Friday, June 17, 2005

Alphabet Stupor: A Study in Contrasts

Thanks for the Memories to the Llama Butchers.

Apparently, the latest concept in parenting is Alpha Moms -- women who can do everything, do it perfectly, and do it better than any other mother. I tried to read the whole article, but found myself quickly turned off by the cold, calculating approach to parenthood it represented. A daycare provider interviewed said it best:

" seems people these days have a more professional attitude toward raising their children. A lot of it is very intellectually thought-out and very scheduled, almost like they have a business plan for their children.”

If there were any truth in advertizing, it'd be called "Stepford Parenting". I was horrified to read this:

The meeting involved the business she was founding: an all-day, all-night, on-demand cable channel where “mothers seeking excellence,” according to press releases, would be able to find “the latest, best-of-breed information”

Good God, people, these are children, not show dogs!

Isabel, with a saucy wag of the head, would later describe the typical member of this breed as, “you know, the maven of mommyhood, the leader of the pack.”

“Definitely dominant,” she said.

Which didn’t sound too cuddly, but as Isabel’s business partner, Vicky Germaise, explained, that was the point. The logo of Alpha Mom TV is not pink and blue but red, white, and black, she said. If not to become strong, for what should a modern mother strive? “Soft and mushy mom?” Come on, said Vicky. “Betty Crocker’s over!”

Right. Because the LAST thing a baby needs is, you know, nurture. Why am I not surprised she comes from the same city as a commenter who told me that nursing our 4-month-old infant son was "pandering" to his "whims"? I guess after test tube babies, the next step is lab-sterile childhoods.

I can't say any more than has already been said about the irony of a woman claiming to represent the capable, can-do mother, when she subcontracts out the care of her child. So I'll borrow what's already been said:

The article suggested that Alpha Moms can do it all, but by the second page I found out how — they have help. "It takes a village," the mom in the article actually said. And she apparently hired a village to watch her kid so she could work 100 hours a week on starting a TV network. Not just a nanny or a babysitter as many parents do, but a nanny and a babysitter and a night nurse. The more she learned about successful motherhood, the more people she hired to achieve it for her, the article said.

That quote is from an excellent article by Susan Konig presenting a counterpoint view of parenting, that of the "Beta" Mom and "Gamma" Dad. It's an excellent read. When I read things like:

The dog licks the top of the baby's head when within reach. I think she thinks he's a puppy.


Besides projectile vomiting on me several times a day necessitating various wardrobe changes for both of us, the baby seemed to continuously pee out the back of his diaper all over his bedding. (Three sons and I still have not figured out this mystery.)

I start looking in my house to find where she's planted the hidden cameras. Konig's take on parenting is frighteningly familiar.

Kallman's is just frightening.

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