Monday, February 8, 2010

Dealing with other moms

Today I'm not going to talk about weightloss or what Mimi is up to, etc. Today I'm going to describe the types of moms I've encountered and their associated traits. It's a long blog. Brace yourself. Have you encountered one of these?

The Germaphobe Mother
You've seen her, she is at the playground ready with the wet wipes and the hand sanitizer, ready to swipe up her kid and quarantine him or her from any snot-nosed toddler approaching. She's got the fancy shopping cart cover to avoid contact of her child's skin from the germ-ridden shopping cart. She avoids public play areas like plague. She swears off all pets and the idea of a dog licking her makes her clothes her eyes and wish for her happy place. Her house has a faint smell of bleach and lysol. There is hand sanitizer dispenser scattered throughout her home. If your child mouths her child's toys, watch out, you're on the no play date list.

Okay okay--this is a little extreme. But the overly germ cautious thing does get annoying. Don't get me wrong, I own a shopping cart cover, I regularly wash may hands just because and I carry hand sanitizer. I wash my daughters toys periodically. I'm a clean person. But you have to realize that kids are dirty little creatures. They're going to come in contact with other dirty little creatures (other kids) and eat dirt, and play with dirt. They will eat things they find on the floor before you even notice. And yes, occasionally they will pet the dog and...OH MY GOD...get dog hair on them. It's good to be a little extra cautious, especially with the extra fun flus flying around this year---but dont' be a shut-in swearing off playdates, or worse not getting invited because you smell of hand sanitzer.

The Helicopter Mother
My friend Grace told me that the people at her daycare call her this. I personally don't think she's what I will describe---but she wouldn't care even If I did, lol. What is the helicopter mom? She's the one who doesn't trust ANYBODY...period. She'll hire a babysitter and ask for fingerprints. She'll install Nanny cams throughout her house and attach a GPS tracking device to her toddler's shoe. She cuts her child's food up into tiny pieces until they're 5. She'll stick around the daycare 30 minutes after dropping off her kid, call 10 times throughout the day, and gets there to pick her child up early to get a full report on everything her kid did that entire day. Including the number of minutes he/she played and slept, the number of spoonfuls he/she ate, the approximately number of sips from a sippy cup. Lastly, the helicopter mom lets her fear of her kid falling impede normal motor development. She is hesitant to let her child move unassisted or without a room full of down pillows surrounding him/her. Let me tell you, we have tile in our entire house with small throw rugs in the bedrooms (mostly because the floors are cold), and Mimi rolls around and has never smashed her head on the floor, either on purpose or by mistake. I regularly let her play on a quilt on the floor surrounded by toys as I do laundry, cook and clean.

Okay--so maybe you're reading this thinking---Jen you're an awful parent if you dont' do all these things!----I think all of us have some of the helicopter mom in us--or atleast we should. I hired a babysitter through I checked her references, I interviewed her (and 3 others as well) for about an hour, I had all the sitters come for a "test run." Occasionally I come home early unannounced to see what's going on. I ask the sitter when she last ate and slep, but other than that, I trust my judgement. I am comfortable with this person. I rarely call her or my daycare provider during the day to check in unless I'm missing Mimi really bad and just want to see what she's up to. I am a little biased for 2 reasons. One, I grew up in small-town America and tend to be more trusting than the average person (which can be a bad thing), however my husband balances out my instant trust, he grew up in a city. Two, I have know my daycare provider for 6 years on a social level, so taking Mimi to her daycare was no problem at all.

I let Mimi touch our dog Buddy, and Buddy inevitably finds Mimi (and her graham crackers) and sneaks a kiss in there. I don't freak out--I tell the dog "no kisses" and I wipe her hands and face off. Don't be the aloof mom who lets her kid take nose-dive on the playground into the mulch, followed by a trip to the ER, but let your kid grow and explore a little bit. Be diligent in investigating your daycare provider, but if you choose to trust them, trust them and back off a little, no one will take of your child like you will, but when we're not there we just need them to be healthy, protected and happy.

The Prada Mom
I think the title explains it all. I think my husband wishes I was more like the prada mom. The mom who always looks put together, wearing heals and having flat-ironed hair. Never frazzled, always showered, even looks hot leaving the gym. These moms tend to equally stylish infants and children. I stare at these moms, while I am in jeans too big for me because I have no time to even shop for myself, I"m probably wearing a t-shirt without even realizing there is baby puke on my shoulder. Mimi's diaper bag is my purse--and not a glamorous one at that. I haven't had a haircut since November. In effort to try to transform me into less of frumpy mom my husband took me to DSW the other day and made me try on stylish heals. He then let me buy any makeup I wanted from Ulta. I guess I shouldn't criticize this mom--but wonder how to be her lol! I think if you look hard enough, you'll see that the Prada mom has a nanny in tow as well as her stylish children! lol

The Smug Mom
This type of mom was my inspiration for this blog entry. I am damn SICK of these moms. This type has many sub-categories which can include:

The breastfeeding Nazi
The "I'm nicer to the environment" cloth diapering mom
The "I only use organic food/cotton/bedding/toys/etc" mom (including the "I ONLY make my own baby food" mom)
The "oh I would never leave my child at a daycare" mom

I'm so sick of encountering these moms. All of us moms have different situations in life we have to deal with. Let's start with me, I will tell you why I am the mom I am.

I breastfeed. No, i'm not a nazi. I don't judge moms who bottle feed or use formula. I am an advocate for breastmilk. I am proud of breastfeeding and plan on doing so until my child is 12 months, or self wean earlier, but I am kind of ashamed to admit that the price of formula factors into my decision to continue nursing. I love nursing my child, it soothes her, nourishes her, boosts my immune system, helps me lose weight, and saves our family 20 dollars a week in formula. Mimi gets bottles with my breastmilk in it. If you have been able to "exclusively nurse" with no bottles or pacifier, all the power to you, that's now for me, I enjoy my temporary breaks from my daughter to go out for a night with my husband or friends, or go to the gym. That doesn't make me a bad mom. It makes me a sane mom.

I use disposable diapers. I have an environmental science background, I realize disposable diapers are not ideal for the environment. I know that cloth can be better in some cases for children with skin allergies and sensitive skin. I use disposable for two reasons--the convenience and the amount of water, energy, and time it takes to properly launder cloth diapers. I'm not opposed to cloth--I guess I would need some convincing to switch over at this point. I'm not saying my reasons for using disposable are all good reasons, but this is a choice I have made as a mother and citizen of the earth that I accept. Please do not look down your nose at me and think I am a horrible person/mother for not using cloth. There are plenty of decisions we make that others don't agree with--I'm sure I could find something that you do that I disagree with, but I'm not pointing my green finger at you making you feel awful. Back off cloth diapering mom!

Organic food. God, there are millions of baby food cookbooks and reference books about going green, making your own baby food. About us.... I make my own baby food and have since Mimi was 4 months. Most of my food is organic, but not all. I try to buy organic foods if the fruit/vegetable is thin-skinned, like apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, etc. Root vegetables and thicker-skinned veggies I will buy non-organic. I try to buy what is in season, but right now for example it is winter and peas are not in season, so I bought frozen organic peas, and I didn't lose any sleep over it. I let Mimi eat teether biscuits and graham crackers--oh my god i"m going to hell for giving my child a processed food. And the ultimate sin----yes, Mimi has had jarred food. She gets jarred food when we travel and 2 days a week at the daycare. It's organic jarred food (Earth's Best), but jarred all the same. I know, horrible mom right? Let's be realistic--feeding your kids junk is poor parenting, feeding your kid food from a jar is not poor parenting. Yes, I make my own (most of the time), but I don't fret if she gets jarred pears every now and again. Stop looking down your nose at me, Mrs. "I ONLY use fresh homemade organic babyfood."

Ah--the "I would never use daycare mother..."
About me---I have been in college for 10 years---yes 10 years, almost three degrees, and I am proud to be an intelligent and working mother. I love my job, I love to leave my home and be intellectually stimulated by others in my field. Does this make me a bad mom that, economicaside, I would choose to be outside the home? Right now I stay home with Mimi for economic reasons--fulltime daycare is EXPENSIVE. At first, before I had Mimi, I was content with the idea that she may go to daycare at 2 or 3 months old. Looking back, I don't think I could have done it. I LOVED being home with Mimi her first 5 months. In 5 months I wasn't away from her for more than 5 hours. The first day she was at daycare all day I cried, I missed her so much. Now, I enjoy working three days. I enjoy the days I am at my office interacting with other and non in sweats cleaning my house with baby puke on me--but I also enjoy the other 4 days when I AM at home usually in sweats or gym shorts, playing on the floor and talking to my little girl all day :-) In 6 months, I will have to work fulltime due to economic reasons, but I think I'll be ready, and I think Mimi will be a happy well-adjusted and loved child, whether she spends her days at a daycare or home with her mom. Don't judge other mothers for choosing to work. And don't generalize about stay at home mom's and think "what must they do all day?" Staying at home fulltime with Mimi was the hardest job I ever had.

I'm tired of writing and Mimicans is crying in her crib now--must go


Grace said...

This is awesome. The hardcore organic food moms are funny. I'd love to see quantifiable evidence that inorganic foods are harmful (except for early puberty suspected to arise from AGH in beef). In fact, I bet I can find more harm done from foods that ARE organic...
"According to recent data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people who eat organic and "natural" foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157: H7)"

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

You forgot the Mum who has the perfect child that never does anything wrong - it is always the other nasty children causing the problems. Having fun with one of them myself right now!