It sometimes seems that the day we become a mum also happens to be the day we become a walking stereotype.
Thanks to stereotypes, us mums are all essentially the same cliché person when it comes to the crunch.
At least that’s what the world would have us believe! But it turns out we are not, in fact, one and the same. Collective mum-bun top-knots aside, we’re as individual as they come.
Here are some Mum stereotypes that can bite the dust:
Mums are either super daggy OR over-the-top hot.
It would seem there’s an equal representation of waist-high mum-jeans AND stiletto-clad yummy mummies pushing designer prams in the world of mum stereotypes. But what about the mothers in between? Nobody’s stereotyping the mum in the sundress, with her neat ponytail and natural-look makeup, yet she represents a bigger portion of mums than the stereotypical dags and WAGs do!
Mums are either crunchie OR silky.
We all know and ‘love’ these stereotypes. Not only do they slap a label on us, but they dictate exactly how we parent. Crunchie Mums are all-natural; drug-free births, cloth nappies, anti-vax, breastfeeding and co-sleeping are their battle cries. Silky Mums on the other hand are the polar opposite. Epidurals and c-sections, disposable nappies, pro-vax, formula feeding and cot sleeping are their jam. But what about… gasp… the mums who dip in both pools (ss in, almost every mum on the planet?) Because unless you’re in a cult (or, you know, a particularly vocal online parenting forum) then a breastfed, cloth-bummed baby sleeping in his own cot and getting his shots is not sacrilege. It’s actually fairly common. The truth is that no two parenting styles are alike. But hey, keep labelling us based on a small handful of our choices.
Mums are either perfect homemakers OR train wrecks.
I don’t know which mum stereotype is less endearing. The sugar-sweet, cookie-baking Hygge-master mum raising three perfect angels, or the loud-mouthed, can’t-keep-it-together mum who doesn’t know how to/can’t be bothered instilling values or discipline in her rebellious twins. Truthfully, we all have our moments of wearing each hat. Different aspects of our parenting styles will at times impress and at other times horrify the spectators (because as mums, we have plenty of critical spectators, don’t we?)
Mums are either high powered corporates or high functioning hermits.
The SAHM-vs-working-mum debate has birthed these charming mum stereotypes. Apparently, we can only be a career-driven powerhouse or a simple minded woman of the house. In cliché city, there’s just no room for the mum doing freelance writing or data entry work from home. Or the mum who maintains a part-time admin job just to get out of the house and maintain some adult interaction. Or the mum working tirelessly at night on her successful business (notice how I was able to describe her without using the cringe-worthy term “mumpreneur”?) Mum stereotypes will have you believe that the intelligent, driven mums are all out working full-time (but they care a little less about their kids than their career) and the loving, committed, hands-on mums are all holed up in their homes (but that’s because they’re not crazy smart and prefer house work to actual work). Boo to that.
Mums are either hands on or hands off.
We’re all guilty of it. We see a mum at the park giving attention to her phone screen, not her progeny, and we roll our eyes at her parenting in its entirety. We “know for sure” that she’s one of those detached, hands-off mums who wouldn’t even notice if her kid hightailed it out of the park. She’s only here in because the nanny called in sick. Likewise, when we see a mum actively playing and engaging with her kids, we cannot possibly imagine that same mum taking a breather on the couch, sipping a cup of lukewarm tea while her kids wreak havoc in the background. It just doesn’t compute.
Hot or cold, black or white, these are the languages we speak. But the reality is, almost every mum has as many hands on moments that make her look like parent of the year, as she has hands off moments that would leave spectators wondering whether she actually remembers all her kids’ names.
Mums are either doting darlings or toughened tyrants.
When it comes to these clichés, you’ve got your over-the-top mum who is so obsessed with her kids, she’s practically writing poetry about their bowel movements, and you’ve got the mum who seems so sarcastically bitter about parenting, you wonder why she had kids in the first place. She’s the mum-equivalent of the married dude at a buck’s night spouting negative marriage clichés in a misguided attempt at humour. Do you know one single mum who embodies either of those stereotypes? No! Any mum worth her salt is balanced enough to recognise that parenting is an awesome gift, but it can have its sucky moments.
Mums are crazy about their kids.
Psyche! This is a stereotype that is totally okay and will always ring true. We love our kids fiercely, and we will do anything for them. So perhaps there are some clichés you just can’t escape from, but we deem this one spot on!