Before your child is born, you consider what kind of a person you’re about to bring into the world. What you probably don’t consider, however, is what kinds of people you’ll be forced to interact with once your baby is out there toddling around. Whether you’re working or a stay-at-home mom, much of your free time is about to be tied up at playgrounds and kid’s music classes. And there you will meet the other parents. Do not be alarmed. Here is who you’ll meet and how to handle them.
Meet the mom who knows everything. She’s read every book, attended every seminar. She may have written some of the books or she’s listed as a source in the footnotes. If there’s a study out, she knows about it. She knows exactly how to handle any problem that comes her way — or yours. And she’s going to tell you exactly how to handle it, whether or not you want her to.
How to handle: It’s easier to be her friend than go to the library, but befriending Expert Mom means one of two things: either 1) you’ll become increasingly dependent on her advice until you’re not sure how to dress that day until you call her first or 2) you’re going to start to realize that your opinions differ from hers, and you think you have some pretty solid points. And God help you on that day, my friend. God help you on that day.
You meet her on the playground. She looks like she just woke up, but she meant to look that way. Like she should be smoking a cigarette. Her humor is dry and sardonic and you try not to snort-laugh while she makes fun of all the other parents around you. It’s going to be the two of you forever! You’ve found your new BFF! Then her kid toddles up to her and asks for more Teddy Grahams and she calls him a little asshole… to his face.
How to handle: Run and never stop running. This one is bad news. Actually, before you run, find out what hair product she uses. So effortlessly disheveled!
She’s the friendliest mom you’ve ever meet. She’s sweet, a good listener, comes to your house with cookies and her kid loves your kid. She seems too good to be true — because she is. There’s an agenda that’ll come out sooner rather than later. It may be a religion, it may be a multilevel marketing scheme. Whatever it is, this mom wants your very soul.
How to handle: You’ll have to have your own competing religion/money-making scheme to counteract hers. If you start sharing all the wonderful details of your new god, she’ll be running away faster than you can say “Amway.” And you never know. She might learn a little something about how annoying it is to be proselytized to. Maybe you can work out a deal: Her kid can still hang out with your kid as long as she lays off the hard sell. And brings the cookies.
She will be your best friend. She will be charismatic, charming, wonderful. And then she will be gone. Poof! Do not try to find her. I’m so sorry.
How to handle: How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand? She was never there, baby. She was never there.
Someone’s anxious! This Nervous Nellie slathers her child’s limbs in hand sanitizer, makes you lock up the cat because of toxoplasmosis, and wouldn’t ever let her kid anywhere near the sandbox. In her defense, sandboxes are gross.
How to handle: You gotta feel some sympathy for someone this riddled with anxiety. And if she’s coming over, that’s the incentive you need to really clean up the place. So motivating!
On the other hand, there’s this one. This mom’s kid is always sick. Always. “What are you going to do,” is the mom’s motto. Her house smells like… is that cabbage? There’s always a stain on the rug, and it’s usually barf. She’ll come to your house and casually mention how her kids had diarrhea just that morning. Every time you have a playdate, you can count the hours until your kid comes down with the latest virus.
How to handle: Pick a neutral location. Realize that your kid is going to get all these viruses anyway, so maybe this mom is doing you a favor. Wonder if you are Germ-phobic Mom after all.
This guy works from home as a writer or graphic designer. All his friends are women. He refers to his spouse as “Hot Wife” and will not stop telling you and anyone who’ll listen what a lucky man he is. He will end up getting caught in a texting scandal when it turns out he’s been sending the preschool director pictures of his junk.
How to handle: Block his number.
Your New Best Friend
She’s kind and funny. Her kid likes your kid. She agrees that kids can be the worst and also the best, all at the same time. Her texts make you snort-laugh.
How to handle: Keep doing what you’re doing. You can’t go wrong. Unless you want to tell her about that multilevel marketing scheme you just discovered. (Don’t do that.)