According to fellow parenting blog The Daily Momtra, parents can be divided into three distinct categories: The Well-Meaning Newbie, The Parent-Centric Parent and The Child-Centric Parent. If you are Parent-Centric you integrate your child into your lifestyle. If you are Child-Centric you adjust your lifestyle to fit your child. However I believe that parents display a spectrum of behaviours. It’s not unusual to be child-centric in some of your approaches but parent-centric in others.
Therefore, adopting a comprehensive view, I have created this quiz to enable you to determine where on the parenting spectrum you fall. Are you more Alpha Parent or Slummy Mummy? (Note: the quiz smacks of Britishness, so American cousins don’t despair if you can’t tell your Boden from your M&S).
How did you feed your child until they were 6 months?
- Exclusively breastfed.
- Combination of breastmilk and formula.
- Breastmilk for a few weeks then switched to full-time formula.
- Exclusive formula feeding from the start.
Which of the following dominates your wardrobe?
- Boden and John Lewis.
- M&S and Next.
- Peacocks and Newlook.
- Primark and JD Sports.
What do you do if your 8 month old baby cannot settle to sleep at night?
- Attend immediately to baby’s every whimper or cough. Never leave to cry.
- Leave baby to whimper for 5 minutes then attend to her if she has not settled. Repeat if necessary.
- Leave baby to cry for as long as my eardrums and sanity can handle. It’s what babies do.
- Mam will get it.
Which of the following best describes your baby’s weaning process?
- Solids were introduced at exactly 6 months. Baby’s diet is entirely home-made using only organic produce.
- Solids were introduced at around 6 months. Baby’s diet is mostly home-made, sometimes organic by fluke.
- Solids were introduced at around 4 months. Baby’s diet is mostly jarred and occasionally home-made.
- Solids were introduced at 3 months. Baby’s diet is entirely jarred although I sometimes like to put a rusk into his bottle so he sleeps longer.
Which of the following best describes a common catastrophe in your kitchen?
- I can’t find the mini blowtorch for the crème brulée and I’m having to use JARRED sauce for the pasta.
- I can’t find enough lids for the tupperware boxes to store the baby’s homemade food for freezing.
- The multibag of Walkers has exploded.
- There are no clean forks for the kids’ Pot Noodles.
What’s your opinion of the supermarket: Asda?
- I had to resort to Asda once. It was nearly five weeks since last pay day and desperate times mean desperate measures.
- I don’t like ASDA not because it’s cheap but because they are owned by Walmart and they don’t allow their workers to join a union.
- I love Asda – I stock up during their Baby Events; Their George children’s clothing look like imitation mini-Boden; And there’s always a special on. This week he’s working on the checkout.
- It’s full of snobs. They even make you pay for plastic carrier bags. Some shit about being “green”.
Which car do you own?
- A LandRover Discovery – aka the Chelsea tractor.
- A Renault Espace.
- A trusty Toyota Yaris to pop to Asda in.
- A 3-Door with some extra trims and modifications and big phat zorst.
How do your children get home from school?
- We all walk together holding hands mirroring a scene from The Sound of Music. It’s good for their health and gives the illusion that I’m eco-friendly, which is all the rage these days.
- I drive them home in the Espace.
- They get the bus because I need the car for work.
- In the back of a police car.
How many online parenting forums are you a member of?
- At least five and I post on them daily. I moderate at least one of them.
- Around three and I post on them regularly.
- I stick to one but I seldom post.
- None. They are full of stuck-up people.
If you had to choose only one parenting forum to frequent, which would it be?
- Baby Centre.
- Baby & Bump.
Which of the following best describes your Facebook conduct?
- My friends call me the ultimate baby bore. Every status update is about my children and my parenting achievements. Every step, smile and fart is documented. I make sure my friends and family know that junior is brightest/best-looking/most easygoing baby who’s ever been born. I have a separate photograph album for every month of each of my children’s lives. When I was pregnant I had at least three pregnancy applications which updated my status weekly with detailed information about foetal development and the baby’s size equivalent to various fruit. I’m a member of around five Facebook parenting groups; mostly lactivism, baby led weaning and baby-wearing related. My profile picture is a photo of me breastfeeding with a flawless (handmade to M&S food-porn standard) quiche subtly positioned on the table in the background.
- Most of my status updates relate to my parenting experience. I like to report my children’s milestones and regularly post photographs of our outings. My profile picture is the cutest, most flattering photo of my toddler.
- About a third of my status updates are parenting-related. I post major milestones such as first word and first step. I occasionally post photographs if they are extra-cute. My profile picture is a photo of me and my children.
- I post about my children from time to time but I often find that there are much more important things to post about, such as my recent tattoo, details of my latest spat with my arsehole of a partner, how shit men are, and photographs of me getting wrecked last night. My profile picture is a photo of me, in a nightclub toilet, holding the camera above my head at a right angle and pouting.
Which organisation has assisted you most on your parenting journey?
- Le Leche League.
- The local library.
- Sure Start.
- Cash My Gold.
In an ante-natal class, the midwife tells you to write down the kind of child you want to have. You write:
- A genius.
- A contented child.
- One who is really tired at night time.
- One with a small head.
When is the right time to get an epidural?
- NEVER. Epidurals are for the weak. They prolong labour, increase the risk of complications and interfere with bonding hormones.
- When the pain becomes too much to deal with.
- As soon as the anesthetist is available.
- As soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
What are your pet-hates with regard to parenting?
- Unmarried parents, pierced ears, jelly shoes, egg and chips, Barbie, package holidays, Fruit Shoots, babies in football kits, eating in the street, playing with children from council estates, not enough highchairs in Starbucks.
- Mothers who don’t attempt to breastfeed, smoking and drinking around children, smoking and drinking whilst pregnant, obese parents bringing their obese offspring for meals at KFC, not enough high chairs in the Marks and Spencer Cafe.
- Grandparents that don’t help out, the price of children’s clothing, not enough high chairs in Wetherspoons.
- Snobby midwives that interfere with your human right to smoke, toddlers who won’t sit quietly through Jeremy Kyle, not knowing which bloke to put on the CSA application, not enough high chairs in the Job Centre.
A friend suggests ‘baby juice’ for your little one. Which of the following best describes your response?
- You spend at least an hour online researching the health implications of said baby juice. You phone your health visitor to ask her opinion. You make an appointment with your GP about a ‘bad back’ that just materialised and ask him about baby juice. You email the dietician at your local hospital for their pennies worth. You decide it’s probably best not to give your little one some baby juice as it’s not water or breastmilk and therefore inherently evil.
- You log onto Baby Centre and ask their opinion on baby juice. You follow their advice.
- Well my friend suggested it so it must be okay.
- No thanks, I’ll stick with giving my baby tea in a bottle. It sounds cheaper.
What do you wear on the school run?
- Understated Whistles trousers, a Jaeger shirt, Jones boots, immaculate makeup, glossy blonde mane and carrying hand-prepared organic lunches. I adhere to the “no wellies on the school run, unless they’re Hunters” rule.
- Sensible shoes, clean blouse, skinny jeans, most of my usual makeup, and carrying hand-prepared albeit non-organic lunches.
- Maternity jeans (despite giving birth three years ago), t-shirt from George, imitation-Uggs, dry-shampooed hair, a slap of tinted moisturiser, and carrying pre-packed supermarket lunches.
- Anything with elastic (pyjama pants, track pants, etc), my latest bloke’s football shirt, Kappa jacket, slippers with a manky babywipe attached, orange skin, dark lipliner with light lipstick, peroxide hair with roots, ‘gold’ Argos earrings that reach my shoulders, and carrying free school dinners vouchers.
What gift do you buy for your child’s teacher at Christmas?
- An elaborately wrapped Mulberry handbag, a spa day voucher and a brace of pheasants.
- A bottle of wine, a personalised box of Thorntons and a handmade card.
- A Christmas tree ornament and a bottle of Blossom Hill.
- A second-hand Poundland soft toy from a car boot sale and some Travelodge guest soaps.
How do you discipline your children?
- The following steps carried out in painstaking precision: Step one is to listen. Step 2 failure to listen = strike 1, strike 2, strike 3. Step 3, is depending on age, time out or removal of item/activity.
- Eyebrows, ‘the look’ and stern mumsy tone of voice. Failing that, sticker chart.
- Quick! Slam a dummy in his mouth. If that fails, bribe him with the promise of a comic.
- I scream and shout and tell them to shut the F up. A slap on the legs and a good cuff add the finishing touches.
You see a person breastfeeding in public. What’s your reaction?
- I printed some “Thank You for Breastfeeding in Public” business cards for just for this occasion. After giving her one I invite her to the local breastfeeding mafia group and recommend The Politics of Breastfeeding as a decent bedside read.
- Look away quickly. I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable.
- Give her the stink eye and ask her why she’s shoving her baps in my face. Exhibitionist!
What was your approach to selecting your child’s school?
- I spent weeks searching online at Directgov and my LEA website for details about individual schools. I ploughed through each school’s brochure and website. After that, armed with Ofsted reports and league tables, I visited all the schools in the local area where I interviewed the teachers, head teachers, parents and children. Then to secure my child’s place at my chosen school I helped out at fundraisers, moved to within a metre of the school gates and converted to Catholicism.
- I read through the Ofstead reports of my local schools, then “borrowed” the address of a friend who had a flat in the catchment area of the best school.
- I sent my child to the same school I went to. There are worse ones.
- You can select their school?
It’s your child’s third birthday. How do you celebrate?
- I hire an entire soft play centre complete with bouncy castle, ball pool, swimming pool and Justin Fletcher as entertainer.
- A trip to the cinema for everyone followed by Pizza Express.
- A Wacky Warehouse party with each child paying for themselves.
- A few vodkas on the town whilst mam looks after the sprog.
What was your TTC (Trying to Conceive) plan?
- I scheduled childbirth for the right month of the school year, I peed on copious amounts of sticks, spat on microscopes, took my temperature religiously and I’ve done most things from this list.
- I took a long time considering the implications for my existing family and the environment and then started taking folic acid three months before conception.
- I got bored after the first few months of trying so each night I told my bloke to ‘entertain himself’ then come to me when he was ‘ready’.
- I calculated how much extra the DSS would give us, then ‘forgot’ to take my pill.
You don’t have any plans one Sunday. How do you spend it?
- Somewhere in the Bible it says that Sundays are for relaxing, but why relax when you have flash cards? After an intensive flashcard session my 2 year old has an hour of violin then we all head to the park and fly a kite. When we return home the children help me to re-arrange my bookshelves of parenting manuals before I cook an organic dinner.
- We all drive to the MIL’s house. She’s been nagging to see the kids so I may as well acquire some brownie points. I compliment her crockery, do the washing up and umpire the Monopoly game. I soon feel guilty because I’m not flying a kite in the park.
- Sunday noms at Wetherspoons, including an hour spent retrieving menus, crayons, napkins and peas from the floor.
- Curl up with Foxy Bingo and a can of Skol, oblivious to the fact that my toddler is deleting everything from the Skybox.
It’s your first night out without the baby. The only thing on your mind is…
- I know I left detailed instructions but I’ll just call the sitter to check that she’s using a 2.5 tog sleeping bag instead of a 1.5 tog; and also that she remembered to set a bowl of water near the nursery’s heating vent so that the air will circulate the evaporating water, maintaining a higher humidity level.
- Should I call the sitter?
- If I’ve calculated correctly I can afford a double vodka and a single Aftershock which should get me sloshed for the maximum period at minimum price, AND I can still treat Jr to that baby gym I’ve had my eye on.
- Is that guy/girl over there checking me out?
Your four year old tells you what they want to be when they grow up. They say:
- Prime Minister.
- A Doctor.
- An Octonaut.
- A pimp.
Your son has just hit your daughter over the head with a piece of Duplo. How do you react?
- Demand your preschool son give you a verbal essay (approx 1,500 words) on why it is wrong to hit and what he learnt from the experience.
- Confiscate the Duplo and request an apology.
- Jump in only if blood is shed.
- Crank up the TV to drown out the yelling.
One of your children is screaming for you at one end of the house, the other you just found playing in the toilet. What do you do first?
- Grab some anti-bac, gloves and a face mask. You’re gonna need them.
- Go get screamer, bring him to bathroom and give both a stern telling off.
- Hand toilet brush to child number 2, the toilet hasn’t been cleaned lately.
- Ignore them both; Jeremy Kyle is just about to give a DNA result.
Your toddler recently learned to walk. Is your house baby proof?
- I have affixed a camera to his forehead and covered him in bubble wrap. I have also purchased every possible safety device on Amazon, so he is COMPLETELY safe.
- With all necessities, sans bubble wrap.
- Nah, he needs to be free to make mistakes, and learn from them.
- I’ve swapped the glass ash tray for a coke can.
You’ve taken the test. So what flavour is your parenting?
MOSTLY As: Bona Fide Alpha Parent.
“Alpha mums turn parenting into a serious issue and motherhood into martyrdom” hark The Times, and they may have a point. There are some traits of Alpha Parents that are less than desirable. Their relentless perfectionist attitude can be draining on themselves and those around them; and there is only so much Boden you can wear in a week. As an Alpha Parent you view parenting as an extreme sport. Rigid adherence to guidelines and lack of flexibility act as a straight-jacket . You are easily distinguished from other parents due to the force-field that radiates around you, which causes all incompatible parenting views to rickershaw off it. Most likely a highly educated woman who has abandoned a high-flying career for motherhood, you throw yourself into parenthood with such gusto that you often lose all perspective on what’s really important in life. Your urge to micromanage puts your children at risk of stunted independence. Relax and try not to control every aspect of their life.
MOSTLY Bs: Complacent Alpha Parent.
Possibly crunchy and slightly pushy, like the Bona Fide Alpha Parent you’re a martyr on the treadmill of extracurricular activities, health organisation guidelines and keeping up appearances. But unlike your Bona Fide sister you stay on the right side of sanity. You’re loving, you’re giving, you’ve made more sacrifices than a geriatric monk. You’d sooner pull your top lip over your head than smack your children. Your dislike for alcohol-guzzling expectant mums and smoking parents is admirable but some people interpret your views as judgemental. Screw them. You maintain a healthy balance between preserving high standards and preserving good reasoning. You recognise that life shouldn’t be boot camp for a child, nor should it be a twenty-four-hour playground.
MOSTLY Cs: Relaxed Parent-Centric.
Partial to a bit of Asda, you prescribe to “good enough” parenting. Your behaviour is also characteristic of what has been coined “short-term parenting” (PhD in Parenting). This means that you often place a desire to achieve immediate results above a desire to avoid lasting negative impacts on your child’s physical or mental health. It’s not all bad though. You’re a laid back mum and taking a relaxed approach to parenting puts your children in the driving seat.
MOSTLY Ds: Slummy Mummy.
Uh-oh. Sirens are going off at La Leche League HQ, the NSPCC, HM Revenue & Customs, and other judgypants establishments. Also known as a ‘Beta Mum’, people can tell what your children had for breakfast by looking at your jeans. There is an element of ignorance in the Slummy Mummy’s approach. It’s not uncommon to hear “They did it when we were all kids and we’re all fine”. Do you really believe that? If we were ‘all fine’ we wouldn’t be seeing 50% of taxes disappearing into the NHS. Probably a Rusk Parent, you neither demand of, nor respond, to your child. Rather, your child is an incidental thing in the house. You are a drain on the NHS, the welfare state and the police force; worse still, you keep the Daily Mail in business. On a positive note however, you make other parents feel better about themselves. By being at the bottom of the parenting food-chain, you unwittingly feed the egos of your superiors, providing them with a comforting and enduring sense of smugness.