Mom-typing was a thing for a hot minute. The Tiger Mom. The Helicopter Mom. The Crunchy Mom. The Free-Range Mom. But it seemed just as soon as a new mom type was identified, the backlash for judging and mom-shaming made it obsolete. And that was a good thing. No one likes being labelled.
But then came Corona, and with it came a whole new kind of mom-shaming. Are you the mom who bolts the doors, gets wine delivered, and fully embraces her new life of playing a home-school teacher 24/7? Or are you the mom who allows the occasional playdate, ventures out in face masks for wine, and fully embraces her new life of playing Disney + 24/7?
Overall, I’ve considered myself a fairly laid-back, moderate mom. I’m not barricading the family in and hoarding toilet paper, but I’m also not leaving my house without a good reason and a good mask. However, all this quality time being at home with my kid did open my eyes to a new mom label that I’ve become (or maybe always was).
I’m a total marshmallow mom. When it comes to being strict or disciplined… I’m not. I’m soft. I’m fluffy. I’m malleable. I try to be as sweet as possible. I strive to make people around me happy. I’m much better when I’m slightly toasted.
Don’t Be So Mallow-Dramatic
I first noted the idea that I’m a marshmallow mom in a previous blog. I felt terrible for my kid because COVID conditions were terrible. It sucked she couldn’t see her friends. It sucked that all her summer plans were canceled. It sucked she couldn’t enjoy the approximately three things a typical teenager actually finds joy in. Basically, it sucked.
So, I let all sorts of things slide. I gave in… to pretty much anything. We got junk food. I let her stay up late and sleep all day. Chores ceased to exist, by which I mean, I did them all. I made her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then washed all the dishes. She hasn’t cleaned her room, done her own laundry, or walked her dog in months. She watched Hamilton so many times that I no longer believe the real Hercules Mulligan was actually a skinny, effeminate, white dude (He was. Look it up. *Mind blown*). I kept telling myself, ‘I’m helping to ease this hard period of time. I’m only being this way until things get back to normal.” But now I question if that’s even a possibility.
And every time I realized we were slipping out of control, and I set some ground rules and established consequences, I would quickly backtrack. It all came back to our current situation—we are stuck together in a small house. Her default mood in the best of circumstances is generic, angsty, teenage snit. Layer on top of that, a dash of righteous indignation about how unfair the world is right now. And there are no activities, no sports, no places she can go to blow off steam. So, when you add in the knee-jerk hormonal rage that results when things are “NOT FAIR!!!!” this would be as much of (if not more) a punishment for me than it would be for her, so I’d never follow through on them.
And you don’t need to tell me I’m doing it wrong. Or shame me for being a pushover. I’ve already taken care of that for you.
This is a problem that will hopefully solve itself. School starts for us shortly. It’s all online, all the time. I’m heading back to the office three days a week. Things are going to have to change. It’s going to be a rough transition. But hopefully, by not having me around to be marshy, she’ll mellow out and get back on track. School starts at 8:30, not 3:30, so sleeping patterns will need to change. No mom to make her lunch means she’ll have to figure out what to do or go hungry. If her dog pees on the floor of her room once, she’ll remember how to take him for a walk.
And yes. This is a totally passive-aggressive way to fix the problem. But as a marshmallow mom, it’s in my nature to arrange for problems to organically solve themselves. Although organic marshmallows are kind of gross.
And yes. The problem may not solve itself organically. I may have short-term spoiled her beyond her ability to self-correct. However, also keep in mind, when marshmallows get old, they get hard and tough and pretty nasty. And, being a marshmallow, I may do the same.
A full-time copywriter, Lilly Winters lives outside Washington, D.C. in a house full of animals—which include her husband and teenager. Under a different name, she’s written a book of short stories, a Young Adult novel, and was most recently published in Gravity Dancers. Lilly Winters isn’t posting her real picture because it’s possible she is currently wanted by the Mexican drug cartel. It’s also possible she watches too much Ozark.