Have you ever noticed how many different ‘types’ of parent out there? The stereotypes. The labels that some people feel the need to assign to themselves or to others. I’ve read so many articles about ‘The Five Different Types Of Mum You’ll Meet At Soft Play’ or ‘Eight Types Of Mums You Want To Avoid’. I’ve never known which box to put myself into and that used to make me feel lost – where did I fit in? Where is my tribe? But then I realised that actually that doesn’t make me lost, it makes me free. It means I’m parenting on my terms and making each decision for myself not because any clique or parenting rule book is telling me to.
If you google ‘mum stereotypes’, you’ll be amazed at the sheer number of labels that can be so casually assigned to mums. As I was looking through the lists, I realised something. It’s not that I don’t fall into any of the’categories’, it’s that I fall into all of them. I’ve been them all. I am them all.
I’ve been The Earth Mum when I had a water birth, skin to skin and chose to breastfeed my daughter. I was The Attachment Mum when I wore her in a baby carrier for hours and hours every day because she just wouldn’t settle anywhere else but on me. I’m The Dummy Mum who didn’t want to give into that little piece of plastic but I am also aware that it basically saved my sanity (and still does two years later). I’ve been The Domestic Goddess Mum who made every meal from scratch and did hardcore baby led weaning, no spoons allowed. I’ve been The Rule Book Mum waiting until my daughter was six months to the day before giving her any solid food, and waiting again until she turned one for her to have a single sugary treat. I was The Extended Breastfeeder Mum, while still being stereotyped as The Young Mum who definitely doesn’t know what she’s doing. I’m The Playgroup Mum and The Play Date Mum but I’m also The Modern Mum who downloaded Mum Tinder in search of Mum friends. These days I’m The Fish Finger Mum and The Juice Mum, desperate to get nutrients and calories into my fussy toddler, in whatever form works. Sometimes I’m The Mean Mum who will send her to bed with no dinner if she doesn’t eat what I put in front of her, and other times I’m The Pushover Mum who gives her cheese strings and chocolate cake because I can’t bear to let my beautiful girl go to bed hungry.
I’ve been The Helicopter Mum, shadowing my child’s every move at soft play in case she was to fall or another kid tried to hurt her. Most of the time nowadays I’m The Laid Back Mum, she learns things the hard way and seems happier and more confident for it. Some days I’m The Martyr Mum and I need people to know just how difficult my life is, and other days I’m The Keen Mum who will rave about how wonderful it is to raise a child, going above and beyond in every way. When I’m not pregnant, I’m definitely The Wine Mum, happy to crack on with a glass as soon as the clock strikes midday.
I’ve been The Stay At Home Mum and now I’m The Work From Home Mum. I personally haven’t found the two to be too dissimilar but maybe that’s because I’m lucky enough to love what I call ‘work’. Some days I’m The Pinterest Mum, baking and doing arts and crafts with my daughter. Other days I’m tired and I turn into The TV Mum, and on those days I’m so grateful for whoever invented Paw Patrol. Some people would call me The Insta Mum because technically I am, and I can give a pretty good impression of someone who has their life very much together. But you should also know that I have days where I am a total Train Wreck Mum. Days when my house is a state, my toddler’s hair isn’t washed, let alone brushed, and if you asked me what day of the week it is I would probably burst into tears at the fact that it actually doesn’t matter to me what day of the week it is anymore. Soft play is open every day.
You could meet me on a Monday and not recognise me on the Wednesday. The mum I am today is not the same mum I will be tomorrow. But I’m proud to be all of these mums. Because all of these mums, all of these versions of me, are all trying to do their best, trying to get by, trying to stay sane, maintain independence and raise a happy child.
I don’t know which box I fit into. Most of us don’t and in my opinion, that’s the best way to be. I’m happy to say that I am a Mum. Every day.