The Mothers of Baltimore County

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    This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose, in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.


    In Cambridge, Massachusetts where I am reporting live for the next three weeks, I am hanging out with mothers, like an embedded anthropologist.

    I’ve become for good or ill a Baltimore County mom. It took me a while to fit in when I moved to Baltimore County from Cambridge six years ago, but eventually Baltimore County won (or it wore me down) and I ended up constantly in the car (I gave up trying to walk to places because there is no sidewalk) and grew my hair long, went blonder, painted my nails, and wore fancy pants (my grandmother would have called them trousers) and heels like every other white-lady mother (maybe not every other mother, but the majority) on the sidelines of a private school soccer field. My concerns became: Sports. Sports. Sports. College. Like, for example, How do I get my kid a lacrosse scholarship to Yale?

    My Cambridge friends were like, What’s lacrosse? And when I explained the game, they said, “Why would you want your ten-year-old-son playing a game where you violently hit each other with sticks? Difference #1: Cambridge moms don’t care about sports. Like, at all.

    Difference #2: Cambridge moms are more comfortable with their age. Baltimore County is full to the brim with white-lady moms working their well-worked-out behinds off trying to look younger, blonder, and skinnier with lifts, tucks, implants, trainers and Botox. I do it. When my angry-tired-look shows up in the worry lines between my eyes, I Botox the heck out of that area, I blast it off my face, so I appear fresh and enthusiastic about high school soccer.

    My Cambridge mom friends were like, Why? (Cambridge is far crunchier, more woo, the place for hip science nerds, and English PhDs and has been for so much longer than Hampden, hon.) I was like, Gee, I would save a lot of money if I didn’t have such expensive hair. Perhaps the phrase “silver fox” should replace the phrase “MILF” in my vocabulary. Maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t try to dress like my eight-year-old daughter. (But her jeans are soo cute!)

    Which brings me to Difference #3: Shoes. At home in Owings Mills, I slip my manicured feet into pumps (to hopefully slink MILFishly — oops, I mean silver foxishly — around at PTA events). Here I have seen not one mom pushing a stroller, or herding toddlers, or on a college tour with sullen teens wearing heels. Moms here wear comfortable shoes, and worn red backpacks instead of complicated large purses with expensive provenances.

    I’m bringing this kind of sexy back to Baltimore County. Look for me in “orthopedic walking sandals,” with a worn red backpack, gray hair (gasp!) that’s short (double gasp!) saying, seriously, Let’s find a way to walk to the new Wegmans that’s going up in Owings Mills! It’ll be fun!

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    1. ??? This was tedious to read and I don’t get the phrase, “white-lady” moms. Does she group all her friends in ethnic/racial categories and refer to them as such? Seems strange during a time where we as a nation are working towards the goal of considering people based on their character, experience, and actions rather than on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion.

    2. I am thinking most Cambridge mums do not use the word like with the same frequency as the author.

    3. Sorry, you lost me. I was expecting Cambridge, Maryland when I first glanced at the article. Missed the one sentence first paragraph, made somewhat more sense when I went back to reread it.

    4. I don’t think your commentators have read Wednesday Martin’s latest book Primates of Park Avenue but I have. I also wear my flat boots to baseball at my son’s private school and just hope he gets into college any college. As I’m walking to Safeway in my downtown neighborhood.

    5. I am not one of these moms, but the author nailed it. My sister is one. There could easily be a Real Housewives of Baltimore County. I’m 13 years older and went through my adolescence and young adult years in the aftermath of Woodstock and the Vietnam War. My sister’s era, however, was the 1980’s-90’s, with “Greed is Good” “dress for success”, and cocaine as the mantra. The pressure to conform is overpowering, and even if you don’t pick this up from your friends and lacrosse moms pack, your own inner voice will shout at you to look, dress, and act the part.

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