The Mommy-Fight Site

We've posted before about mothers who practice one-upmanship and make other moms feel inadequate (see Mompetition). At one time, I belonged to a very large online parenting forum that was dominated by self-proclaimed experts who passed judgment on everything from formula brands to college applications. These "alpha moms" especially came down on anyone who wasn't in a perpetually cheery good mood. One day, a member jokingly suggested forming a splinter group where parents who were less than happy-all-the-time could complain and even use foul language. By the end of the day, it was no longer a joke and the new group had about 50 members, who have become lifelong friends. One member even took the name Omega Mom to distance herself from the "alpha moms". Meanwhile, the large forums survive where new members can be made to feel inadequate if they don't toe the line and conform to the prevailing wisdom -or even if they do, they can be made to feel as if it's still not enough.

It's been said that "alpha moms" sit in judgment of others in order to justify their own parenting decisions or to cover up their insecurities. I don't know, but these kinds of parents can't be as common as the online forums make them seem. The veil of anonymity, or at least physical distance, makes some internet users shed their normal inhibitions and become bullies. We all know that raising children is hard, that every child is different, and that the only thing we are experts in is our own particular children (and even so, they change from day to day).

Washington City Paper takes a look at DC Urban Moms and Dads, a large parenting forum for parents in the District of Columbia, where they seem to take one-upmanship to an entirely new level.
In many ways, DCUM is a typical parents’ message board. There are garden-variety threads on medical practices, preschools, and how to get your picky eater to try new foods. There are ads for nannies and discussions about how to fire them. There’s endless speculation about other people’s parenting styles—a subject of particular fascination in this season of debate about whether or not Chinese “Tiger Mothers” are out-parenting their American counterparts. It’s no surprise that the parenting website Babble just named DCUM one of the country’s “top 12 Listserv parent networks.”

All the same, DCUM’s vivid displays of jostling for position might make it an appealing locale for anthropologists, too. Flame wars are common wherever the Internet grants people anonymity, but the fights on DCUM have a uniquely Washington flavor to them. With all that ambient worry about where we live, how much money we make, and how gifted our children are, it’s a place to ponder what it means to raise a child in America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area. DCUM might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis.

If reading about families with 6- and 7-figure incomes bothers you, there is an alternative. The story links to a site called the Institute for Adequate Parenting, founded by a DC mom in reaction to to forum. Its motto: "Because good enough is good enough. Really."

Read more at Washington City Paper. Link -via Fark

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