As a species, the American Mom is exceptionally diverse. Here, we crack open the official Science of Parenthood field guide to help you identify the types of moms you’ll meet once you’ve got kids of your own.
Named for the iron grip she maintains on her offspring and her ability to hover tirelessly, Hands-On Mom (aka Mater Matris Americanus Helicopteris) ensures that she remains involved with her offspring’s lives even as they morph into adulthood. This group also includes:
Tiger Mom. An ultra-strict species indigenous to China, Tiger Mom keeps a stronger hold on its offspring and maintains even higher standards of achievement. As Tiger Mom steadily migrates throughout the continental U.S., biologists are watching to see if she completely crowds out Americanus Helicopteris or if cross-breeding leads to an still more demanding super-species.
Team Mom. Soccer Moms are part of this migratory family, which travels in minivan formation and is found primarily on sports fields, foraging for goldfish crackers, juice boxes and passably clean uniforms.
Backstage Mom. Known as Gypsy Rose Mom in New York and California, her natural habitats include theatre wings, pageant circuits, dance studios, reality TV show sets, and anywhere else she can boast, “My kid’s gonna be a star!”
Perfection Mom shares many of the same characteristics as Hands-On Mom though they tend to be active at different hours. Hands-On Mom is more active during the day time while Perfection Mom is nocturnal, preferring to stalk Pinterest boards until late into the night. Perfection Mom also has a pronounced compulsive streak and a shrill distress call. Under pressure, she can be heard shrieking, “Anything worth doing is worth making everyone batshit crazy till it’s done RIGHT!”
The popular name for Mater Matris Americanus Omniscience derives from the Know-It-All’s voracious appetite for information. Each day, she consumes three times her body weight in Internet news, and remembers every fact she’s ever read, such that she really does appear to “know it all.” Yet, despite her wikipedic stores of information, Know-It-Alls are regarded as the pests of the parenting world for their continuous tsk-tsking, “I’d NEVER let my child ______.”
Smug Foods Mom. This foodie mom is a subspecies of Know It All, though she is primarily drawn to parents who don’t grind their own wheat into flour, serve milk straight from the cow, or are unwilling to debate the ramifications of GMOs and European food standards.
This “worker bee” is known for the long hours she spends juggling the numerous tasks that keep her community humming along. When it comes to reproduction, the Outsourcer’s primary responsibility is gestation. After birth, she typically turns her offspring over to the elders of the community—variously called Grandpa, Papa, Grandma or Grammy—or to a group of apprentice moms within the collective called Daycare.
Excerpted and adapted from Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations (She Writes Press). Order a copy and receive our free e-book, Science of Parenthood’s Mistakes, Mishaps & WTF? Moments: Selected Stories from Behind Our Cartoons.