What Kind of Mom are You?

I am a magazine junkie. No, seriously! I lie to my husband about how many I buy, I skim money from the checking account to buy more, and I hide them all in a cabinet in my living room. Anyway, I read a great article in this month's Parenting by author Rosalind Wiseman. It's all about mom cliques. Where do you fit in?

Queen Bee Moms
They appear to have perfect lives, they're very charming and really, really like being in charge. She organizes her kid's social activities so there is no free time. If other parents don't like her it's because, "they're jealous." She's good at telling other people's secrets. When she or her child includes you or your child, you feel special. She won't apologize for her child's behavior.

Sidekick Moms
These moms define themselves in relation to a more powerful peer. They are second in command behind the Queen Bee. She organizes her child's activities according to the Queen Bee's schedule. She forces her child to be friends with the Queen Bee's kid. Won't apologize for her child's behavior unless they are considered to have higher social status. Focused on getting her child in the 'right' schools and joins in when other moms gossip.

Starbucks & Sympathy Moms
Their strength is at figuring out where other mothers feel vulnerable, gathering that information, and then spreading it around when it's most advantageous to them. They are happy to have their power based solely on their ability to wield power behind the scenes.

Torn Wannabes and Desperate Wannabes
Wannabe moms are always looking for opportunities to raise their stock in the social marketplace - which often means selling someone else short. There are two types - those who know better but can't help themselves (Torn) and those who don't know better and act like they're 12 (Desperate). Torn Wannabes are unpredictable and frustrating. She's the one who supports you during conflict but bolts at the moment of confrontation. She never tells you what she's thinking. She's great at rationalizing her behavior. The Desperate Wannabe is easier to dislike. She doesn't realize when her actions don't match her values. She name drops - a lot. She can also be really nasty if pushed.

Steamrolled Moms
They sacrifice their needs and judgments to avoid conflict. She's the one who's always saying, "Whatever you want is fine." She's unlikely to stand up for what she wants because she's afraid to offend. She's been so beaten by relationships in the past she's terrified to speak out. When she does, she's likely to salt her words with apologies. When she hears gossip she'll keep silent and then rehearse all the things she wished she'd said.

Floater Moms
These moms can move easily from one group to another without resentment. They are genuinely liked for who they are. She dresses appropriately and doesn't stand out. Her house isn't over the top, her car isn't fancy. They don't waste time on schoolgirl drama.

Reformed Moms
Able to analyze their behavior and make improvements. They often have the best sense of humor. Reformed Queen Bees have kept all of their positive qualities - fun to be around, charismatic, intelligent, and capable - and lost most of the negative attributes that made everyone miserable. Reformed moms aren't just Queen Bees, there are others walking around who are genuinely amazing women you'd want as friends. Sometimes they revert to old behavior, but when called on it, can admit it, apologize and move on.

Invisible Moms
Well-meaning parents who attend school functions, but never ever say a word. They have a few close relationships with other Invisible Moms.

Outcast Moms
These moms are so out of it. They don't live in the 'right' neighborhoods' or go to the 'right' church.' A woman who goes through divorce can easily find herself an Outcast. They might be gay parents or people of a minority religion. But they can also be conservative parents who send their kids to a more liberal school because of their academic excellence. Outcast Moms are vulnerable to dismissal or attack even if they don't call attention to themselves. However, they do enjoy a sense of freedom because speaking out doesn't bother them. What do they have to lose?

So where do you think you fit in? I would like to believe I am a Floater Mom; liked by everyone. In reality, I'm probably more like a Steamrolled Mom.

If you're interested in the full article, pick up the April 2006 issue of Parenting.


Sandra said...

I'm definitely the floater mom, but I do have some of the steamrolled mom in me LOL.

Nancy said...

I'm probably a combination of floater and steamrolled. I like the description of reformed, but I've never been a Queen Bee so I guess I don't qualify. :-)

Mrs. Chicky said...

From my point of view, I'm a Floater Mom. It really is the nicest description from that whole list and I HATE drama. I would hope that others see me that way, too!

Juliabohemian said...

I guess I'm a floater mom. I don't really belong in any of these groups.

Sabrina said...

I would like to think I'm a floater but I have a bad vibe sometimes that other mom's think I'm a Queen Bee.

I'm a magazine junkie too. I can't count how many I actually get to read though! Seems like there's not enough hours in the day.

Liesl said...

Ah, heck, and I was hoping the whole cliquey thing went away after high school.

Did they have a category for Exhausted Mom? 'Cause that wuld be me...

Survivin said...

I'm hoping I'm the Floater mom but could be a bit of the Reformed mom although I've never been a queen bee so not sure there.

Cityslicker Mom said...

great post! thanks for sharing parts of the article!

Nicole said...

I'm not sure where I fit. Sort of like invisible mom, but with a few good mom friends. At big social gatherings, I tend not to say much, unless, of course, I'm with one of my friends. Then, I seem to have a bit more confidence.

As a writer, would you write any categories differently?

Carrcakes said...

Is it possible to be all of the above?

reluctant housewife said...

How about "blissful mom"? As in "ignorance is bliss"? I try to ignore the cliquey stuff...but I have to admit it's hard.

MrsFortune said...

Wow ... I have to say, this whole evaluation bothers me. It's all so snarky, no? I mean, I'm not one to talk about being snarky but this article kind of struck me as mean-spirited. I guess I might be wrong, I dunno, but I'd like to think of it in a more complex way, like Carolyn said, I think that most of us are all of these at some point or another ? I dunno cuz I'm not officially part of the mommy world just yet, but ...

IzzyMom said...

Rosalind Wiseman's book "Queen Bees and Wannabees" is very good. And very scary if you have a girl.

I'm "Magazine Junkie" mom, too...lol

kim said...

She needed to add a slacker mom (i.e. the mom that tries to weed out the bs so won't have to live off of xanax). Those of us who do are own thing but, try not to tread on anyone in the process. Or reformed steamroller mom.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this whole essay is so damn depressing.

So basically, you get to be obnoxious, invisible or an outcast?


Makes me think the whole 'mom' thing is a pretty raw deal.

Vicki said...

I'm going to read both her books next week. I was in a playgroup of about 9 mom's that got very cliquey. So what is the term for the mom that goes against the Queen Bee? I organized things in the group as well...at one point, I saw how the Queen loved to have the power, I started organizing things just so she wouldn't HAVE the power. If you did an activity and she missed it, she would reorganize the same activity (Girls night out). She would do things that wouldn't really interest her that others in the group were doing just so she wouldn't miss out on anything (scrapbooking).

A Desperate Wannabe who was a big debbie downer sold me out - well she was very mean to me in an e-mail and hit reply all. I left the group after that. It was toxic and I was sick of the BS. I stood up to the Queen Bee and wasn't going to put up with her bullying me. These people do exist. The sidekick excluded a few people on a consistent basis - those would probably be the outcast mom's - outcasts because they worked or were different than them. At one point I likely became an outcast because I decided to homeschool. They ridiculed me for that. I moved from that town, and I'm a much happier person not having to deal with them and their BS. Not seeing them makes life a whole lot easier.

But this article, whether people like it or not, it's true. These people do exist. High school didn't end for some people. They have to live on drama to make their life exciting. The Queen Bee had been on anti-depressants for years and had a very verbally abusive mom...of which she carried onto her children who could do no wrong. I disliked her oldest girl from the getgo.

John Holt wrote a book called Dumbing us Down. He talked about the difference between a network and a community. A network is a group of people who come together for a common reason. The friendships may seem like real ones, but when you quit providing for them what they need or want, they throw you to the wayside. A community wouldn't do that.

My playgroup was a network, and I believe many are. You may find a few real friends within a playgroup. The real friends I got from the playgroup were the ones that didn't want to put up with the BS either, and the ones that were hurt by the actions of the Queen Bee, the sidekick and the Torn Wannabe.