Once a woman becomes a mom, they join a group of women who live similar experiences to them and understand the struggles and joys of motherhood. Becoming a mother is like joining a club where everyone seems to instinctively understand sleep deprivation and the seasons of parenting.
What a woman learns after being included in this posse is that though moms have common experiences that help them bond and build relationships, they are also very different. All the personality traits that make us unique before motherhood stay with us after the kids arrive, so it’s no surprise that every mom is going to handle parenting a bit differently.
For further proof that mothers are not a homogenized group of humans, look at the types of moms that emerge in each mom’s life. These mom groups are parodied on TV and YouTube, their most distinct features inflated to hilarious proportions. While it’s funny to watch, there’s truth to these groupings. Ask most moms which group the moms in her inner circle belong to, and she won’t have any problem pointing out who belongs where.
The good news is the commonality of motherhood is often enough to help the helicopter mom and free-range mom have a solid friendship, though they disagree on just about every aspect of parenting. The bad news is moms have to often overlook perceived slights or insults from other moms who are a very different type than they are. The result is sometimes funnier than all the videos about moms combined.
15 The Helicopter Mom
Helicopter parenting is a common term in the English language these days, and that’s not great news. Helicopter moms are the ones at the playdate who follow their kids everywhere, manage their children’s relationships, and speak on behalf of their children. They also forbid any activity that might be risky, which is pretty much any activity us kids of the 80s grew up doing every day.
Helicopter moms tend to look disdainfully at moms who don’t micromanage their child’s every move. They are especially suspicious of children who are running and playing without extremely close supervision.
While most helicopter moms consider themselves the better parents because of their caring, controlling nature, research doesn’t agree. In fact, children who have never been able to make a decision on their own or who have been raised by parents who parent out of fear tend to be less secure and suffer from depression more often.
There is a new trend in helicopter parenting where parents actually contact a child’s graduate school to speak to the professors. Since the children of helicopter parents were never taught that they could do anything without supervision, they aren’t prepared for the world, and helicopter moms are obviously not ready to let go.
14 Crunchy Granola Mom
Crunchy granola mom is breastfeeding her six year old while brewing her own kombucha and using the homegrown carrots from her garden to make a healthy vegan stew. She is suspicious of the words processed, medicinal, or sugar.
While crunchy parenting is more mainstream than before, most people still view the hard core crunchy granola mom as an enigma. She may pop her placenta pills at a playdate, and her story of homebirth with all six of her kids is sure to make most moms feel either inferior or grateful for epidurals. Her children have never slept in their own beds, and everyone is cool with that.
The crunchy granola mom may be judging you for the processed Goldfish crackers your child is eating, but she might not say anything. Or, she might kindly offer you a homemade cashew bar and a glass of hemp milk to save your child from the cancer-causing, diabetes nightmare you were about to feed them. It just depends on her disposition.
13 Competitive Mom
When you meet competitive mom, you’ll know. The conversations will take on the tone of that song from Annie Get Your Gun, the one that goes, "Anything you can do, I can do better." Competitive mom is competitive about everything. If one mom says her child walked at 10 months, competitive mom will chime in and say that her child walked at eight months. If one mom says she lost her pregnancy weight in six weeks, competitive mom will tell you she lost hers in six minutes.
This competitive nature goes beyond the healthy, sport-like competition between friends. It can be toxic, and these moms may be the type seen on Dance Moms or in the dressing rooms of child pageants, putting pounds of makeup on their three-year-old so they can be the mom of the winner.
Honestly, competitive moms are hard to have friendships with. Whether their constant comparisons come from deep insecurities or too much confidence in themselves, companions of competitive moms end up feeling more like accessories than friends.
12 Exhausted Mom
She’s tired. Really, really tired. All the time. Exhausted mom makes parenting look like one sleep-dazed stumble through life. Her exhaustion goes beyond the run-of-the-mill- sleep-deprived-because-we-have-children kind. There is never a time in life where she feels rejuvenated or like she got enough sleep.
Exhausted moms may just be super sensitive to the changes caused by having a child. Some people really require much more rest than others, and those people will obviously have a hard time when a child arrives.
However, some moms suffer from auto-immune disorders after giving birth, like thyroid problems. Post-partum depression can also cause a mom to feel exhausted since it frequently causes problems with sleep. If you’re friends with an exhausted mom, ask probing questions to find out what the source of the problem might be, and offer support when you can. Moms who are exhausted are more likely to feel overwhelmed with parenting, so they may need some help.
11 Wine Mom
We all have that one friend. She’s always up for a glass of wine, even if she’s having it with breakfast. Her idea of a perfect playdate is the children playing while drinking their milk and the moms chatting while sipping their wine.
Some moms claim this is the only way they can sit around and have a drink with girlfriends during this phase of life. In moderation, the wine/playdate combination has become acceptable, but it’s important for wine moms to know their limits. While it’s understandable to want a glass of wine to unwind after a long day, drinking all day long or when alone with children is a sign of a much bigger problem.
The good news about wine mom is if you ever do get to leave the kids and go out for wine with the ladies, she’ll know where to go and what to order.
10 Hot Mess Mom
When you run into hot mess mom, it’s like a hurricane has landed at your feet in human form. She’s typically late, wearing her clothes inside out, and not 100% sure of the location of all of her children. This parenting thing has her frazzled, and she hasn’t recovered yet.
The best thing about hot mess mom is she is real. It doesn’t get much more real than someone who is willing to admit and show that the parenting gig is hard and there’s no reason to pretend it’s not. The hard part is that she is not always the most reliable person. Hot mess mom tries, but with life already in such a crazy tailspin, she isn’t always able to do all those things she hoped because she’s barely keeping her head above water just living everyday life.
Even though she is a hot mess, this type of mom is usually chill about the little things in life. As long as everyone is alive, she calls it a good day.
9 Perfect Mommy
When a mom runs into perfect mommy, she feels it in her bones. Perfect mommy is dressed beautifully in clothes that carry no stains, and her hair and makeup are flawless. Her children are also clean and well dressed, and they are politely eating a nutritious snack and not interrupting any of the adults’ conversations. Perfect mommy exists to make the rest of us feel awful.
Here’s the really hard part: perfect mommy may be a very nice woman who doesn’t realize the ease with which she does all things parenting makes everyone else feel like children just pretending to be moms. For whatever reason, life just seems to come easy for her. She shows up on time, has her children signed up for all the right extracurricular events, and makes a home cooked meal every night.
However, there can be a darker side to perfect mommy. Some moms who appear perfect on the outside are actually perfectionists who are afraid to ever let it look like they don’t have everything completely under control. In their own homes away from prying eyes, they may be falling apart trying to make it look like they are holding it together. Or they may just be perfect. Who knows?
8 Frenemy Mom
Sometimes it’s nice to feel like a grown up, even if it means paying our own bills and being in charge of bed time. Other times, we meet people who make us feel like we are right back in middle school. The frenemy mom is one of those people.
The only reason most of us are around the frenemy mom is because we somehow ended up in a group she is in. On the surface, everything looks okay between the frenemy and other moms. However, there is an underlying problem or resentment that usually comes from something the frenemy has done in the past, like bad mouthed other moms or said mean things about their kids. Most of the time, it’s not worth it to talk it out with frenemy mom because neither person cares enough about being friends. It’s easier just to smile and fake good manners until next time.
These relationships are exhausting for adults the same way they are for middle school kids. Avoid the frenemy when possible.
7 Workout Mom
Workout clothes are her uniform. She has guns, not the kind with bullets but the kind on the biceps. Her schedule revolves around when she is going to be working out next, and her tricked out stroller that has wheels like a Jeep is perfect protection for her little one while she runs miles and miles every day. The pictures on her Facebook feed always have some kind of workout paraphernalia in the background.
This is workout mom. She’s not just wearing those leggings because they’re comfy; she’s actually going to do some squats. It’s also possible she’ll try to make her mom friends do some as well. She is big on trying to get her friends to sign up for classes, go to her gym, or take a five am jog with her.
Workout mom probably has no idea what anyone is talking about when they mention that extra weight around the tummy. However, it’s impossible to hate her because all those endorphins screaming through her blood stream make her happy and fun to be around. Just beware in case doing squats is contagious.
6 Career Mom
Career mom works outside of the home, and everyone knows it. While each woman has to decide whether staying at home with kids, working full-time, or working part-time is the best fit for them, career mom believes there is only one way to live. She may go as far as asking stay-at-home moms if they feel they are wasting their potential by spending all day with their kids.
Career mom may just be really, really into her job and not understand that stay-at-home or part-time working moms are okay with what they’ve chosen. Career mom may also have a bit of competitive mom in her, and she may use her status as a career woman to try and make other moms feel inferior.
Whatever the case, don’t let career mom make you doubt whatever decision you’ve made about working or not working. There’s no one way to raise a child or have a career, despite what career mom thinks.
5 Breastfeeding Mom
Though breastfeeding obviously has major benefits for mom and baby, it’s okay that not all women choose to breastfeed. Don’t tell that to breastfeeding mom, though. In her mind, breastmilk is love, and that’s the end of the story.
Faced with a story of how a mother tried to breastfeed and was unsuccessful, she will tell this mom all of the things she did wrong. If she sees a mom formula feeding her child during a playdate, she’ll probably ask the following questions: Do you know what’s in formula? Why are you exposing your baby to this? Have you ever contacted a lactation specialist for help?
While there are plenty of women who breastfeed their children and still totally support women who don’t, breastfeeding mom is not one of them. For her, the boob way is the only way, and everyone else is just a poor excuse for a mother.
4 Phone Mom
Phone mom may not ever see your face on a playdate unless it’s from the lens of her camera phone. That’s because once she releases her kids to play, she glues her eyes to her phone and only looks up sporadically to take pictures and then post them on Instagram to show what an involved mom she is.
Cell phones are part of life now, but they actually keep phone mom from living a life that doesn’t take place in the online world. The people she is face-to-face with are far less interesting than the people she is texting or private messaging.
It’s not hard in today’s world to become a phone mom since we spend so much time reaching out to others over the internet instead of face-to-face. However, phone mom is a prime example of why it’s not a bad idea for adults to have screen time limits, just like kids. Too much of a good thing is almost always bad.
3 The Whiny Mom
The whiney mom is the Eeyore of every mom gathering, but we still love her. Parenting and life in general have her down, and the glass is always half empty with no shot at a refill. The hardest part about whiny mom is she is whinier than any of your children, and you can’t put her in time out.
Whiny moms tend to always have problems but are never really seeking solutions. They want to complain about the messy house, the noisy kids, and the thankless parenting gig without doing anything to fix the situation. Venting to other moms may make them feel better, but it is a mood killer for the moms who have to hear it all the time.
If possible, talk to whiny mom about changing her perspective and understanding that parenting has seasons. They won’t all be hard in the same way, and there will be breathers occasionally in between infancy and the teenage years, maybe.
2 Zen Mom
After spending time with Zen mom, it’s possible to experience a feeling of euphoria for a couple of hours. She is so calm and her voice is so controlled that moms in her presence feel their blood pressure go down just listening to her talk. Though she has children just like the rest of us, she’s in touch with her inner goddess and able to keep her emotions in check.
It’s easy to wonder if Zen mom ever has a bad day. The answer is yes, of course she does. However, Zen mom tends to reflect on her struggles and failures and move on from them with a better understanding of how to do better next time. She doesn’t live in shame and regret. She just gets her Zen on and keeps moving.
It’s easy to be envious of Zen mom, especially when you may identify more with the hot mess mom variety. However, Zen mom is a great friend who just happens to seem like she’s always in a dreamlike state of satisfaction.
1 Free-Range Mom
A free-range mom is pretty much what all of our moms looked like 25 years or so ago. They don’t micromanage their kids’ lives, and they are more than comfortable with their kids going outside to play unsupervised. In fact, they encourage it. Free-range moms believe if even chickens deserve a place to roam free and explore, then kids should have the same.
Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder for free-range moms to allow their kids to live the free-range life. Our society is so accustomed to helicopter parenting that the sight of children playing on their own or walking home from school without an adult has caused bystanders to call the police. This has happened to parents on more than one occasion, and it’s a sad sign of how parents are no longer able to prepare their children to be out in the world on their own without fearing a call from CPS.
Free-range mom friends are pretty laid back, and they generally spend playdates actually conversing with other moms instead of constantly checking up on their kids.