Some of you may have heard of a semi-derogatory term going around about a seemingly new phenomenon. It happens when our faces don’t have any social obligation to another human being. Upon resting, this is when our face becomes supposedly neutral, or blank. However, the problem is that our faces do not actually look neutral but more like that of someone wanting Chik-fil-a on a Sunday: disgruntled, discontent, and ready to fight.
As a mom, I see this face almost every time I go out. And more often than not, on other moms. It’s rampant. And, it’s real. Mothers, in general, just seem unhappy. Regardless of the facts or rather, the faces – I know that not all of these moms could possibly be angry and stuck-up. They couldn’t all absolutely hate the world. Right?
I took it upon myself to start watching other mom’s resting faces — at the soccer field, at the park, at Target, at Costco, the Library and wherever I found myself to be surrounded by them. I became more aware of my resting face, too. What I found was this: what looks to the outside world an angry and frustrated mother, is actually just a mom trying to survive and thrive in another day of the toughest ‘hood around. You know which one. I’m going to go ahead and reclaim this for us all and tell you – this is just our Resting Mom Face. If you look close enough, you might actually find a few variations of RMF.
Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the five types of Resting Mom Face I’ve seen out in the wild…
The ‘We’re Gonna Make It Through This’ Face
This is the mom who literally might snap at any moment. One of her children just peed his pants in the middle of Costco. The other is throwing their umpteenth temper tantrum; screaming, shaking, and fake crying. Her cart is full, and she’s hangry. It’s probably nearing nap time; and yet, here she is.
Yes, this mother has errands to run and crap to get done and her children have waged war against her to-do list and her agenda. She is fully aware of the stares of every other shopper in the store. In just minutes, she has become that family — people are beginning to wonder what kind of mother she is and just what kind of heathens she’s raising. This mom’s RMF shows a woman who feels like it’s her up against the rest of the world. But, instead of curling up on the floor and crying, she (wo)mans up and keeps on keeping on.
‘Yes, I Am Judging You’ Face
For the most part, mothers are mainly pretty supportive of other mothers. We try to cheerlead whenever possible and figuratively fist bump other mothers whenever we can. Look, we just don’t always have good days. And can I say it? Sometimes other moms make dumb choices in public. I do. We all do. It’s in those times where, if you look closely enough, our RMF is a feeble attempt of holding back side-eye and snark. Yes, we might be judging you. But, we sure as heck aren’t going to say anything to you. Instead, we sidle up next to you and ask how we can help. Truth is, we’ve been there. Motherhood is messy and it’s a lot easier to do it together, than alone.
The ‘Slow Scrolling, Mind Numbing’ Face
Our kids are playing on the jungle gym at Chik-fil-a and rather than watching their every move, we’ve got our phones out. You see us scrolling. And in your opinion, we look pretty absent; and just a little mindless. Have we forgotten we have children to manage? On one hand, you’re right. We have abandoned our brains.
You see, there are days where motherhood simply sucks every free and independent thought from us. We have nothing left to give. We have nothing left to think. If we were home, we’d probably be hiding in our bathrooms or in our closets or maybe just sitting in our car. There’d be ice cream involved. Maybe, a glass of wine. Besides feeding our bodies, what else could we possibly be doing? Nothing. We’re doing nothing. And it’s LIBERATING. We’re not going to forget our kids. It is because we have put them first time and time again that we’ve found ourselves here.
The ‘I’m Walking Into Target’ Face
Not all of our Resting Mom Faces are terrible. Just take a look at the mom who walks into Target around 7 pm on a Friday night. The kids are at home with dad, and she doesn’t have a care in the world. It’s just her and that big red cart. Imagine the possibilities! She’s got Starbucks in hand or whatever her preference, and she’s feeling good. I imagine the pendulum swings wide here — either she’s wearing the mom crown of achievement – a top knot, or she’s all did up; eyeliner and mascara done just so. Either way, there’s a look of content about her.
In her mind, she’s like Maria from the Sound of Music singing at the top of her lungs in a wide open field. Free time? CHECK. Without kids? CHECK? Shopping for her, and only her? CHECK. CHECK. You’ve just seen a mom in her natural habitat; unhindered and unrestrained.
The “I Love Them So Much I Want to Cry” Face
We may really enjoy our free time at Target, and crave just a little bit more personal space at times. But, the reality is that we wholeheartedly love our children. We’d do anything for them. We are ridiculously and over-the-top proud of every single milestone they accomplish. And yet, it’s not even those things that send us over the edge.
You might see a mom looking like this when her kid’s hand is nestled in hers as they walk around the park. Or, when her child says something absolutely hilarious that she only sort of, kind of understands. You might see this mom struggling to hold all her love in when she sees her son scanning a crowd of parents looking none other than for her. Or, when she watches her daughter bravely do the one thing that’s been frightening her all school year. No one else knows. No one else sees.
It’s in these moments that a mother might well up with pure unadulterated joy; that she remembers that every hard moment, every temper tantrum, every moment devoted to her children was worth it. And yes, she’d do it all over again.