The bar for mothers far and wide keeps getting raised. Being super is no longer enough, now moms must be Alpha Moms, at least according to an article in this week’s USA Today.
In the 1950s, moms everywhere had to live up to the June Clever or Marion Cunningham image. To be the perfect mom you had to keep the house immaculate, make sure your husband’s every whim was met, serve well-balanced, homemade sit-down meals three times a day and raise polite, well-behaved children. While I’m sure that most mothers didn’t meet this criteria, it doesn’t mean they didn’t feel the pressure to be Mrs. Cunningham.
These preconceived notions were past on to their children. Their sons and daughters grew up expecting to see the same relationship in their marriage, but as time moved on, the image of the perfect mom evolved.
By the late 20th century, the phrase “Supermom” was coined. In addition to maintaining a household, raising a family and keeping a marriage alive (or in some cases going it alone), the Supermom was now expected to hold down a job. Not just any job, but a career — in fact a successful career. And if you couldn’t do it all you were criticized. Stay-at-home moms were made to feel like they didn’t really “work.” Likewise, working moms’ child-rearing capabilities and/or their commitment to their career were questioned.
The children of this era reflect this change. The sons learned to help out around the house more (in differing degrees) and in less traditional roles. My husband does almost all the cooking (my cooking nights are takeout) and most of the cleaning.
The daughters became more empowered — while we still feel the need to do it all and do it well, we are more likely to sacrifice (career, family, etc.) or at least put a portion of life on hold while we concentrate on the rest. I chose to put off having children until I was older so I could work on my career (not sure it really helped).
And now being super, isn’t good enough. Moms must be Alpha Moms — complete with their own TV station. New York Magazine calls the Alpha Mom the “Martha Stewart of parenting.”
Some theorize this attitude is because Alpha Moms are career women skilled at multitasking who come to parenting later in life and tackle it with the same hands-on professionalism and intensity they used on the job — diligent research, focused plans, and thought-out schedules.
USA Todaydescribes Alpha moms as “educated, tech-savvy, Type A moms with a common goal: mommy excellence” and as a marketing phenomenon that has replaced the Soccer Mom and the Yoga Mom am I a Alpha Mom? My husband will tell you for sure that I’m no June Cleaver. Yes, I’m not ever far from my Blackberry and yes my toddlers know to come and get me if it vibrates or if my pager goes off. I’m online a great deal, often researching solutions to my latest toddler trauma or new and better ways to stimulate my twins’ development.
While I have a few fellow moms that I visit with, I rely heavily on my online network. I used newsgroups like Richmond Mom and Kids and Richmond Area Moms of Multiples as my biggest resources. Why? Because they are moms just like me going through similar things.
Yes, my children are scheduled (with some flexibility) and they already have social commitments (yes, I know they aren’t even two yet) — they have both a gym class and a music class. But my husband and I want to offer our children every opportunity we can to excel and develop.
While I spent the early part of my life on a career, our daughter and son are the most important thing my husband and I’ll every do — they are our legacy. And we want to do everything we can to do it right.
As for my ability to influence? I not so sure. But I guess the fact that I have a blog means that at least I’m trying!
So the real question is: Are you an Alpha Mom (or Dad)? Why or Why not?
(photo courtesy of www.aacu.org)