There are many types of mothers in the human world – helicopter, free-range or “cool”, the list seems endless. However, animals exhibit a vast array of parenting styles and to be honest, some of them sound way better than ours.
Take this short quiz to determine what kind of animal mama you would be.
If you had to choose, which of the following sounds the MOST appealing to you?
a) Being pregnant for 22 months.
b) Gaining 200 kilos during pregnancy.
c) Breastfeeding your child for 6-8 years.
d) Short but frequent pregnancies.
What is your preferred parenting style?
a) You love spending time with your children but also appreciate the input of extended family.
b) You believe in giving your children what they need when they are very young, then letting them fend for themselves.
c) Your child is the centre of your universe and if you could get away with it, you would not let him or her out of your sight.
d) It takes a village to raise a child – so let the village do it!
What’s for dinner tonight?
a) Whatever grandma is cooking.
b) You’re so glad you’ve made the effort to teach your kids their way around the kitchen. The older ones are great at helping out or making their own meals.
c) Breastmilk for the younger kids, and a lovingly prepared meal for the older ones.
d) You’re just going to send the kiddies into the kitchen and leave them to it. They’ll survive.
You have a night off sans kids. How do you arrange babysitting?
a) There is an army of female relatives at hand who would be happy to give you a much-needed break
b) You are a bit of a homebody, especially throughout the colder months, so it’s Netflix when the kids are asleep.
c) You don’t want to leave your child ever, so they come with you everywhere.
d) Simply dress up and leave. You know your kids will be fine with your cousin or your cousin’s boyfriend’s colleague’s niece, or whoever.
What is your philosophy on discipline and teaching your kids about life?
a) You are the main disciplinarian but you’re happy with the help of a supporting cast.
b) You prefer to help the kids work things out on their own. How else will they learn?
c) You take on full teaching and disciplining responsibilities.
d) You leave it up to others to mentor your child. After all, you’re preparing your kid to live among them eventually!
How do you carry your child when you’re out and about?
a) You tend to go out in bigger groups consisting of your mum, sisters, cousins and friends. You end up looking after all your children together.
b) They walk themselves as soon as they’re able. There’s no better way to learn independence and how not get run over.
c) On a sling or on your hip. Even if they’re a bit older, you will still hold hands.
d) It’s not even an issue. It’s easy enough for you to pop out to do the groceries while the kiddies stay at home.
What sort of games does your child like to play?
a) Splashing and water fights.
c) Swinging around on the monkey bars.
d) Play fighting with their siblings and other children.
Where is your ideal family vacation?
a) An African safari.
b) The snow.
c) The jungle.
d) The desert.
MOSTLY A’s – Elephant mother
You love parenting, but you also realise the benefits of having a support network around you.
OK, so the 22-month pregnancy might be a tad rough, but the upside is that you have an army of female relatives and friends at hand to help you bring up bub once it’s born. Of course, this is a reciprocal arrangement so you help look after their bubs too.
This cooperative parenting style has both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, you have casseroles brought around when you’re sick. On the other hand, you do get a tad sick of Aunt Florence’s passive aggressive rants about “young parents these days.”
MOSTLY B’S – Polar bear mama
Helicopter parenting is not for you. You believe in fostering independence at an early age, even if your behaviours may look uncaring to the wider world. For polar bears, it is literally the case that if you teach the cub to fish, he or she will be fed for a lifetime. Polar bear cubs generally stay with their mums for about 2.5 years before forging their own paths.
What else is cool about being a polar bear mother?
- Pregnancy is delayed. Mating occurs in the springtime and early summer, but the fertilised egg won’t implant until the autumn.
- Successful implantation and pregnancy is contingent upon the female polar bear gaining at least 200 kg.
- Once pregnant, the mama-to-be builds a maternity den, where she will stay until she has given birth and nursed her offspring.
So basically you get to gain almost double your body weight “for the sake of the babies”, after which you can go into hiding until after they are born and nursed. This means avoiding risky supermarket trips full of smirking exes and judgmental magazine covers about some Kardashian returning to her pre-baby weight within minutes of giving birth.
MOSTLY C’s – Orangutan mama
You are deeply attached to your child. This fosters a “you and me against the world” relationship which you both love.
Orangutan children are sometimes carried around until they are 5 years of age, and breastfed until they are about 8. Even once they are older, they may still remain close to their mothers until the age of 10.
Parenting critics may deem you a stage 5 clinger, but this coddling behaviour will likely pay off later. Did you know that even once they become independent, female orangutans will often visit their mothers? This is a behaviour that is rare in non-human animals (and a fair few human ones). These girls truly consider their mothers their best friends.
MOSTLY D’s – Meerkat mama
Your parenting approach is so casual that sometimes you forget you have children. Your life is basically unchanged from before you had children, apart from the occasional tripping over a toy. You don’t mind letting the outside world knock some sense into your children because that’s the best way to prepare them for the real world. (Also, you might be a tad lazy).
Indeed, mentoring (more than instinct) is how baby meerkats learn how to meerkat. The fact that the other group members take over a large proportion of this task takes the heat off mum, while also giving her someone else to blame if the pup is caught swearing or skipping their trombone lessons.
How else is being a meerkat mum awesome? With only 11 weeks of pregnancy and an army of babysitters to help you once the pups are born, it’s not long until you’re free to romp with your fella again and make the next round of babies.
However, the above scenario applies only if you’re lucky enough to be the dominant female. Subordinate females are roped into babysitting duties, and if they dare get pregnant themselves, the dominant pair are likely to kill the resulting babies and evict the offending mother from the group.
HOW DID YOU STACK UP?
In case you were interested, my own score ended up being a bizarre combination of orangutan and meerkat, quite accurately reflecting my slightly lazy yet overbearing parenting style.
STUCK ON YOU AND MOTHER’S DAY
Mother’s Day is approaching. Are you looking forward to it? Or mentally preparing your taste buds for the bizarre brekky concoction you’ll have to pretend to like?
For a Mother’s Day pressie you’re sure to like for real, check out Stuck On You’s range of gifts that are perfect for mum and grandma. We have glam cosmetic bags, fantastically fun books, super soft towels and more. Check it out and start hinting to your loved ones!
MOTHER’S DAY MAD LIB FREE PRINTABLE!
You now know exactly what kind of animal mother you are, thanks to our highly scientific quiz.
But what do your favourite customers (i.e. your children) think of your parenting skills?
Download our fun Mother’s Day Mad Lib Printable here and gain some insight into your children’s minds… if you dare…
Tell us the most hilarious responses you got – we won’t judge!
WHAT ABOUT ANIMAL DADS?
Animal fathers are just as varied as animal mamas. Check out the variety of animal dads out in the wild, from the dazzlers to the deadbeats.