Friday, June 22, 2007

Yet Another "Mommy-War" Media Stab...DEFLECTED! HA!

Take that, "Today" show.

Well, let me set this up for you a little. Just recently, Isabel Kallman, the founder, CEO, and heart of Alpha+Mom, began (finally!) her own blog on her site, titled "Minding my Business." It looks very promising, so far covering topics as diverse as the genius invention that is the Knork, to the way corporations advertise and market to children and their mothers, and I've really been enjoying it.

Today's post at MMB is about Isabel's appearance on "The Today Show" this morning. She opened the floor for comments on the segment, and since I commented my guts out over there, I'm just going to regurgitate it here, and encourage everyone to visit Isabel's site, and check out the video of the "Today" segment, and see if you're getting as irritated with Meredith Vieira as I am.

I was rather disappointed in the way the piece was framed (beginning with this iVillage-sponsored post on this NON-TOPIC), and I'm staring to feel some serious frustration directed at Vieira--even though she may not have much editorial control over what stories get produced, she sure pushes the same old buttons, again and again. Also, HATED the taped piece that preceded the live interview, because it seemed it was only there to set up the stereotypes for the verbal sparring match they hoped would follow. The "alpha" moms appeared cold and career-driven, in sterile indoor settings, surrounded by technology and seeming to give their children only partial attention--while the "beta" moms were shown all earth-mothery and warm and nurturing, in outdoor, lush, green environments or cozy living areas concentrating ALL their attention on their children...all they were lacking was soft focus and cartoon bluebirds.

Isabel said, "Overall, I was incredibly pleased that the conversation did not [degenerate] to an argument about whose style of parenting is best."

This was not from lack of trying on Meredith's part. When Isabel gave one particularly eloquent, and I thought definitive answer indicating that there is no "versus" in this equation, M.V. came right back, before Isabel really even finished speaking, with, "BUT, Rene, don't you feel that there's a backlash against ["alpha" moms]..." Made me INSANE.

Isabel said, "Rather it focused on that ultimately what is important is to do what is best for your family."

I would have to say that 90% of that "focus" came from ISABEL, and I thank her for staying on-message so articulately.

Isabel said, "I think that is really a testament to how well the segment was produced. I think credit should be given, when credit is due."

Which is why I'm giving it to Isabel Kallman, instead of the segment's PRODUCERS, who I really, very strongly, feel were trying like all get-out to create another tempest in a teapot by pitting mothers against each other, yet AGAIN. (Honestly, is this all they can come up with for discussions on parenting?) But she denied them the cheap sensationalism they craved by refusing to take the bait, and I can't applaud her enough. Thank you, Isabel.

As to the question posed in Isabel's post, "What is an "alpha" mom?", by the "Today" show's standards, I could not be further from their definition of what an "alpha" mom is. (Let me just interrupt myself here to give you an example of the "scientific" criteria that Meredith Vieira pulled out SO proudly to illustrate how we moms are defining ourselves, according to an inane iVillage poll: You are an "Alpha mom" if "your kid's socks always match." You are a "Slacker mom"--don'tcha just LOVE that term?--if you answer "who needs matching socks?" You are "Both" if "your kid's socks may not always match, but at least they pass the sniff test." SERIOUSLY. I am not making this drivel up.) But I'm here to tell you, I identify strongly with what I find at Alpha+Mom on a regular basis, applaud the bloggers they've chosen to feature, and enjoy and appreciate what they've created and are nurturing, and hope to be a part of the community and continue to benefit from it for as long as they'll continue providing this springboard for thought and discussion.

Still waiting for that hot media debate over various types of FATHERING, and "this" Dad versus "that" Dad. Got a feeling I'll be waiting a while.

Now get over to Isabel's place and leave her some feedback. Please?


  1. Wow, so glad that I don't watch The View. LOL Why does every things have to be a contest? But on the other side why can't a mom with one style give advice or help to a mom with another style without it being seen as an attack or a judgement? Its like we get so fed into the "mommy wars" that we begin to see theme verywhere.

  2. Great post. I share your admiration of Isabel. She always comports herself brilliantly in these situations. If she's an alpha mom, I'm proud to count myself in her tribe.

  3. I watched the video clip & didn't find Meredith Viera irritating or trying to start an argument. I think the questions she asks are given to her by the producers.
    I see it as just new names for moms with different's as old as dinosaurs. Well, almost.

    Honestly, I didn't see anything controversial.

  4. Kind of my point, partly anyway, as I felt they are trying to *create* controversy. This is just one link in a chain of such pieces from this same source, and it's ALWAYS about moms. Not dads, moms. They attack us where we're most vulnerable: our insecurities about raising our kids.

    If this had been an isolated fluff piece, maybe it wouldn't have stuck in my craw the way it did.

  5. I blogged about this myself yesterday - this constant perpetuation of 'Mommy Wars' by the media is gettin' old! I just read your comment at Isabel's blog and followed the link here. Other bloggers have also blogged about this issue yesterday - it's kind of sad that the Today show (it's the one I watch primarily, I'm sure the other magazine shows are no better), keep trotting out these 'non topics' as you call them.

    Time to link the Today Show with these blog posts I think - go give us some real news already!

  6. Why can't the discussion be about parents, rather than either mom or dad?

    And maybe the issue could be, "Do you comfort your crying child and clean and bandage the scraped knee, or laugh at the fall and smack the kid upside the head for being a cry-baby?

    Matching socks, my ass.

    I agree, Meredith could do better.


  7. I haven't watched the video yet but from your description, it sounds very similar to when they did the segment with Melissa Summers and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor about having a drink during a playgroup. In fact, it sounds like they used the very same interview tactics, only with a different albeit potentially divisive topic.

  8. Sue: Yes, and yes.

    Izzy: Exactly the same tactics, but this "Mommy Wars" author was less aggro than Melissa's panelmate.

  9. I'm not an Alpha-anything, but I'm no slacker. My kids' socks always match, unless they have shoes that don't need socks. We play, read and hang out, and I do my dishes after they go to bed. They learn to clean up their own messes and earn money for things they want. What's wrong with any of that?

    Hip Hip Hooray for all Moms, regardless of their parenting style.