I recently became acquainted with a couple who live here in Walnut Creek, in a nice house along a nice street. Their kids go to a neighborhood public school. The couple do well enough in business that they can be generous when it comes to donating auction items to school fundraisers. They volunteer in the school, and open their home to neighborhood block parties.
The like being good neighbors, good members of the community. Despite this, the husband, whom I’ll call Joe, says he and his family aren’t accepted by a neighborhood contingent whom he has labeled the Mom Mafia.
He’s not sure why, and the cold shoulder hurts his wife more. The women in the Moms Mafia have husbands who pull in good incomes. Their job is raising the kids, and shuttling them from to school and playdates, sports practices and dance or music lessons. These Moms enjoy moms’ lunches at Va de Vi or the Neiman Marcus cafe. They dress nicely but casually, favoring Ugg boots on cold days and strappy, shiny sandals in warm weather. They always have their toenails painted, their legs and eyebrows waxed, and their highlights up to date. They go off on moms’ ski weekends, and spend their summers at the local community pool, overseeing their kids’ swim practices and parent cocktail parties.
There are probably some pool parties where the parents, busy with drinking and schmoozing, have left the older kids to look after the younger ones. It would be even more John Updike if there was some wife-swapping going on. I guess if one of these women were doing it with the contractor remodeling her master bath suite, we might have a plot line for a show like Desperate Housewives.
When my son was going through elementary school, there was a group of moms, some of the stay-at home variety, who were very involved in school functions. They seemed pretty tight knit. They, too, spent their summers at their local swim club, and I heard once how they all bid together on one auction item that had them and their husbands go on a fun-filled grownup scavenger hunt downtown. When I was asked to volunteer to help with the school auction, I jokingly said to my husband, “Wow, I’ve been asked to join the popular crowd.”
My snarky remark was a bit harsh and unfair. The women I dealt with while my son was going through school were all generally nice, intelligent and welcoming. They rallied to help the family of one mom who was battling breast cancer. They shared their own struggles if we got to chatting at soccer games. I never got the sense of any backstabbing, or any high school-kind of popularity ploys going on — not like the games being played by the Mafia Moms of Joe’s acquaintance.
I don’t understand why there are some adults — both women and their husbands — living the good life in suburbia who feel the need to replay high school. These women all sound like the popularity queens who ruled their high school in the 1988 teen cult film, Heathers.
I recently watched the Winona Ryder/Christian Slater film again, in which the three popular girls are all named Heather and plot to terrorize classmates, like the quiet overweight girl who eats lunch in the cafeteria alone. Things don’t end well for the Heathers. Maybe the Moms Mafia should take note.