Nerd icon Wil Wheaton defined, rather perfectly, what it means to be a geek. "Being a nerd is not about what you love," he said. "It’s about the way that you love it." Makes sense, right? To me, someone obsessed with fantasy football is just as geeky as someone obsessed with Star Trek. People seem to accept the geek sobriquet these days — nerds have a little more cache than we used to — so, fortunately, I'm not expected to give up my geekiness just because I'm a mom. in fact, there are signs you're the geek mom everyone wants to be that only highlight a mom's geekiness. You just need to know where to look.
As a kid, I was well aware that my deep and abiding love of Star Wars (along with the fact that half of the books I read featured dragons or unicorns) sealed my nerdy fate. However, I'm aware that other people who absolutely fit the geek bill, may not see themselves as such, largely because we sci-fi/fantasy/comic book geeks tend to be the only ones that spring to mind when someone imagines a nerd. But being a geek can come in many shapes and forms. Indeed, there's a multitude of wondrous geeks out there. Musical theater geeks; policy geeks; crafting geeks; history geeks; literature geeks; math geeks; car geeks; architecture geeks, and this is to say nothing of overlap. (Yes, there's a ton of overlap, because that desire to delve deeply into an interest is often an aspect of one's personality that transcends the interests themselves.)
Seriously, you can get nerdy about literally anything. If it takes up enough space in your brain and life, congratulations: You're a nerd now! But how can you know for sure that you're without a doubt a geek mom? If you notice any of the following signs, it's safe to say you're in the club. Welcome.
When Your Baby Was In Utero, Your Nickname For Them Had Something To Do With Your Hobby Or Fandom
Before you know what you're actually going to call your baby, many people come up with a cutesy pet name for their gestating fetus. Jellybean, Peanut, Gummy Bear, Bean, Bun; a lot of them seem to be things you can eat.
But when you're a geek mom, you don't wait for your child to develop legs or eyeballs to start with the nerd references. Some geek moms I know referred to their bumps as Frodo (Lord of the Rings), Zap (Futurama), and Dobby (Harry Potter) to name a few. My partner and I wound up going with Phantom Spaceman (The Venture Brothers); the show in and of itself is pretty esoteric and the reference even more so, but, damnit, when you're a geek you don't care who gets it. You care that it makes you giggle and it's a great way to hoist up your nerd flag and see who salutes. (Those people need to stay in your child's life, perhaps as godparents.)
There's A Better Than Average Chance Your Child Is Named After A Character
Remember, we love what we love with enthusiastic abandon, so the nerdy names don't always stop once our kids pop out. My own children are named for William Shakespeare and Elizabeth I. I only gave up the fight to give our son a middle name out of Game of Thrones late into my third trimester (say what you will, but Theon is an excellent name and a wonderfully complex if deeply problematic character). I have friends and acquaintances who have named their kids after characters from Game of Thrones (Arya, because I guess her partner wanted her to be happy), Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Trillian), Star Wars (Leia), Gilmore Girls (Lorelai), The Princess Bride (Westley), Warehouse 13 (Myka Ophelia), Harry Potter (Ginny), Batman (Bruce Wayne, I swear to God), X-Men (Logan) and even The Simpsons (Homer).
"Oh, aren't you just dooming your kid to a life of being teased for forever?" ask the pearl clutching normies. To that I say, absolutely not. I'm teaching them to be awesome. Besides, it's 2016. People name their kids flipping anything these days and that's great. Moxie! Bronx! A girl named Frankie! A boy named Sue! Be creative and live your best life, you guys. Little Theon and Hermione are going to be the coolest kids on the playground.
You Got Creative With Their Nursery
What was your nursery theme? Clouds? Butterflies? Trains? Those are all cute, but wouldn't it have been a million times cooler if you had gone with a Hogwarts theme? Or painted their closet to look like the TARDIS? Or, perhaps, if you had gone with a very subtle Sherlock theme by hanging a violin on one wall and a deerstalker cap on another?
My point is, a baby doesn't really care what their nursery looks like for a few years, so go nuts and do it up geek mom style.
You're Already Planning When You Can Introduce Them To Your Favorite Movie/TV Series/Comic/Book/Etc.
These are some of the most important conversations I have with my partner. When should we start reading Harry Potter with our kids? When should they see Star Wars and should we show them the prequels? What Pixar movies should we show them first? When will Mad Max be age appropriate? Do you think they can start playing board games before they can read? Do you think they'd enjoy Cosmos with Carl Sagan at this age? I got this series of great works of literature board books, should I give them to her now? OMG we forgot about The Muppets. Quick, get out all The Muppets DVDs so we can have a marathon viewing, starting immediately.
These stories and hobbies and characters mean so much to us and we can't wait to rediscover them through the eyes of our children, and introduce them to something that has made a positive impact on our lives.
You Have Sorted Them Into Their Hogwarts House
Because, damnit, that owl is going to show up with an acceptance letter before you know it and you're going to want your little one to be prepared (and also, ideally, a Ravenclaw.. Suck it, Gryffindor).
Hopefully you're being a responsible parent and making sure you've properly identified their Game of Thrones house, too. No child of mine is going to be a underhanded, slimy Frey or, God forbid, a Bolton.
Their Halloween Costumes Are Flawless
Maybe you decide everyone in the family should dress up as the cast of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Maybe you're just going to dress up your infant as Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film (how amazing would that be?) and the rest of you are going to rock out as Catwoman, a Jellicle Cat, and an historically accurate Odysseus.
Whatever your choices, whenever there's a costume involved a geek mom and her brood come correct. Your friends, family, and all of social media are lucky to bask in your greatness.
You've Been Teaching Them Catchphrases Since Before They Could Talk
Because when they eventually can, there is nothing funnier than seeing a kid speak geek. Children parroting adult speech and behavior is hilarious in and of itself, but when it's based in some sort of geekiness? Even better.
For example, my 2-year-old daughter sings "My Shot" from Hamilton because both her parents are proud Broadway nerds. Watching a dimpled blonde toddler rap about the foundation of the United States is as delightful as it is hysterical (because, obviously, she's two, so there's a lot of mumbling).
You Enjoy Their Toys
Largely, I'm guessing, because you picked out what you wanted. It's OK. No one has to know.
They Enjoy Your Toys
My 5-year-old son may or may not steal the Cersei and Jaime Lannister dolls I have decorating my desk. (He has a little castle for them and everything.)
Oh, and I obviously have dolls decorating my desk. Like, what do you think a geek is, guys? Jeez. Get on my level.
You Don't Talk Down To Your Kids
So I can't speak with the authority of a study or decades of research or anything here but, anecdotally speaking, one of the things I love most about fellow geek parents is that they talk to their kids as intelligent, capable people.
That's not to say that they speak to them as peers or don't have authority over them or anything like that, but they take their children's thoughts, ideas, and emotions seriously, and they don't dumb down any of their own thoughts, ideas, or emotions. Maybe it's because a lot of geeks know what it feels like to not be taken seriously and don't want to inflict that on another person. Maybe it's because we're still in touch with our inner child. Again, these are theories, not facts, but I think they're good ones.
You Are Authentically And Passionately Yourself And Encourage The Same In Your Children
Here's the thing with geeks: we know we can be awkward and let's say "off-beat," but by and large we really don't care. If fully engaging with what we love comes at the cost of being seen as a weirdo, we'll happily wear our weirdo badge (probably at a convention, because we love us some conventions). We'll take our kids to these conventions, because where better than in a sea of geekiness to teach them that being true to yourself is one of the greatest opportunities this crazy world can offer you?