When you are childfree, parenting seems like it’s one big club. Parents say things like, “…you can’t possibly understand because you don’t have kids.” Like so many other life milestones, this seems to make sense. That once you have a child, you’ll understand all the “mom things”.
There are the “so tired moms” who laugh about how they can never get their sh*t together, and the “wine moms” who find everything about childcare to be a bit too much, and the loathed “Pinterest moms,” “healthy moms,” and “momtrepreneurs” who put on a good show about how they are slaying parenting. They all appear to hate each other a little.
I realized, “mom” isn’t a one-size-fits-all club. In fact, you must identify what kind of a mom you are (i.e. “working mom,” “homeschool mom,” or “baby-wearing mom”) to even find your people.
I’m not a “hot mess mom”
I’m never late. I balance a lot of activities and commitments. I plan, plan, plan, and plan. You pin ideas about “being organized.” I make those pins about being organized.
I’m one of those “planner moms,” sometimes grudgingly called a “super mom.” Sometimes, I find out that “hot mess moms” don’t like me.
I don’t have a strong meme game
When moms post memes about how crazy their kids are or how much they want to drink away parenthood, I don’t “like” them most of the time. I literally don’t get it.
It’s not that I’m unsympathetic. My personal approach is to manage (or over-manage) everything. Making a mess isn’t an option.
I can’t really join in the commiserating over how nuts it is to be a parent. Because it’s kind of — not?
There are no memes for having your crap together because honestly, who cares.
We don’t change the plan
I approach life like a test where I must fill out all the extra credit questions. There’s no “winging it.” Subsequently, I’m kind of a kill-joy.
If you want to do something crazy, like not fold your laundry for a week, I’m not going to join you. I’m just not. There is a schedule and we’re going to stick to it.
I start each month with goals for my life, work, family, and hobbies. I carefully plot all the steps to achieve them by week and by day. If this sounds crazy to you then, the way you live your life probably stresses me out — just thinking about the chaos.
I tough it out
I stick strongly to the notion that I’m the adult and it’s my job to keep everything together (fulfilling every eldest girl-child, overachiever stereotype). I am my own backup plan.
So, when things get hard, I’m just going to find a way to manage it. I’m not going to cry or let myself feel things.
I’m baffled by the idea of complaining about my kid (no matter how many nights of sleep I miss holding him while he cries.)
But we can still be friends
There are some serious benefits to “hot mess” moms in having a friend who is a supermom. For one, I’m extremely reliable. If I say I’ll do something, I will do it. I will be there on time and it will be excellent.
Also, I’m a pretty good problem solver. I may not volunteer information or give unsolicited advice. But, I probably already extensively researched that thing that is keeping you up all night with worry.
I do have empathy
Even though I don’t approach my life in the same way as you, it doesn’t mean I judge you. In fact, I’m pretty focused on what I’m doing. I’m not interested in changing you.
With a little empathy, I can still care about the things that matter to you, even if I personally don’t get them. Both our kids poop in weird places. Both of us find unexpected crumbs on our blouses. Both of us are tired, just tired, of this mom thing some days.
I’m happy to lighten your burden in whatever way I can.
I can *actually* change the plan
I know I said that we don’t change the plan. But, I can actually change it for you. If you need help, I’ll go into logistics mode. I’ll find that extra hour (or five) to watch your kid. I’ll reschedule the dry cleaning. I’ll call into work.
You’ll find that, in some ways, my life is more flexible because I put together “contingency” extra time in case of emergencies. I can use some of that to assist my mom friends.
I’m aware of how ridiculous this is
As much as I don’t laugh at your “We’re all going crazy staying home with our kids 24/7/365” jokes, I realize that no one thinks my planner problems are funny.
I don’t know many people who watch “Friends” and say, “Oh yeah, everything Monica says makes perfect sense to me.” Planners are in the minority. I’m ridiculous and aware of it.
If you’re one of those moms who is totally overwhelmed by your brood, you should really make friends with someone who has it all together. I may look a little shocked when you confess that you fed your kids leftover mac-n-cheese for breakfast.
I’ll also probably have a gift card for coffee that I want you to use (because I want to make space in my wallet organizer). Take the gift card, drink the coffee, and everything will be a little bit better.
Your value? Making friends isn’t something I can put in a planner!
Just don’t ask me to help you pick a journal or lend my favorite set of pens — because you will never fill out the planner and you will probably lose my pens.