The Mumcyclopedia – what kind of Parent are you?
What kind of parent are you?
If you had asked me this before my first baby was born, I would have had a pretty clear idea. I would be kind, loving, supportive and nurturing to her. I would be in control, calm, relaxed – one of those mothers who just seems to be on top of everything. Oh yes, that would be me.
I had no idea that since the day I found out I was pregnant with Miss M, I would cry at the drop of a hat. I did not expect my capacity to tolerate anything sad/scary/soppy/happy would diminish so drastically that the slightest hint of a tear in someone else’s eyes would reduce me to hysterics.
However, on the flip side, I did not expect my capacity to laugh at the most minor incident would flourish so much too. Miss M’s every word, expression and toddling action fills me with the most unmatched delight constantly and I find myself in fits of giggles at the smallest of funny things she does. And at every episode of Peppa Pig.
One thing I have noticed in the past couple of years is how different some parents are – their personalities, parenting techniques and how they have adapted to being new parents. We’re not all programmed to parent in the same way, or to adapt to parenthood in the same way.
Some of them I aspire to be. Some of them, I avoid at all costs. Just a few of my ‘favourites’ are below:
1. Mummy Poppins
The mummy I wanted to be – always happy, always smiling, always perfectly in control. You expect they must be falling to pieces inside but no. They have genuinely embraced motherhood with happiness and positivity and they are likely blessed with a perfect sleeper, a non-fussy toddler or an easy child birth.
They do not brag about these things though, they are discreet and supportive and radiate that kind of natural maternal love that draws you to them.
I have lots of friends like this – I want to be just like them.
2. Jumpy Mummy
In sharp contrast, this mummy has lost it. Perhaps she’s lost her control, her mind, her marbles. Although she isn’t at all a screaming, shouting, mean mummy, motherhood has thrown her so much out of her comfort zone that she’s probably scared to death of her every action.
She’s paranoid that every tiny baby cry, yelp or cough in public will make her look like a bad mummy. She constantly senses all the judgmental eyes of the world on her and over-compensates constantly with ‘She isn’t usually this noisy’ or ‘I’m sorry, he must be tired’. She looks frantic and stressed and she probably is.
This is a mummy I want to hug and to reassure that everything will be ok because everything they’re probably doing is ok. If only it wasn’t weird to randomly hug strangers.
3. The Mumpetitor
Those who think motherhood is their chance to compete in the Parenthood Olympic Games. These are the mums who speak only of their pregnancy or of their children, despite you being in the same boat as them. They drone for hours about how they’re managing motherhood without ever asking once how you are doing. They constantly feel the need to 1-up every comment you try to make about your child. Every time.
Their child sat, crawled, walked and probably pooped before yours did. They send you photographic evidence of every milestone in their child’s life.
Now don’t get me wrong, motherhood brings out a sense of pride in you that you’ve never experienced before. Not only did you create this wonderful miniature human yourself but you’re also delighted to share every developmental milestone with the world. But perhaps, even occasionally, ask about the other mum’s child too.
I’ve encountered a couple of these along the way and now avoid them like the plague.
4. Super Mum
Oh how I long to be you. Super Mum is on the ball with everything. She’s ticking off her pregnancy To Do List weeks in advance, written a birth plan for every possible eventuality and she’s likely decided on how to wear her hair during the birth. She’s busy juggling raising a baby, running a household, back at work and enlisted a personal trainer to get back into her pre-baby attire. She looks like she has it all and she does but she works bloody hard for it.
Unlike Mummy Poppins, Super Mum is shattered but she’s pushing through anyway to make sure she’s fighting fit to handle everything.
I salute you, Super Mum. I don’t know many of you. You’re a rare breed.
Oh yes, this old favourite. The sanctimonious mummy. Sanctimummy knows everything about being a mummy – the best way to give birth, what babies should eat, how they should sleep, everything. She probably knew before she was a mummy, she’s that girl.
Sanctimummy not only knows everything about parenthood but is also compelled to tell you all she knows because in her opinion, you’re doing it wrong.
Unlike Super Mum, Sanctimummy’s main aim isn’t to just do a good job for her family but feels the need to ‘educate’ you too. On everything. Without invitation. If you don’t parent in exactly the way she does, she will judge you and put you down. To your face. Again, avoid at all costs.
Which am I? Well I suspect that rather than the serene and always-in-control mother I hoped to be, I am probably a bit of all of the above. After all, I suppose it ‘takes one to know one’, doesn’t it?
Which one are you? Or do you have another to add to the list? What kind of parent are you?
Please share in the comments below – unless you’re a No. 5 – in which case, please keep your comments to yourself :)