Invasive Mom. Helicopter Mom. Snowplow Mom. Intensive Mom. Since the college admissions scandal of Pay-to-Play, it’s been a “full house” of name-calling and taunting in the media. Everywhere I look these days, there is yet another article about the crappy parents of this generation.
As a Mom of three daughters in college, I keep asking myself, where do I fit in on the spectrum of “I don’t give a damn to I LIVE for my kids” … and I realize that I just may be a Glamour Don’t—aka: a Screw-Up Mom—the one they are all pointing their fingers at.
Somebody get me a spritzer.
Are you a Snowplow Mom?
I love my daughters. I love being a Mom. I have a very full life as a writer, but let’s get honest, I could be on the tightest deadline and if one of my kids asks me to do a Walgreens run for more eye makeup remover pads, I shut down my laptop and bolt out the door. Am I a Suck-up Mom? Let’s examine this closely.
Full admission: I am the Mom who always brought the biology book left on the kitchen table to school. I am the Mom who always stocks the fridge with everybody’s favorite things. I am the Mom who gets them tutors, when needed. I am the Mom who had a tight relationship with the high school advisor/coach/dance instructor.
I am the Mom who made sure our house was the Fun House – where all of their friends congregated. Full disclosure: This enabled me to see who and what was really going on in their lives. They were in the basement, but I remained parked on the couch, keeping my eyes and ears wide open.
I am also the Mom who consistently puts my kids’ needs ahead of my own (I’m working on this). But if they’re hurting, I’m hurting. If they’re happy, I feel elated. If they’re freaking out, I feel their anxiety to my bones.
Separations have been admittedly hard – I’m so not cool. Whether it was sending them off to kindergarten, sending them off to overnight camp, or to college. My family would joke, “Mom is going to cry. Mom is going to lose it. Look at Mom—she can’t let go.”
Now, with all the rampant accusations of this generation’s parental follies—I ask myself, Do I love my girls too much? Am I suffocating? One of my daughters recently told me that she needs her space to rise and fall without my help, after ghosting me for several days. Yes — that hurt like hell, but another part of me was proud of her for standing up, sharing her needs, knowing that kind of openness and self-awareness will get her far in other relationships in the future.
Why I’m Not Trying to Be Friends With My Teens
So who am I? What Mom category do I fall into? I wonder. I’m not the Cool Mom, not the Friend Mom—I guess I’m the Mom-Mom. I believe I got that right. I’m the voice in my daughters’ heads. The one that tells them to be kind to others, to remember birthdays, to be a good friend, to watch out for badass guys who want only one thing, to clean their room, to not throw tampons in the toilet, to never take an Uber alone at night, to stand strong and be proud, to drink more water.
I’m the one they call when the shit hits the fan or when they get the grade or the internship, or when the boy finally texted/snapped them, or when they have a sinus infection.
At the end of the day, my girls talk to me—they share their feelings—they know I’m here. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve also had my lion’s share of Kickass Mom moments.
I guess if it comes down to it, I’m all of the accusations wrapped in one Mom: Invasive Mom—check. Helicopter Mom—check. Crazy Mom–check. Loving Mom—check. I’m Here Mom—check.
So while the media is having a field day calling out today’s parents—especially Moms—all I can say is sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me, because when it really comes down to it, I’m the Composite Mom—a little bit of this and a whole lot of that. And if I were the Betting Mom, I’d guess, so are you. And so perhaps, I highly suspect, are the ones pointing their fingers.
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Lisa Barr is the award-winning author of THE UNBREAKABLES (Harper, June 4) and the historical thriller FUGITIVE COLORS. She is also the creator of the popular parenting blog GIRLilla Warfare. She lives with her husband and three daughters in the Chicago suburbs (aka: Drama Central).