Growing up, my mother had a core group of friends. They met when my older brother and sister were in early elementary school and remain friends to this day. Siblings fell in over time, just like I did. Later in elementary school, all their children were invited to participate in our school district's gifted program. Isn't it funny how parents of gifted children are drawn to each other, even without formal identification?
We called them The Bunko Ladies because of their monthly moms only night of food and gossip under the guise of a dice game illusive to we children who only knew the yummy snacks leftover in our lunchboxes after our mother's turn to host. They play into nearly all my significant childhood and adolescent moments.
I have one particular set of memories for one of my friend's moms.
My mom shares how her friend decided we children all weren't create enough but that she was going to teach us. My mom laughed and sent us away to day filled with cardboard boxes and battles between cowboys and Indians while free to spend her afternoon immersed in a book.
In another memory, I remember her daughter and I deciding that we wanted to bake cookies one day. Her mother cheerfully acquiesced and gave us free reign over the kitchen to explore and attempt to our eight-year-old culinary desires.. I have a vague recollection of a crumbly mess filled with dried cherries, oatmeal, and
How different it was from my own mother, who taught me to carefully measure the cookies from ingredients in order to achieve the same desired result time after time.
Neither one had a "better" method and we learned from them both. Different lessons, both necessary to our healthy growth and development...
I compare this to the structured, educational play groups I see nowadays where parents are often so filled with comparison and judgment of other moms. Maybe it's okay to step back a little. Maybe it's okay to let other mother differently... We don't have one-size-fits-all children so we don't need to be one-sized-fits-all parents.
Mothers, can we return to a time when it was okay to be different from other moms? Where we celebrated the diversity it brought to our children without feeling judged or like we needed to change? Can we befriend mothers who bring other experiences to our children? Can we parent together in our own separate ways? The Bunko Ladies prove from 20 years experience that it really is possible.