Parenting magazine: I don't fit any of your categories

Filed under: Just For Moms, Media, That's Entertainment

sarah not being a queen bee, i
promise! - photo larissa brownIf you're anything like me, when you read an article like the one in April's Parenting magazine about mom cliques, one of those with a list of "types" and a description, you immediately try to categorize yourself. I know how these articles go: they set up the world in terrifically narrow terms. If you're not one of these eight, or ten, or twelve personality types, they seem to say, my LORD are you an odd bird!

Usually, I find some of myself in one category, and a bit in another. Rarely I'll find a category that really captures me; when I do, I send it to everyone I know. Look, I'm a willow tree! I'll say happily, having finally found my home among the labels.

So I was a bit disappointed, at first, when I didn't fit any of the categories. I'm clearly a leader-type, so there were only a few options that might have fit me. But the problem is, I'm not an a**hole (at least, I try very hard not to be).  There's the "Queen Bee" who, like me, has to be in charge of everything - but "organizes her child's social activities 24/7" and tells hard luck stories about others with the "not-so-hidden message... that the person is pathetic, incompetent, or a social liability." Then there are the "Starbucks & Sympathy Moms." That sounds nice, I thought. Maybe I'm one of those! Umm, until I read this: "Have you ever had another mom approach you... offer to be a source of comfort... and then suddenly turn on you at a convenient (for her) time?" My God. This is not the sort of behavior I subscribe to, at all! My goodness. I can't remember ever having "turned on" another mom, even the ones who've hurt me in some way. I'm most guilty of not returning emails or phone calls... but never "turning" on a once-upon-a-time friend. "Floater Moms" and "Reformed Moms" seemed a bit nicer, but still didn't fit me - I do stand out, I am over-the-top (keeping me out of the Floater category) and I don't think I ever was a Queen Bee, so I can't be a Reformed one.

I tried to look at myself objectively, because the author seemed to be saying that these were the universe of mom types. And maybe I was more guilty than I thought. But try as I might, I couldn't fit myself into any mold she created.

My mom groups are, for the most part, supportive, sweet, gentle and open. So open, in fact, that we giggle over our desire to accost lonely-looking moms in coffee shops (yes, even in Starbucks) or at the park, and invite them to our get-togethers. We had a play date this morning and two dozen moms showed up, many whom I'd never met. I don't think anyone left feeling snubbed or uncool.

I'm a little scandalized, and angry at Parenting and Rosalind Wiseman for painting such a sharp and angled picture of mom society. Perhaps many moms are stuck in the Mean Girls life. But not me, or my friends, or, I'd argue, the mom writers who grace the "pages" of Blogging Baby.

Give us a break, Media. And most especially, you mom writers who capitalize on the divisions by writing articles and books that describe wars, mayhem, misery, immaturity amongst mothers everywhere. We're actually much nicer than we appear on the message boards and the all-caps comments here and elsewhere. If we're not the majority, by God, I'll work to make us so. And please join me in erasing the battle lines, rejecting the labels, and welcoming the "Outcast," the "Invisible," the just plain lonely.

[Photo Larissa Brown]

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