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Friday, 9 March 2007

Alpha Mums in a parallel universe

Met a very good friend for lunch at the British Library yesterday. She's one of those 'Mum friends' who has been an inspiration over the years; something to aim for. What inspires me about her is her resolutely pragmatic, humorous and thoroughly no-nonsense approach to the whole baby-juggling thing. She has three boys, the youngest of whom is seven; the kind of handful that would cause meltdown in some lesser females. She has a super-achiever husband who is often half way round the world on business. Yet somehow over the seven years that I have known her, first as a professional colleague and then as a friend, she has continuously shaken up departments, devised and led major new online marketing initiatives, and set up two new businesses, all whilst coming home to be Mum to these three little rough-and-tumblers. Daryl has eyes that shine with humour and a tinkling laugh. Over lunch she made me giggle into my soup at her descriptions of the 'Alpha Mums' in the middle class part of south London in which she lives. Many of these women, with husbands in the city earning the mega bucks, can choose not to work. But without the need to earn a living, with time on their hands and fathomless bank accounts to boot, they make it their mission in life to make motherhood an art, a discipline, a 'career' in and of itself. These are the mothers who have organised their precious baby's birthday party six months in advance (they've booked the venue, the circus troupe, the fireworks, the caterer) while we 'ordinary mums' call around a few friends a couple of weeks beforehand, get a bunch of kids over for a party at the house, throw a few cocktail sausages and some sandwiches on some party plates and gather in corners trying to remember the rules of any party games beyond musical bumps and pass the parcel. These are the women who call you in the office and expect you to be able to focus for more than three minutes on the exact details of next week's half term activity timetable, who is driving who to 'Arty Party' and which is the best drama workshop for under fives in south west London. They are the Alpha Mums and they live in a parallel universe. They make mothering into a competition and frown on those of us who dare to spend a bit of our time doing something else. But when us 'Beta Mums' get together it is soooo much more fun. The warmth, the 'comradeship' and the downright good humour are enough to see us through any work or mothering crisis. And we're always there to cover each other's arses.


Jessica said...

Sign me up for the Beta Mums Club when I sprog, please?

Found your blog through Charking and Lucy Diamond - really enjoying it!


Lucy Diamond said...

I'm shuddering with recognition at those PowerMums - I've met a few and they're scary!

I'm Beta and proud!

Working Mum said...

Keep spreading the word - beta mums rule OK! I'm loving Lucy Diamond's blog btw, and will make a point of visiting Jessica's site next....

VanessaR said...

My son's school is populated by lots of AlphaMums and it's terrifying! There's also a tendency for them to think that working from home means that I don't really work at all. Then when I completely fail to display PowerMum credentials by not having an immaculate home and perfectly organised social life for my son, they relegate me to complete failure. I think the BetaMums club is much more fun!

Also found your blog via Richard Charkin's and I'll add it to mine asap -