying to make friends half the time.
BEAUTIFULLY said! I am so grateful and proud to be the teacher of an inclusive 2nd grade class. This year has truly been my greatest year teaching thus far. I have the best group of students and they all learn from each other every single day!
It's sad that this sort of behavior continues after high school. I mean, it's bad enough that we are so clique-y as young girls, but when we carry that behavior into adulthood, it's really sad.
This is a great post! At my daughter's first daycare there was a young girl there with developmental disabilities (not sure what exactly, but something related to downs syndrome). In retrospect, I've found myself grateful for that early exposure because my daughter (now 6) doesn't think it's a big deal when she runs into kids who are in some way different from her — in fact, I'm not sure she thinks much about it at all. I'm convinced that those first couple of years of playing with her friend (when she was too young to "get" the difference) made an impact in her ability to accept others now (at an age where she definitely notices the differences, but doesn't see it as a reason to exclude someone).