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“Slacker Mom” is the New “Smug Mom” but I Say Enough with Mom Labels Period

The perfect mom doesn't exist.

The perfect mom doesn’t exist.

Tiger Mom. Sanctimommy. Smug Mom. Helicopter Mom. Soccer Mom.

Apparently you can now add Slacker Mom to the endless list of labels we saddle moms with so we can then tear them apart.

As Elissa Strauss over on Salon.com notes in her article The tyranny of the bad mother: Slacker moms are just as intimidating as perfect ones,” the Slacker Mom is a new kind of mom who excels at lording her bad mommy style over her friends in much the same way as the stereotypical Smug Moms do. Strauss says these moms who brag about being lazy and sloppy can be just as judgy as too-perfect ones:

“…Today’s bad mommies are as smug, and even sometimes smugger, than those good mommies they aimed to resist. These parents, products of a culture that thinks it is just so hilarious to tell parents to “Shut the F*ck Up” while telling their kids to “Go the F*ck to Sleep,” are the new santcimommies. These women take real delight in being the “worst mom in the world,” “scary mommy,” the “world’s worst mom,” “bad mom” and  “bad mommy.” Most of these women don’t really consider themselves bad moms (I doubt anyone who writes regularly about being a “bad” mom could really possibly be one), but instead take the position as a way to assert their superiority to the “good ones.”

It’s a phenomenon I’ve noted for a long time now on the Internet. What started as a legitimate backlash to the original “Smug Mom” posse whose DIY Pinterest projects and humble bragging about their little Einsteins has morphed into the new breed of Smug Mom. Think Rizzo from Grease as a mom and counterpart to Sandy as a mom.

You bath your kid every night? Ha! My kid is lucky if he gets a rinse once a week. (Puts cigarette out on tongue.)

You still wash your baby’s binky when it drops on the floor? So adorable! (Picks up binky from bathroom floor and stuffs it in own mouth to clean.)

Going on 4th straight hour of Dora The Explorer over here so mama can drink her mom juice! #noregrets

You get the idea. And I get it, I really do. It’s a bunch of moms tired of living up to impossible standards set by perfect moms intercepting the ball and rushing to the extreme opposite end of the motherhood playing field. Take your homemade baby food and shove it, Donna Reed!

Thing is, this whole slacker-moms-are-the-cool-moms myth is now doing as much to make moms feel crappy and inferior as the whole perfect mom movement of earlier days. Beyond that, why are we constantly trying to define types of mothers? Enough with labels and trying to fit yourself into one mom category, it’s as annoying as the penchant of women in the last decade to proclaim themselves  a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda. No mom is all one or the other. Just like Sandy from Grease, some days we’re gussied up in our poodle skirt and bobby socks and other days we’re sporting our black leather pants and a cigarette.

I cycle through just about every mom label in existence in the period of a few hours. Morning might find me slacking when I hand my kids Pop Tarts, as I yell at them to get out the door because we’re late, but knock on my door come six at night and you might find me perfect-momming my butt off as I serve my children grilled chicken, green beans and homemade mashed potatoes. Thirty minutes later you might find Peppa Pig babysitting as I log onto Facebook. That’s what motherhood is: a little bit of everything. We all have a little bit of perfect mom in us, a dash of bad mom, some smug mom, the works. And that’s the way it should be. We’re beautiful, intelligent, complex women capable of a variety of thoughts, feelings and emotions and our mothering will reflect that.

Strauss agrees saying the time is nigh to let go of all the labeling we’ve been doing. “Now we need to take that slightly selfish, sometimes bored and occasionally uncaring woman and just call her a mother. Not good, not bad, just mom.”

Tell me about it, stud.

Image: Monica Bielanko

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