Let me just start by saying that there is no right way to parent. All parents are different, and all children are different. As long as you keep your child happy, healthy, and in a safe environment to the best of your ability, I’d say you’re doing an alright job. Also, there are a few cuss words throughout this blog. You’ve been warned.
The world of parenting is so diverse. It may feel as though you are back in high school with the different “categories” of moms and dads. I’m going to elaborate on these categories in just a minute. I want to first say that these are all just my opinions. You may agree or disagree, but this is what I have found to be true in my experience. Also, these were the best pictures of me and/or my son to correspond to the category (or description thereof) that has been mentioned. The categories are as follows:
- By the Book Moms (also known as Know-it-all Moms)- I consider the women in this group to be the moms who let statistics or articles/books dictate what they let their child do. Down to the very last gram of caffeine or sugar. The “I read on an online study once” moms. They read every baby book while they were pregnant, and take it all as fact for every single situation. Are these women aware that their child was not one that was taken into consideration in said study or book? That maybe their child is, in fact, different from those other children?
- Party Moms- I’m sure you all know these women. Don’t get me wrong, we all like to have a good time, and I’m pretty sure that once you become a mom, your love of wine increases by 100% (1000% in my case), but the women in this group don’t know balance. Or maybe they do and they just choose the wrong side to put their time into. These are the moms that you know have kids, but surprisingly never see with them. You are instead, seeing pictures of these moms taking shots while in an extremely revealing outfit. Or photos of them with their hair tassled from a night of intense dancing, and they have yesterday’s makeup on their face. You might possibly be friends with one of their family members on social media and are always seeing updates on the children from these people. Seeing updated photos from these people. Clearly, the party moms are going through something while trying to cope with the fact that they have responsibilities and they need to get their shit together. Like I said, we all like to have a good time. You only fall into this category if you rarely have your kids, are going “out” every chance you get, and basically just make all around bad decisions. So if this is you, get it together.
- Over-protective Moms- These are the moms who carry a humungous container of Germ-X with them everywhere they go. They follow their kid’s every step on the playground in case they fall. They cut up their food in itty bitty pieces even when they are fully capable of taking regular sized bites. They lather their kids in sunscreen literally anytime they go anywhere. The list could go on and on… You all know what I’m talking about. They seriously just need to chill the hell out. We all love our kids, but for goodness sake, let them figure some stuff out for themselves.
- Non-involved Moms- These are exactly what you’d think. They sit on their phones, iPads, in front of their TVs, anything at all as long as it’s not their kid. They don’t want to look at their child’s stupid drawing, let alone put it on the fridge. They don’t want to watch their child build a non-recognizable piece of architecture out of Legos. These moms seriously just suck. Yes, we all need a break sometimes, and kids can be super annoying. After asking “why?” over and over and over. After following you literally everywhere. After screaming/throwing fits for absolutely no reason. But come on… They are really cute, and sweet, and just amazing all around. Inside and out. You should want to be a part of your child learning.
- Judgemental Moms- These moms are just awful. Any mom who could judge/shame another mom for anything (unless they’re putting their kids in danger) are unbelievably shitty. If you have to shame a woman who is most likely doing the best she can, you can simply fuck off. It may seem as if my descriptions of these categories is a tad judgmental, and that would be sort of true. I can honestly say that I’m guilty of light judging (as I’m sure most of us are), but this category is for the moms who always have something negative to say about other moms. The ones who talk badly about their parenting styles. (I don’t know any other picture to go with this category, so I chose one that I think is hilarious!)
And last, but not least….
6. Homemaker Moms- These are the moms we all wish we were (well I can’t speak for all of us, but I wish I were). The moms who are able to stay home with their kids. They wake up early (in a decent mood at that), drink their coffee, make their kids breakfast, still manage to put on pants and makeup, take their kids to activities, actually clean their house (what is that?), make home-cooked meals everyday, and still have time to catch up on Shameless (or whatever show these magicians watch). Seriously, they have to be wizards. These women are always crafting, their children look like they are always ready for a Vogue photo shoot, and their house is always perfectly decorated. (This photo doesn’t really depict a “homemaker,” but I did my hair and was wearing a shirt that wasn’t just a regular T-shirt, so it’s the best I’ve got).
Most moms are a combination of these categories. It’s hard to try to find a woman who is on your same level of parenting. Your same combination of momming. A woman who has similar quirks and/or opinions and similar parenting styles. Once you become a mom, your entire circle of friends changes. Unless you are lucky enough to have those true friends already who will understand your new, chaotic lifestyle. Generally, the only friends you actually keep (long-term) after you birth your bundle of joy, are fellow moms. But finding them is the hard part.
All of a sudden you feel different and unworthy (again, only speaking for myself). Your whole life revolves around feedings, naps, diaper changes, change of outfits, bath time, bedtime, middle of the night comforting, and if you’re lucky, a moment of silence for yourself. You are exhausted. You feel crazy (and sometimes that feeling may be warranted). You have zero adult interaction/conversations other than topics relating to how many times your little human pooped that day and what it looked like, or how well they napped, or what cute new thing they did that day. Basically your entire life will encompass this person you’ve created.
That is 100% okay. You love your little guy/girl with everything you have, but friendship is important as well. It’s important to be able to talk to someone who understands all of the new things you are going through and all of the new feelings you are experiencing. Someone to make you feel like you aren’t alone and that you really aren’t crazy. Someone to make you feel like you aren’t completely failing at being a mom. Finding this person can be extremely difficult, however.
Now that you are a mom, you don’t have the luxury of just going out whenever you want and doing whatever you want. Your life is ruled by that cute little chunky baby. Therefore, you don’t have many opportunities to put yourself in situations to meet these other women. What I did was join a mom’s group on Facebook. Well, I was technically invited. My cousin’s wife Samantha (who I’ve known for quite a while) started the group because she has two young daughters and wanted to meet more women like herself as well as give moms a chance to get out and meet some other women they might click with. At the very least, give the moms who can’t ever meet up a place they could express their feelings, get some advice, or simply just vent.
The group is called Kid’s Playtime, and it is seriously awesome! There are moms meeting up for all sorts of events. From simple play dates at someone’s house, to actual planned activities (such as kids tumbling classes or whatnot), to mom’s night out events. Those are my favorite. To be able to have a night free and be able to get to know some of the other moms without having to wrangle your screaming child as they dramatically throw their entire body on the ground is really nice.
I used to be a SAHM, but I was only able to meet for just a couple things (my son was too young for some of the events, plus he was napping after every feeding which was every 3 hours). Since I’ve gone back to work full time, it’s been difficult to make it to very many of the get togethers, but I still try if I’m able. The few events I was able to go to were surprisingly a really good time. It’s nerve-racking to drive alone (other than your small, nonverbal child) to meet up with women you haven’t ever met before. I always knew at least one person, but everyone mingles. And you don’t want to seem like you need a crutch, so you don’t necessarily end up talking to the person/people you know already (not the whole time at least).
I’ve not been in any other mom groups, so I don’t have anything to compare my experience to, but every single mom I’ve met has been incredibly nice, welcoming (if they hosted something at their home), and extremely nonjudgmental. Conversations seemed to happen naturally with very little (if any) awkward silences. Samantha is exceptionally great at making sure everyone in the group feels comfortable and welcomed, and I think that attracts the best kind of people. With 536 members (and growing), there are moms from all of those categories I mentioned earlier. Any possible combination of parenting styles you could imagine, there is a mom just like it in this group and it’s wonderful.
I can honestly say that I consider all the moms I’ve met through this group to be a friend, but I have yet to find that one mom where we have that special connection. That same combination of momming. Not to offend any of you moms that I’m friends with, but everyone has their own personality and way of life and parenting. There are several ladies I’ve met that I definitely enjoy their company and would love to get to know more, but I haven’t found my mom bestie quite yet. I imagine I will soon though.
When I think of a mom bestie, I imagine that one friend who is mutually interested in your life as you are hers. I imagine us meeting up often, bringing each other coffee. Whether it be with our kids or without them. Sitting at one of our homes, or meeting for lunch dates, or just running to Gordmans together (because well, why not). Someone who enjoys the same hobbies as you. Obviously likes wine, but doesn’t want to always get shit-faced. Basically, like a sister. (That picture is me and my actual sister-Clearly we like to have a good time).
I guess what I’m trying to get across from this entirely way too long blog, is that if you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t have an opportunity to meet other moms. I think that even with the diversity between each an every one of us, we all have that one common piece of our personality that connects us and gives us a mutual respect for one another. The way we parent may be different, but at the end of the day we are all parents doing the best we can.
I’m going to elaborate my own combination of parenting style now. Just in case any moms out there match mine, we must be destined to be mom besties. So comment or message me and we can start this new friendship. Think of it as a dating site, but for mom friends. (This might look desperate to you because that’s exactly what it is)
My personal momming characteristics include the following:
- I’m not always the most patient with my son (I’m working on it)
- I cuss in front of my child (not over the top, but I do)
- My son is at the age (almost 17 months) where we are starting to implement discipline, so I’ve been trying the “1,2,3… Spank” technique. Yes, I spank my child. I don’t beat my child, but I do pop his little behind.
- I rotate the same 6 outfits for my son each week. He has more clothes than that though. I guess you could say I’m just lazy, but let’s be honest… He gets dirty as shit everyday anyway. So it really doesn’t matter what he wears.
- I give my son juice… Yes, sugar infused juice.
- I sometimes mock my son. If he is whining, I mimic him until he stops.
- I don’t do as much as I probably should for him to learn. I sing the ABC’s, I count, I try to work with him on saying certain words, but I don’t do flashcards or label things around my house. I’m pretty sure I didn’t have items labeled as a child, and somehow I still learned what shit was.
- I do the bare minimum of “baby-proofing.” The outlets are covered, and there is a baby lock on the door to our basement, but other than that, I pretty much just watch him. His play room and the hall are all within the baby gates, and that area is safe for him to roam without being constantly watched.
- I do enjoy a glass or two of wine after he goes to bed for the night.
- I’m also an atheist, so I won’t be forcing religion on my son. I am not judgmental of religious people, but my son won’t be going to church until the day he tells me he wants to go and can tell me why.
- I plan on teaching my son self defense. If he starts a fight, I will kick his ass. However, if anyone starts a fight with him, he will kick their ass.
You can judge my views and my parenting style if you wish, but this is real life. And I would love to meet another mom out there who can be realistic with me.