Gone are the dirty snow piles and icy sidewalks. Instead, they've been replaced by burgeoning green grass and purplish tree buds. Our fair city can finally take a deep breath without our nasal passages freezing shut.
With this burst of spring comes some much awaited outside time. My husband and I dug out our sunglasses the other day and took the toddler to the park down the street.
Once we started playing, I noticed there was a nice sampling of the many types of moms at the playground.
1. The Helicopter Mom. It was easy to spot her as she followed her son up all the steps and then down all the slides. She hovered with his water bottle like she was the team manager on the sideline, ready to spring forward at any moment should her boy appear to be in need of hydration. She wasn’t just watching her child experience play, she was experiencing play right beside him. Literally right beside him — like she was his own personal Secret Service agent.
2. The Phone Mom. We all know this lady; we’ve seen her at the grocery store and behind the wheel of her car. She’s sitting on the park bench, talking on her phone loudly enough to force us all to listen to her conversation. By the end of the park visit, we will all know the full situation with her and her ex. She says “hang on” into the phone every time she has to tell her munchkin to “stop that,” and she sporadically dissolves into fits of laughter that leave all of us thinking, "What can possibly be that funny?"
3. The Whatever Mom. She’s there at the park watching her kids, but she doesn’t seem to get worked up about, well, anything. She appears to be cool with the boys going up the slides, jumping off of the tower and having an epic sand-tossing fight. “Boys will be boys” is her go-to expression, and I think I saw the Helicopter Mom gesturing to her son to move away from those boys.
4. The Perfect Mom. Not only did she run to the park, but she ran fast while pushing twin toddlers in her hi-tech stroller. Once they unloaded, she set out their snacks on one of the picnic tables. My idea of a snack: Goldfish crackers in a baggie. Perfect Mom’s idea of a snack: fresh blueberries, cottage cheese and organic juice plated in super cute containers like the park visit was a Top Chef challenge and she was going for the win. She and the twins went on to play together in such a way that I looked over my shoulder a few times to try and see the cameraman. Because they had to be part of a photo shoot, right? It was the only explanation for the smiles, the laughter the perfect playground hair.
5. The Free-Range Parent. This parent wasn’t physically there, of course, but their presence was felt as their band of children converged upon the park. Their kiddos — two boys and a girl — appeared to be playing a game that I would call chipped tooth tag. It consisted of speed climbing, jumping from the highest points of the tower and lots of running through the throngs of small children as if the little ones were part of an obstacle course. Free-Range Mom, if she’d been present, would probably get along well with Whatever Mom.
I don’t even want to know what my mom type nickname would be, as I’m likely a hybrid of all of these. Probably be something like "Slacker Helicopter Wanna-Be Mom with Wicked Bedhead."
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.