Magazine article Working Mother

You Know the Type

Magazine article Working Mother

You Know the Type

Article excerpt

We working mothers know we're moms first-and because we have so much on our plates, we have to be as efficient as possible. That often includes the way we wrangle our kids. Still, parenting can make even the best-intentioned of us a bit...well, intense at times. Which means we can sometimes fall into patterns we think work for us but actually veer toward hyper-mommyhood. Here, we examine five parenting types we've heard a lot about lately and look at the sane, the severe and the do-it-smarter aspects of each. See yourself in any of these? Check out our quick, efficient and easy fixes.

Drama Mama

Real Housewives, move over-this mom's life is a soap opera! So concerned that emotional perils lie everywhere for her child, she spies on playdate dynamics, analyzes birthday party guest lists and parses every Instagram post looking for trouble. Ultimately tenderhearted, she's motivated by genuine worry about the sting of rejection. Ergo, a minor hiccup in her child's world is an earthquake in hers. When her child has a recurrent bad dream, for instance, this mama's urge is to call in shamans, energy healers and the local shrink. Of course, between her job's demands and the time she spends monitoring her kids' socio-emotional life, who has time to develop her own friendships?

Where she's great Drama Mama knows what's going on with her children and who they're spending time with, so she aces the kind of safety especially needed in the teen years. Her kids are also likely to know they can confide in Mom if something is very wrong.

Where she's off-track She may be setting her kids up to overreact and personalize things they should just let roll off, says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of the upcoming Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crushing Your Inner Critic and Creating the Life You Love. A dramatic mom may produce a drama-prone kid, or the opposite: a kid who is secretive. "Children who are micromanaged might lie to keep the parent offtheir back," adds Susan Eppley, an Atlanta-based parenting coach.

Course correction The reality is our kids will be preferred by some people and passed over by others- that's life. When a mom becomes emotionally bound up by this, it makes rejection seem bigger (and potentially more painful). What can you do? Keep a weather eye on your kids' social life. Know their social media passwords and take the occasional peek to make sure they're visiting appropriate places and corresponding with known friends. But if you're a hawk on every post, or even commenting, back off. "It's vital that you let your child have his space," Dr. Lombardo says. "Find other social outlets and ways to entertain yourself."

"Educarer" Mom

A riffon RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers), this is somewhat akin to French-style parenting-baby empowerment! But this mom believes it's baby's world and the rest of us happen to live in it. She may rarely finish a sentence to another adult, but she narrates her baby's life to him like a wildlife documentary: "Look, you've got your finger in your nose! Oh, are you exploring the inside of your nose?" He may need a diaper change at Mommy and Me, but instead of mandating a pit stop, she'll try to reach consensus with him. To insist would insult his mini-dignity. A self-styled Euro mom, the educarer just says no to time-outs, television, processed foods and pretty much everything in Toys "R" Us. Flashing lights could corrupt his young mind!

Where she's great Educarer Mom's instincts are on track-it is sensible to limit screen time, provide healthy food and allow children the freedom to discover their world.

Where she's off-track Perhaps because she feels guilty about the hours spent away from her baby, this mom puts pressure on herself to be perfect at home, says Gail Saltz, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical College. But when you send your child the message that the world revolves around him, you may teach him narcissism. …

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