Now that my boys are getting older and (sort of) independent I have more time to myself, which means I can do things like go to the grocery store without having to use the shopping cart with the bulky kiddie car attached to the front. (I swear it’s like trying to navigate a Winnebago on Maui’s Road to Hana to get that thing around a display of spaghetti sauce without it ending up a free-flowing red river of marinara meandering down aisle three.)
It also means that when I’m out I can pay attention to what’s going on around me, because now I’m not constantly looking for a child who has either gone missing or is (hopefully not) the cause of a big scary crash in Williams Sonoma. (Don’t even ask me what I was doing in a Williams Sonoma with little kids.)
This distance has given me the opportunity to watch other moms with their kids and realize that, like Pop-Tarts, we moms come in many different flavors. Truthfully, however, I’ve known this since the early days of my eldest son’s preschool experience. The big tip-off was when I happened to be in the classroom when a mom brought in a homemade birthday cake for her four-year-old son that put the mini reproduction of Mt. Rushmore at Legoland to shame. The cake was an exact replica of a Bionicle (a Lego robot, for those of you without boys), and it actually made beeping noises and lit up when you pressed its claw. She also had matching plates, napkins, hats, and goodie bags (my introduction to this annoying tradition) that included an age- and gender-appropriate brainteaser puzzle for each child. (Thanks a bunch. I couldn’t solve it, so now I look like a dunce in front of my kid.)
Just so you know, on my son’s birthday I brought in Fig Newtons, but forgot the juice.
Don’t You Dare Get in a MANIAC’s Way!
Even though this mom is a dear friend of mine and she will always have a special place in my heart, I have to say with all the sisterly love on the planet and the deepest respect SHE IS A RAVING LUNATIC—better known by therapists as a Type A Mom, or as I once heard on The Today Show, the “Wife and Mom-in-Chief.” But because I like things categorized in ways that make sense to me, I’ll simply refer to moms of this ilk as Mothers Against Negligence In All Circumstances, or MANIACs for short.
A MANIAC is a woman who has unlimited crafty talent and seems to run on an endless battery. She’s the room mom who puts the rest of us to shame because, like MacGyver, she can fashion an entire third-grade classroom holiday party out of a box of paper clips, a toilet plunger, and a bolt of red seersucker she just happened to have in the trunk of her car. Her kid is the one at the school Halloween parade in the Cruella de Vil costume that looks like it came straight from the Disney backlot, only to find out she whipped it up the night before while waiting for her homemade organic chocolates to harden so she could individually wrap them for the neighborhood kids (and by the way, she made an extra batch for the needy—in India).
Proud to be a ZED
On the other end of the spectrum is what psychologists refer to as the Type B mom. This mom means well, but somehow drops the ball more often than not, usually because she’s trying to juggle parenting with some other crazy folly—like earning a wage. You can always spot a Type B mom roaming the halls at school. She’s the one wearing flip-flops even though it’s November and there’s three feet of snow on the ground. That’s because she still hasn’t found time to dig out her one pair of winter footwear that she stuck in the attic last spring to make room for the six million pairs of tennis shoes that litter the house come May.
In my case, however, the letter “B” doesn’t even begin to accurately describe the cavernous gap between the Type A moms and me. For my category you need to skip all the way down to the end of the alphabet. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a Type Z Mom, or what I like to call the Zero Effort Domestic, conveniently referred to as the ZED Mom for short. And as I’ve come up through the public school ranks, I’m relieved to find out that I’m not the only ZED.
The ZED mom is happy to take her turn volunteering in the classroom or carpool, however, it’s not unusual for her to occasionally space out on these duties, in which case thank goodness the MANIACs are there to pick up the slack. ZEDs are also known for dropping their kids off at school while still in their pajamas (the moms, not the kids—okay, sometimes the kids), showing up late—or completely missing—back-to-school night (honestly, who reads all that junk that comes home on the first day?), and sending their precious little ones off to school with a sack lunch of two-day old cold pizza and a Red Bull.
But the way I look at it, ZED moms raise children who end up having lots of character (or at the very least they BECOME characters) because they have to learn to adapt. Besides, I figure living with a ZED mom gives my kids lots to discuss with their therapists 25 years from now. Hmm. Come to think of it, I guess MANIAC moms are good for that too.
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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.