Monday, March 18, 2013

My first SMC hosting experience

Yesterday I did what I've only done a couple of times - host a party at my house while tending to a baby, with no help. It's a very hard thing to do.

I had my first SMC meeting, consisting of five women. Thankfully the house was already clean now that I have my wonderful cleaning lady, so my only job was to straighten up...and bake a blackberry upside-down cake. I realized some nibbles might have been more practical, as would having a variety of drinks (I never have anything but water or tea around here). I always think desserts are great, but forget most women don't want to randomly eat cake in the middle of the day (which seems crazy to me. I'll have cake anywhere and any time). But anyway this is just my rambling way of saying I feel a little guilty that I wasn't a better host - I was rattled because B was having an insecure day (super clingy, wouldn't be put down anywhere), so I neglected to stay on top of the drinks or even offer the cake. Also the conversation came so fast and furious that I neglected to have anyone introduce themselves, which one woman pointed out. Blurgh! Oh well. I'll do a better job next time!

I think everyone found the meeting informative and helpful. I know I did, even though it was mostly the two mothers in the group who did the talking, having already been through the whole experience, whereas the other four women were in the thinking or trying phase. One has been trying with a known donor and just found out his sperm is sub par and so may have to make some changes; one is planning on freezing her eggs to buy more time; one is doing a fertility diet in preparation for IVF, one is just considering the whole idea. The other mother brought her super cute 4 month old and also had her donor's adult picture on her cell for quick reference (I should do this! Although I only have baby pictures); he was smoking hot. Nice choice!

We talked shop much of the time, but I think the highlights of the conversation were the philosophical points - as in, why have children at all? Why not leave well enough alone and continue on with our awesome single lives? Because for us it just wasn't enough - we were bored, we felt unchallenged, we felt alone, we were sick of being jealous of friends with kids, we wanted someone to tell our stories when we're gone. One woman asked if I thought being lonely was a bad reason to have a baby. I said not at all; that married people have babies for far more selfish/messed up reasons than that! I didn't tell her the loneliness doesn't really go away when you have a baby...that's a conversation for another time.

As someone pointed out to me when I was pregnant, it may seem like wanting a child is a very selfish thing - wanting the company, wanting someone to care for you when you're old, wanting your genes to live on - but in fact it's one of the most unselfish things you'll ever do. Especially as a woman, for how physically demanding it is for us. There are lots of sacrifices - financial, social - and they keep coming as your children grow. Still I like to think of it as one of my favorite comedians put it: Wanda Sykes, who always railed against children but then had twins with her partner, said about parenting, "now, I know I used to say children ruin your life. And they do ruin your life. But they give you a new life." That to me is the best assessment of what parenthood is all about!


  1. Yeah for the meeting! A couple of ideas for future meetings: Make it pot luck and have everyone bring a food item (way more fair and less work for the host). And start the meeting with going around and giving each woman 5 minutes for introductions, although the time limit rarely works as the intros spark other conversations. Just make sure everyone gets a turn. I went a meeting and didn't even get a chance to introduce myself. I left feeling terrible and disappointed.

    You words about the idea of having children as selfish are thought-provoking. I as in that camp, but now that I am a parent, I have done a complete 180. So maybe wanting to have kids is selfish, but having them is more like self-less. Love the Wanda Sykes quote (wouldn't have pre-motherhood though).

    1. Oh yes, definitely about the introductions - I had every intention of starting with everyone getting to tell their story but somehow we all got to talking and it took someone else jumping in to ask if we could all introduce ourselves to make it happen - and I do feel a little lame for not doing that myself.

  2. 1st - I am always up for random cake eating in the middle of the day!!!

    It sounds like a a great meeting overall!

  3. Don't give your self a hard time over the little things -it's great that you held the meeting. I am sure it would be really helpful. If I think back to how significant events were when I was making the choice, I am sure the fact that you forgot to offer cake will be forgotten very quickly, but a word or two that you said, or an interaction between you and B, will stick in their minds forever.

  4. Someday, when all of those women have babies of their own, they'll look back and think, "Aaaaahhh, so THAT'S why she never refilled my drink or offered me cake!!".

    Don't worry - I'm sure it was fine, and no one was bothered by your lack of "hostiness".

    And I'll eat cake (as long as there's chocolate involved, there ALWAYS has to be chocolate involved!) in the middle of the day, no problem!

  5. Love reading your blog.

    I too am having a get together, dinner, at my place for a couple of friends and i am nervous and already awash when i think about all i have to get done which is why i rarely entertain in house. But now i have a kid, an eighteen month old son, i want to be a better housekeeper and socializer for all the reasons you so eloquently outlined.

  6. I'm willing to bet good money that the fact that you stepped up, took on the task of getting a local group together, and opened your lovely home to these women made a much bigger impression than an out-of-order conversation or a lack of muchies. I'll even go all judgey and say that if it didn't, it should have.

    And as someone in the early stages of SMC-hood herself: nothing helped move me from "Thinker" to "Tryer" more than hearing from/seeing the women who've gone before.