“Really?” I asked Patti Perfect Parent at a bake sale last week. I gave her a yes-you-are-the-best-mother-here-grin and said, “I had no doubt that yours would be better.”
As sad as the cupcake comment was, it didn’t shock me. Hasn’t there always been mom envy amongst the PTA ranks? What did surprise me was her next comment, “Ugh, have you seen her Facebook profile, its obscene. Her picture is so unflattering and she said her favorite movie is Catch Me if You Can, I mean, come on, who is she kidding?!”
Keeping up with the Joneses has never been so digital—I mean, difficult. What was once a stressful one time per month PTA meeting, has become a constant online competition. When is Martha Stewart going to have a segment on color-coordinating your Mommy MySpace page?
Between online bulletins instead of bulletin boards, email newsletters instead of mail newsletters, and Facebook groups instead of sign-up clipboards how has the dynamic and competition between over-achiever mommies been changing? Here are four groups of Mommies you may find buzzing around your child’s school.
Mommy Mob: Think Al Capone in St John Knit
These mommies rule by intimidation, they know what they want and they get it.
“We need someone to drive carpool for the field trip next week. If you don’t do it, my kid is going to cyberbully your kid.”
They roll in a tight-knit crowd, they have their own birthday parties and parent coffees in secret locations.
“If you want to be invited you will need to go through initiation—bring soufflé to the next bake sale, check for lice at the Shalom-Winroad School parent clinic and work as the ball feeder at junior baseball tryouts.”
Three strikes, you’re out.
“Your soufflé fell, you got hit in the face with a ball at the clinic, hurting our Junior’s score on the A team, and you got lice at the clinic. We will no longer be needing your services at the Shalom-Winroads School.”
Momtourage: Think Vincent Chase with a Stroller
These mommies are the social heads. They have more events than Paris Hilton during the on-season.
“In honor of Shalom-Winroads School’s 12.5 year anniversary, we are having a benefit. Have you bought your table yet?”
They are Vincenta Chase, speaking at all the meetings while her right-hand woman (Erica/E) does all the real work.
“I am so happy to have had you all at the More-Soap-in-the-School-Bathrooms Gala last week, it was a lot of work for me and of course, Erica helped with the invitations, the catering, the decorations and the donations. You can send thank you notes to me.”
Momagers: Think Ari Gold with Heels
Can you run a school like an agency? Oh yes, you can. Many mommies try to do it. Momagers have four committee meetings per month and think that no one has a life beyond their kids.
“Who is hosting the meeting next week? Make sure to sign-up to host, everyone has to take a turn for this semester’s weekly meetings at 11am on Monday so we can start fresh next semester!”
Momagers treat the kids like talent.
“We really want the kids to feel special at the magazine drive contest next week, and do not want anyone to feel like a ‘loser’ because they are all winners. So, we will all be responsible for bringing in presents and trophies for someone else’s child so everyone is included!”
How About Regular Mommies?
The best way to deal with these parents is to show your support.
“You did a fabulous job at the Need-Organic-Glue-in-the-Classrooms Fundraiser, thanks so much!”
Always be honest and ask for what you want.
“I am sure gum duty is a great job, but I really would like to do something a little less hands-on, I would be happy to oversee ticket sales.
As a blogger, and as a speaker for PTA meetings, I meet a lot of Momagers, Momtourages and Mommy Mobbers and have learned that despite their differing tactics, rough facades or over-the-top requests, they are all coming from the same place. They want to make their child’s school experience awesome. They want fabulous give-aways at the auction, enough money for new computers and fun field trips. So, if you are stuck in a mommy mobbing school or have a Momager PTA President, keep their true interests in mind, and you can have a great working relationship (and some funny stories for your kids later in life!).