Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Alpha Mom, Beta Mom - It's All Greek To Me

Sometimes I wonder if we mothers don’t go looking for trouble. When my mother was raising us, the battle was between the June Cleaver moms and the Joan Baez moms. You either had spotless floors or a spotless conscience and never the two shall meet.

By the time I started raising a family, a battle waged between Working Moms and Stay-At-Home moms. The working moms wanted a little slack since they were burning the candles at both ends while they “had it all,” and the stay-at-home moms wanted some credit for sacrificing everything – job, income and identity – for the sake of her family.

Today, the latest war is between the Alpha Moms and the Beta Moms. The Alpha Moms are taking that advanced degree and years of experience climbing the corporate ladder and putting it to work in their own home and their kids’ lives. They’re using spreadsheets to organize soccer teams. They’re creating organizational charts for the PTA. They’re applying their finely-honed business skills to the business of running a family.

The Beta Moms, nicknamed The Slacker Moms, are not sweating the small stuff. They’re more into this maternal gig for the experience, organization be damned. They know that the Alpha Moms will keep micromanaging their children and they’d rather stay out of their way and not conform to their hyper-inflated standards. Basically, they’re telling the Alpha Moms to take a big chill pill.

So who’s right in this war of words and women? In my opinion, they’re both right. A little organization never killed anyone. What’s so wrong about using current technology and techniques and applying them to previously disorganized activities? If your child has ever been on a team or performed in a group, there’s nothing to ruin your day faster than lack of information and organization. If it can save you a trip to a playing field or a rehearsal hall, then bring it on.

But the Slacker Moms also have the right idea. Who says we have to be perfect in this mothering thing? There’s no surer way to secure your kid a lifetime of therapy than you inserting yourself into their life not allowing them to live it. Don’t we read them books every night that talk about how “special” they are and how everyone has their own skills and gifts?

The point is that we should put away our pointer fingers. There isn’t always a right way or a wrong way. We each make our own choices, sacrifices and contributions. What’s right for me is not always right for the mom next door. Just shut up and live your own life. Appreciate the differences and pick up a tip or two along the way. But don’t feel like you have to prove anything to anyone other than yourself. Isn’t parenting already hard enough?


At 3:58 PM , Blogger kenju said...

You bet it is, and everyone handles it a little differently.

At 6:50 PM , Blogger Blitz Krieg said...

I know we've struggled over the years raising our children. What works for one certainly doesn't for the other.

We try to stay out of the way when it comes to how our friends run their family. I wish some would reciprocate in the same manner.

At 7:40 PM , Blogger The Turmanators said...

God, I SO AGREE!!!! There is always some kind of competition going between us mothers. If it isn't stay-at-home versus working, it's breast versus bottle or something else. That old adage "if momma ain't happy..." is the key to it all, and it just takes different things to make each of us happy. Thanks for giving a voice to the need to meet in the middle and support each other.

At 10:49 AM , Anonymous lisa said...

totally agree with you.... well except for the part about reading them books every night, emphasizing their "specialness"... I must be the beta-beta mom.

At 7:42 PM , Blogger Em said...

Well I won't ever be a mom...but speaking on behalf of my wife and myself, the whole alpha/beta thing seems too limiting. Can't we bit a bit of both? We are pretty non-traditional when it comes to parenting. Our kids have told us we are the weirdest parents out of all their friends. We choose to think of that as a compliment. :)

At 7:30 AM , Blogger Marie said...

Funny! Suburban Turmoil just posted on this very topic. I agree... I little of each is good for everyone. Funny that there are labels for it -- Alpha and Beta.

Happy weekend, Karen! Michele sent me...

At 7:36 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

I'm a Slacker Mom by that definition. I'm thrilled that my kids don't want to participate in sports because I don't have to drive them anywhere and sit through hours of torture. I wouldn't volunteer to go on a class trip if you threatened to poke my eyes out with a stick.

My kids excel at the things they are good at. They don't need me prodding them along (and frankly, it doesn't work anyway!). I have always been an attentive parent who taught my kids everything I possibly could and exposed them to lots of stuff so they could make choices, but a cookie-baker I will never be!

Can't we all just get along? ;)

(you're so right on this one!)

At 4:29 PM , Blogger The Turmanators said...

I still completely agree with you...Michelle sent me today.

At 4:36 PM , Blogger margalit said...

I've never fit into any category. I was an Alpha-Slacker mom according to your scale. I organized an entire soccer league, but I'm a lazy shit when it comes to much of parenting. I just do whatever I want and I don't care if other people think it's bad. It works for MY family, and isn't that all we need to take into account?

Here via Michele today.

At 6:21 PM , Blogger Thumper said...

All hail the slacker moms :) Slacker wives, too ;)

At 6:28 PM , Blogger Karen said...

Loved the post and getting acquainted with your blog! And, of course, how could someone named Karen not be all smart and stuff?!

Thanks for coming by my blog via Michele! Good to meet you.

At 12:31 AM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I am afraid I find the term "slacker" mom has a lot of Judgement to it....Stay-At-Home is what it is and nothing is "slacked"...only in the eyes of the Alpha Mom, I guess....
I don't understand all these separations invented by other people to describe things....OY! I say....As someone else said, why can't a person be a bit of both?

At 4:10 PM , Blogger SB said...

My favorite line in that very well-written entry is : "Just shut up and live your own life."

AMEN, sista!!

I want a T-SHIRT with that on it!!

and....ahem, I am a Beta with Apla longings.....what does that make ME?

At 8:16 PM , Anonymous Blue Monkey Jammies said...

Oh it sure is! I have childless friends who resent that I stay at home with my kids. But between two part-time jobs, volunteer stuff, medical stuff and the kids themselves, I'm actually hardly home at all!

I really loved your post.

Thanks so much for sharing.

At 2:37 PM , Blogger a happier girl said...

I agree. Moms should be nicer to each other. And that includes being less judgemental. We should share ideas and help each other but not pretend we know what's best for someone else.


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