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New Mother Stereotypes And How To Avoid Them
By Jennifer Ransome Published: 09/11/2009
You've seen them. In fact, you may even exhibit some of the same tendencies. The constant gossiping with other mothers, the frumpy clothing, and the latest baby gear are all signs of stereotypical "new mom" behavior. Some experts suggest it's due to an overwhelming need to connect with other mothers who can empathize with them. Others contend the reason is because new moms are busy; parents with new babies have very little extra time (which may explain the frumpy clothes).
The problem is that if new mothers fail to take care of themselves, it can affect their mood and their energy levels. An exhausted and frustrated parent may be unable to provide the care and tenderness a young child needs. Below, we'll describe a few of the most prolific new mother stereotypes so you can see if you're in danger of falling into any of them. We'll also offer a few tips for breaking free.
Are You Typecasting Yourself?
One of the most common roles is that of the Frumpy Mom. Her clothes might escape the laundry a few days too many and her hairdryer may have remained turned off for the past several weeks. There's nothing wrong with a comfortable style, but a fine line separates "comfortable" from frumpy.
The Supermom is another stereotype. Eschewing a slow-paced lifestyle, she works full-time, always has time to spend with her baby, maintains a flawlessly clean house, and rarely has a hair out of place. For the Supermom, slowing down might put more time into her hands than she knows what to do with.
The Gossip can be found with other new moms at parks, picnics, and other functions. If there's something to hide, she'll find it and spread it around. This is one of the easiest stereotypes to fall into. If you whisper into another mom's ear about the poor rearing standards of someone else, you may have just crossed the line.
Breaking Free Of Common Stereotypes
Suppose you've noticed a few traits in your behavior that fit the above descriptions. There are easy ways to break free. First, make a commitment to not gossip with the other mothers. It's a hard habit to break, but once you do, you'll be better for it. Second, apply a little image control. That means keeping your hair appointments and putting on a little foundation and lip gloss when you leave the house. Third, if you're an overachieving mom, get used to letting a couple of things slide every once in awhile. The world will not end.
The common stereotypes that new mothers fall into can dilute the enjoyment of spending time with your baby and others. Once you identify the problematic traits, you can take steps to break free and truly enjoy the delights of motherhood.