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Don't Call Me 'Tiger Mom'

Photograph by Getty Images

Every few months, someone draws a comparison between moms and animals. Did the so-called Tiger Mom take her cues from actual tigers? My son is semi-obsessed with documentaries about animals (which has really increased my knowledge base), and I’m fairly certain tiger cubs leave their moms somewhere between 24 to 30 months. Unless the tiger mom shoved her kids out the door at age 2, she’s not a very good tiger.

But I digress.

We hear about Tiger Moms, Elephant Moms and Dolphin Dads. Incidentally, why do dads get the playful name? I play with my kids every single day (thank you very much). If I have to be compared to an animal, I want the dolphin. Also, if we’re being honest, male dolphins take off after mating. Females stay with the pod and do the playing. Males move between pods. So there goes that theory.

RELATED: Does Tiger Mom Parenting Work

I love a good parenting laugh, and Terri Rupar’s description of the Sloth Mom in the Washington Post definitely gave me a chuckle. “She doesn’t sign her kids up for all the weekend classes and events, because she doesn’t know about them and, well, it’s the weekend,” writes Rupar. “Sloth Mom is proud if, when the family leaves the house, everyone is wearing two shoes and two socks.” I would like to add that the socks don’t even need to match.

While I enjoyed envisioning the Sloth Mom, it got me thinking: Why the constant comparisons to animals? Are we doing ourselves any favors by trying to defend parenting choices based on vaguely similar parenting behaviors in the wild? Do we really need to scour the Internet for cute clips of animal moms interacting with their young to make ourselves feel good? Is this what parenting has become?

Instead of searching the animal kingdom to prove ourselves, why can’t we just focus on the wonderful things we do as humans every single day?

As maddening and overwhelming as the never-ending list of parenting theories can feel, this little trend is a bit more upsetting. This trend is so clearly wrapped up in judgment and low self-esteem, and yet it continues to thrive. "I’m the best at parenting because I’m a playful dolphin, a caring elephant, or a tiger who really gets results." Enough of that.

Human moms are extraordinary creatures. Instead of searching the animal kingdom to prove ourselves, why can’t we just focus on the wonderful things we do as humans every single day?

Human moms are capable of so many things. Human moms can carry 700 pounds (give or take) of kid necessities on one arm, while wrangling two half-dressed kids into car seats and drinking a coffee. All just to get to school on time.

Human moms provide unconditional love and support, pick kids up when they fall, kiss (approximately) 400 skinned knees a day and do most (if not all) of the hunting and gathering while playing multiple rounds of Candyland.

Human moms help friends in need, volunteer at school, coach a team or two and relearn math (thanks, Common Core) while holding down a job. Human moms are kind, adventurous, playful, intelligent, patient and empathic.

But best of all? Human moms are all different.

We all have different strengths, different values and different styles. We can all learn from one another and lend a hand when a fellow mom is in need. We all have something wonderful to offer.

Ups and downs will happen throughout this parenting gig; it’s how we choose to handle them that really matters.

To know me is to know that I would never survive in the wild. Seriously, I don’t even camp. But to know me is to know that I’m doing it my way, and my way works for my kids. They are happy, healthy and full of love and compassion. They are sweet, kind and empathic. Is every day a winner? Of course not. But that’s just life. We all have struggles, and all of our struggles our unique to our situations.

Ups and downs will happen throughout this parenting gig; it’s how we choose to handle them that really matters. And that begins with taking back our confidence. We can do this, mamas, we really can. But we have to step back from the obsessive chatter and titles if we really want to thrive.

Stop looking to the animal kingdom for backup. You might have good days and bad days, but chances are you are doing just fine with this parenting gig. Probably much better than you even think.

RELATED: Millennial Moms Reject 'Good' Parenting

Repeat after me: I am a human mom and I rock.

Now get out there and play like a human! Your kids will thank you for it.

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