What Type of Playground Mom Are YOU?

With eight years of playground experience under my belt, I consider myself to be a veteran playground mom. I’m no longer that fresh-faced rookie parent who walked into a park with my baby and was surprised by another mom immediately remarking, “Well, aren’t you all dressed up for the playground.”

I now know the mom who is about to give that kind of backhanded compliment, intended more for her friends than for me. I can spot her a mile away and I’m ready for her. Since learning how to navigate a playground is arguably just as crucial for parents as for kids, I’d like to share my knowledge of the types of playground moms to help you connect with and avoid all the right people.

Too Cool Mom

The Too Cool Mom travels only in packs, wearing sunglasses and nearly identical hair styles. Her child’s name is unique and she shouts it more frequently than necessary so it can be enjoyed by all. She desperately craves the approval of her friends and has no time to waste on other park moms. Attempt small talk and you will feel the palpable chill of her dismissive one-word response. She is definitely judging your child’s clothing and talking about you behind your back.

Compatible with: Only fellow Too Cool Moms
Should Avoid: N/A, will avoid everyone else

Laid Back Mom

The Laid Back Mom lets her kids explore the playground, take risks, and make mistakes with minimal interference. She’s not going to stop her kids from climbing up the slide or cutting in line. If her child gets into an argument with yours, she’ll let them work it out themselves. She’s friendly and has a sense of humor about her own kids, but she’s not going to apologize for them.

Compatible with: Rookie Mom

Should avoid: Rule Follower Mom, Too Cool Mom

Too Laid Back Mom

The Too Laid Back Mom is over it all. She has brought her kids to the playground so they’ll leave her alone. Typically found staring at her phone, the Too Laid Back Mom’s kids are running amok and she does not care. Unless there’s blood, her kids better leave her alone.

Compatible with: Laid Back Mom
Should avoid: Rule Follower Mom, Helicopter Mom, Too Cool Mom

Helicopter Mom

The Helicopter Mom is a classic playground staple. She’s usually aware of her label and doesn’t mind it if it means she’s assuring her child’s safety at all times. She will not hesitate to ask your kid not to climb up the slide if he is interfering with hers. She may consider herself another type of mom before surprising you and revealing herself as a Helicopter Mom, to your great disappointment. She is difficult to converse with as she is always on the move and does not take her eyes off her child.

Compatible with: Germaphobe Mom, Rule Follower Mom

Should avoid: Laid Back Mom, Too Laid Back Mom, Too Cool Mom

Germaphobe Mom

The rarest of all park moms, the Germaphobe Mom typically avoids playgrounds as they are full of the most filthy, germ-infested members of the general public: children. A Germaphobe Mom can easily be detected by the scent of her Clorox Wipes, a warning signal to other parents to keep their disgusting children far away from hers if they don’t want any trouble.

Compatible with: Helicopter Mom
Should avoid: Laid Back Mom, Too Laid Back Mom, Too Cool Mom, Children

Rule Follower Mom

To the Rule Follower Mom, rules are concrete and must be obeyed to avoid total chaos. She may correct your child for disobeying her rules, but she is far more likely to passive-aggressively remind her own kid (and thereby, the entire playground) of her rules. “Slides are for going DOWN!” she can often be heard repeating. Rule Follower Moms are generally friendly and may appear relaxed, but they are discreetly wincing in pain with each child they see not using the equipment as intended.

Compatible with: Germaphobe Mom, Helicopter Mom
Should avoid: Laid Back Mom, Too Laid Back Mom, Too Cool Mom

Rookie Mom

The Rookie Mom has brought her baby to the park to enjoy some quality time together. She has no idea what she’s getting herself into. She and her child will be optimistically and naïvely dressed without concern for what will inevitably be expelled from the baby. She has forgotten to pack snacks, wipes, and a change of clothes. She doesn’t know what type of playground mom she will be yet and will probably have to experiment with a few types before she figures it out. Go easy on her.

Compatible with: Laid Back Mom, Rule Follower Mom
Should avoid: Too Laid Back Mom, Germaphobe Mom, Too Cool Mom

So what type of Playground Mom are you?

Katie is a SAHM mom of three, a bad driver of a heavily dented minivan, a KC native, and an owner of a messy house in Overland Park (and not in a cute “Look at my kids playing in unfolded laundry!” way, but more in a “Don’t stick your hands under the couch until we’ve investigated that smell!” way). She loves long family road trips, dogs with people names, and using her rare kid-free time to go to concerts and movies. She hates speaking in third person and people with dog names. She is most proud of her children when they sing David Bowie songs in public and express independence in ways that cause strangers concern.


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