Admit it. You’ve heard them before. You’ve probably even made fun of them yourself. I have. Standing around the schoolyard or by the water cooler, sweating to the oldies or during a TRX class (I still don’t know what TRX is, but whatever–the acronym-ization of our lives is for another post). Another mother’s name comes up. There is snorting, eye rolls. Maybe a giggle or two.
“Oh,” you hear/say, “she’s one of those moms.”
The problem is there are so many of those moms to choose from nowadays that it’s hard to know what’s being ridiculed.
When did motherhood become so label conscious?
I blame the internet. I’m telling you, the internet is like a pox on parenting.
But Dina, you’ll say, you blame technology for most things. And it’s true, I blame the internet for a lot of things, but the proliferation of Mom Labels has definitely come into its own in the age of fiber optics and broadband. Back when it was just a or b or c, without a www or an http in site, you had Sue down the block to compare yourself to. Maybe Mary at the post office. In this age of digital parenting, multiply Sue and Mary by a billion Pinteresting parents and we’re labeling one another faster than I can type.
There are moms who make masterpieces on lunch bags (Too Much Time on Their Hands Moms). There are moms who take the class teddy bear to Ascot for the races and have the report bound and laminated (Competitive Moms). There are moms who buy goodie bags worth more than the cumulative worth of the birthday gifts (Over-compensating Moms). There are moms who post about doing it all (Yummy Mummies) and there are those who brag about doing nothing (Slummy Mummies). There are moms who are bored, moms who are satisfied, moms who don’t do sugar or television and moms who have McDonalds on speed dial. There are hands-off moms (Free Range Moms) and moms so hands on that their kids are in danger of being pushed back into the womb. (Helicopter Moms)
These days you can’t turn around without a label being shoved down your throat.
“I’m a stay-at-home, attachment, helicopter mom, with un-schooling tendencies, you?”
“Oh, Me? Organic, bottle-feeding, working mom, leaning toward no-TV.”
The problem with labels is that they over fertilize the soil for competition and comparison. Motherhood in the age of social media has become nothing more than a huge game of Us vs. Them.
“Oh her? She breast-fed her kid until he was three. You know, one of those uber-boober moms.”
“Her? She works. She’s a Day-care Mom.”
“Oh, her? She hired out Cirque du Soleil for her two-year-old’s birthday party. You know, one of those Over-the-top Moms.”
“That one? Oh she’s the one that kicked up a fuss because the fruit they were giving at camp has too much sugar. Sugar-Nazi Mom.”
And on and on and on and on.
It’s hard enough being a parent without comparing yourself to the bazillions of parents out documenting, out Instagraming and out status-updating your every move. And labeling it. And judging it. If you want, you can even upload and compare your parenting fails. Screw up a Cookie Monster cake? Upload it to cake fails. Try to recreate a cutesy photo-op and do anything but nail it? Upload it. There’s a perverse reverse status given to parents who aren’t content enough with not caring, they must actively document their not caring by filling social media with their parenting ‘fails’. The I’m such a bad mother Mom.
You can’t win.
And at the end of the day, who cares? So what if the Pinterest Mom makes beautiful portraits on a brown paper bag? Maybe that’s her entry into the art world. the Mom Blogger writes about her kids? Who cares if I’m a SAH Granny Mom or if she is a IVF Only child Mom? Who really cares? Because once we’re all labeled, categorized and judged you know what comes next.
Let’s all save the labels for washing instructions and just go by Mom. It’s a lot easier.