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The 10 Mom Species You Encounter in the Wild

Photograph by Getty Images

I’m a people watcher and that didn’t change once I became a mom. Whether I’m at the park, playground, strolling with a stroller or sitting at storytime, I can’t help but observe patterns of parenting that emerge around me. Here are the top 10 kinds of moms I’ve encountered in the wild.

Are you on this list? Would you add one?

1. The Earth Mama

She has long hair and smells like coconut oil, wears a maxi dress or cargo pants, and practical shoes that she might have made herself. She babywears. She gave birth in a tub. She’s not convinced about the teething-relief properties of amber necklaces but uses them anyway. Her children are inordinately friendly.

2. The Two-Under-Two Mom

Controlled chaos, but she’s often frazzled. Other moms look at her and don’t know how she handles two. She doesn’t know how she handles two. If she’s out by herself (so brave), she relies on the kindness of other moms when she has to leave to change one. No moms refuse, for this is written into the mom code: help any mom who’s outnumbered.

3. The I’m At Work Right Now Mom

She’s on her phone or laptop while her kids run about the playground or library or cafe. Other moms might glare at her when her kids get into mischief, and she’s blissfully unaware. She does look up from time to time to make sure her child is alive.

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4. The First Time Mom

She tends to overpack. She comes to the park with a stroller, a baby carrier, a diaper bag, a purse, two kinds of blankets and a baby bottle insulator. She never forgets the hand-sanitizer and is often accompanied by First Time Dad. She’s the most exhausted of us all. We’ve been there.

5. The Hovering Mom

This mom sticks to her kid like glue. She goes down the slide even though her child is old enough to slide alone. Micro-managing her child’s playtime, she shows him or her how to have fun. She will defend her child from every instance of toy-swiping.

6. The No I’m Actually The Nanny

You ask her how old her son or daughter is and she says, “No, I’m actually the nanny.” If she seems kind, smart and good with kids, some of us want to ask for her card. But we don’t, for it is against mom code to steal another mom’s nanny. Sometimes the nanny doesn’t seem engaged at all, and we wonder about anonymous mom and whether she knows this too. I know I would want to know.

This mom handles a big brood better than some moms can handle one. There’s a stick figure family on the rear window of her minivan, which she purchased ironically.

7. The OK Mom

She remembered the diaper bag and bottles but forgot the pouch of fruit puree. Her child was good at sharing one minute but head-butted another child the next. Thankfully, it was not Hovering Mom’s child, so everyone was cool. Her toddler has cute clothes but messy hair. Nothing is ever perfect, but it’s OK. Most importantly, she’s OK.

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8. The Unicorn

This mom might be famous on Pinterest. She’s beautiful. There’s a reclaimed barn door somewhere in her home. Her equally beautiful child dresses better than you and is named Acorn, Thibault or Luca. Have you stumbled on the unicorn mom? When her kid has a meltdown, every mom can breathe a sigh of relief. We’re not that different.

9. The Laissez-Faire Mom

She’s hands off. If her kid falls down, she doesn’t rush over. She doesn’t intervene in toy disputes. She thinks kids are bubble-wrapped these days. She didn’t read any parenting books, but she’s still a good parent.

10. The Captain

Has four or more kids. She knows too much. This mom handles a big brood better than some moms can handle one. There’s a stick figure family on the rear window of her minivan, which she purchased ironically. Or unironically — it doesn’t matter to her. She’s way too busy with all these kids.

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