Just like there are many different ways to make a Starbucks drink for every particular person, there are many different types of moms you meet on the playground. These moms may remind us a little bit of ourselves or encourage us in ways we might desire to grow as a mother. Sometimes these moms make us feel good about the fact that we may not be a “pumpkin spice mommy” or a “green-tea skinny” girl but instead an “iced-mocha mama with double whip.” And a good one at that. If we open ourselves to connecting with these amazingly diverse women, we might even find our new best friend. So let’s dive into the types of moms we meet on the playground and consider what each teaches us about ourselves.
7 Moms You Meet on the Playground
1. The Fit Mom
We can all instantly think of this mama. She probably even has a name to you because she likely sells some health supplements and does workout demos on her IG profile. As you talk to her, she does high steps on the playground stairs while her kids play. While she drinks her protein smoothie, she chases her kids around the playground with boundless energy and a perky booty to match. And while you admire her discipline, you still don’t join her workout group. But you encourage your friends to join instead.
So what’s the best thing about the fit mom?
Well, she reminds you it’s okay to prioritize your body and needs too. And even permits you to set goals for yourself as a woman. Not just a mom.
2. The Exhausted Mom
This mom unloads from her car and looks tired. She has her coffee in hand and a messy mom bun and sweats. She doesn’t seem to care about how her kids are dressed or the fact that she doesn’t have makeup on. Yawning, she walks around her car and loads her twins into the double stroller. You can tell she’s had a long sleepless night without even talking to her. Then you see her energetic toddler bolt toward the playground as she yawns again.
So what is the best thing about the exhausted mom?
You see her trying her best to make it one day at a time, knowing motherhood is tiring. And while that doesn’t stop her, she doesn’t care to hide it either. And that empowers you as you watch.
3. The Homeschool Mom
This mama opens her van door, and a craft falls out as her kids unload in a single file with art books in their hands. You watch her as she carefully lines them up under a tree and then begins reading them a book on squirrels. After they finish, she asks them to get out their art pads and draw their best sketch. They listen carefully and then begin following her lead. She answers questions as they go and seems fully content being their teacher. You are inspired and baffled all at once, “How does she do it?” you wonder as you sit in amazement.
So what is the best thing about the homeschooling mom?
She reminds you that being a mom is an opportunity to invest and engage with your children.
4. The Frustrated Mom
This mom parks her car, and you can hear her exasperated words as the kids and she unloads. “Why don’t you ever wear shoes? I tell you every time, and you always show up barefoot! I don’t feel bad if you get a splinter!” She says in a firm tone. You find yourself chuckling at her frustration because you just said something similar to your children last night. But they look like angels right now. As they begin to walk closer to the slide, her child steps on a rock and cries. She is annoyed but does her best to show compassion. Then she says, “Now, I hope this reminds you to wear shoes next time.” You relate to that too.
So what is the best thing about this frustrated mom?
She reminds you that parenting isn’t perfect. And even when we try our hardest, it often just doesn’t go as planned, and it’s normal to feel frustrated.
5. The Playful Mom
This mom unloads the car and chases her kids around the playground as they walk up. She is next to her children at every turn while they play as you watch contently from your bench. She laughs and runs and seems to love everything about being a mother. You laugh as she plays and even feel motivated to get up and play too. Then you remember your legs hurt from your workout, and your kids seem content, so you continue to sit. But not her, she keeps running and laughing.
So what is the best thing about the playful mom?
Well, she reminds you that kids are such a gift to enjoy, and she inspires you to have fun instead of getting caught up in the monotony of motherhood.
6. The Checked-Out Mom
This mom gets out of the car and gives every indication she wants to be on her own. Her child gets out and begins playing on their own, and she pulls out her phone. She zones out and doesn’t really respond to her child’s chatter much more than a head nod or a yes and no, and then she’s back to looking down. Then another person starts trying to talk to her, and she barely responds. You watch her be quiet and are impressed with her ability not to care.
So what is the best thing about the checked-out mom?
She reminds you that permitting yourself to check out occasionally is okay. And to own no guilt for it.
7. The Dying-For-Social Connection Mom
This extroverted stay-at-home mom gets out of her car and beelines to your bench. Before you can even say hello, she has already let out 200 words. She tells you she’s been feeling cooped up and asks you what you ate for breakfast and then tells you about the muffin recipe she just baked and asks if you’ve ever tried the yoga pants at Target and . . . she goes on and on. You want to get away, but you realize you’ve been there before. So you listen and invite her to the social time at the kids’ gym for moms.
So what is the best thing about this dying-for-social connection mom?
She reminds us that momming can be hard and isolating.1 And it’s okay to need to let it all out at one time or another. She reminds us that we need each other.
Honestly, the list could go on and on. There are so many different types of moms you meet on the playground! The truth is, we’re all a little bit of all of these moms. At different phases in parenting, we will understand each of these moms in a whole new way. So remember to love your fellow mamas for who they are and who they aren’t.
Most importantly, love yourself for who you are today. And who you might be in two years too. You may change your passions and style as a mom. So don’t let your ability to accept yourself change too.