Alphas vs. Betas

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We've all heard of the Mommy Wars—that dust-up of the past decade between full-time homemaker moms and career women moms. But this Mother's Day there's a new twist to the tiff, and it's the war between so-called alpha and beta moms. The alphas are typically high-achieving women with a businesslike approach to parenting and excellent organizational skills.

The betas or self-entitled slacker moms are asking their overachieving Type A counterparts to chill out in books and magazine articles and on the Web.

Beta moms confess to being less organized, less disciplinarian, and less likely to overschedule kids: In other words, they believe in letting kids be kids. They also believe alpha moms set the bar too high, creating unnecessary pressure for mothers and children. On the other hand, alpha Moms don't believe beta moms are helping their children live up to their full potential.

My favorite quote comes from a new book by former CBS

Early Show coanchor Rene Syler, who says, "Motherhood is not a contest." There certainly are mothers who act as if they see it that way. Luckily most do not.

Perhaps, though, motherhood is not the panacea competitive moms envision it to be. A University of Florida study also released during the week running up to Mother's Day reveals that middle-aged, child-free women are just as happy as middle-aged moms. In fact the loneliest, least contented, and most vulnerable women are single, divorced, or widowed middle-aged mothers. Financial security and a supportive social life are the key indicators of contentedness.