In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 5, 2007 / 19 Sivan, 5767

BlackBerry is tool, not source, of mom power

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Just when we think we understand what it means to be a mom in 21st-century America, along comes a whole new category of motherhood that could send many of us into paroxysms of insecurity and inadequacy.

Forget soccer moms and stay-at-home moms and three-martini moms. The hip, new moniker for success as a parent puts mom squarely at the forefront of all things: She is alpha mom.

According to recent news accounts, alpha mom is the current label for America's high-tech, media-savvy, consumer-trendy mother. She wields a BlackBerry in one hand, an additional cell phone in the other, and when she's not sitting behind the wheel of her SUV (a Hummer fits the image nicely), she's parked in front of her laptop doing "consumer research" (aka shopping).

Not only does alpha mom control 85 percent of her family's household spending, she and her alpha cohorts represent $500 billion in total consumer spending.

$500 billion — that's a lot of Cheerios.

Of course, the reason alpha mom is so attractive to marketers isn't just the power she exerts over the purse strings in her own home but her willingness to spread the word about the very latest stuff she has purchased for her children and herself. She's a bona fide authority on everything cool. If alpha mom buys something, it's the thing to have.

Alpha mom is raising so-called alpha kids, the first ones on the block to see the latest movies, for example, and own the collateral products that support the debut of the film. (By now, the alpha kids on your block have seen "Shrek the Third" more than once and know all the songs from the movie because they already have loaded the tunes into their IPods, and they own the movie's spinoff game for Nintendo Wii).

Even the Joneses couldn't keep up with alpha mom. She's raised our standard for parenting to a corporate-level executive post.

Now, if you happen to be reading this while waiting for your laptop calendar to synchronize with your PDA, please forgive me. I'm not out to offend anyone.

But let me just say this about alpha moms: Oh, please.

First off, my own mother would tell you that "alpha" is just another word for "mom" anyway. Having access to digital technology does not make the mom. Having access to the words "yes" and "no" — this is the power that makes every mom the alpha human in her household.

Also, since when is it news that mothers control 85 percent of household spending? Even in our age of parental enlightenment, I don't see a whole lot of dads at the grocery store checkout counter or standing outside the fitting room at the Gap or killing time at the orthodontist's office while their children get rewired — all places that account for big chunks of household spending.

If the discovery that mothers are America's principal shoppers has only now created a marketing category for them, I have to wonder: Didn't any of the men who work in marketing ever notice while growing up that their moms bought everything in the house?

Someone probably paid good money for research to tell them what every woman in America could explain between trips to the megamall: Motherhood is high finance. (My husband would tell you the most expensive phrase I can utter is, "Guess how much I saved us today?" This doesn't mean I refrained from spending; it only means I shopped a sale.)

Perhaps what's new about the marketing analysis of mothers as spenders is the notion that spending is power, and therefore, alpha moms finally are being accorded their due respect.

Here's the really annoying part of the alpha mom phenomenon — her counterpart isn't beta mom — it's slacker mom.

Think about that for a minute — supposedly, if you're not running through the grocery store with a Bluetooth receiver in your ear, simultaneously buying organic snacks for your children as you schedule an appointment for your little darling with a private tennis coach, you're just not getting the job done.

I guess I'm a slacker, and that's all there is to it.


What irks me about the whole image of the alpha mom is that it has nothing to do with motherhood.

Motherhood is a powerful role; American marketers are right about that. But every mother is most powerful in moments that are completely free of charge, except for the expenditure of time, attention, insight and understanding that she brings to her unique and irreplaceable position.

American poet William Ross Wallace said it better more than 125 years ago in his classic poem:

All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

OK, so Wallace couldn't envision a day when mom could wind up the cradle to rock itself while she folded a load of laundry, but his poem still speaks the truth. The power of a mother's love is something Madison Avenue isn't ever going to figure out how to exploit.

It has always been a hands-free, wireless and wonderful job, and thankfully, it's still entirely doable without a BlackBerry.

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"The Perfect World Inside My Minivan -- One mom's journey through the streets of suburbia"  

Marybeth Hicks offers readers common-sense wisdom in dealing with today's culture. Her anecdotes of her husband and four children tap into universal themes that every parent can relate to and appreciate. -- Wesley Pruden, Editor-in-Chief, The Washington Times
Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2007, Marybeth Hicks