Monday, October 7, 2013

What Kind of Mom are You?

It's no secret that I don't tolerate carline particularly very well. All those parents breaking the (simple!) rules of going in order and waiting one's turn. With all the kids I pick up (two and a lot of the time three families), I've worked out a system that keeps my blood pressure down and the kids safe.

I park. Next to a beautiful park. It's within sight of the elementary school which lets out at 3:00 pm, and just up the hill from the middle school which gets out at 3:15.  My elementary charge just walks across the soccer field and gets into my car.  She usually plays games on my phone, I get some precious reading time. The boys show up eventually.

Sometimes I people watch. There are so many different kinds of moms, I get distracted categorizing them.

Perfect Mom: She has the umbrella, when it's raining, is impeccably dressed, escorts her little one, carrying his or her impossibly huge back-pack to spare the child the load. She has parked her car (legally) and helps her child into the car. She oohs and aahs over the art project, and let's the child eat the cupcake from the party.

The I Can Barely Be Bothered Mom: Also impeccably dressed, but with a whole different attitude. Stands by car door, looking annoyed, scanning the crowd for her child. Yells, “Hurry UP!” as child struggles with back-pack, lunch box, art project, and cupcake. Gets huffily into car, and puffs out cheeks while waiting for child struggling with multiple objects to climb into car, arrange stuff, buckle in, and be ready for take-off. She's double-parked, IN the carline, but now tries to sneak into the non-existent third lane to get out before everyone else.  Who knows what happens to the art or the cupcake.  They're not important.

The Frazzled Mom: She's trying to be Perfect Mom, but can't quite get it together. She hasn't found time for a shower yet, is still wearing sweats, is of course a little late, and runs across the street in front of you, usually dragging a younger child who is almost airborne at that speed. Finds pick-up child, quick hug, grabs backpack, which comes dangerously close to hitting the now almost airborne again younger child. They rush to car, late for the next errand. She throws them into the seats, buckles them in a frenzy, and roars out of spot. At least she parked in a real spot, but the cupcake doesn't make it into the car. She runs over it as they drive away. That art project didn't stand a chance. It blew away in the current created by this mad dash of chaos.

The Social Mom: She's parked so that she has plenty of room to talk to the other moms. The kids' she's picked up stand not so patiently waiting to be let into the car, yet she's yacking away, mostly bragging about herself, her kids' latest accomplishments, comparing them to other children (by name) whose achievements aren't quite as high, and ignoring all attempts by the children to get her attention. She'll “look at it later” when shown the art project, “no you can't eat that cupcake, it's got sugar”. Back packs must be held, they'll get dirty if set in the grass.

So who am I? I told you. I'm The Lazy Mom, sitting in my car, making the kids come to me, after walking a bit, carrying their own stuff. I do hand them napkins for the cupcake, though, and I do make sure I compliment their art.

Which mom (or dad...I didn't even get to the dads...) are you? Or have you identified another breed I missed?



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sadly I bet you see a lot of can barely be bothered parents. Why do those people have kids again?
And you're not lazy, you're smart - why move the car when you can park right in between the schools?

JoJo said...

I'm not a mom....but if I was, I'd probably be like you, have them come to me but when I saw them I'd get out and help them like 'perfect' mom.

Jo said...

I think you sound like the organised mom. You park in the right spot. You have napkins for the cupcake. Both lots of kids can find you.

I see a long carline just down the road from us. We have to pass it quite often, some of the parents are not very safety conscious and don't drive very carefully.

Anonymous said...

When my children were growing up I thought I was a modern mother, firm but give them their space. It worked well until their dad passed away, I have been put on the "Parent Scrapheap" only one out of three speaks and as for the grandchildren I've not seen them in three years.I have come to the conclusion that they have problems that need sorting, I have cried my last tears over them and as I wrote last week in a poem have thrown the tissues in the waste bin.
Good issue for a post and enjoyed the read.


Sadly I don't get to pick my kids up that often, but when I do I would like to think that I am a "attentive" parent. I park and go inside to pick them up, as we walk to the car I ask about their day and listen the best I can above the clamor of all the other kids and parents. My son has started Middle school this year, and is embarrassed at anything I do to be attentive to him. It's not till we get to the car that he is willing to open up to socialize with me.

Jenny said...

When we pick up our Grandlittles, I do this same thing.

Some of the Mom's really just horrify me.

I'm the frumpy one.

With the bags under my eyes.

Waiting in the car!

Happy Monday!

Hart Johnson said...

HA! I was the working mom and my husband was there picking up the kids. When I DID go to school, I tried to be social mom, but mostly because I rarely saw any of those people. Had it been my job daily, I would have been you.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

I am neither, I have animals and today... I crunched the stupid cat between the front door to the outside. She is a dope and I wasn't watching, so I am a bad dad of sorts.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've always allowed my kids to approach me, even if I am swamped. I never want them to think they can never approach me.

I may have to tell them we'll pick it up later, but I always let them ask the question or say what's on their minds.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm not really on that list, but I don't have a good idea for what I am, either.
Actually, the parents at my kids' school don't fit as easily into those categories (it's a charter school and requires parent participation, so it's a whole different breed of parents, usually).

Brian Miller said...

ha. is it lazy to make them take responsibility for their own things? i probably fit the lazy label then...smiles.

Anonymous said...

My wife is definitely Frazzled Mom (though our kids aren't in school yet) her mother and sister in law are Social Moms for sure.

I'd like to see how you categorize the dads, since I'll probably be the one picking up my kids from school (and so I can un-learn any bad behavior patterns in the next 1-2 yrs)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina - all I can say is .. well done for working out what's best for you.

I bet the kids are easier with that - I've been all of those things .. but without the kid element!!!

Cheers and here's to peace and quiet at your park ... Hilary

Lucy said...

Goodness, not sure what I was? I would never not shower and yet I didn't dress impeccably, just jeans or shorts,whatever the season called for. I lined up in line or parked,legally. I usually read, never socialized. It depended on the day, sometimes I rushed my kids, we had days we were in a hurry to get somewhere but I always chatted with my kids in the car. Art projects hung on our fridge for a week or so,or hung out on the counter but then they moved on. They were allowed to eat cookies and cupcakes, I never had a problem with snacks. They typically carried their backpack unless their hands were full and then I might help out as they crawled in the seat but once they got older they just hopped in an off we went but eventually they rode the bus and I didn't have to do pickup for long and then they drove in High School and Freshmen year they were resourceful and carpooled with older kids to avoid the bus. I only did Pickup for sports and outside activities and well, it was High School,only two years of that, they both had cars by the end of sophomore year and life was very easy after that :)

Belle Wong said...

I've always had a secret hankering to be Perfect Mom. But to be honest, I used to just send my husband to go pick them up!

LD Masterson said...

Mine were bus kids. The cupcakes were eaten long before they got home and the artwork was a bit scrunched. But I tried to greet them with a hug and ask about their day. Most of the time. I hope.

klahanie said...

Hi Tina,

Unfortunately there are quite a few of the can't be bothered mums. "Mom" is not liked by my spell check :)

And sadder still is the hurt of the children they don't even bother to notice.

I am a mum, dad. The mother in this equation is an absentee mother. My son is hurt from this.

A peaceful day to you, dear lady.

Gary :)