Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm not a bee, or a wasp, I'm a snail

Great. Just great. Just when I was starting feel comfortable in my own role as wife and mother and poop scooper, a new label comes out that only serves to highlight my inferiority.

Alpha Moms
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We all know them. The last place I lived was slam full of them. These are the hyper organized, SUV driving mothers who's children are in soccer,ballet,flute and piano, karate,swim team. They are the moms who run home businesses, have a housekeeper and maybe even a personal chef, but not for baking brownies, that's their job as Alpha Mom. They are wealthy enough that their home business is just for 'fun money' to pay for trips to, you know, Those Places. Bermuda, Bahama (come on pretty mama) Key Largo, Montego,(baby why don't we go down to Kokomo, we'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow). They don't have jobs outside the home, usually, because they are far to busy being Alpha Mom, and hubby has a good job to pay the way.

I'm not an Alpha Mom. I'm not even Beta...Delta maybe. I have this hopelessly old fashioned idea that kids should have time to play. It's important, in my world, for 8 yr old boys to lay in the back yard and stare at the sky, or to cross the road into the woods to build a fort out of bits of dead trees and bark, and decorate it with found objects (a deer skull, advertising signs). I want my children to understand that being a driven individual isn't necessarily the healthiest lifestyle. Ambition is great, it gets you ahead and I'm all for that. But one does not have to be BUSY all the time. I also think the kids at the school would rather eat Oreos than homemade sugar cookies with little pink hearts drawn on with royal icing. (I know this, because I tried it. Trust me, they'd rather have Oreos.)

The concept of "playdates" kind of saddens me. I recognize the need to scheduling in advance, since often friends live across town or have both parents working, so I get that. But, whatever happened to running across the street to see if Bubba can come out for a game of dodgeball? I think it may have gone the way of aprons and family drives through the countryside (My parents called it "going out to join the Wild Bunch, and I despised those road trips with an all consuming passion)

Alpha Moms have always been around. They're the ones who make homemade cookies for school parties, who chair every committee, who run just about every event at the church. They have Daytimers and Blackberries to keep things straight, and their days are scheduled down to the last minute, from the time they get up (5 am, so they can get laundry started, dinner in the crock pot, cookies in the oven, and berries on their children's organic granola breakfast)to the time they wash down the xanax with a glass of mid-grade chardonnay (10 ish, or later).

I wonder when, if, they'll burn out, or if they're just that type-A personality who must must Succeed Or Die Trying. I worry that the media, who is marketing to these people (apparently they buy more than the average jane), are setting a standard that is unreachable for ordinary, middle class, just trying to keep their head above water type folk. Like they have for women physically. Now, we're supposed to be a size 6 AND spend all day flying around like a bee on speed?

Well, USA Today is acting as tho this is a new thing, these Alpha Moms. They're not new, they just have a name now. And more power to them, if that's what gives them a sense of accomplishment. I predict the pendulum will swing back the other way with their children. I have no intention of allowing their frenetic activity make me feel guilty for my apparent laziness.

Don't get me wrong, I admire (to a degree) their dedication to their children, their organizational skills, and their willingness to serve on committees. Someone has to do it. I just don't feel the need to go there. And, like with what size I'm supposed to be, I don't buy into the media hype that this is how I'm supposed to behave.

Pass the chardonnay, willya?


Renegade Evolution said...

truth is, alpha moms scare the shit out of me. Mr.E's mom was/is that type...and no offense to Mr. E, but both he and his sister are rather screwed up because of it. He never feels like anything he does is good enough and Still Bows to all of her commands, dreads serious confrontation, and his sister is a recovering crack addict...

No, serious pressure on young children does have adverse effects. They do need time to be kids.

Beth said...

You (and I) are Alpha Moms in terms of having our priorities straight - and those of our children.
Those women are driven - and either they'll crash or their children will.

Vera said...

Oy. Pretty much all moms make me feel inferior. My mother likes to point out that by the time she was my age, she'd completed her child bearing. Implying that because I haven't even thought about starting yet that I am a lesser woman.

Like Ren points out - Alpha moms can screw up their kids too. They frighten me as well. No one is perfect and the more they try to appear as such the more I wonder who wrong things are going behind closed doors.

That's probably rude and presumptuous, but it's the truth.

Rootietoot said...

"That's probably rude and presumptuous, but it's the truth. "

Well, yeah, and yeah. I wonder how they can have time for their husbands. Not that I tear it up in the bedroom, but if I'm tired after my kind of day, how one earth could they have anything left over for their mates? Being a Mom is important, but so is being a wife.

Amber said...

Alpha Moms annoy me because they have a superiority complex while at the same time wanting everyone to understand how hard it is to be a mom.

Sorry lady, you can take that halo off now. It's really not for you.

There was a pack of 'em at Chick-Fil-A yesterday afternoon, as the GDBF and I were just trying to sit and eat, for fuck's sake. Their kids were running around, terrorizing the place, full of sugar and entitlement. One of the psycho kids bumped into a Chick-Fil-A employee, didn't say "excuse me," PUSHED past her and kept running, as if he were at a playground and not a restaurant. What did the mom do? She LAUGHED.


Look, I don't have kids, but I don't need to have pushed something out of my vagina to understand that that dog will not hunt.

Oh and then? Some little boy was coughing his germs all over the place, right up in my personal space, and so I said, "Little boy, cover your mouth instead of coughing all over the food." I was treated to a death stare by his mom, and as she and another mom herded their psychotic brood off to their SUVs, I heard her make some comment that started off with, "It's really funny to see the people who don't have kids..."

Trinity said...


"Play date" has a completely different meaning to me, and hearing that phrase used to refer to kids just makes my head explode. :)

But even aside from that yeah, the idea that kids have specific set times to play with friends, out of some "busy schedule" -- egh, no, they're KIDS.

SuperBee said...

I wouldn't get too hot n' bothered about Alpha Moms.

Their kids will resent them for overscheduling them, and their marriages seem to be empty shells, usually, with Jesus and the kids being the thing that the wife and husband have in common anymore.

I didn't have an alpha mom. I had a working mom who unloaded me onto babysitters and nannies, and made me a latch-key child at 11, and I loved every minute of it. If I wanted activities, I did them. Otherwise, I didn't. My mom didn't make cookies or brownies unless I begged, but she bought me whatever I wanted at the Grocery store.

I'm sure you're doing just fine. You're from the South anyway. The pace is different in Georgia. I'm sure Alpha Moms are the exception, not the rule.j

lab munkay said...

Alpha moms are all show. Career moms, women like you how teach their kids themselves instead of paying someone else are much more rare and valuable,

belledame222 said...

gahhh. people like that in general give me hives. slow DOWN, willya?

honestly i think a lot of all the frantic activity is as much about avoidance of anything else. especially being alone with oneself, and whatever one answers to. in the quiet.

as my best friend is wont to say, "____has no silence."

Silence is important, too.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, the constant shuttling the kid from activity to activity makes me think of stage parents, who make me REALLY cranky. at minimum, it's about using the kid as vicarious status and teaching hir their worth is dependent on how many hoops sie can jump through, how many gold stars.

"Come, Cayenne, finish your protein shake, you're going to be late for your fencing lesson, and you KNOW the tournament is coming up. If you win the tournament, Mommy will get you a personal shopper!..."

belledame222 said...

and yeah, of course it's just one more impossible standard to live up to. the whole POINT is that most people can't live up to that; of course not everyone can HAVE a housekeeper, someone has to BE the housekeeper, and what does it say if you think you're not worth anything unless you're the "alpha"?...

Rootietoot said...

"and what does it say if you think you're not worth anything unless you're the "alpha"?... "

That your basing your worth on a false construct.

I don't own an SUV, and my kids don't really do any 'activities' because, frankly, I'm too lazy to be bothered to shuttle them around. And I like dinner at 6:30 sharp, every night. I don't base my worth on some woman made ideal. No, I base it on my rockin' ways with a hunk of beef.

Northern_Girl said...

I'm an Omega Mom.

donna said...

Hmm, bow to the supposedly more acceptable desire for American "achievement" and consumerism, or produce actual real people who like who they are?

I'll take the latter. You're doing fine work, my dear.