Okay, I've seen a lot of different kinds of Bay Area mommies in my mommy life: preschool mommies, working mommies, gymnastics mommies, swimming lesson mommies, playground-frequenting mommies, breastfeeding mommies, etc..., and I can relate to all of them to some extent... but the one group I cannot fit into is ballet mommies.
My God, it is so freaking scary to be around the mothers at Iris's ballet school. First off, what they drive: Mercedes SUVs, Lexis SUVs.. One of them drives a new Porsche Cayenne SUV with an out-of-state tag, making it clear that she is not about to pay Calif. sales tax on the damn thing.
Second, the ballet mothers are the only group of mothers I've seen who do not wait on the premises for their daughters. I've told this to my other mommy friends, and they freak out at the thought. "They leave? They don't wait? But what if something happens?" They double park their expensive SUV's, drop off their daughter, and take off.
Thirdly, my God, how they dress. It's like they're extras from a "Sex and the City" episode. Mothers tottering around in Manolo Blahniks and size two pants. One mother always wears a fur vest (yes, it's real fur). Anton told me that if I wanted to buy new clothes to wear to Iris's ballet lesson, it's okay by him, but I refuse to be that neurotic.
Next, they don't let their daughters horse around. One mother, the fur wearing mother, told her daughter not to sit on the floor (which is spotless) because she might get her leotard dirty. I let Iris do whatever she wants that's not physically dangerous, which includes rolling around on any floor. Iris gets her clothes dirty every day; that's what washing machines are for.
And finally, they are such freaking snobs. I fit in okay at every other mommy situation I go into; I have a blast at gymnastics & swimming hanging out with the other mommies. But at ballet, I cannot break the ice with these moms (one exception to that rule, and one only). The fur-wearing one gave me a long, measuring stare and then looked away the last time I tried to start a conversation with her (I guess my flats and my sweatshirt disqualified me socioeconomically from holding a conversation with her). That's okay by me in the long run: I don't need any furwearing control freak friends, but I do like to be civil and pass the time when I'm hanging out in these situations.
One mother was blocking the way into the changing area, crouching on the floor near the doorway, and I said nicely, "Excuse me." Then I asked Iris to please hurry up changing because I was in a rush, and this mother CORRECTED ME to my own daughter, saying that I was not in a hurry and didn't need to rush, in a rude tone of voice with a rude stare at me. Excuse me, I am the boss of my own whereabouts and timetable, and I don't need to be corrected in front of my own child. I suspect she may have thought I was "just the nanny", given that I wasn't sporting Jimmy Choo's or Manolos, but no nanny should be addressed such a way, either.
I'm not the only mother I know who quails at these ballet mothers. My friend Kathy took her daughter out of ballet because she couldn't handle "those scary mothers." Even Iris's second ballet teacher feels that way (Iris takes two ballet classes): she is putting on performances with her current crop of tiny ballet dancers because, as she confided in Anton, "It's not the girls; this is the only group of parents I've had in years that I can do this with."
Where do these women come from? Why are they like that?
Then there's the Poor Little Rich Girl, who doesn't come with a freaky mother, but instead comes with a retinue of two surly nannies, who never speak to her and sit there glowering when the P.L.R. Girl holds a conversation with me (which she always does, poor little thing).
And don't get me started on the megabuck ballet costumes these little girls wear. Let's just say that you may not realize there is a special store in the Marina which sells small child tutus which often cost over $100 apiece (no, I have not bought one).
Oh, I know these mom-types! In our town they wear Lily Pulizter and drive enormous SUVs. They usually have a "girl" that helps them out -- usually from another country. They marvel, "I don't know *what* I'd do without my GIRL!! Alrighty, then!
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