June 20, 2005

Alpha Mom, Beta Publicist

Isabel Kallman and I probably have about one thought in common. At first blush, I probably would've thought a six-page profile in New York Magazine about me, my media empire, and my vast tracts of parenting expertise was a good idea, too.

Well, there but for the grace of a clueless publicist--and any interest from the magazine in my site--go I. Kallman got her profile, alright, and she was in full sell mode. Lots of mentions of Alpha Mom TV, her video-on-demand programming series for the oh-so-desirable "snowbound, one-car, stay-at-home midwestern mom" demographic, which has been starved for parenting advice from an Upper East Side ex-I-banker married to a record company CEO.

She should've known there was a takedown-a-coming. And it's a doozy, all the more so because of the righteous outrage the article engenders, the apparent obliviousness of its subject, and the unspoken reality that the magazine's own supposed core demographic--striving, upscale New Yorkers--is being implicated. Enjoy.

Empire of the Alpha Mom [nymag, via rebeldad]
Lisa unpacks the article on The Rage Diaries [schmeiser.typepad.com]
Previous NY Mag parent/kid-related articles for your horrifying amusement

14 Comments

I'm kind of horrified. The poor kid. Maybe there's a sort of special reverse-fresh-air-fund program where the kid can be schlepped out of their overly-scheduled power mommy/daddy spheres to the burbs or smaller cities where FREAKING NORMAL people live, where he can learn to play with mudpies and that cookies are NOT a food-on-demand choice.

My pack of chirren would certainly whup him into shape fast, and I suppose I could tie her (and her entire village) down to my front-porch rockin' chairs and pour margaritas down ALL their throats until they relax, or take a much needed nap.

Maybe it's the self- (not child-) induced sleep depravation that's making them all so freaky.

Whew! Just reading that article made me tired. But at least now I know what the Alpha Moms thing is all about (friends were passing the link around a month or so ago and we couldn't really figure out what their deal was). And I think I'll be PASSING on that, even for free!

i've come to terms that I am not in control with my girls, but it seems like this woman is fighting that reality tooth and nail. I feel sorry for both the husband and child. She just needs to stop. and. take. a. break.

I agree with JJ about the rocking chairs and margaritas. Actually, that sounds pretty nice right now.

Is this just some sort of weird NYC phenomenon? It seems like most of the nonsense I read about power-parenting seems to emanate somehow from either the Times, NY Mag, or tales of NYC parents in general. Hallelujah there are good folks out there blogging away so I'm not picturing the place as some sort of den of parental doom.

But son, she's got....vast tracts a' parentin' expertise!

hahahaha okay I admit that made me laugh right out loud when I read it. During naptime even!

So the Alpha Mom logo is red, white and black? Isn't that the colors of the Nazi Third-Reich? How appropriate for a Super-Uber-Mutter.

What a great dad too. At his kid's 2nd birthday party he does nothing but hide behind a video camera, talk on his cellphone and speak to a reporter. Good thing mom is hooked up w/ such great therapists. The kid will need it.

This woman, who proudly admits the necessity of a full time staff to care for her 2 year old, thinks herself qualified to tell the world how to raise their children?
She reads that you should "wear your child" (in a sling I assume) so that they become accustomed to your voice and learn language skills, and rather than having the normal mom reaction of going out and paying for a sling, she goes out and pays for a person to wear it for her. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but my favorite thing about my sling is that I can do so much with my son in it, close to me, safe and happy. I really think she missed the point entirely.

There's so much wrong with this that I scarcely know where to start. 100 hour weeks, huh? Excuse me for being crass but when did she even have the time to get laid working, what 20 hours a day? That must have been scheduled too. I wonder how much time she gave the poor bastard. I bet she cited research in the middle of it.

Oh Lord is this woman nuts - there's a difference between Type A personality and TOTAL STRESS CASE! And she's working on turning her son into a stress case as well. Working hard to be good at all is one thing - but working hard to essentially avoid raising your child is another.

Isabel....Thanks for making all us NYC parents look so bad. Most of us are trying to raise normal, relaxed, well-adjusted children.

clearly, this wannabe exec has taken it too far. but women like her exist -- the do more be more validate my existence with a monster title type.

but am i missing something? faulting her frantic tasking/contracting out childcare would be just as wrong as her pointing out the rest of us as super lazy.
an aside, i'm surprised the birthday didn't have more performers, a bigger theme, a series of parting gifts... maybe she got miffed those didn't make the final print.

we're all trying to grasp the best and brightest, and hope the news hasn't spread too far to create another wait list. some do it to compete. some take the approach of the highly strung project manager. others (err, me) try not to play the game, but we've got to watch to make sure we're not missing out on any opportunities the kids could really use. the VOD channel seems to be made for the high strung breed, shot through soft focus or a vaseline lens and lined with Oprah-type afirmations. i just hope the good stuff gets filtered to some blog, somewhere so i don't have to watch it.

To me, whatís offensive about the article is not the person it covers. Itís that a magazine would focus negative energy on Kallman, who I do not think is in any way typical of a workforce Mom. The Post continues to feed us tired images of women in the workforce who, as ìbusiness womenî, are shitty Moms. Women who are "ball breakers" donít care about their kids! They are rich bitches! They hire nannies! Itís easy to dislike Kallman ñ too easy. Womenís anger should be focused at Randall Patterson for presenting readers with an image that speaks very negatively of women who combine business & family.

My wife handed me this article when it first came out before we went to bed and asked me what I thought. Bad Move on both parts. I read it and got so annoyed about the pretentiousness of the "Alpha Mom" that I kept my wife up talking about it. She has learned never to give articles like that to read before bedtime again :)

We live in suburban NJ and adopted a son from Korea 5.5 years ago. It never dawned on us that we would need a "village" to raise him, even though we both work. My wife's folks have been great in helping out once in awhile looking after our son, but we have pretty much done it on our own and our son is doing pretty well.

It cracked us both up that someone who has (as many people have noted) spent so little actual time with her child (letting her hired help do most of the grunt work), then has the hubris to start up an enterprise telling other folks how to raise their kids.

I learned all I needed to know when I saw the bit about he being upset that her son did not get into a "2 yr old Harvard program". At least he husband had enough on the ball to say "He's only two."

Thankfully, from reading the feedback on the Net on Ms. Kallman, it seems that most of us parents think she is 14 and half minutes through her 15 minutes of fame.

Maybe her "village" can start a channel on dealing with "Alpha Moms". THAT is something I might tune in to :)

When I read this article I kept thinking it was tongue in cheek, but the punchline never appeared! I can't believe that this woman can't see that she is one of the biggest hypocrites I've heard about in a long time. And I'm not sure what the magazine intended by publishing this--did the editors actually think it made any sense? Or were they all too busy rearing their children to do their jobs...?

Wow! I, too, am actually nauseous after reading that article! I to think what kind of a loser the Uber Mom would brand me as. My kids are special needs! Clearly, that's my fault, huh?

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