A Field Guide to Extreme Moms
Mom Jeans and minivans; soccer snacks and permission slips—such are the common totems and flaccid clichés of modern motherhood. But really, no two moms are alike. In fact, there are whole groups of mothers who have patterns, habits, habitats, and behaviors that can seem foreign to many of us—laughable at times, despicable at others, and downright strange the rest of the time. As befits a country often described as the great "melting pot" I happen to think that we all have bits of each kind of mom in us at all times. But in the meantime, here's a primer on some of the more extreme moms you may encounter in 2013. Consider yourself warned.
THE SAINT: Also known as the "Sanctimommy," this is the mother who always knows (and claims to always DO) good, better and best. Artificial colorings or flavorings in her kids' foods? NEVER. Chemicals in their bedding? No way. Losing her temper and hissing at the kid to pipe down "Or Else"?—not a chance. This is the mommy of myth—infinitely patient and serene, always prepared with tons of snacks, drinks, Band-Aids, and bubbles to share with your toy-less, snack-less, parched kid at the tot lot. She smiles beatifically and gives you gentle advice about how nitrates in that hot dog are simply no good for a growing child, boasts about how her four-year-old gets "no screen time", and how the latest reports say that your child's shoes— the only pair your daughter will wear without a fuss—are poor podiatric choices. Expect lectures that tsk-tsk whatever form of sleep-training you chose, a serious side-eye at your approach to solving sibling squabbles, and a concerned eyebrow raise when she sees your kid is without a hat or gloves on a snowy day. The saint mom simply doesn't allow these to happen. NOTE: Hating her (or at least aggressively rolling your eyes at her) is rather normal.
THE SINNER: Revels in revealing what a "bad mommy" she is—offering to pour giant tumblers of scotch at 3 p.m. play-dates, giggling about the time she sent her kid to school in two vastly different shoes, bragging about her super-tough-love approach to boo-boos or whining. This is a mom who may very well be a total softy or a control freak when she's not in public, but otherwise seems to delight in one-upping the overly-involved moms around her by being so "bad." With every statement about just how naughty or how chill of a mom she is, she's subtly saying: "YOU, my dear, are high-strung and going to wreck your child! Here, have a big glass of wine and let's talk about R-rated subjects while shoo-ing our kids away." NOTE: Hating her is also kind of normal, but you're more likely to get a slight kick out of her—in small doses.
THE SEXPOT: Frequently found squeezing into her tween's T-shirts or her rhinestoned terry-cloth track pants, this is a mom who always has her best face (and bra, and heels) on. Whether she's hot or not isn't the point—it's the effort she's extending that's rather... remarkable. Whether she's adamant about having her toes and tips painted in coordinating fire-engine red, or never being seen without a short skirt or low-cut blouse, this is more than just your average MILF. Exceptions made for French-born moms, who sometimes just can't help themselves. NOTE: Leaving her alone with your husband is not advised.
THE SAFETY COP: She might as well encase her child in bubble wrap, or at least send him to the mall/museum/market with protective head-, eye-, and joint-padding. She'll never be found on a bench chit-chatting with moms at the playground (much less sneaking peeks at her smart phone)—she's UP THERE ON the jungle gym the entire time, spotting little Sally or Simon on the slide or fire-pole or swing. In fact, her little one could be running through an open, grassy field on a perfect sunny day, and she'd still require that no more than a 10-foot distance separate them. Accessories often include: toddler leashes and tethers on backpacks, helmets for every occasion, a shelf in the medicine cabinet devoted to bandages of every shape and size, a laminated card for her purse, 'fridge, and car listing emergency contacts, numbers, and instructions. NOTE: You'll alternate between feeling sorry for her and her kid, wondering if you're waayyy too lax.
THE SWEAT-FIEND: A day without a workout? BITE YOUR TONGUE. Whether she's 8-months-pregnant or 18 days postpartum, this workout-obsessed mom is out there burning calories and toning muscles, monitoring every bulge and every contour of her body. She gets a wave of recognition from all the regulars at Spin class/on the jogging loop/at the front desk of the gym. She never shows up to school drop-off in anything other than Lycra and running shoes; she schedules her baby's Mommy & Me classes around her favorite Zumba classes. Her newborn may not be able to hold up his head, but her abs are already lifted high and standing at attention. NOTE: You will definitely hate her— a lot. While simultaneously wishing you had one-tenth of her fitness-grit—or at least a facsimile of her glutes/thighs/upper arms.
Extreme parenting goes even further with Lifetime's "Pretty Wicked Moms". Don't miss the premiere on Tuesday, June 4 at 10.9c. Get a sneak peek.