I am a magazine junkie. No, seriously! I lie to my husband about how many I buy, I skim money from the checking account to buy more, and I hide them all in a cabinet in my living room. Anyway, I read a great article in this month's Parenting by author Rosalind Wiseman. It's all about mom cliques. Where do you fit in?
Queen Bee Moms
They appear to have perfect lives, they're very charming and really, really like being in charge. She organizes her kid's social activities so there is no free time. If other parents don't like her it's because, "they're jealous." She's good at telling other people's secrets. When she or her child includes you or your child, you feel special. She won't apologize for her child's behavior.
These moms define themselves in relation to a more powerful peer. They are second in command behind the Queen Bee. She organizes her child's activities according to the Queen Bee's schedule. She forces her child to be friends with the Queen Bee's kid. Won't apologize for her child's behavior unless they are considered to have higher social status. Focused on getting her child in the 'right' schools and joins in when other moms gossip.
Starbucks & Sympathy Moms
Their strength is at figuring out where other mothers feel vulnerable, gathering that information, and then spreading it around when it's most advantageous to them. They are happy to have their power based solely on their ability to wield power behind the scenes.
Torn Wannabes and Desperate Wannabes
Wannabe moms are always looking for opportunities to raise their stock in the social marketplace - which often means selling someone else short. There are two types - those who know better but can't help themselves (Torn) and those who don't know better and act like they're 12 (Desperate). Torn Wannabes are unpredictable and frustrating. She's the one who supports you during conflict but bolts at the moment of confrontation. She never tells you what she's thinking. She's great at rationalizing her behavior. The Desperate Wannabe is easier to dislike. She doesn't realize when her actions don't match her values. She name drops - a lot. She can also be really nasty if pushed.
They sacrifice their needs and judgments to avoid conflict. She's the one who's always saying, "Whatever you want is fine." She's unlikely to stand up for what she wants because she's afraid to offend. She's been so beaten by relationships in the past she's terrified to speak out. When she does, she's likely to salt her words with apologies. When she hears gossip she'll keep silent and then rehearse all the things she wished she'd said.
These moms can move easily from one group to another without resentment. They are genuinely liked for who they are. She dresses appropriately and doesn't stand out. Her house isn't over the top, her car isn't fancy. They don't waste time on schoolgirl drama.
Able to analyze their behavior and make improvements. They often have the best sense of humor. Reformed Queen Bees have kept all of their positive qualities - fun to be around, charismatic, intelligent, and capable - and lost most of the negative attributes that made everyone miserable. Reformed moms aren't just Queen Bees, there are others walking around who are genuinely amazing women you'd want as friends. Sometimes they revert to old behavior, but when called on it, can admit it, apologize and move on.
Well-meaning parents who attend school functions, but never ever say a word. They have a few close relationships with other Invisible Moms.
These moms are so out of it. They don't live in the 'right' neighborhoods' or go to the 'right' church.' A woman who goes through divorce can easily find herself an Outcast. They might be gay parents or people of a minority religion. But they can also be conservative parents who send their kids to a more liberal school because of their academic excellence. Outcast Moms are vulnerable to dismissal or attack even if they don't call attention to themselves. However, they do enjoy a sense of freedom because speaking out doesn't bother them. What do they have to lose?
So where do you think you fit in? I would like to believe I am a Floater Mom; liked by everyone. In reality, I'm probably more like a Steamrolled Mom.
If you're interested in the full article, pick up the April 2006 issue of Parenting.