From the way you handle explosive-poo situations to your attitude to sleep routines, nothing puts your character in the spotlight quite like being a new mum – which is perhaps why mums make such easy targets for stereotyping.
But if these tongue-in-cheek labels are just a bit of harmless fun, why do they invariably seem to focus on negative traits?
‘Competitive’, ‘judgmental’, ‘over-sharing’ and ‘overprotective’ are hardly terms that celebrate The Motherhood. In fact, they’re enough to make your average mum-to-be want to run a mile.
Yet the mother & baby circuit is probably one of the most supportive and welcoming communities you could wish to meet. Whether it’s local activity groups and NCT classes or online forums and the mummy-blogosphere, you’re never far from a friendly mum.
So as we believe all mums are awesome (because motherhood is bloody hard), we’ve decided to turn the negative stereotypes on their head and celebrate some of the brilliant mum types you might be lucky enough to meet on the circuit.
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Why she’s awesome: Rock ‘n’ roll mum likes a party and will not let minor issues like extreme sleep deprivation or two-hourly breastfeeding sessions get in the way of a good time. Like her fellow party-lovers ‘hipster mum’ and ‘raver mum’, rock ‘n’ roll mum will always be the last to leave the baby rave, getting her kicks where she can. And if that means persuading Nigel from Monkey Music to play Daft Punk on his ukulele, so be it.
Be warned, a play date at her place will start with a cup of tea, a few toys on the rug and a nursery rhyme CD, and end with a bottle of Prosecco, a disco ball and some old-school tunes blasting out. But don’t worry – the kids will love it.
And don’t be fooled by the leopard-print coat and leather jeans (think Kate Moss: The Pete Docherty years). Rock ‘n’ roll mum has a heart as gold as her rock ‘n’ roll boots and is as dedicated to her baby as the next mum. One thing is for sure – her children will be brought up with an endless capacity for fun.
Why you need her on speed-dial: She’ll make sure you never lose your mojo.
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Why she’s awesome: While everyone else is trying to jam their 4WD prams into the corner of a tiny café, eco-mum wanders in with her baby expertly secured to her bosom with a piece of hand-dyed Indian silk. But don’t mistake that post-meditation calm for smugness.
Just because eco-mum goes everywhere by foot and buys only organic and ethically sourced products, doesn’t mean to say she’s judging you for your carbon footprint or your love of refined sugar. All that mindfulness practice makes her one compassionate mum.
And there’s a lot more to eco-mum than reusable nappies, baby yoga and kale smoothies. A hippy at heart, she loves spontaneity, adventure and the great outdoors: as your kids get older, she’ll be the one organising wild-camping trips and showing everyone how to start a fire using only a torch and an empty Coke can. If you play your cards right, she might even lend you the family campervan for Latitude.
Why you need her on speed-dial: She’ll save you from the mind-numbing world of Cbeebies.
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Why she's awesome: Whether you’re fretting about that rash on your little one’s leg or weighing up the pros and cons of introducing a dummy, you no longer need to waste time trawling the internet for answers because Wiki-mum has done the research for you.
While other mums are slumped on the sofa gawping at Mr Bloom and wondering whether breastfeeding burns enough calories to justify eating an entire pack of Jaffa Cakes in one sitting, Wiki-mum is busy keeping up to date with all the latest parenting research on her tablet.
But contrary to popular belief, wiki-mum isn’t a know-it-all – and she understands that parenting is largely an instinctive process. And as a result, she’ll never stop amazing you with her quirky (and often useful) facts, figures and scientific theories.
Why you need her on speed dial: She’ll answer all your burning questions about parenting, including how much breastfeeding you would need to do to burn off a packet of Jaffa Cakes.
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Why she's awesome: If laid-back mum were from Yorkshire, her catch-phrase would be “It’ll be reet!”. “Your two month old has just swallowed a Lego helmet? It’ll be reet!”. “You haven’t had more than one consecutive hour of sleep for three months? It’ll be reet!”. “You got halfway home before you realised you left your baby in a café? It’ll be reet!”
While you’re bobbing up and down like a meerkat at the café, checking your baby hasn’t suffocated in the pram under her cellular blanket, laid-back mum is waving hers around next to a scalding hot cup of tea. When the toddler years kick in, she will be the one engrossed in conversation at the playground while her child is swinging from 12-ft monkey bars.
On the surface, it might look like laid-back mum doesn’t care but don’t worry – she knows exactly what’s going on. She knows the boundaries of safety, and the benefits of risky play. In fact, laid-back mum is essentially the mum you thought you were going to be – until your baby arrived and you were cursed with The Fear. We could all learn a thing or two from laid-back mum.
Why you need her on speed dial: She will always be there to remind you that everything’s going to be okay.
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Why she's awesome: Hapless mum turns up everywhere at least half an hour late, in a cloud of chaos with a brilliant tale to tell. A magnet for disaster, she's the Sharon Horgan of the mother & baby circuit. And, as a result, she is a joy to be around.
Whenever you’re having one of those bad-mum-guilt moments, you can rely on hapless mum to have been there, done that and got the explosive-poo stained T-shirt to prove it. Hapless mum’s awesomeness lies in her unflinching honesty. She tells it like it is and never tries to gloss-coat her life with an Instagram filter.
A brilliant raconteur, she draws on her self-deprecating nature, sharp wit and genuine propensity to get into the most ludicrous, slapstick scrapes, to entertain the group with her wild and wonderful tales of woe.
But hapless mum’s humour is also a coping mechanism. Behind the raucous laughter lies a sensitive soul so treat her accordingly.
Why you need her on speed dial: When you don’t know whether to laugh or cry she’ll tip you into the laughing camp.