Prev Next
Not_That_mom

Not That Mom

By Chris Jordan

I am a good mother. It’s just that I am not that mom.  You know the one.  She seems to make it all look effortless.  She sews and bakes and organizes parties for the class.  Her kids wear clothing that matches.  Her car doesn’t have scratches along the side from bikes and scooters riding too close.  All the other mothers are in awe of her.

I am happy that mom exists.  Without her my children would not know what to do with a glue stick and felt.  They would never have seen the inside of Chuck-E-Cheese or decorated sugar cookies the size of their faces.  Their classroom at school would not be decorated for monthly theme parties.  It’s just not me.

I’ll let you in on a secret.   I don’t want to be that mom.

There are a lot of things I don’t do, things that sometimes make me feel like an anomaly in the competitive suburban parenting world.  I am okay with it.  I am okay with opting out of the competition.  I am okay with being selfish sometimes, if it means I am being true to who I am.  If that means I never have to build my own bear, I will survive.  Somehow.

My Mothering Don’ts

1. I don’t play. I like to say that this is why I had lots of children, so that I would never have to play a board game, but the truth is that it was just a wonderful perk.

2. I don’t scrapbook.  I will not have meticulously crafted baby books filled with photos and stickers documenting my children’s lives.  My oldest son has a baby book that I carefully wrote in for the first few months of his life, during which time I cried that there was not enough room in the book for me to write all of the wonderous things that he did, like blink.  I bought the identical baby book for each subsequent child.  I was determined not to be that parent who slacked off and had nothing but a couple of blurry photos for the later born children in the family.  My kids would all have the same baby book, so help me God.   And they do.

The books all stand neatly in a group in my bookcase.  Six of them are completely blank.

3. I don’t do crafts.  I don’t get crafts.  I have zero desire to hot glue googly eyes onto anything. I don’t volunteer in the classroom every week.  I don’t want to be room mother, nor do I want to come and read to the class. In fact, I’d prefer that there were less classroom parties at which my attendance was expected.  Do I really need to come to the school in the middle of the day and watch a bunch of kids eat cupcakes and do a craft?

4. I don’t bring my children to indoor playspaces designed solely to separate me from my money.

5. I don’t wear holiday themed sweaters or jewelry.  I don’t wear matching clothes with my children.

6. I don’t sew.  I especially do not sew my children their own Halloween costumes.

I am the mother who decides to ignore the warnings and test the strength of the iron on patch and not sew it to the football jersey.  I am the mother standing on the sidelines with bright green thread and a bent needle sewing the iron on patch to the jersey after it fell off on the walk from the parking lot to the field, while my son impatiently pulls away from me.

I am the mother who also sews the patches on the jerseys of the kids who have slacker parents like me.  The bright green thread against the white jersey is like our secret handshake.

My daughter has joined girl scouts this year.  We missed the first get together– a Mommy and Me scrapbooking event.  I heard that there is a sash and numerous patches that must be sewn onto this sash.  I am pretty sure I am not cut out for this.  I found out that at the next meeting we would be signing up for what special mom we would like to be.  Meaning everyone would pick something in their area of expertise.  There was Crafting Mom, Camping Mom, Cooking Mom, to name a few.  I looked for Cocktail Mom on the list, but no such luck.

7. I don’t bake elaborate birthday cakes.  Isn’t that what bakeries are for?  Nor do I plan a huge theme birthday parties and invite the entire class.  In fact, my 9 and 11 yr old sons are celebrating their birthdays next week with three of their good friends.  They are all going to the paintball place where they will try to kill each other, then back to our house for pizza and a sleepover.

Their birthdays were 9 months and 5 months ago.

My 5 and 7 year olds want me to plan them a joint birthday party now.  Their birthdays were 8 and 4 months ago.  I figure I still have time.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.    We have two weeks until school begins here and already I am being inundated with things I “have” to do lest my children be deprived by the lack of glitter and parental over-involvement in their lives.  So please make me feel better and tell me, what don’t you do?

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, they...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she wrote about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is a teen now.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

 

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Erin
Guest
Erin

I don’t have kids!

But I do enjoy reading your articles.

leigh
Guest
leigh

I’ve been trying to be THAT MOM for 13 years and frankly I’ve been pretty good at it but it has not made me very happy. Plus my children have been set up to have super high expectations. I’m trying now to be me instead of that mom, but old habits die hard. I have managed to give up being the girl scout troop leader.

50s Housewife
Guest

I used to do a lot of these things. When my older kids were small I was PTA president, room mom, VBS director, you name it. I finally realized that the health and well-being of my children does not hinge on whether or not I am participating in every.single. activity. I’m a much happier (and well-rested) mom now and I think the younger kids are turning out jut as well as the older ones. 🙂

Isabel Kallman
Admin

You know, sometimes people think (and are probably right) I’m *that* mom.

I guess it comes down to what I make my priorities. I love to organize birthday and holiday parties. I probably dedicate too much time on designing a great holiday card. But I do it because I LOVE to do it.

Scrapbooking? Baking for the class? Nuh-uh. Not a priority for me, for example. One of many examples….

HereWeGoAJen
Guest

There’s a fabric glue. That might work on those iron on patches.

I’m letting my toddler eat chocolate covered trail mix right now, you know, right before dinner. Oh and so far, we haven’t had a birthday party at all. Might not this year either.

Kathleen
Guest
Kathleen

Thank you.

Maggie
Guest
Maggie

I was so relieved my kids didn’t want to do scouts – I am not that mom. I’m also not the mom that lovingly kept all their t-shirts from the many sports teams they played on since the age of 4. At the time I asked if they wanted to keep any of them, they told me no…but come high school and nostalgia time…I was told I should have known they would want them.

Katherine M
Guest
Katherine M

When the twins were born I was expected to be ‘that’ mom and when I wasn’t the inlaws made sure I knew they were very disappointed. I got over it (finally). The kids are happy and well behaved so apparently I did something right back then. As far as school goes – I do not volunteer in the classrooms (because I would have to be in both rooms at the same time because ,well, they are twins!) and I don’t let the kids sell things for the school (or any other organization) because I don’t believe in having kids sell… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

I have 6 kids and am also “that mom”. I figure that if I have to drive them to a gazillion places for their sports, etc., then I get a free pass. I also heard, from a priest no less, that I have a get-into-heaven-free card because I had more kids than I can count on one hand. I’ll take that pass, thank you very much.

bdogmama
Guest

I don’t cook! Can’t cook to save my life. I’m challenged just warming up stuff.

For now, hubby does any of the cooking, and I stick to yogurt, cheese, fruits, veggies, bread, crackers 🙂

Do “those moms” really exist anymore or are they really just folklore?

designingmama
Guest
designingmama

I make the cakes and costumes for my kids, and I throw the crazy parties. But I WANT to do those things. There are many other “that-mom” jobs I refuse to do. Give me the creative, fun jobs… I’ll be my typical over-the-top graphic designer self with them. But don’t ask me to go to a meeting or volunteer or collect things. I know there are people in my community who think I am “that” mom, but they don’t realize how incredibly selfish I am about picking what I will and won’t do.

Pam
Guest

While I do cook and sew, I hate going to sporting events. I disliked sports when I was a kid (and now). I’d much rather be inside (cooking or sewing), taking advantage of the wonderful technology that is air conditioning in Georgia that outside watching 6 year olds try to make whistles out of grass stems instead of playing baseballs.

Also? I throw away 99% of all arts and crafts that do come home. Of that which is saved, I keep one piece every other year, and give the rest to the grandparents.

Lisa
Guest

The best day of my life was when my youngest left elementary school and I was no longer required to go to/help out with the parties. It took me months to sew on those stupid GS patches and then my daughter quit. I had to ask a friend to sew my daughters ballet slipper straps (when they grow out of the little slippers the straps come unsewn! The nerve!) I don’t own a sewing machine. I’ve made two birthday cakes in my 17 years of parenting and do not play dolls. Let’s just say, I could have written this post.… Read more »

Brenna
Guest
Brenna

I sew clothes and Halloween costumes. I bake birthday cakes, at least until recently when my kids decided birthday doughnuts are more fun. Which was fine with me. 

But I hate birthday parties and classroom obligations. My house is a mess and I struggle for the motivation to cook dinner, every. single. night. 

Anne
Guest
Anne

Badge Magic. Badge Magic is your friend. 

Kathy
Guest
Kathy

I am a Girl Scout & Cub Scout leader and that’s it. I don’t help in the classroom, my kids don’t have baby books & I don’t keep a lot of stuff for nostalgia. I don’t sew on badges – I use Heat ‘n Bond – crazy I know since I am the leader. I am horrible about keeping the house perfectly clean and I am not great at cooking dinner. But, I have a lot of fun with my kids, we have wonderful memories and they are happy, healthy and well adjusted kids.

Nicki
Guest

I don’t cook, I have a certain inability to pay that much attention.. I avoid the school as much as possible unless cornered by a desperate teacher. I don’t sew clothes, costumes, but do make quilts for my own sanity. I do not kid craft.  Glitter is not my friend.  They can figure it out by themselves. I don’t pick out my kids clothes in the morning.  I am not really sure if they match or not.  Frankly, I don’t really care at 7am. I don’t iron unless it’s for quilting. I don’t put up their clothes or turn them… Read more »

KLG
Guest
KLG

I don’t get overly involved. I don’t make routine play dates or sign the boys up for 10 activities at once. I make them play with each other (6 & 4 yo). I don’t let them watch tv. I don’t volunteer at school and failed two years in a row at participating in the read-a thon. I also don’t sell candy, candles or light bulbs. I don’t solve all their problems. The sum total of my artistic abilities is coloring in the lines and drawing stick figures. I’d rather pay for their uniforms to be hemmed than struggle doing it… Read more »

AliceM
Guest
AliceM

I don’t sell things. I am not a salesman and neither are my children. I write a check to the PTA and get on with life.

Karen
Guest
Karen

I don’t go outside with my kids when they play. It’s HOT in GA in the summer and I can see them from the window. They’re good, they stay in our yard and I can sit in the a/c and read thank you very much!

Deb
Guest
Deb

When my sons started with the sports teams in high school, crew and ski team, I learned pretty quickly, “I’m not cut out to be a sports mom.” Amazingly, my kids insisted they didn’t mind. So many of their friends on the team whose parents were at every event, cooking, selling things, all of it…and most of those kids were not at all thrilled with their presence. I did make a point to go and see them at least once during the season, and I could tell they were pleased. But I didn’t like the cliques of parents that formed… Read more »

Randa @ FunPlaceDatabase.com
Guest

I felt guilty for a long time about not playing on the floor with my kids enough, not doing crafts, etc. and then began to think about moms from generations ago, and the kind of self-sufficient, creative, smart kids they produced. Did they get down on the floor and play with their kids? Of course not. They worked their butts off just keeping the housework under control.

So, no more Mommy guilt! 

The K Spot
Guest

I have found my people! Dear God I could have written this myself! Thank you. I have said all this to my friends who are these perfect human beings and I love them so dearly, but Jesus, God, who has the time to do this goofy stuff all.the.damn.time. and not feel like you’ve been dragged ten miles from the back of a speeding truck? Thank you for this piece….it was perfect!

Heather
Guest

No scrap booking, no sewing. I barely clean. But give me something to draw or decorate and I am all over it. 

Christi
Guest
Christi

I don’t care what other people think about what I don’t do!
Christi

Ironic Mom
Guest

I think I am you. No crafts, no scrapbooking, no plays, no fuss. The first big word my twins learned was “independently.” As in, “Go play independently. Mommy’s reading the paper.”

Nell
Guest
Nell

Awesome article. I do not craft or scrapbook – I like to read myself and occasionally let the kid plop in front of the TV so I can read. I do cook but it’s just because it’s cheaper! I can really appreciate liking other moms (or in my case grandmas) who can do some of these awesome things with my kid so I’m not ruining her!

Julie
Guest

I’m the mom who doesn’t sign up to help out at back-to-school night. I figure since I work at the school, I get a freebie on that one.

I do manage the soccer team but I don’t go to any games.

I don’t let them do more than one activity each per season.

I do make them practice their instruments.

Sara
Guest
Sara

I don’t clean. Ever. I pay someone to shovel us out of our mess, weekly. She also washes our bedding. I love her. I do cook dinner a few nights a week. Otherwise, they are on their own. We call it ‘free for all dinner’; my nine year old makes a mean pancake dinner. I do all of our grocery shopping, but that’s so I can buy all of my favorite junk food and hide it from the kids. I go to four school functions a year per child, because the rest of the parents at my kid’s school are… Read more »

Karate Mom
Guest

I don’t play very much with my kids. Every once in awhile, we’ll play Clue or Battleship or something like that, but not on a regular basis. I tell them that the reason I had two of them was so that they could entertain each other!
I also don’t scrapbook. I tried to, I really did! My daughter’s photo book is finished up to when she was 9 months old. She turned 10 this summer. 

hennifer
Guest

I don’t do playdates! I’m happy to send my kids on them but I don’t like being responsible for other children. I don’t chair or coordinate any committees or activities but I will volunteer.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I feel like we’re at “That Mom Anonymous” Hi, my name is Sarah, and these are the parenting tasks I will not do…. Play candyland. In fact, I frequently say that I had 4 children so that I would not have to play board games. I do not play with children, mine or anyone else’s.   Mid-week laundry. You can pull those socks out of the basket and wear them again or do the laundry yourself. Classroom volunteer. I actually don’t like children en masse all that much. Slumber parties. See above. Night time is for sleeping, and sleep never… Read more »

Kathy from NJ
Guest
Kathy from NJ

I was never blessed with children but I would never have been the crafty or sewing one – you can buy something called “Stitch Witchery” – it goes between two things that need to be sewn together and turns it into iron-on. But I don’t use an iron so if I have a hem that needs to be shortened plain old scotch or masking tape works.

Pam
Guest

I throw away 99% of arts and crafts projects my kids bring home. I also refer to them as “farts and craps”.

Andi
Guest
Andi

LOL!! FARTS AND CRAFTS!! STEALING THAT! 

Jead
Guest
Jead

I like to sew my kids Halloween costumes when they let me, but all of my children have scout uniforms that would never pass inspection due to missing or incorrect patches/badges, etc. I would be really happy to be “cocktail mom” since I have repeatedly stated that all those scout meetings would be vastly improved if adult beverages were available. I loathed playing with my kids when they were little and didn’t much. They all seem to be pretty independent and that was the goal. I also hated making mommy talk while I was forced to stand outside with my… Read more »

Mama Fly
Guest

Are you my long lost sister? I don’t play or do any activity involving a glue gun. I only volunteer for school field trips that are less than half a day long and are indoors. Once a child turns 8 they no longer get a birthday party – just an outing with a couple of friends. I don’t do sleepovers. I don’t make costumes. Birthday cakes are homemade but ugly!

Tina
Guest

I actually USED to be THAT mom. I worked very hard at become THAT mom. And I received high compliments from a lot of people. Then came the panic attacks from freaking out because I wasn’t able to do it all. Now? I am SO not that mom. No more room parenting, no more team mom. I’ve got too much going on in my life now where when I do get to spend time with my kids, I want to enjoy it, not spend it making things for their classes or teams or whatever. So in a nutshell, I went… Read more »

Taysha
Guest
Taysha

I agree with Anne, Badge Magic is your friend. It’s a Boy Scout product, just peel and stick and voila, the badge stays on. Its worked wonders for me, who is definitely not ‘that’ mom, and my Cub Scout and Brownie.

Amber
Guest
Amber

Thanks so much for that post…I’m not a crafty, perfect, all together mom and I so appreciated what you said. I used to like cooking, before I had two little ones who don’t like most of what I cook. My house never seems to be clean and I don’t take my kids to those expensive play areas either!

Sue (Laundry for Six)
Guest

You are my tribe! Here’s my secret for the Girl Scout patches (and pretty much all other sewing)… stapler.

B
Guest
B

I will not be “that mom”…I do not volunteer in the classroom anymore, even though I have all the time in the world to do so. Just can’t. Seeing what doesn’t happen/isn’t taught in that classroom makes me angry, so I can’t go there. I also do not volunteer to go on field trips. I don’t do sleepovers and I don’t entertain other people’s children in my home at other times either. I have thrown ONE friend birthday party in my 20 yrs of being a parent. I will never do it again. I do not sew or do any… Read more »

Marie
Guest
Marie

I don’t make the Halloween costumes either (that’s what I married a costume designer for).
When my daughter was in brownies and girl scouts (which she quit, because there was “too much singing”), I cursed the patches that were not iron on.
I hate scrapping – I’m hiring my niece to do my children’s scrap books. I hate playing any kind of game – board, card and video, I think because I really hate to lose, especially to a five year old.

Adelaide Aime
Guest
Adelaide Aime

Hi Chris, Like you, I am happy to NOT be “that Mom”. Bless their hearts. But I am a Mom that my kids and their friends like to be around, and want to talk to. I’m the mom who listens as they try to figure out the hard stuff like race relations, politics, romantic partners of either sex The Mom who hugged one 12 year old girl whose dog had just died, and her own parents told her to suck it up. The Mom who when an 8 year old visitor peed his pants was able to get him out… Read more »

Nancy R
Guest

Oh, I don’t play either! We’ve had our Wii for almost two years now and I’ve done nothing more than create my Mii. It keeps THEM entertained so I can do my own thing.
I don’t mind helping in the classroom if it’s helping out the teacher, but I’m not into elaborate crafts either…most kids aren’t either.

Hey, and the secret to both the iron-on AND the non-iron-on patches? A product called Heat-n-Bond – it makes ANYTHING iron-on, man.

Kristal
Guest

I have six kids and I am NOT that mom.
I am sitting here crying for joy that I have found my soul-sisters.
(corny:D)

Heather
Guest
Heather

omg,thank you for this article! it has made my week and started off the weekend just right. whew, i thought i was alone in this way of thinking.

Shannon
Guest
Shannon

I am not THAT mom, and as a teacher, I’ve found I’m not THAT teacher, either. The crafty/talented moms request the other teacher because she IS that teacher. Everything decorated so well, so cutesy, and she takes the time EVERY MONTH to change it all out, different bulletin boards around the room every month and holiday. I put paper up in August and it stays there until May – it’s all I can manage to throw on different border once in awhile. Class parties? LOL .I’m glad I teach an upper elementary age group where, while they want to have… Read more »

Shelley
Guest

Chris, you sound a lot like me. One thing I don’t do? Volunteer. There are so many other suckers out there, that you really don’t have to. I also wish there were fewer classroom parties that required my attendence. Last year there was a first grade Mother’s Day tea. Imagine my excitement. Guess how many first-graders like tea? That would be zero. We were supposed to bring two teacups. I don’t have teacups. I got mine at Goodwill for 45 cents each. I also don’t sew. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing seamstress, and… Read more »

Katherine
Guest
Katherine

I don’t scrapbook. I felt terribly guilty about it for a while since ALL my friends did it. And that guilt made me stop taking pictures. Finally figured out that it was better to take pics and have them in a disorganized mess than to have NO shots at all of my children’s childhoods. Am still not good at the photo thing though. I don’t iron. When my now 16 yr old son was 4, he came home from a friend’s house and told me about this amazing thing they had that took wrinkles out of clothes–“It’s called an ironer,… Read more »

Erin
Guest
Erin

I don’t do crafts with my kids. I’m not about to go outside to play in the summer, it’s to hot. I don’t play with my kids.I have 2 kids so they can play together. And it’s very likely that I will not volunteer in my daughters classroom. And I’m ok with that.