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May 23, 2007


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Woo hoo! The first one to comment! Though I'm not a parent myself, I do love running around with my nephew. There's nothing better than being chased by a three year old who's yelling, "Run, Emo! I'm winning!" Great post as usual. Bordering on trite, I must say you are quite pretty, witty, and wise MD!


This was awesome, MD! I'm totally Peter Pan Dad and my wife is Crazy PTA Mom. Somehow it all works!


So, so true, MD. I hate to admit it, but I'm a cross between Peter Pan, Coach Dad and the Hoverer.

"Climb it! No, go for it! But wait for me!"

don't flame me

What about the stereotype of Mama Nurture? Like the militants from La Leche League?


Yeah, I was going to put up the stereotype of the militant breastfeeding mom who doesn't believe in vaccines, only feeds non-gluten foods to her children, and makes her own clothing out of recycled hemp.

But honestly? As much as I admire those women (and I'm friends with more than a few of them,) they totally scare the crap out of me and I'm afraid to get on their bad side. They are a powerful force and they take no prisoners!

Molly Chase

I am half bookworm Mom (complete with the job as editor and the manuscript in hand) and half hoverer. My husband is half Peter Pan and half hoverer. Between the two of us, we're three-quarters of an entire parent.

Reluctant Hipster Dad

The latest issue of GQ had an uproariously funny definition of a new type of father...Sexless Dad!

He's the emasculated one wearing mom jeans and crocs (with socks!) He can usually be found telling unicorn stories to his daughter or making pottery at home while his wife bosses him around. His greatest desire is for his children to go to Vassar (his wife's alma mater.)


Species: Perpetua Awkarda
Signature Behavior: Trying to avoid eye contact, sitting on the most out-of-the-way bench in the park
Distinctive Markings: Sunglasses, forgettable clothing
Natural Enemies: Joiners, Parents who make small talk
Mating Call: "Honey, are you sure you don't need my help?"

The mom who loves her kid deeply and thus is taking said child to the playground but is painfully shy, doesn't have the confidence to talk to other parents or is uninterested and/or intimidated by the other parents there. She didn't bring a book or a Blackberry so she watches the kid with a laserbeam to avoid making eye contact or small talk with other parents. Despite this intense focus on the child, the Sore Thumb Mom is not a Hoverer. She gives her kid a reasonable amount of freedom but secretly wishes that her kid needed some help so she would have an excuse for not being social. She wishes that, just once, she and her progeny would show up to the playground and find they have it to themselves.

Or maybe that's just me...

Medium Bear

Okay, I have GOT to make all my friends start reading MetroDad. This is too hilarious. I instantly realized that I am a Hoverer, though I look and dress like Bookworm Mom. I thought my husband might prove to be a Hipster Dad, because he's in a band, but he doesn't hate Elmo at all...he's totally a Peter Pan Dad ("Can we go to the playground with the zipline? Please?").


Well, out here in California we have a couple more species. We have a ton of those militant femme mommies, but we just call them "vegans." They scare the crap outta me, mostly because I'm afraid they'll give my kid lice. Then we have the aging ravers, of which I might fit into that group. Signature behavior: checking out every playground toy before sitting on a bench and reading "Make" or "Craft" magazine. Distinctive markings: Handmade hat, Fluevog shoes, and kids who had fun-fur patches on their clothes. Natural Enemies: anyone wearing prada, hermes, adida, or target brand. Mating call "Doesn't the jungle gym look like a spaceship? Or an alien? Think of it as an underwater bubble!" Generally employed in the tech field, or retired at 36, the aging raver flutters between hoving, encouraging their child to be as wierd as possible, and reading a hip magazine. So you'll see them glancing at an article on how to build a pummer BEAM robot, to sprint across the playground to make sure they get up onto the jungle gym safely, to laughing at themselves for being such a worrywart, to helping their kid imagine that the jungle gym is on Mars, then heading back to their magazine. They often get bored of the playground long before their kid, and since their PDA screen is so small they're going thru LCD withdrawl, they're soon bribing their kid with promises of stopping in Fry's for a new game (educational of course) before heading home.


I thought I would never say this, but I feel so blessed to live in the Midwest. All the freak parents live on the east and west coasts.
Here in "white bread" America we are all mostly slacker parents who sit on the bench and let our kids run wild.


Lately I’ve been noticing the non-existent parent:

Species: Nowhereus to be foundus

Signature Behavior: Catching a quickie in the woods perhaps? Or a quick buzz in the car?

Distinctive Markings: Dark clothing and sunglasses

Natural Enemies: Anyone who asks their kid where their parents are.

Mating Call: "I’ll be right back, honey. Be nice to the other kids."


You missed the OVERWORKED DAD:

Signature Behaviors: Sipping coffee while silently watching their children play
Distinctive Markings: Baggy eyes and a travel thermos of coffee
Natural Enemies: Anyone that wants them to do anything other than sit on a bench
Mating Call: "Honey, can't you just play with the other kids and let daddy sit down?"

OVERWORKED DAD has too many responsibilities pulling his attention. He is constantly looking at his watch to see if the alloted time for the playground has expired so he can get to the next thing on his list. Being male, he knows he does not have the genetic aptitude for multi-tasking, so he is very focused on supervising his children at the playground, but doesn't have the energy to hover or play along.


Don't forget:
Clueless Parent
Species: Head up Asinus
Signature Behavior: Sitting on bench chatting it up with anyone who will listen, but clearly has no idea where his/her child is
Distinctive Markings: Non-descript clothing, often loud annoying voice
Natural Enemies: PTA mom and any other parent who shows a genuine interest in their kid(s)
Mating Call: Oh, you're ok, shake it off. Billy! Billy! Where are you? We're leaving!

Clueless Parent may be seen in either the male or female form. Often the clueless parent uses the playground to "get a break," which means they have no intention of interacting with their child but at least doesn't leave the park. The child that falls and cries yet and yet has no parent running to their call is often the offspring of a Clueless Parent. The Clueless Parent can often be heard yelling, in an irritated voice, for their child, but everyone around them realizes that it's the fault of the Clueless Parent that they don't know "where the hell Billy has gone."


OMG, I am so the incarnation of west coast Bookworm Mom! It's almost scary how aptly you described me (right down to the hummus stains on my cardigan.) I never knew I was such a stereotype.

This was hilarious!


I'm somewhere between Peter Pan & Hip, although I do tend to hover (hey, my kids are usually a bit younger than the rest).

What if I'm not the Bookworm but my son's name is Atticus? Do I get bonus points.


My hubby is Peter Pan Dad w/ a cross of Hipster Dad..I am a little like bookworm mom :0)


Ha! Ha! Very clever, MD. My husband is definitely a "Peter Pan" dad but I'm a cross between "Bookworm Mom" (BA in English, parenting columnist, aspiring celebrity blogger) and...BOBO MOM:

Species: Davidus Brookus

Signature Behavior: Incessantly training for the next 5k or marathon

Distinctive Markings: Cargo shorts, Keen sandals/shoes, Camelback, MacBook

Natural Enemies: Athletically-challenged parents

Mating Call: "Who wants to go running/biking/hiking?"

Bobo parents and their offspring are rarely seen at local playgrounds. Visit your local Wild Oats or area hiking trails to observe them in their natural habitat.

cam c.

Wow... that really hits the mark for Vancouver, especially this neighbourhood in the newer part of downtown. I'd add one subspecies I notice a lot though... the "Fashion Mom", usually of Eastern European extraction and wearing the latest fashion, massive sunglasses, and teetering on 4-5 inch heels... usually the kids are sleeping in the stroller while they talk on the cellphone or scampering around below the reach of mom up on her heels.

I'm probably about 1/10th "Executive Dad", although I try to not answer the phone when I'm out alone with the kid if it's a client calling, and then equal parts Hipster Dad, Peter Pan, and a tiny bit of Hoverer, although I'm trying to avoid that as the kid seems to be getting agile enough to clim the playground with confidence now.

Janet a.k.a Wonder Mom

OK so, I'm a hoverer...and I'm sure you've cursed me yourself at Madison Square park....Next time just say hello wouldya.


I miss New York. MD, all these types can be found on my home playground at 84th and East End.

I'm a natural hoverer, but I try to cover up by being Peter Pan Mom.


If you have a bit of all of it, Peanut will grow up relatively unscathed. Or she should. However, it may be a close call. :)

I'm not a parent, but I can guarantee you it's not just a NYC thing. In West LA you will find all of the parents you talked of. And the ones Shannon, Harry and Kathy said. Especially the ones Kathy said.

Darren a/k/a Clare's Dad

I was going to add what Shannon already did--the Clueless Parent. These are sometimes a subset of the PTA Moms--perhaps known as Gossip Moms--who spend more time talking to the other parents than watching their kids.

I'm the Peter Pan Dad with a little hipster thrown in.


Here's one to add to your list. This parent type is also found at your local dog parks.


Signature Behavior: Can't stop talking about what their child or dog is doing at the park at that exact moment.

Mating Calls:
"My dog just chased your dog around that tree 3 times, now he's bored and wants to play with that new poodle."
"Johnny loves scooping sand on the slide and swishing it around. He's plays like that at home too."
"Oh, Lindsay just saw her new friend on the swings and was so excited that she tripped over that shovel in the sand pit to run to her."
"Bryce can't get around that girl in front of her on the slide, and wants to get back down."

Usually, color commentators hang out with each other, and for me that makes them easier to avoid.


I love this! I didn't have kids in New York, but I recognize all the types. I suspect I will be "bookworm mom," hiding behind a New Yorker and trying not to engage...


This is the funniest, most true thing I've read today! I'm afraid I resemble the Hovering Mom most often, yet, at the playground, I'm the one people would call the "hippy mom". I wear my denim shorts, birks and a head bandana. I just don't want to get my real wardrobe dirty!


Holy crap, this is my favorite MD post to date.

I love it!


Hahaha...I am absolutely mortified to admit that when I go to the playground with my kids, I carry a First Aid kit in my fany pack!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

I'm the frazzled mom. I look like a big mess and I yell at my kids a lot and take pictures the entire time.

I also scowl at the bigger kids who climb up the slide.


"Mommy's going to Pilates now, honey, but Rosita will play with you."

Freaking hilarious, MD! I think Soho Mom bears a close relationship to West L.A. Mom.


Replace kids with dogs and playgrounds with dog parks and it's every bit as funny. This made my day!


These stereotypes are spot-on! Love them, MD. You couldn't have done a better job describing my husband (Peter Pan Dad). Right down to the cargo pants, food-stained t-shirt, and baseball cap on backwards. Every time I see him at the playground, I see him running around with 10-12 kids behind him. Very endearing. I usually can convince him to leave by promising him some ice cream.


You are SO funny. And so right. Sad thing is, I already know which mom I'm going to be: the hovering type. My kid just learned to walk a month ago, and I'm in perpetual "OMG BE CAREFUL!" mode. Sigh.


Dude, I live next door to Coach Dad. He's a scary motherfucker!

Mary Anne

I'm the Germaphobe Mom. Telling other moms to wipe their kids nose or I will do it for them. Spreading awareness to other kids about airborne germs and bacteria. Always caring around hand sanitizer lotion, a pack of kleenex, and a first aid kit. Likes to wear a lot of sunblock, long sleeved sweaters, a hat, sun glasses, and comfortable tennis shoes.


I'm a combination of all of them (the mom's) cept the soho mom that is. At times, I hover, other times, I read. Sometimes I talk with other parents. Just depends on my kids and the park.


I don't delurk often, MD, but I've gotta say, damn, I love your blog. I can always be assured of a quality post whenever I visit.

Thanks for writing. :)

Jeff Mirisola

I'm definitely a cross between Peter Pan and coach.
We have the same parents out here in Seattle, MD. Great post!


I *hate* Clueless Parent. He/she somehow is always the parent of "the hitter," chasing down my toddler for fun and never being reprimanded for anything. Bah!

Here in Northern VA, we've got all these types too. I'd have to say that I'm a hoverer and soon-to-be PTA type myself. :)

Hygiene Dad

Peter Pan... guilty as charged.


How the heck do you come up with this stuff, MD? I LOVE this post. I'm not a parent yet but, knowing my personality, I'm a shoo-in to be Bookworm Mom!


Great read, MD. Spot on and well translated to my neck of the woods.

Here in the Dirty Souf, we do have a few more...

Sorority Mom
Species: frumpycus barbi
Signature Behavior: Talking way too loud about the new pink monogrammed purse she just bought from old her sorority sister. Making fun of the other funny looking kids that the “weird” family down the street just brought back from China
Distinctive Markings: Faded rush t-shirts, old boyfriend’s Auburn ball-cap, and cut-off khaki shorts (too tight)… koozie with a Zima
Natural Enemies: Hipsters, Yankees, and Kappa Gammas
Mating Call: "Gawd, I’m sooo drunk y’all?” *as Widespread Panic plays in the background*

Home School Mom
Species: separtis conservitus
Signature Behavior: Playing with other home school kids and their mothers in a separate area of the playground; then quietly returning to individual play time with family. Shopping at Sams. Hosting Republican Women’s Luncheons.
Distinctive Markings: Long skirts, W sticker on minivan, and a very disapproving look on her face.
Natural Enemies: Public schools, Democrats, Pagans
Mating Call: “I just don’t know why people are so hard on GW… he’s so sincere and down to earth… and he’s trying to do the right thing”


Thank you for the Leibniz shout-out. Tonight, I'm going to teach the boy how to say "monad."


I think I'm a cross between everything but SOHO Mom and Hipster dad. I am in NO way hip and to pay more than $50 for a pair of jeans would make me wonder if I was drunk at the time.

I tend to hover over my 2 year old (since he has a habit of getting kicked in the head or run over by larger kids) but let my 5 year old play independently (within eyesight). I constantly have both my cell phones and my fully charged laptop with wireless broadband card (in the trunk of my car) in case I need them. Additionally, if by some miracle my gamer/Peter Pan/bookworm dad hubby ever puts down his PSP/Nintendo DS/Book and watches the little one for me, I have my school books if I don't have any work to do. Oh, I also keep time am something of a germaphobe.

I hope I'm a species. It'd be nice not to be alone.


Oh Lord. I am embarrassingly close to a textbook Bookworm Mom. Yikes.


What about kids who are there by themselves? I have some students who practically raised themselves, with the help of a sibling or two. However, next year I'll be at a school that probably has an abnormally high percentage of helicopter parents who will be all up on me if their precious kids don't get A's in my class.
PS I love reading your posts to see how many references I can understand.
PPS I understand you're a grammar freak. I, however, am a spelling freak. Insouciance is the correct spelling in the first paragraph of the "Soho Mom" description.

Julie H

what a hoot! We have all those down here im Alabama. Vegan and militant breastfeeders are usually transplanted from other areas of the USA but will try to give you advice on the health and nutrition of your own children. I kid you not one tried to get me to breast feed my 7 month old that I had just adopted from China. Umm yeah, we have already rocked her world enough without adding the whole lets put a boob in your face deal.

We also have a subspecies of the Hoverer mom who is not only hovering around her children but also yours. Mating call - "How old is your child? I think she needs to be on the smaller slide" - as your child fearlessly and with the agility of a gymnast climbs up the slide.

We also have the Competitive Mom. A mom as described in the SOHO mom that also wants to know how much your child weighs, what books he or she can read, how many colors etc.. All the while letting you know her child is far more intelligent, athletic, comical blah blah blah...

creative-type dad

LOL! This is great.
Yeah, we've got these here in L.A. too. I think I would add the Prius, the Out of Work Writer/Actor/Producer, the Activist, The Talker, The Hoochie Mama....

I think you have a book in the making here. Or at least a guide.

mr nice guy

solid, solid post. but ... where's Mack Daddy (you know, the poppa who hits on all the hot bored moms and definitely isn't me)?


I think I may have been the Hipster Mom who has now morphed into Hoverer Grandmother. You know, if something happens the twins when they are with me; their dad will cut me off.

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