As the relatively new mom of an insane toddler, I spend the majority of my time (when I’m not working or cooking or cleaning or doing all of the things) thinking about motherhood in a philosophical way (what does it all mean?), mostly so I don’t think about the actual mothering and start to panic because children are terrifying. In order to make any real discoveries I’ve had to observe a variety of other young mothers. Fortunately, I’m at the point in my life where everyone my age is having babies. I know at least six that are pregnant with their second or third at this very minute so I’ve been able to watch a lot of moms. I’ve found that, for the most part, there are specific types of moms, and though not everyone fits each mold perfectly, we can probably all find pieces of ourselves in them. The types vary from place to place, of course, but here in the South we have the following moms.
The Perfect Mom
You ring the bell and she immediately asks you to “please excuse the mess” so you gingerly step inside expecting it to look like your house where humans live and toddlers reign supreme. But you can’t find a mess. Because there isn’t one. Because she’s perfect. The kids are quietly reading or coloring in their coloring books. The blocks are neatly stacked. The dishes are done. And the walls are freshly painted. You want to be mad but then she hands you a freshly baked cookie, still warm from the oven, and you wonder if maybe she can be your mom too. You can find her at any PTA meeting – she’s the president or the class mom. Maybe both. Probably both.
The Crunchy Mom
She’s either a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her kids or a working mom with a cool job like photography or graphic design that allows her the freedom to create her own schedule. She makes her own everything – syrups, diapers, food, medicine, and clothing – and only cooks with the vegetables she grows in her garden. The Crunchy Mom has so much breast milk in her freezer that she’s about to donate like a thousand ounces to women in need. You can find her at your local farmer’s market or blogging about her life as a crunchy momma.
The Neurotic Mom
“Are you okay!?” “What happened!??” and “Oh my God! Do we need to go to the hospital?” are all phrases uttered regularly by the Neurotic Mom. She worries constantly and never completely shuts down, her brain running a hundred miles an hour even when she sleeps so when she wakes, she jumps out of bed anxiously, sure there’s a crisis at hand somewhere. Vigilant and alert, she keeps her kids safe from any and all danger, but sometimes neglects herself. As a result, she must either find an outlet (like writing or interpretive dance) for all of her nervous energy or risk a mental breakdown that will render her completely useless for the unforeseeable future. You can find her in any online parenting forum, asking a thousand questions, or running a marathon in record time.
The Easy-Going Mom
Motherhood seems to come naturally to her. She takes it all in stride – fussy babies, skipped curfews, temper tantrums from the tiny and the teen. She’s confident in her abilities as a mother and knows she can only do her best so she doesn’t worry about the bad days. Her home, though far from perfect, is comfortable and cozy, and she exudes a sense of serenity that can calm even the most Neurotic Mom or upset child. You can find her doing Mommy and Me yoga or pushing the jogging stroller down a long country road, smiling tranquilly.
The Hands-Off Mom
Though her kids are nowhere to be seen, this momma is busy doing other things – she’s baking or reading or cleaning. It’s not that she doesn’t care, it’s just that she doesn’t see the point in hovering when they’re so much better at entertaining themselves than she is at entertaining them. Besides, with all of the games and toys stacked up around the house, she knows they can’t have gone far. The other parents are up and screaming at their kids to “run faster!” or “keep going!” but she’s content to sit on the sidelines during Toddler Tennis, a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other, only looking up when she hears her name called. You can find her in whichever room her kids aren’t.
The Southern Mom
A bona-fide former Southern belle, this momma oozes charm from every inch of her thick, lustrous hair. Everything in her house is monogrammed so you’ll never forget where you are or who you’re dealing with. You’ll know which kids are hers because they’re the loudest ones in the room, but if they get out of line, all she has to do is give that look and they quiet down faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind. And if they don’t, well! Bless their hearts! You can find this momma at any small-town boutique or picking up someone’s trash because pallets equal projects, y’all!