Monday, September 8, 2008

Kids’ Playgroups Can Fuel Mama Drama

As a new mom hoping to feel less isolated in suburban Los Angeles, writer Helaine Olen joined a playgroup with her infant son. But instead of finding the support she craved, she was stunned to encounter junior-high-style gossip, cruelty and cliquishness.

“Women don’t suddenly become nice just because we’ve had kids,” observes Olen, 43, now the mother of two sons and living in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. “If you get a group of 10 women together, chances are there’s going to be one bad seed, and that’s all it takes to destroy the group.”

Of course, many new moms find that playgroups are an invaluable source of comfort during their initiation to the often-overwhelming world of modern motherhood. After all, where else could you find people willing to sit through two hours dissecting breast-feeding schedules or interpreting the meaning of baby bowel discolorations?

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