Since moving back to this small town I have joined a women’s club in an effort to “engage with the community.” But really, I only joined in hopes that I would meet someone my age who didn’t have children, which I accomplished at the first meeting. Since then, I have come to believe that these clubs exist just so women can stand in a room and one-up each other with who has the busiest schedule. First, the career women will lament their deadlines or clients in a slow build of one-upsmanship that builds as each working woman comes in late, demanding a glass of wine in rising levels of exasperation.
Children, of course, outweigh any job, and mothers are in a different bracket all together. Those with children in school are slightly lower on the totem poll, since hey, they have days free, right? However, your rank will go up if your kids are old enough to be enrolled in 20 different activities per week, but are still too young to drive. Kids under 6 months of age are a trump card. The mere reference of a 6-week baby is enough to evoke gasps and sympathetic faces from everyone within earshot. Game over.
There is of course a purpose to all this, beyond the general feelings of superiority that must be felt by those that are “doing more” to hold their schedules together. Our club purportedly benefits the community with our good works, which means that at some point, someone actually has to do work. Your ranking in this pecking order is what will establish the level of participation you will be required to put in. Which is why I and the only other childless member found ourselves wrapping a large pile of Christmas gifts for needy children by ourselves yesterday afternoon. It is also why I found myself halfway through a bottle of wine before 5 PM. Of course, the moment we began finishing up the other club members finally showed up with excuses ranging from pushy clients, to a son’s basketball practice to a crying baby.
If I end up pregnant in the next year, it won’t be due to a pull towards motherhood. It’s because I need an excuse to get out of this shit in the future.