The Alpha Mom

Nobody is perfect, that includes Alpha Moms....what are your thoughts on this group of mothers and mothers who go by Beta Mom or just Mom?

The term Alpha Mom has been around for a while now. It refers to those Moms who are type A personalities in their role as Mother. They can respond to an on line blog, while icing perfectly baked cupcakes from scratch, while helping their school aged child with homework, while skyping with a former colleague, while nursing a baby...in addition the last load of laundry is in the dryer which will be put away in about 15 minutes after it is folded and right before it is folded dinner will be put in the oven and the baby given a bath. Okay, you get my point.  They are the Moms who somehow appear to be able to do it all...flawlessly. 

I am not sure what culturally happened over the last 10 years that the Alpha Moms began their rise to power.  I have my belief that it is related to the fact that women are more educated than in previous generations and are thus more self sufficient, financially stable, and more successful in the business world.  This all seems to happen prior to their having children and once they become mothers they transfer this high achieving drive onto motherhood and mothering.  That is just my guess but whatever the reason, it describes a mother and mothering style that is a cultural phenomenon.  There is marketing driven towards this kind of mother and it has now spawned a new type of wife...yes you guessed it the alpha wife.  There is also the Beta Mom, a group that describes themselves, yes you guessed it as the moms who cannot do it all perfectly.

In my pratice and my personal life the term Alpha Mom has come up a lot lately whether it be the facebook post about the Alpha Mom at the kiddie pool or the client feeling inferior because she forgot to pack her child's snack and forgot the sprinkles on the cupcakes.  It made me begin to wonder, what is it about the Alpha Mom that causes such emotions in other Moms?  Whether it be the desire to want to be an Alpha Mom or feel inferior because you are a Beta Mom? 

There is one thing I know to be true and that is no one is perfect. When you are in a profession where people come to you for help, advice, guidance, to make changes, one thing you quickly learn is that things from the outside aren't always as they appear.

So this week I am asking for your thoughts on Alpha Moms, Beta Moms, Moms.  Is there a competition that exists between them?  Is there an expectation either met or unmet by the Alpha Moms, Beta, and women who just go by Mom?

I look forward to your responses.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michelle Y. July 18, 2012 at 01:53 AM
I am a proud Beta mom who has no resentment towards Alphas. Knowing my limits helps me stay sane and still maintain a sense of self. I will be no good to my child, my family or myself if I allow myself to become a candle that burns on both ends. Let me do well with what I can handle and not compromise it by trying to be someone that I am not. What gets my blood boiling is when my husband has at times compared me to Alpha moms we know and question why I can't do what they do. That can be a subject you can address in a future blog....
Alicia R. Camlibel, Ph.D., LPC July 18, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Thanks for your comments Michelle. I wonder if the comparison either by self or others plays into the resentful feelings towards the Alpha Moms? I also have a feeling that there are some Alpha Moms who feel free to tell other Moms what they should and shouldn't do when it comes to their children and parenting but then again I guess there are Moms who are not Alpha Moms who do that too!
Linda Sadlouskos (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I think it's good to be an Alpha Mom in some ways, and to back off as a Beta at other times. We can't all shine at everything — who knows where Alpha Moms are cutting corners? (or cheating themselves!) And kids don't need someone hovering over them constantly...just my opinion.
Laura Puglisi Channell July 18, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Very interesting topic. I've never heard of the term Alpha or Beta Mom before. It would make a great reality show though! I think the Alpha mom is part stereotype and part perception more than a reality. I don't know anyone who can do it all perfectly without a sacrifice somewhere. Inevitably something gives. I don't harbor resentment toward the Alpha mom, quite frankly I don't think they exist in reality. Beta Moms rock! :) Pick your strengths, highlight those and go buy perfect cupcakes if making them from scratch is not your thing. How about a Gamma Mom? The one who doesn't give a shit about her image and isn't resentful of those who are because deep down she knows no one can love her kids better than she can and that's all that matters. I think we should add that mom to the mix. ~ Layra, MGP
TJ July 18, 2012 at 08:09 PM
One day around the holidays I set my kids up in the other room to make tree decorations while I simultaneously baked 4 different kinds of Christmas cookies (from scratch using Grandma's recipes) and had conference calls with work colleagues and checked emails and texts coming in. I believe I was on the gingerbread man dough and my 2nd work call when my 4 year old walked by. I put the phone on mute and asked her to turn around as I realized she had taken the scissors to her long hair and we were at pixie haircut length now. (And yes, it was done with kid scissors, so uneven to say the least). That was the day I realized that I was not an alpha mom. And as Laura said - something had to give. I'm enjoying life as a beta mom now. I still work. Still make some cookies. And spend time with my kids. Just not all at once. And if a year passes and we don't make our own decorations, or if that colleague's call has to wait until tomorrow - well, that's life.
Deborah Naude July 18, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I don't think the ALPHA mom exists. We all multitask.. but perfection is an illusion. That entire.." I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan... " which seems to be the definition of an Alpha mom...is also a grand illusion We all have our limitations, insecurities and triggers that effect our parenting. I find more and more as my children get older that mom's perceptions about other moms are off, myself included. I feel no competition between moms. Though maybe that makes me a Beta mom? I like low maintenance people around me in my personal life.. so I wont disappointment them! I don't compare myself to other's parenting ... I just do what I can.. and love my children. If someone started to compete with me in the mom category.. I would probably just move away and let them run right past me... I would rather be a Kappa Iota Nu Delta mom.. you know a KIND one!
SN July 19, 2012 at 12:48 AM
The Alpha Mom is just an illusion. No Mother is perfect and can do it all flawlessly, that is just not possible. I mean the quote about all other tasks the "Alpha Mom" can do while she is nursing a baby is absurd! If you ever actually nursed a baby, you know there are some serious limits as to how much you can multi-task during that. :) I think the only problem here is the perception that such a person even exists! I find it strange that this is even a topic of discussion. I spend a lot of my time talking with other Moms and this is NOT what we talk about or obsess over at all. :)
susie July 19, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Sherry, who is obsessing? I ran into an alpha mom today who told me a better way to deal with my child at Build a Bear, it is the belief that they know better and have a better way to do it than you and feel they have the right to tell you and give you advice. If you google Alpha Mom, it is a category, it actually exists, and they actually pride themselves on the idea of being perfect. If you find it stange that it is a topic of discussion then why comment? Glad that you are so evolved that you don't worry about what others think or say about you! Dr. Alicia was just bringing up a topic to blog about for the week.....
NS July 19, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I am not sure if the term Alpha Mom is real. But if indeed there is such a term, Alpha Mom, then the women from the Greatest Generation (now in their 80's and 90's) fit the description. Today, we have so much more available to make life easier (cleaning ladies, fast food, no-iron clothing, high-end appliances, and even, husbands that help! But those woman did it all. They had no help; not even a video game to occupy their children while they baked cupcakes from scratch because a mix was not an option. They made fresh vegetables and many grew their own. They took care of 3 or 4 or 5 children while caring for elderly parents who very often lived with them. Putting them in nursing homes was not an option. They loved their children more than anything, yet taught them to have respect for others and manners. Today, it seems manners and respect have all but disappeared in our children's upbringing. Their homes were open to any who stopped by and were welcomed to the table for a 'real home cooked meal'. Maybe, they didn't have a high profile job; but they had it alot harder than anyone today. And yes, they did all this by themselves without a complaint or a grumble. They never thought once to pat themselves on the back like so many do today. It was just their 'responsibility' built out of love.
Deb Knapp July 19, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I LOVE Laura's comment: the world needs MANY MORE gamma moms!!!
TJ July 19, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Also, isn't the whole idea of labeling moms and asking if one group resents the other gets into the whole TIME magazine cover "are you mom enough?" (the one with the four year old breastfeeding). And didn't we all answer that just asking the question is offensive and that -- yep, we're all mom enough. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0c3I_Bhs7WM/T7J_8eY_qCI/AAAAAAAAAvI/Kfe3znPBSiI/s1600/Are-You-Mom-Enough.jpg
roberta July 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Moms, the Alpha Mom exists...she is a marketing phenom, she is tech savy and plugged in, educated and a type A personality. In 2007 the group was one of the top trendsetters, she is either a working outside of the home mom or a mom who has left the corporate world. This group is one of the groups that are the test groups for products designed for moms and families as they are critical and practical. I don't think the point of this article was to label and compare moms but open up a dialogue about the groups within a group that exist. I think it is great that a group of Moms have dubbed themselves the Beta Moms, and even in the article the kind Moms and the do it the best we can Moms....there is also the Tiger Moms....at the end of the day as long as you love your children and do the best you can for them and your family isn't that enough? TJ asking the question isn't offensive it gets a conversation going.
SN July 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Susie, I only commented after Alicia posted a link to this on a facebook and a few of my friends had commented there so I was curious. I truly do not care what others think or say about me. My "evolution" as you call it, comes from the perspective I have gained in parenting a special needs child for the past nine years. I know what matters in life. I am so thankful for that. I guess that means I could never be an "Alpha Mom"...
Kim Rich July 19, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I just do the best I can, and allow others to do the same. I have finally reached a point in my life where I can accept my imperfections and not feel the need impress or over analyze everything! There are plenty of opinions floating around, and that's OK. Everyone is entitled to their own. I will never be perfect, but I will always be fair, kind and supportive. The competition you feel generally comes from your own insecurity. I have had plenty in my day..mostly with my weight. Never skinny enough, pretty enough, or secure enough to feel my "cupcakes" were the best. Finally let all that go! Proud of just being me...Mom, wife, friend, and daughter.
Alicia R. Camlibel, Ph.D., LPC July 19, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I never heard of the Alpha or Beta Mom until the last week or two and then learned more about it as I was researching. I have found this dialogue fascinating. I do a lot of work with all kinds of Moms and one thing that Moms tend to do is forget to take care of themselves, we as women and mothers need to be kinder to ourselves and remember we can only be good for others if we are good to ourselves, if we are happy and healthy physically and psychologically. There is a lot to be learned as women and mothers and there is a lot we can do as a group to help and support each other. Whether it be the Moms Group, the Moms4Moms group on facebook, Basking Ridge Moms, PEP Club, Moms and Tots Groups, the possibilities to support each other and find support and mental stimulation for ourselves and children are endless. We are perfect versions of ourselves and that is all that matters.
TJ July 19, 2012 at 09:44 PM
well said!


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