Overheard at the local park recently....
I'm sitting on a bench, passively ignoring my lot who are enjoying the enclosed play area (I'm detailing the fact that it is enclosed, so you don't think less of my mothering skills for passively ignoring them).
Sitting on the next bench are 3 "Alpha Mothers".
These are the Mothers who look like they're about to either:
a) go to war (camouflage clad to the extreme);
b) compete in some fashionable Olympic event (fashionable because their entire outfit is faux effortlessly co-ordinated; Olympic event because it's one of those sprayed-on lycra ensembles with impossibly white sneakers and hair pulled back so tight they look permanently startled).
Admittedly, I am channelling a circus clown in my get up of whatever mismatched items were at the top of the washing pile and therefore the least pungent.
I'm sure they won't mind me going over their conversation on the internet, since they weren't attempting to keep it private at the time. They were so loud talking over the top of one another that they almost drowned out my kids...almost.
To summarise, with only slight paraphrasing (seriously...no added bite or sarcasm required on my part):
Alpha1: Daughter's school don’t take her educational needs seriously. Her daughter, you see, is artistically gifted, and deserves focussed teaching to channel her creative talents.
Alpha2: Made all the right supportive "hmm...yes..." noises for all of 5 seconds before launching into her own parental woes. She’s married to a Dentist...as she's managed to squeeze into the conversation 4 times since I actively started keeping a tally. Their son has shown such an interest in Daddy's work, that Alpha2 wants an educational pathway towards Dentistry. Which doesn't sound completely over the top, until you realise she is talking about early Primary education...not senior High school leading in to University...
Alpha3: Seemed to ignore the other two just waiting to butt in with her own concerns. She watched Junior Masterchef on TV, and can't believe the "averageness" of the contestants, cute as they were. Her two kids are also much more photogenic and would look better on camera (all her words). You guessed it, she's the one in the fashionable Olympic outfit...with a full face of makeup for her 9am visit to the park.
I'm scanning the playground for these child geniuses (what do you call a group of child geniuses...a genii?), half considering asking for an autograph and recipe tips from Alpha 3's prodigies, booking an early appointment for a scale and clean with Alpha 2's boy (since it is so impossible to get in to see a Dentist these days), and commissioning a piece of artwork from the as-yet-unknown artistic talent that is Alpha 1's daughter.
I only see lots and lots of little people, nothing but toddlers and a few Kindergarten aged kids.
After about 10 minutes, the Alpha's have agreed their children rule the world in their superiority to all other life forms, and call their kids to leave.
Alpha 1's artistic progeny comes over from the corner of the playground where she'd been sitting alone, doing nothing of artistic merit (already the brooding loner artist type?).
Alpha 2's Dentist has been peeling paint off the monkey bars. Nothing of note or brilliance there, quite a regular type of child activity, in fact.
Alpha 3's Michelin star Chef's in the making had been - ironically enough - making mud pies in the sand pit.
Four very normal looking children approached.
THEY ARE EACH APPROXIMATELY 3-4 YEARS OF AGE!
Is it not a lot of unfair and completely undue pressure to put on a kid who is still trying to master their own bodily functions, to expect them to channel into a career path purely because they showed a toddler's level of passing interest in something that their Alpha mother's approved of?
Un-Alpha Mother me would like to report that my offspring were doing the following at the playground on this day -
Miss5: Swinging on a swing (totally co-ordinated, which is a plus for someone with my genetic make up) therefore she must be a trapeze artist or world champion gymnast in the making. Signing her up for a try-out when Cirque de Soleil next hit town.
Mstr2: Eating sand in the sandpit, next to the future Chef's, so he is potentially going to become Australia's most renowned and discerning food critic.
Miss2: Holding court yelling and stalking around the slide, with a group of 3 loyal followers. Total Politician in the making...the good kind, not the dodgy and much hated kind, naturally.
Amended version of blog post 6 Nov 2010