I'm a Fringe Mom
And I'm OK With That...Sorta
The other day I heard the phrase “fringe mom” and I didn’t know what that meant. After going down the internet rabbit hole, I figured out it meant that I’m the mom literally on the fringes. If I go to back-to-school night no one talks to me. If I’m on the sidelines of one of my kids’ sporting events no one talks to me. If I’m at the neighborhood pool no one talks to me.
I don’t know why I don’t fit in. I think I’m cool. Sure, I say crazy shit and I have very little patience with stupidity and I get irritated easily, BUT a very knowledgeable psychic told me that my weirdness is my superpower so I’m just trying to be as super as I can.
(Side note: When I say “nobody” I don’t mean nobody. There’s always one mom who will say hi. You know who you are.)
I used to be a-ok with that.
Until the last year.
Over the last year or two, we’ve had some struggles. Some very public struggles. Adolpha’s health has been up and down and I’ve been very open about it.
At first, we didn’t really know what was going on with her, but slowly we’ve been getting her back to as normal as she’s going to be for awhile
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I know that a lot of people in my community lurk on my social media and that’s okay. Not everyone can be a commenter. Some people are shy.
But it was weird to me that I had more strangers reaching out to me than actual people I know and see around town. (Again, I’m not talking about the moms I’m already friendly with. Those moms have definitely shown concern and asked about Adolpha.) It’s the moms who put me on the fringe who I’m talking about.
For instance, during the first week of school, an ambulance was called twice for Adolpha when she passed out in the middle of class. When I rushed up to the school, I saw moms who have known her since kindergarten standing nearby staring and whispering. Not one asked me if she was okay or if there was any way they could help us. Not one of them called or texted later that day to see how she was feeling. I don’t care how far on the fringe a mom is, if I saw paramedics working on their child who had gone down in convulsions, I would be offering support.
Usually, I don’t mind being a fringe mom who doesn’t get invited to Wine Night or added to the group text. But now my position bothers me. Because now my fringe status is affecting my kid.
If those moms had asked me, I would have explained that Adolpha has a neurological condition that causes her to faint or convulse. (And don’t even get me started on the days she has been paralyzed, couldn’t speak, couldn’t read, and couldn’t remember who the fuck she was). Basically, her brain is being an asshole and it causes her body to do shitty things. It really fucking sucks for her.
But I’d also tell them how far she’s come! This year Adolpha hasn’t let her health stop her. She’s been brave as hell. Every day she gets up, gets dressed, and happily goes to school for as long as she can last. She tries to make friends but it’s kind of hard when you’re the kid who can’t remember anyone, passes out in English class, and rumors are circulating around school that you overdosed on drugs and that’s why 911 was called.
I would have given them tips on how to talk to their kids about Adolpha’s condition and how they could help her remember them.
I only have a few more years left that I have to worry about how my role in the hierarchy of moms affects my kids. Soon they will fly the nest and all of this fringe-stuff will be a distant memory. Well, for them, at least.
Looking back, I see now that I’ve always been a fringe person. Even before I was a mom. I’ve been fringe-y since elementary school! I’m pretty sure I’ll end up being an old lady on the fringes. I’m going to be that lady in the nursing home who is never invited to the “cool” table at the 4 PM dinner.