One of the trippiest things about becoming a parent is how much it changes you. Not your life, that’s a given. But YOU. Your personality, your likes and dislikes, your risk/reward calculation process. You go from being the type of person who washes their coffee cup after their first cup of hot coffee to someone who picks up a cup of unknown origin off the table, gives it the smell test, and then takes a swig while hoping for the best. Or, you go from flying by the seat of your pants through life to having every day of the next six months scheduled down to the minute. No one ever knows what kind of mom or dad they’ll be, which is kind of part of the fun of it all. But regardless of what kind of parent you are or end up being, we promise you that at some point on your parenting journey, you will meet one of these different types of parents. Whether or not you vibe with them is a yarn to spin another time.
The Impossibly Put-Together Parent
As far as this parent is concerned, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and she is going to make sure that every single impression she leaves is burned in people’s memories forever. This is the parent who is always dressed to the nines for preschool drop-off and pick-up (in a different outfit, natch). The mom whose roots are never outgrown, whose makeup is always subtly yet perfectly done, and who has NEVER worn a pair of yoga pants outside of an actual yoga studio. Schlubby t-shirt? He’s never seen it. Their kids are equally dressed to impress, and if you know what’s good, you’ll start scouring the consignment and thrift stores in their neighborhood for the clothes they wear once and never again.
The Swiss Army Knife Parent
This person is ALWAYS prepared. For any situation or scenario. AT ALL TIMES. They have 12 changes of clothes in an airtight bin in the back of their 4-wheel drive SUV—one for each size range and season. Need a Band-Aid? They’ve got an entire pocket first aid kit in their stylish-yet-practical backpack, which includes Band-Aids in every skin tone and size…even the weird butterfly ones that no one knows how to use, plus alcohol wipes, antiseptic ointment, and blood clotting powder. Swiss Army Knife carries an EpiPen even though their kids aren’t allergic to anything, just to be on the safe side. Need a real pen? They gotchu, in ballpoint, gel, and fountain. They have never, in all their years of parenthood, run out of diapers or wipes, and until they met other parents, didn’t even realize that was a thing that could happen.
The Crunchy Parent
Did you know there’s an oil for that? Well, this parental unit will tell you, and then make you a custom concoction of essential oils to cure whatever ails you and make your home smell pretty. Their babe’s bum doesn’t know what a disposable diaper feels like, and somehow they manage to get the stains out of the cloth diapers with nothing more than sunshine and salt. Crunchy carries a canteen on a vegan-friendly leather strap, and it’s either full of alkaline water or their latest homemade kombucha. When you ask them where they got their little one’s adorable outfit, this parent will send you a PDF of the pattern and a coupon for organic, veggie-dyed cotton from the local co-op. You’ll want to dislike them, but dammit, the tomatoes they grow in their backyard garden are the best tomatoes you’ve ever eaten in your life.
The Paris Geller Parent
Overachieving doesn’t adequately describe this parent. They make overachievers look like slackers with their ability to do it all and do it better than anyone else. They are obviously the PTA president, but somehow also the vice president, secretary, treasurer, and room parent coordinator (because no one can do as good a job as they can). If there’s a fundraiser or social event to chair, PG is the first and usually only person to volunteer. They have an entire closet in their home where the shelves are filled with color-coded and alphabetized binders for every single activity/event/job they are dominating at the moment. Paris Geller doesn’t particularly enjoy being The One Who Does It All, but they will not stand idly by while someone else does a half-ass job. You won’t be their friend, because they don’t have time for friends. But they’re always looking for new recruits for the workforce.
The Nervous Nelly Parent
This parent hasn’t fully relaxed since the moment they or their partner peed on a stick and the line showed up. Their pediatrician had to change their cell phone number because the calls were getting a little intrusive, and the office had to limit them to two non-emergency visits a month. If you scrolled through their Google search history, it would read like a “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” adventure book. Their kids are tweens now, but they still cut their grapes in quarters and refuse to let them eat hot dogs. Nelly always looks like they haven’t taken a deep breath in…ever, and it’s kind of alarming how seldom they blinks (because disaster can strike in the blink of an eye, dontcha know). Despite their seemingly genetically-coded inability to relax, Nervous Nelly is actually pretty down-to-earth, and you’ll know that at least someone is watching your kid when they’re around. Nelly and Swiss Army are usually a package deal in the friend department, for obvious reasons.
The Casual Observer Parent
This parent is checked in at about 60% on a good day. It’s not that they don’t care about their kids, but they do spend all of their waking hours with them, so you’ll have to forgive them if they aren’t freaking out over the fact that their toddler just did something incredibly cute/borderline dangerous while they were replying to a 4-day-old text message at the park. Casual Observer has a few kids, and remembers roughly which months they were born, but it’s going to take them a few minutes to recall the actual date. But they never miss a birthday party or play date, because that means there will be several other pairs of eyes on their kids while they show off the new trick they’ve seen approximately 112633 times already. Funnily enough, this parent can tell you every little detail that makes each of their kids unique, from their favorite color to their biggest fear. Just don’t ask them for specific dates, that’s a lot to remember.