Are you a typical new mom? Here’s a fun look at common stereotypes and ways you can break free from the mold of motherhood!
She wears high-waisted jeans, has short bobbed hair, and couldn’t care less about her appearance. She’s all about the latest baby trends and gossips with other mothers. She’s the stereotypical new mom, and you may even recognize a few of her traits in yourself. But not to worry. More and more first-time mothers are casting these stereotypes aside and creating their own brands of motherhood.
Why Moms Cling to Stereotypes
It may be subconscious or stem from a need to fit in with others, but mothers understandably tend to put themselves as second priority when it comes to their children.
When you’re a busy mom, it can be easy to forget to take a shower or brush your hair. You might find that the only way to relate with other mothers is through gossip or that you’ll deprive your child unless you have the trendiest baby gear. However, many new moms fail to realize that taking care of themselves makes them feel better and, in turn, supplies them with more energy to raise their families. Likewise, it’s easy to forget that it is OK to be yourself: being your own person is liberating and allows you to raise your baby the way you see fit.
Are You the Stereotypical Mom?
Everyone has a bit of a “mom” stereotype in them. Find out where you fit in.
- SAHM and the Super Mom: Two of the most common stereotypes are the super mom and the stay-at-home mom (SAHM), according to Ziba Kashef, editor-in-chief of Pregnancy magazine. The stereotypical super mom has a fulfilling career, spends ample time with her kids, maintains a perfectly clean home, and always manages to look stylish. The SAHM stereotype is often frumpy and has no interests outside of her kids.
The truth? Most modern moms are a blend of stereotypes—finding comfortable niches that suit themselves and their families.
- The Frumpy Mom: This is where those high-waisted jeans come into play. Just because you’re still carrying some baby weight doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes that accentuate unwanted bulges! We all have a bit of the frumpy mom in us, but some women go beyond lounging in sweats at home and missing the occasional shower
.Stereotypicalfrumpy moms may have drab hair, wear sweats or “mom jeans” and sneakers all the time, and pass on the deodorant. If you find that the word comfortable (with no room for fun, sexy, or up-to-date) describes your wardrobe in its entirety, you may be morphing into a frumpy mom.
- The Gossipy Mom: She’s out on the town, so beware! This mom will get the low-down on you in a snap and be sure to spread it around to the neighbors. If you find yourself badmouthing someone else’s parenting skills to another mom on the schoolyard, you might just fit this stereotype.
- The Gear-Head Mom: Her 40-pound bag is a dead give-away. Need an extra packet of baby wipes? She’ll have one. A bottle, bib, or clean outfit? She have those, too. No matter the event, she’s prepared with a variety of baby gear at all times.
- The Trendy Mom: The latest gadgets related to baby are sure to be found in her home. She has the newest digital/video baby monitors and a high-fashion baby bag. She’s trying on baby sign language for size, employing Feng Shui in the nursery, and is studying attachment parenting books. While it’s easy to get caught up on the new-parent mayhem, remember that you don’t need to be on top of every parenting philosophy or baby trend to be a good parent.
How You Can Free Yourself
Want to break the mommy mold and be your own person? Free yourself from stereotypes with these easy tips:
- Be impractical once in awhile: On-the-go moms appreciate comfortable shoes, but break out those sexy heels and wear them on occasion. “Watch the way people look at you—and the way you feel, as a result,” suggests April Masini, advice columnist and author of Think & Date Like a Man.
- Walk tall: Simply changing your posture can have enormous effects on your self-esteem and how other people perceive you. Be proud of who you are and don’t be afraid to strut your stuff. Throw your shoulders back, carry yourself with pride and respect, and chances are other people will take notice!
- Refuse to gossip:It may be difficult at first if gossiping has become your primary means of communicating with others. If you preface each conversation with, “Did you hear about so and so?” it’s time for a change.
- Don’t fall prey to bad hair: New moms tend to go for the easy-to-manage haircut—you know the one that requires no styling and looks absolutely blah? Being a mom does not mean you should schedule an appointment for one of these matronly dos. Instead, keep your regular appointments for haircuts and color treatments.
- Don’t forget the makeup: You don’t have to parade around in evening makeup—a bit of lip gloss, eyeliner, and foundation can work wonders. This is especially the case if you wore makeup before motherhood. You’re sure to regain self-confidence and show off your sex appeal by just squeezing in time to powder your nose.
- Unpack the purse: You’re likely toting plenty of weight each time you pick up your child. Don’t let an overloaded bag put additional stress on your shoulders and back (and potentially cause injury). Cut down on the non-essentials and you’ll find your load lighter—and healthier. (However, you can opt to see your purse-packing ways as a plus. If baby throws up in the car while you’re on the freeway, those burp clothes you shoved in your bag sure do come in handy, says Ashleigh Banfield, Court TV anchor and host of Hollywood Heat.)
- One loose clothing item per day: Masini offers this fantastic tip for women feeling self-conscious about their changed bodies due to baby weight: “Wear a tunic with some flattering and sexy trousers or jeans and a heel. Or wear loose pants with a sexy camisole.” The point, according to Masini, is to avoid wearing an exclusively baggy wardrobe.
- Relax the gear: You don’t need to spends oodles of dollars and have every latest parenting gadget to be a good mom—although having some gadgets is certainly OK. Banfield shares, “I only need to compare myself to my husband who absolutely must have the latest in gear…any gear.” To gadget-loving moms everywhere she says, “My one indulgence is my kid…let me go a little gear-goofy for once!”
- Don’t be afraid to be sexy: Motherhood is a life-changing experience—but that doesn’t mean you have to forego your former sexiness! Instead, gradually reintroduce regular bras and even lingerie into your wardrobe. Masini suggests buying “something new and ‘grown-up’ to wear under your clothes that is not baby-focused” about once a month.
- You don’t have to do it all: You don’t have to head your local moms group, volunteer at church, and keep a spotless house, all while being impeccably groomed, going on weekly dates with your partner, and raising perfect kids. It is impossible to do it all and retain your sanity! Let things slide once in awhile—understanding that motherhood has trade-offs. Put off the Saturday morning housework so you can cuddle in bed with your husband a little longer while your baby naps. Pass on the shower and instead spritz yourself with your favorite perfume so you can sneak in a pre-work walk with your little one.
What it all comes down to is how you feel about yourself. If you are happy with how you look and the life that you live—fantastic! Don’t change a thing. Just remember, you don’t have to follow a set stereotype to be a good mother: You have a choice as to what kind of life you live and what kind of parent you want to be.