There are many adjustments you have to make once you become a parent – things like not always putting yourself first (admit it… that’s jarring!), learning to live on less sleep and taking forever and a day to simply get out the door. The one that’s particularly tricky however, that not many tell you about is navigating the school social scene. No, I’m not talking for your kids. I mean for you, mama!

It’s kind of like a social mind f**k I liken to The Hunger Games – Happy First Day of School. And may the odds be ever in your favor. Let’s throw a bunch of people from all walks of life into a group and ask them to make major life decisions for our children together. Oh, and they should socialize and be friends too, especially if your kid wants to be invited to that weekly playdate every Friday at 3. You know which one I’m talking about. The playdate.

I, for one, clearly made a major faux pas on the first day of my daughter’s fancy New York City pre-school… apparently you’re not supposed to wear a sleeveless Givenchy tee with a vicious looking rottweiler printed on it. Scares the two-year olds. Who knew?? Well, in the years that have passed since I’ve identified five major kinds of moms; archetypes, if you will. Do you see yourself in any of these?

Illustrations by @inslee

This may seem stereotypical but there is always one. Always. She knows every teacher by name, is besties with the principal and you can rely on her to tell you like it is in this particular school… even if you didn’t ask. Always at the ready on bake sale day and will beat your door down to get you to donate for the silent auction. She may hit up your parents as well. We appreciate the Ultra-Mom because well, she gets shit done – but perhaps she can forget about a school event just once. If only to make the rest of us feel better.


She means well; she really does. And she tries. Hard. She’ll raise her hand to be class mom, volunteers in the lunch room and signs up to be the field trip class chaperone… although her presence is hardly guaranteed. It’s likely she works long hours and has a very demanding job so it’s understandable that she can’t be super school mama, but she wants to be. Convinced she can have it all, she shows up for morning drop-off mid-conference call and is the mom who invites every kid in the class to her son’s birthday. And their siblings too.


On the first day of school this is the mom you notice first. Why? Mostly because she’s just so damned cool. It’s not that she’s dressed to the nines but whatever she is wearing looks impeccable on her. Distressed jeans that hang off her hips perfectly, obscure sneakers the rest of the world will be wearing three months from now and an air of confidence that permeates the room. She may seem stand-offish but go talk to her – you’ll be surprised she’s quite friendly.


Does she own anything outside of the latest from Bandier, Carbon38 or Lululemon? One can not be too sure. Ask where she’s heading and the response will be: a) Trainer; b) Soulcycle; c) Yoga; d) All of the above. The wonderful news about having her in your class is she’ll tell you all about the latest exercise trends, healthy foods to eat and why sugar is the devil. Like really, it will kill you. The not-so-good news? Remember that Pilates class you skipped this morning? Yeah, you’ll feel guilty about that all over again.


Let me start by saying we probably all have a little of this mom in us. For two reasons. First, let’s be honest, who can keep track of all this crap (conferences, talks, trips, playdates, parties and the list goes on…)?? Second, we’re all trying the best we can but sometimes you stay out too late with the girls, have one too many glasses of wine and fine, you forget the birthday cupcakes. The key is to embrace it – kids can learn from imperfections too.

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