Despite my earlier post about being lonely as a new mum, there is one part of this lifestyle that is an unavoidable constant – other mums. Whether they’re starting out on the scary path of tiny-new-human ownership alongside you, or have done it all before and can’t wait to tell you, there’s a cast of mums ready to impart their pearls of wisdom upon you… whether you want them to or not…
THE ‘COMRADE’ MOM
She’s your ally in tiredness; your companion in crankiness. Feeding marathons, endless nappies and sick-stained t-shirts? Yep, she knows it only too well. These mums are worth their weight in gold – even if you don’t feel like seeing other human beings, the sight of another woman struggling out of the house with drooping eyelids and un-brushed hair will reassure you that you’re not alone.
THE ‘BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, DID IT BETTER’ MOM
‘Oh, your baby cries a lot? Mine had SUPER colic. The doctors have never seen anything like it. They marvelled at how well I dealt with it. I was working at the time. And writing a novel. And setting up my own business from home’. This is the mother you’ll describe to your partner as a ‘know-it-all bitch’. And you’ll be correct.
THE DEVELOPMENTAL GUIDELINE FANATIC MOM
‘But ‘What To Expect’ says she should be rolling by now! She’s three months old! All the other babies are reading Shakespeare! I’m a terrible mother! My baby will be developmentally behind forever! I need to call the local primary schools and tell them we’ll be holding her back a year!’. Just smile, reassure and point out that her baby hasn’t read the books, no baby is reading Shakespeare at three months, and not rolling yet is perfectly normal. And maybe confiscate her baby books. Then burn them.
THE ‘MY BABY IS SO MUCH MORE ADVANCED THAN YOURS’ MOM
With the ability to turn even the most confident, level-headed mother into a Developmental Guideline Fanatic, this mother’s baby is helping old ladies cross the road, writing a PhD thesis and curing cancer at the tender age of four months old. She’ll tell you all about his sparkling, rose-scented poop and incredible conversation skills. Strangely enough, when you saw him last week, his ‘conversational skills’ amounted to blowing bubbles at you and chuckling at his own farts. You smell bullshit – but that may just be his anything-but-rose-scented nappies.
THE ‘HAVE IT ALL AND MORE’ MOM
You consider it a good day if you can get through baby group without falling asleep halfway through ‘Wind The Bobbin Up’. For her, anything less than turning up half an hour early with sleek, immaculate hair and organic, freshly-baked cookies is failure. She may seem smug, but often, she’s just proud of herself. It’s tough to admit it, but anyone who can have perfect hair AND time to bake alongside trying to get a tiny wriggly baby ready can have a little bit of a boast, I suppose. Not to be mistaken for the ‘Been there, done that, did it better’ mom – there’s a difference between deservedly proud and undeservedly smug.
THE ‘AT LEAST YOU’RE TRYING’ MOM
The name of this category of mom is deceptive. She is constantly not-so-subtly judging your every move. You bottle-feed? JUDGING. You breast-feed in public? JUDGING. You use a pram? JUDGING. You co-sleep? JUDGING. Every judgemental look will be accompanied by an enthusiastic explanation of how she is doing the absolute opposite (which, of course, is the only right way to do it).. but, she’ll add – with a pat on the shoulder that if you close your eyes and use a lot of imagination, could almost pass as sympathetic -, ‘you’re trying your best’.
THE ‘NO MORE BABY WEIGHT’ MOM
I’ll probably end up doing a post about Maria Kang (the mother in this photo) eventually, as it caused so much controversy when it first came out. This type of mom wouldn’t be so bad if it was just about the weight loss – sure, you’d eye her svelte figure with vague envy before turning your attention back to your Big Mac, but you wouldn’t out-and-out hate her. It’s the smugness that does it. The unabashed air of ‘you could have this too… if you had any willpower’. And you know, deep down, that yes, you could have that too… but you’d rather have nice food right now. Happiness is worth the stretch marks.
THE ‘THIS IS MY ENTIRE LIFE NOW’ MOM
It’s okay to admit that you either have, or would like to have, a life outside of your children. It doesn’t make you love them any less. Except for in the eyes of the ‘children are my entire life’ mom. She doesn’t just abandon her childless friends from back in the day, because they ‘couldn’t possibly understand what love is!’ – she wants you to do exactly the same. The truth is, she’s probably trying to adjust to juggling her old life and her new one.
THE ‘FACEBOOK QUOTE-MASTER’ MOM
So your partner was really just a sperm donor, then? This mom is the much more annoying cousin of the ‘Children are my entire life’ mom, who spends her time trawling Facebook for quotes to tell the world just how empty and void of meaning their childless lives are. Unable and unwilling to comprehend the fact that people can lead fulfilled lives before they have children – and, indeed, can have great lives without having children at all – this mom uses Facebook to show you just how much she loves her kids… y’know, at the expense of using real life to show her kids how much she loves them…
THE ‘MOMMY-BLOGGER’ MOM
There’s no such thing as oversharing in the eyes of the Mommy Blogger. Running quirky little ‘online diaries’, with cutesy names like ‘The Speed Bump’ (oops)? She won’t just tell you about her child’s latest poop, she’ll go ahead and tell the rest of the world too! If she’s not blogging, she’s sharing her blog posts with the rest of the world via social media. It makes you wonder how she has time for all those hilarious parenting moments she posts about. A word of warning – she’s so used to talking about herself on her blog, it may spill over into real life. A quick slap around the chops tends to sort it out.
You may be wondering where you fit in all of this (that or you’ve recognised yourself in one of these stereotypes, in which case, I can only apologise half-heartedly). I think most of us fit into more than one category – I can recognise aspects of myself in most of the ‘types’ I’ve just spoken about. The moms that really stick in our heads, though, are the ones who define these categories – usually for negative reasons. If you recognise a bit of all or some of these moms in you, don’t fear! There’s nothing wrong with getting your figure back after having a baby, there’s nothing wrong with your child being the centre of your universe. As long as you aren’t expecting everyone else to do or feel exactly the same, you’re doing great.
Before I have anyone remarking on how sexist this post is, I fully intend to do a post about the different types of dads you encounter – although I may leave that to D, who will be guest-blogging for me soon!