I pulled into the parking lot at exactly the time that library story hour was set to begin. This was new mommy territory for me. And I had no idea which door to go in, where we’d be, or what to expect. I just knew that my daughter and I both needed to get out of the house. So off we went to the library.
Along with the actual story, dancing, singing, and themed activities, I learned that I needed to be out of the house as much as my daughter did. So while she made friends, I tried to strike up a conversation.
Emphasis on the *tried* because what I didn’t know about the library story hour that day is that there is a hierarchy of moms at the library, a Library Mom Mafia, if you will, and you will be Cady Heron, the new girl fascination, but only if your looks (aka whether or not you look a mess or not) gets you noticed by Queen Bee Regina George. [Wouldn’t it be so fetch if I could get a Mean Girls reference into every blog post I write? Just kidding. But seriously…]
So my first story time, still blissfully unaware of the hierarchy, the “cool kids” tables and the obvious sectioned off space, I just started talking to some people. Not in a cool way because “cool” is just not something I’m capable of but in my own special awkward sauce kind of a way.
And don’t get me wrong, most people were polite. “Hey” back. “Oh I’ve never seen you here before. Are you new?” and so forth. But it’s how the Red Sea parted that day that told me pretty much everything I needed to know.
Since my first experience with the Library Mom Mafia, we’ve moved a few times, changed libraries a couple times, and talked with friends who have done the same, and I’m both glad and sad to see that this Library Mom Mafia is something that in one capacity or another exists in libraries across America.
This is not a formal program, no prizes are awarded, and library cards are not needed. Instead the Library Mom Mafia is basically an extension of the hierarchy that seems to plague us throughout school and that we hope we can eventually get away from.
The Library Mom Mafia – Who’s Who
Just like the actual mafia, or what I’ve learned about it from Boondock Saints and Burn Notice, the Library Mom Mafia (LMM) has an order to it and this Who’s Who will help you understand their interactions.
The Queen Bee aka The Don aka The Boss
Miss Queen Bee is the head of the LMM. She may not be easy to spot right away. Think about how the actual Queen Bee in a hive isn’t the one out and about, no, she’s back in the hive. So the Queen Bee of the LMM won’t be completely obvious either. It may take one or more story times to realize who everyone seems to circulate around specifically. She will always be ‘in’ on whatever plans surround library story time. If everyone heads to lunch after, she’ll always go. If she can’t go, the plans may completely fizzle out.
No Queen Bee is complete without a handy #2. It can be sometimes easy to mistake #2 for the Queen Bee at first because she will be slightly more active about the hive, err, library, saying hello, and finding out who everyone is. The #2 is super loyal to the queen, although as we learned from Regina George, would probably take her down if she could.
The Underlings aka The Inner Circle aka ‘In’
After the Queen and #2, The Underlings are anyone who make up the inner circle of the LMM. Those who are in the ‘know’ versus not in the know, and so on. As you spend more time around the LMM, the circle will become pretty evident by who is talking and spending time with whom and making plans, etc.
And then of course, there are those who are not in the Library Mom Mafia, whether by personal choice or someone else choosing for them. These are the new moms, the moms along the fringes of conversation, the moms who are intent on their kids getting the absolute most out of story time, the grandmas and the nannies or babysitters.
The Truth about Being ‘In’ and ‘Out’
I think I was once in the Library Mom Mafia. As this particular LMM didn’t have a hazing process, I’m not sure. But my guess is I was ‘in’ because I started out not ‘in’, became ‘in’, and then ended up ‘out’ for sure.
When you’re an Outter, and being ‘in’ seems much better than staring awkwardly at your feet for the entire story time and then just wishing that you or your kid had a friend to talk to during or after story time. I think that’s the truth about the ‘in’ in any scenario: It seems more appealing.
Once you’re ‘in’, there are of course challenges. Like the pre-established class system, and remembering what it felt like to be ‘out’ so inviting everyone you know in the ‘out’ to join the ‘in’.
And one day, you may find yourself again on the ‘out’. If you pose a threat to the Queen especially, or if your ‘out’ friends don’t want to become ‘in’. Or if you have a baby and stop going.
For the record…
…I have nothing against the LMM. Ok, yes I do. But I don’t think that it HAS to be a bad thing.
I get that there’s usually some kind of groups that naturally form in social situations. And some people are leaders and some people are more comfortable going with the flor. Whether or not your LMM is looked upon as a good thing or a bad thing is completely up to you and how you choose to include others.