Dear Ms. Demeanor,
Several families in our building organized a mom's group a number of years ago. Once a month, we get together with a child psychologist to discuss parenting issues. There are refreshments and time afterward for socializing. Monthly meetings rotate among various apartments.
The group has been fluid but overall very successful and helpful - it is even mentioned by real estate agents when families are looking for apartments in the building. People from outside the building have asked to join but we have declined.
Recently a family with two dads moved in and we are conscious of the fact that they may feel excluded. How can we maintain our lovely group without offending them?
Dear Mom Groupie,
Recently my daughter's teachers sent home a note asking for 'a picture of your family', defined as 'the people with whom you live'. I was surprised and dismayed at this narrow and narrow-minded definition of family. What about children whose parents are separated or divorced? I can think of a dozen exceptions....
This is New York City in 2011 and families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. It sounds like you are describing a group of committed people truly interested in parenting knowledge and not merely an excuse for a social gathering. Why not change your 'mom's group' to a 'parenting group'? This would include primary caregivers who are not only 'moms' but dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
If you miss the 'ladies only' socializing aspect, move that socializing to another venue.
It takes a village,
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.