Guest Blogger Jenny: Perfect Mommy Syndrome In LA Private Elementary Schools


Perfect Mommy Syndrome: Are Celebrity Moms Too Perfect?


Fame

Supermodel Gisele: “Mandatory Breastfeeding Should Be Worldwide Law” and “Natural childbirth didn’t hurt in the slightest”. (Source: Us Magazine)

Mayim Bialik:

Mayim Bialik: Her son Fred was born at home, and Miles (age 3) was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating homemade granola. Mayim makes her own shampoo, cleaning products and granola, potty-trained her kids by age 18 months, doesn’t vaccinate and plans to homeschool her kids. (Source: People Magazine)

A perfect mommy. Who wouldn’t want to have that moniker? Perfect marriage, perfect kids, perfect house, perfect body, perfect career. Ok, but if you were really like this, you’d also have no friends, since everyone would hate you.

It’s also a complete impossibility. Still, there are plenty of mommies running around town pretending they’re perfect. And many of them, I suppose, send their kids to private school (although one of the suspects I have in mind has actually sent her child to many a school, public and private, because none of them were perfect enough for her and her perfect child… but I digress).

There are a few renditions of the Perfect Private School Mommy. The first version, The Beauty Queen, is very well put together. She’s the one in the fur vest and teetering heels and huge diamonds at three in the afternoon. You always wonder where she came from, where she’s going, and how much time and effort it took to look like that. You wonder this while standing in grubby Converse hightops and a sweatshirt that hasn’t been washed in two weeks. The Queen is nice, in an “I’m above it all” sort of way. She is apart, and you sense she wants it that way, as if she’s meant to be gazed upon and discussed, but not conversed with.

Another version is the ultra efficient school organizer mommy, code name General MacArthur. She’s on every committee. She knows everything going on at the school; just ask her! But if you do, expect a slightly patronizing, knowing lilt, because knowledge to this one is power, and she’s not afraid to wield it. Because she’s always on campus, you’d think her kid would be exemplary, but he’s not (no matter, since no one wants to be honest with her and lose her much needed services). This woman was on student council from birth, had a super corporate job, and has applied all her frustrated ambitions to the running of the school.

Still another version: the Safety Monitor. This perfect mommy worries. She worries a lot. She worries on everyone else’s behalf. She worries about the kids’ online access at school. She worries they will be snatched on a field trip (honestly, I want to say to people with this fear, no one wants your children except for you). She worries about injuries on the schoolyard and the one mile run the kids have to do for fitness testing (heat prostration?). This is also the mommy who probably writes those bizarre online child abuse “chance encounter” posts regarding other people’s children: “To the mother of the twins in the park with the old woman giving them food with high fructose corn syrup: please contact me to learn more.”

Are they all annoying? Of course. Should you take them seriously? Please don’t. Remember that entering a school yard as an adult can be a loaded experience, reducing many parents to the wimpy, scared, bullied, teased dorks they used to be. While some of us deal with this by being low key and trying to make it about our kids (the ones actually currently enrolled in school), others compensate in extreme ways. While I haven’t encountered much of this irritating behavior at Mirman, I’ve heard enough complaints from both private and public school parents to know it’s common. And take comfort in this: if you can look around and recognize these personalities at your school, it probably means you aren’t one of them.

Jenny Heitz has worked as a staff writer for Coast Weekly in Carmel, freelanced in the South Bay, and then switched to advertising copywriting. Her daughter started 4th grade at Mirman School this year. She previously attended 3rd St. Elementary School. Jenny has been published recently in the Daily News. She now writes about gift ideas and products on her blog, Find A Toad.

21 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Jenny: Perfect Mommy Syndrome In LA Private Elementary Schools

  1. Mayim Bialik is a wonderful mother who does what she feels is right for her family. Please don't lump her with those others.

  2. I wonder.. Should I hide the fact that my kid wears cloth diapers and is breastfed because it will offend the moms who use disposables and formula-feed? I'm not perfect, but I will continue to do the best job of being a mom that I can. Isn't that what ALL moms are trying to do? Sounds to me like you're feeling guilty about your choices after seeing parents who might be making better ones. Maybe if you were confident in the way you're parenting your children, you wouldn't even notice what everyone else is doing…. A little soul-searching might be in order to figure out what the REAL issue is.

  3. There is another side to every story. Remeber, Mayim was a What Not To Wear participant last year. These moms appear at every school, it's unfair to think these steryotypes are for the famous alone. By pulling headlines and making up stuff, you just look dumb.
    Megan M.

  4. I certainly wouldn't class a woman who doesn't vaccinate her kids and plans to home-school them a perfect mommy. Quite the opposite in fact.

  5. Way to negatively label moms who are simply exercising their right to be the moms they want to be. Do some of them seem over the top? Outside your comfort zone? Welcome to reality.
    Was this article supposed to encourage other mothers to hold their heads up high and ignore judgment from others? If so, how ironic that the backbone of it was blatantly judgmental.

  6. It sounds like all these moms, celebrity and otherwise, are trying to put the needs of the kids first, which should warrant at least a modicum of respect. It's clear that you disagree with their choices about what facets of parenting should get the lions share of the mother's energy, but at least give them credit for putting the energy in somewhere.

    And I can't help noticing that the celebrity moms you mentioned didn't fit any of the categories of "perfect mommy" that you describe. Did you forget to create a "Granola Goddess" category? ;)

  7. What pathetic judgmental drivel! Jealous much?

    Oh and Josie, you are kidding right? How much did you research your CHOICE to inject toxins in your child's blood veins? Trust me I know WAY MORE on the topic than you do! So yeah, I am a better parent if I took the time to research fully and not just take doctors (who are human and failable and many are just as ignorant and ill informed as many parents they are leading on) on their word seeing as they have the pharmaceutical reps in their back pocket!

    And what do you know about homeschool? Except that you would be a terrible homeschooling parent.

    Get a life lady, you have no clue about the world around you!

  8. Wow, Anonymous, you are pretty angry!
    I'm not sure I'm so impressed with YOUR research skills, since you don't seem to know it's "fallible" and not "failable". If you're such a homeschool advocate, why are you following a blog about private schools?

  9. @Anonymous, how much research I have done? Plenty, besides being a mother of two, I am a medical practitioner and specialize in pediatrics.
    You've made it rather clear that you would prefer to get your medical information from just about anywhere else except from medical professionals who are qualified to give you advice.
    And that's your prerogative, I just feel sorry for your children as you are putting their health in jeopardy.

  10. As a mother of three older kids, relatively speaking (8,11 and 13) I know how hard the perfect mother syndrome affects me. It hit me really, really hard after my husband died. And I don’t think I am alone in that issue. (not the young widow part, but with the perfect mom part.) How many of us bemoaned the fact that we didn’t fit into our jeans just a few months after having a baby? How many of us are still striving (even if just little) to get back to our pre-baby bodies?

    Perfect mother syndrome is real. It’s causing us to question our own judgments, idea and thoughts and the worst part is, is that it’s not allowing us to rely on each other for new ideas and vital input.

    There are no real national role models for mothers to look up to. We accept what the media presents to us. Hello Gisel and Mayim. What happens when they are our role models is what I see happening right here with these comments, we turn against each other. The poster is jealous, someone thinks vaccinating is vital, another thinks it’s dangerous. There is no conversation. Just sides.

    Choosing a side and sticking to it is easier to do. And man, it does feel good to be righteously angry, type a reply and hit send. (No doubt with a “Ha!” as you see the response come live on the board.) I know the feeling….believe me!

    But as a mother who has had to redefine what a good mother is for myself. (Pizza five nights in a row! What? You want syrup with that? Sure!) I have had to look at my own issues with the perfect mom syndrome. I also wondered why some celeb mom’s can’t just say “For me, childbirth was easy.” “For me, having my son see the birth of their sibling was important.” That little “for me” allows me to be more open, to look at what they are doing and to say “Hey I like that part but NOT that other part.” It gives me the ability to take what I like and leave the rest and NOT take sides.

    Perfect mom syndrome is causing mom's to down antidepressants, alcohol, drugs and even contemplate suicide because of a standard they feel they need to live up to in their own heads (fitting into jeans!), no doubt helped along by comments like “Childbirth was easy.”

    I think Jenny’s point was just that. It’s a real issue in private schools. I witness it in my children’s private schools too. And these celeb’s are in a position to help, not cast judgment on others. I hope they use their positions to heal and offer hope to us mothers instead of giving us just one more thing to live up to!

  11. I am not a mother, but I was struck immediately by the nasty & judgmental tone of this article. The author starts out right away judging other women by how they dress and how they choose to parent.

    Why do women "mean girl" each other at EVERY stage of life?

    Perhaps the nicely-dressed mother wants to feel good about herself. Perhaps the sneakers-wearing mother wants to feel comfy. Is this important? MYOB. Enjoy your own kids. Set a good example for them, and be nice, not hostile, to others, maybe?

  12. I won't say I'm a perfect mom. What I will say is I have a 23yr daughter and a 17yr son that I believe I raised to be good people. Being a perfect mom is impossible but if you can look at your children and know you did the best you could do, take pride in being a mom.

  13. Wow! Sunny Rowe, I couldn't have said this better myself. You hit the nail on the head about this blog post. Thanks for responding with these words:

    "Sounds to me like you're feeling guilty about your choices after seeing parents who might be making better ones. Maybe if you were confident in the way you're parenting your children, you wouldn't even notice what everyone else is doing…. A little soul-searching might be in order to figure out what the REAL issue is."

  14. Perhaps the pots are calling the kettle black! What nasty comments! This blogger has taken a modern-day Jane Austen lens and focussed it on the intense social scene at private schools. She doesn't sound guilty or malignantly judgmental to me — just blessed with social acumen and a swell sense of humor.

  15. This was a funny blog …and the only one I have read to well articulate the superiority complexes I have experienced at the playground. Everyone here needs some sleep and a sense of humor. Signed, the beauty queen mom.

  16. This is hilarious. I laughed out loud reading it. I'm so glad another blogger linked it to her blog and I was able to read it, even though I was a little late on the scene!

    Thanks for the amusing, entertaining way of looking at mommy groups. We all handle this awesome job responsibility in different ways. Even though I don't exactly fit into any of the above categories, I know there are others who have their own "description" for me!!! C'est la vie!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>