While the definitions of motherhood vary from culture to culture, and region from region, mothering styles can be as different as individual personalities. Everyone will bring their own set of values to the table, but here are eight kinds of Native moms you might be familiar with. Now sit up straight and eat your vegetables.
The Everybody’s-Mom Mom
This is the mom who takes in everybody’s kids and calls them her own. The mom whose personal adage “there’s more enough to go around” and “the more the merrier.” If you grew up thinking that your bed was a sleeping bag on the floor next to six other kids—or eight, or 11, or 20—who you thought were your siblings, you might be the child of an Everybody’s-Mom Mom.
The Hawk Mom
Sometimes referred to as a helicopter mom, or helicopter parent, the Hawk Mom never let you out of her sight, and if for one fleeting, carefree moment you fell out of her bionic range of sight, she would swoop down and scoop you up into her proverbial wingspan and rush you to “safety.” It’s a wonder you ever learned how to walk by yourself. If you never learned to tie your shoes, and still only buy Velcro, you might have been brought up by a Hawk Mom.
The Cougar Mom
No, not that kind of “cougar.” The Cougar Mom is akin to the Tiger Mom, which the author Amy Chua made famous with her best-selling book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The cougar mom runs a ship so tight that she makes yoga pants seem blousy. This mom doesn’t just put the “line” in “discipline,” she invented the line, as in, don’t you dare think of crossing it if you know what’s good for you!
Basketball Mom (aka Baller Mom)
The Basketball Mom is a close cousin of the Soccer Mom. If your mom was a Basketball Mom, chances are you know your way around a basketball court. This mom logged hours and hours courtside and hundreds of miles annually driving you from game to game. Her enthusiasm and team spirit is unmatched to the point that by the end of every season you wondered if aliens stole her body and replaced her with Basketball Mom, the imposter who hadn’t taken off the team’s jersey except to shower, and even then, you couldn’t be sure. Added benefit: Basketball Mom brought the best snacks during halftime.
Pow Wow Mom
In other circles she is known as pageant mom, or stage mother. Did you hear about the pow wow mom who fed her daughter jumping beans so her daughter would have more pep in her step when she danced jingle-dress? No? Well, that’s because it’s a made-up story. Pow Wow Mom is another version of Basketball Mom, only without the free-throws. She’s the mom who’ll stay up all night working on your dance regalia tirelessly and without complaint, who will bead your crown, cuffs, or cape until her fingers bleed. You’re actually pretty lucky — she’ll probably be the biggest supporter you’ll ever have in your life, so enjoy it while you can. And for Creator’s sakes – don’t ever miss your community pow wow.
Tribal Council Mom
If your mom was on tribal council, everybody thought you received special entitlements and kick-backs. And chances are, you did. The drawback was that if you ever did anything wrong, like act-out in class, or neglect turning in your homework, she would be the first one to hear about it, and as a result, you were a model student. Having a mom on tribal council was like having a parent who was your school principal or being the pastor’s kid. Although, it wasn’t so bad, since most councils rotate out members every few years.
If you were carted around in a cradleboard until age five, your mom might have been Super-tradish. If your mom packed your lunch box exclusively with dried huckleberries and buffalo jerky, when everyone else got bologna sandwiches and Twinkies, she might have been a Super-tradish Mom. If you were sent to school wearing moccasins or ribbon shirts, and everyone else wore sports jerseys and Jordans, your mom might have been Super-tradish.
Chill Mom is basically the equivalent to what’s referred to as free-range parenting. Chill Mom is laid back and figures that if it’s something important then you’ll eventually figure it out for yourself. Chill Mom thinks that if you’re still alive by the end of the day, she’s done her job. It isn’t that Chill Mom is negligent so much as she is hands-off, and believes that she’s not doing you any favors by over-supervising. The opposite of Hawk Mom, Chill Mom assumes you know what you’re doing. If you packed your own lunches, and walked yourself to school, you likely had a Chill Mom.