I recently came across a phrase online that made me giggle. I love dry humor and had a good laugh when I saw someone use the phrase “Stepford Mom.”
What exactly is a Stepford Mom? A Stepford Mom is a mother who is constantly striving to be perfect. She feels that everything in her life must be done a certain way and it must be done with a smile on her face. She’s not allowed to complain and will not settle for anything less than perfect. And perfect often comes with a hefty price tag and a lot of pressure.
Before I became a mother, I didn’t think this type of woman existed. If someone had told me that there are moms out there who will spend seven hours sewing sequins on her daughters dance recital dress and will do it till her fingers bleed, I would have called bullshit. Except I now know for a fact that the above scenario is entirely true because I have seen it with my own eyes.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have nice things or wanting to make your kids have a fun and memorable childhood. But when does it stop? Where do we draw the line? Is it reasonable to spend $800 on decorations for a two year olds birthday party? Is it normal to buy name-brand onesies that your newborn will grow out of in three weeks? Maybe that is your normal. That is okay. But that is not my normal and I can guarantee that as a child growing up in the 90s, I didn’t know anyone who had that kind of normal either.
When I was growing up, birthday parties were not status symbols. There wasn’t a competition to see who had the best treat bags or the coolest theme. We didn’t even have themes. You know what the theme was? Balloons, streamers, pizza and cake. Maybe a few games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey or Duck-Duck-Goose. Our parents didn’t hire photographers for every single life moment and we definitely didn’t get gifts that cost hundreds of dollars. I am not saying there is anything wrong with any of this because I have done some of the above things. But when did society change so much? Why are we so obsessed with being perfect?
It’s not just the birthday parties and the photographers either. The Stepford Mom perfection mode is everywhere. I see it with new moms all of the time. We feel this need to look perfect immediately after having a baby. I remember being embarrassed to share pictures of myself when my daughter was a newborn because I looked like shit. Well of course I looked like shit, I had just had a baby. But I see it so often, where new moms feel like they have to look put-together. They must have perfect hair and perfect makeup and they can’t let anyone see them in sweatpants or leggings or maternity jeans. It’s kind of depressing to think that some women would feel judged by society for not looking perfect after having a baby. Aren’t we technically on a free pass to look like crap for the first few months?
And then there are the Stepford Moms who MUST have the best of everything. The most expensive diaper bag, the $600 nursery bedding set, cribs that cost as much as cars and gizmos and gadgets that are totally unnecessary but are ultra-important in the eyes of the Stepford Mom because she needs to keep up with the Joneses.
Society puts tons of pressure on mothers. We are constantly being shown images of supermodels that lost their baby weight in six weeks. There are TV shows that flaunt excessive birthday parties and ridiculous spending by parents and children who are caught up with materialistic goods and status symbols. There are advertisements absolutely everywhere that market high end toys and clothing, for kids and adults alike.
If you want and can afford thousands of dollars on gifts, photographers, decorations, and the latest and greatest items, then go for it. It’s your money and you can spend it however you want. But what makes me sad is seeing people who simply do not have the funds get caught in the trap and spend anyway. And those moms will do it with a smile on their face. That is what makes a true Stepford Mom. She’s drowning in debt and is caught in a cycle she can’t break. But as long as she looks perfect and has the materialistic goods then she doesn’t care. Because if she has all of the things that society tells her she needs then she must be the perfect Stepford Mom that she strives to be.
Fuck that. I’ll drink my cheap wine and buy dollar store decorations for my toddler’s birthday party. She’s not going to remember it anyway. I’d rather save my money for important things, like her future education. But that’s just me. Take what I say with a grain of salt. I was probably drunk when I wrote this!