I know quite a few moms now, and I’ve noticed a few patterns in our styles of parenting. There are many ways of parenting, of course, but here are a few that I think predominate.
Honey-tongued (The Saint)
This mom uses a sweet voice talking to her children almost all of the time, no matter what they are doing. The only exception where she might raise her voice is if her child is about to be hit by a car. In all other situations, she is endlessly patient and understanding. She’s fully educated about child development and how kids are acting out as a developmental milestone towards self-empowerment.
Dominating (The Dominatrix)
This mother runs her household with an iron fist. Her children will be well-behaved, come hell or high water. She uses her “stern voice” quite often, demanding not only complete but also instant obedience. This mother is probably the most often disappointed by the reality of raising children, and she’s frequently in denial that she can have actual control over her life and her environment.
Incredulous (The Unbeliever)
This mom is constantly surprised at her children’s antics. Her constant refrain is, “Are you kidding me?” She keeps trying to rein in her children’s wildness and free spirit, but at the same time, she is in awe and extremely grateful that her kids will not take shit from anybody when they’re grown.
Even-keeled (The Realist)
This is the mother who will take her two children on a flight to far-flung places like London, Paris, Switzerland, and Australia. She knows it’s going to suck, and she plans accordingly. When her children throw epic tantrums, she shrugs and says, “Yep, they’re behaving like children.” She doesn’t get flustered, she has her set of survival skills, and she manages to either comfort them or convince them to go somewhere quiet where they can regroup.
Uncertain (The Worrier)
Frankly, this is just about every mom. Our mantra is, “Am I doing the right thing?” It’s not a question of whether we’re screwing up our kids, but how much. We half-heartedly joke about how our parenting will result in years of therapy for our kids later in life. We’re really uncertain about the “right” way to parent but sure that we’re covering most of the “wrong” ones. We know that there isn’t really a “right” way, but we keep striving for it anyway.
We are all a combination of these types, of course. I think there’s benefit in “trying on” other styles that we’re less drawn to.
I spend most of my time being the Dominatrix and the Unbeliever. I’m not naturally a Saint or Realist, but I can pretend to be good at it, and at the very least keep my kids on their toes. Consistency is all well and good, but I’d like to give my kids pause sometimes for them to figure out which version of mommy they’re dealing with.
Which kind of mother are you most of the time?