If you have kids in the modern age of parenting, chances are, you’ve participated in at least one group text. Whether it’s coordinating a playdate, a ladies’ night out, or organizing a complicated carpool routine, moms texting takes on a whole new level of hell when you have multiple people expressing opinions. And, often, the group text can make you feel like a prisoner in your own phone. I’ve been in a group text with six of my neighbors for over a year and there are times when I come back to my phone only to find 92 new texts. It can take almost 20 minutes to catch up on all of the conversation twists.
Group texts are exhausting.
And, what’s worse, now most messaging systems will indicate you’ve left the conversation, thereby alerting the other texters that you, in fact, don’t have time for their batshittery. Group texts on your phone are what “Reply All” is to email: a special kind of hell designed to make us crazy. Technology is great, mostly, but the group text is enough to drive a busy mom crazy.
If you’ve hung around group texts long enough, you will start to see certain patterns, certain nuances of the participants. Never is that more true than in a group text run by moms arranging carpool.
Believe me, I know.
Because one point or another, I’ve played all these roles.
Let’s examine them, shall we?
1. The Initiator Mom
She’s the mom we all love because she’s the one who dutifully remembers that on Wednesdays at 4 p.m., the kids all have to be at soccer practice. Every week, without fail, she sends a chirpy, friendly text that reminds all participants that the texting must now begin. The text usually includes trite phrases like “Hi, Ladies!!” and punctuation is always overused. You can set your calendar to how perfectly timed The Initiator’s text arrives in your message box.
2. The “Whatever Works” Mom
This mom is always the one who’s flexibility is appreciated. She can drive to soccer, or she can drive home from soccer. She can drive halfway there, drop three kids off, go get other three, stop halfway and pick up the original three and make it to practice, if need be. She’s happy to feed kids dinner beforehand or take them out for ice cream. Whatever works!
3. The Overachiever
We secretly love this mom the best, because she’s willing to do all the work, all the time. She’s always ready to pitch in and do all the driving, even if it means driving two hours one way. She makes you feel a tiny bit guilty, but you brush it off because you know it means you can have a glass of wine the minute she leaves your driveway. The Overachiever Mom and The “Whatever Works” Mom are often confused for one another but the difference is The Overachiever is decisive and clear. What works for her is to be helpful to you.
4. The Misinformed Mom
In every group text, there’s always one mom who is completely and utterly confused by her calendar. She responds with things like, “Wait. That’s THIS week?” or “OMG. I don’t have that on my calendar. When did we get the flyer about that?” The other texters are then obligated to work out her scheduling snafus with 64 texts, at the end of which she’s still slightly confused. We usually have mercy on this mom because we feel secretly smug that our calendar isn’t nearly as messy as hers.
5. The Emoji Sender Mom
This mom communicates solely by emoji. No words. And sometimes, you don’t understand her emoji-speak. Did you agree on a 4 p.m. pick-up time? She’ll send a thumbs-up emoji. Did you all settle on bringing wine to the soccer game in to-go cups? She texts two wine glasses and a cry-laugh emoji face. Come to think of it, you haven’t had a conversation with her that hasn’t included the poop emoji in a while.
6. The Complicator Mom
We hate this mom because she complicates everything, usually right after all the minute details have been settled. Ninety-seven texts later, six moms have agreed on a pickup and drop-off schedule that rivals Air Force One’s arrival into Washington, D.C., and she texts, “OMG. I just realized I’m watching my friend’s kids and I need room for two more kids. I have to go on my own, sorry!” She’s usually the reason moms throw their phones across the room.
7. The Procrastinator Mom
Admit it: You love carpooling but hate having to actually participate in it. The weeks when you somehow manage to get your kid picked up and dropped off without having to participate makes you feel like you are winning at life. And, when The Initiator’s text comes in promptly at 4 p.m., The Procrastinator Mom silently monitors the texts, watching for just how much work she may or may not have to do. She stealthily watches as a plan formulates, and, just when it seems the deal has been sealed with minimal involvement, she swoops in with an “OMG, I *just* saw these texts now!” and manages to get out of carpool duty. Again. Ahem.
So, did I get it right? I will freely admit that I resist the urge to be the Procrastinator Mom and am more than guilty of being the Complicator Mom on more than one occasion. But, I do my best to keep up my end of the deal, because on those nights, when I’m waving to my friend as she pulls out of my driveway on the way to an activity with my kid, my glass of wine tastes heavenly.