Sunday, May 11, 2008

Come To Think of It: What kind of mom are you? A quiz can't tell

Here's a special-edition column for Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day. Moms rock!

What kind of mom are you? A quiz can't tell

By Cameron Sullivan
Article Created: 05/10/2008 08:57:19 PM PDT

Last week I took a "What's Your Mom Type?" quiz I found in Redbook magazine. Normally, I cringe at quizzes that claim to tell me what kind of person I am in 10 simple questions. No one is going to box me into one of four, predetermined categories, each with its own specific, diagnostic traits.

I took the test anyway, answering with brutal honesty, if not a bit of attitude. One question asked, “To celebrate Green Week, your son has to recreate the natural habitat of an animal on the endangered species list... Your first thought when he brings home the assignment is...”

I answered (d), “this project ought to be fun. You can’t wait to see what he dreams up.”
Question 6 asked, “If we send a camera crew to your house on any weekday morning, it would look like an episode of:

(a) America’s Funniest Home Videos
(b) 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray
(c) Supernanny (the final segment when there’s peace and harmony)
(d) The Great Race.”

I wanted to answer all except (c), but chose (d), at no surprise to my friends, I’m sure. My clock runs about four minutes slower than standard time, which means we’re always rushing to get to school on time.

After completing the 90-second assessment of all my years as a parent, I tallied my score and laughed out loud when I saw that I fell into a category labeled “LOL Mom” (as in Laugh Out Loud). This type of parenting, said the magazine, is shaped by hilarity and fun. But the kids know the fun ends when someone breaks the rules.

My score also sat on the cusp of the “Wii Mom” grouping, which includes moms the quiz said have a strong sense of their own identity and know that fun starts when they encourage, rather than hover over, their kids. The quiz said these moms try not to lose themselves in parenting.

I took issue with the fact that only the “Wii Mom” received credit for having a strong sense of her own identity and for trying not to lose herself in the role of mom. Most moms I know tread a delicate balance between trying to be good enough moms while still pursuing careers, outside interests or hobbies of their own.

Therefore, with respect for moms of all kinds, I offer this tribute:

Until I became a mom, I had never used a diaper bag as a gym bag, and I always used the bathroom alone.

Until I became a mom, I had never picked someone else’s nose.

Until I became a mom, I took sick days.

Until I became a mom, I wasn’t patient. OK, I admit: I’m still not patient. But I’ve learned how to act patient, adding yet another skill to my repertoire of ruses.

Until I became a mom, I listened earnestly to society’s stereotypes of the soccer mom, single mom, stay-at-home mom, working mom, and blended-family mom, and I formed opinions of each. I now know all of these moms and appreciate their individual realities, successes and hurdles.

Until I became a mom, I had good friends, but never knew friendships as strong as those I now share with other moms.

Until I became a mom, I thought I was resourceful. I had no idea how resourceful I would become.

Until I became a mom, Girls Night Out was nowhere near as fun as it is now: Expect a huge return on investment when you unleash the reckless abandon of a mom who hasn’t had a shred of time to herself in days, weeks, or months.

And until I became a mom, I never knew how big I could smile, how hard I could laugh, how hard I could cry, or how much I could love.

Happy Mother’s Day.