An A-Z Guide to Mom Types: From Alpha Mom to Zeta Mom and Everything In Between
First and foremost, this list is meant to be a humorous look at some of the best and worst types of moms in the world. Every mom, including myself, is a healthy combination of a few or all of these at one time or another, our personalities honed over time by our individual experiences and unique children. We're all human, so take this list as it was intended to be, an irreverent look at motherhood, and nothing more.
Note: There is a mom type listed for each letter of the Greek alphabet. However, the Greek alphabet only has 24 characters to the English alphabet's 26, and the order is different. For my purposes here, I arranged each mom type alphabetically according to the English alphabet. I've listed 12 of the best moms and balanced them with 12 of the worst. Each mom type symbolized by the Greek alphabet was based on a loose translation of the Greek alphabet.
Alpha Moms: These are the moms who are acutely aware of all current methodologies and topics regarding parenting. While far from perfect, these moms have an intrinsic desire to achieve that level, if for no other reason than to not be persecuted by their offspring when they reach adulthood for having done things wrong when they were little. It's not a bad club to join as long as you don't mind hours of research on all things parenting-related. Plan on lots of self-imposed guilt when you make a mistake because you failed to do what the research dictated. Think Marion Cunningham (Happy Days), June Cleaver (Leave It to Beaver) or Charlotte York Goldenblatt (Sex and the City). A sub-group of the Alphas, the Uber-Alphas are the Type-A control freaks who give Alphas a bad name. Think Martha Stewart.
Beta Moms: The balanced moms. More relaxed than Alphas, these moms are laid back in their approach to parenting and easier on themselves when they mess up. They usually make for the best mom friends and you'll be glad that you know a few of these. They throw the most fun and relaxed parties and make you feel like you fit in, even if you don't. Truly kind to all whom they encounter, these moms are the easiest to be around and probably produce the most well-balanced kids. Think Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch), Marge Simpson (The Simpsons), and even Lois Wilkerson from Malcolm in the Middle.
Chi Moms: The shopper moms. These moms are either at the mall all day, kids in tow, or somewhere else procuring useless stuff that they don't really need. When discussing the bounty of the day, they marvel at how wonderful the sales were, never pausing to think about how much money they could have saved had they just stayed out of the stores to begin with. Often, there is a hiding place somewhere in the house where secret purchases are stashed for the short term. Only join this group if you can afford to pay cash, and even then, remember that over shopping never fills a void. Find a hobby that involves your kids instead, or work on the relationships in your life first. Think Victoria Beckham or any of The Real Housewives.
Delta Moms: The snobby, Stepford moms. Like back in their sorority days at college, these women have a network of sisters who have vowed to ignore all other types of moms. If you've ever witnessed their huddled lawn chairs at the neighborhood block party, you'll note that the only thing that separates this exclusive circle of women from a herd of cows is a salt lick. If you can't get on the chaperone roster for your child's class field trip, it's because the Deltas have declared it a Road Trip for themselves, and collectively taken all of the spots within the first five minutes. They're at the school round-the-clock and make sure that everyone knows it, but smiling at anyone (including children) who aren't in their group is rare. Ironically, most consider themselves to be good Christians. Good luck if you want to join this pack, usually hazing is involved, and it isn't pretty. Think Bree Van De Camp (Desperate Housewives).
Epsilon Moms: These are the athletic moms. These jocks compete in triathlons, run in packs, and are preternaturally pale from all of the blood draining out of their faces and into their legs. Occasionally they'll slow down for a walk with their kids; other times they'll take the overweight family dog along, dragging it behind them as they sprint. If you aren't physically capable of keeping up, don't bother with this group; they'll leave you gasping for air in the middle of nowhere. Think Madonna.
Eta Moms: These are the artistic or crafty moms. A fun group to join, these moms are always looking at things from a different perspective. Their homes are typically filled with creative, fun kid projects and lots of color. Never try to throw anything away in front of them though; they're like the Picassos of all moms. They see art where you see junk and have entire rooms devoted to storing bits and pieces of future artistic endeavors. You'll never look at an empty egg carton or toilet paper roll the same way again after time spent with these gals. Check out local art and craft fairs to see the work of Eta Moms.
Gamma Moms: These moms are the self-proclaimed earth mothers, not to be confused with the real earth mothers, the Rhos. They zero in on what is natural and wholesome, whether it's nutrition or demanding organic cotton clothing for their brood. Beware of play dates that you set up with their kids, however; you'll get a list of rules to follow, from what snacks are acceptable to what hand soap their kids are allowed to use (they may even bring their own). Don't be surprised if they show up at your door with an air-quality machine. The worst ones are militant control freaks who give even Uber-Alphas a run for their money. Their kids will probably live forever without ever really living at all. Think Gwyneth Paltrow.
Iota Moms: These are the beauty queen or girly-girl moms. They're the ones at school drop-off still applying makeup in the rear-view, holding up the rest of us (who don't care) in line. They don't go anywhere without being done-up and dolled-up. Blame their parents for valuing them for their looks and never for their brains while they were growing up. While not particularly bright, some of these moms try hard, none-the-less. Just don't trust them with your kids, they might lose one while they're primping in the mirror. Picture most of The Real Housewives or imagine Marilyn Monroe with kids.
Kappa Mom: These are the jealous moms. They usually don't show their true colors until their daughters are old enough to seem like competition to them or their sons bring home a first, serious true-love. These aging old bats are bitter that they didn't get more out of life and want to take it out on their kids and yours. Pray that one won't be a future in-law, because you'll end up paying for most of the wedding. They'll begrudgingly donate a dime here or there, but if they sense that the impending event will top their own nuptials, they'll do everything in their power to make sure that it doesn't. Smile, and take solace in the fact that their kids secretly hate them. Avoid becoming one by grabbing life by the horns and never letting go; your kids (and theirs) will love you for it. Think Joan Crawford, Cinderella's stepmother or Maleficent, the evil queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs).
Lambda Moms: The zookeeper moms. This group of moms has a lot of love to go around. They have so much, in fact, that after they are done having kids, they tend to start collecting pets. Lots of them. If you thought that your houseful of three kids is a zoo, wait until you come across a true Lambda. Noah's Ark carried less critters than the menageries that these ladies have managed to house and feed over the years. While Lambda Moms are a benevolent group to know, come prepared with a lint roller when you visit one of their homes, and anticipate that your kids will beg for a hamster, goldfish, bird, kitten, puppy, horse or pot-bellied pig when you leave. In fact, you'll never hear the end of these requests if your kids become friends with theirs. You've been warned. While she has an entire royal staff to help keep the pet hair away and the stables clean, think Queen Elizabeth II; her love for Corgi dogs (as many as 14 have had the run of Buckingham Palace) and horses is known the world over.
Mu Moms: These moms are nurturers in all senses of the word, especially when it comes to cooking or baking from scratch. They can whip up a delicious meal with only three ingredients and are unfazed by recipes that require as many as thirty. They don't believe in substitutes like margarine or egg whites and their frosting never comes out of a plastic container. In fact, sneak a peek inside one of their cupboards and you won't find a box or can of pre-made anything. If one of these women enters a recipe contest, steer clear with your plagiarized version from Betty Crocker because you won't stand a chance. Furthermore, if your family is lucky enough to get an invitation for dinner at a Mu Mom's house, accept it in the blink of an eye, but remember that your kids' palates will be changed forever. Do yourself a favor; bring take-home containers that she can't help but fill for you and ask for her recipes before you leave for the night. Think Paula Deen.
Nu Moms: These are the dark, Goth-inspired moms. While the outside package may be intimidating, don't judge a book by its cover. They may look different, but like everyone else, they come in all personalities and parenting styles. If you can get past the exterior, you may just find a pretty nice person with a great sense of humor underneath. Think Morticia Addams (The Addams Family) or Lily Munster (The Munsters).
Omega Moms: These are the corporate or doctorate moms who run their families like they run their companies or practices; respectable, but hard-core. Unless you are one, forget about running with this pack. They barely have time to balance family and a career, let alone answer the phone when you call. It isn't personal; these women are just stretched too thin. Keep rooting for them though; they're a rare breed that can handle what feminism preached in the 70's. These gals were the Dean's list crowd in college who went on to graduate summa cum laude. Think Claire Huxtable (The Cosby Show), Murphy Brown (Murphy Brown) or Miranda Hobbes (Sex in the City).
Omicron Moms: The political/activist moms. These women are the movers and shakers of the world and never met a cause that they backed away from. If you want to join this group, pick out an organization worth fighting for and plan on discussing it with everyone and anyone you meet. Be prepared to be unpopular at times for fighting for what you believe in, but be proud of yourself for helping to make the world a better place for your children. Think Rosa Parks or Gloria Steinem.
Phi Moms: These moms are the handywomen of all moms. Natural female MacGyvers, these moms can fix everything from bathroom plumbing to the family car. No strangers to the wonders of duct tape, these gals can manage to think of more uses for it than even the manliest of men. Undaunted by power tools, they could build a house in a week by themselves and probably already have. Remember all of those home improvement projects you keep nagging your husband about? Call one of these women instead; they'll probably do a better job in less time, and you won't have to listen to your husband complain or stroke his ego for days afterward. Check out HGTV or the DIY Channel if you're looking for advice from women who have mastered the art of DIY.
Pi Moms: The gossip moms. These women thrive on forgetting their troubles by focusing on yours or your children's. If you don't have anything nice to say, go sit next to them, but make sure you never turn your back. Their kids tend to pick up mommy's bad habits. Think Joan Rivers.
Psi Moms: The sports moms. Different from the Epsilon Moms, this group is never home. They are usually shuttling their kids (or an entire sports team) back and forth from practice or from game to game. They wear home-team jerseys and baseball caps 24/7 and have well-developed lungs. They have an uncanny knack for remembering individual plays of almost every game they've ever attended and know each player's personal stats. Never mention a rival team in their presence or you'll get a rundown of why their own kid's team plays more fairly, has a better coach, and should have an advantage for the season. It's great group to join if you love sports, but steer clear if your idea of a good time doesn't involve sitting on the edge of a field somewhere enduring just about any kind of weather imaginable. Picture any of the NBA, NFL, or Olympic moms.
Rho Moms: The true earth mothers. A more nurturing form of the Gamma earth mothers, this group is never pretentious and they're more easy-going than the Gammas. They're more about balance and harmony with nature than just regurgitating scientific facts of doom about what chemicals their kids should avoid. They either grow their own vegetables or visit the farmer's market with their children, stressing the importance of sustainable, local food sources. By contrast, the Gammas are more prone to freaking out about potential lead in the family's garden soil and won't eat anything that doesn't have an official certified organic sticker on it, even if it had to be shipped from Guam. The Rho Moms are a nice bunch to hang with, but beware of all of that zucchini they'll try to send home with you. Picture Rebecca Kolls (Rebecca's Garden on HGTV).
Sigma Moms: These are stage moms who bark orders at their kids. Their immaculately coiffed hair is usually blonde or over-highlighted, although some of them might be as frumpy as plumbers. It doesn't really matter though, because these moms bite, in all senses of the word. Their main goal is to live their lives through their kids, either because their 15 minutes were over long ago, or they never had them to begin with. They'll drown you in one-sided conversation and one-up you on almost anything, provided you can get a word in edge-wise. Avoid these moms like the plague or you'll find yourself on a reality show before you know it, guilty by association. Think Kate Gosselin or any of the moms from Toddlers & Tiaras.
Tau Moms: The religious moms. Like anything tied to religion, these moms can run the gamut from the mere devout to cult-following zealots. Pick and choose carefully with this group or you may find yourself and your children trapped on a compound somewhere, spouting self-righteous words of condemnation to the rest of the human race. Keep your religion in check, or the rest of us will write you off as a nut job. Hint: If you find yourself soliciting your faith on behalf of a God who has a tendency to hate, or giving out cookies to hungry poor kids at bus stops so that they'll listen to you proselytize, you're probably in a cult. Good luck with that come reckoning day. Think Carolyn Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) or Olivia Walton (The Waltons) for the most balanced role models of this group.
Theta Moms: These moms are aloof. They are either shy or just like to pretend that they are, but odds are that you'll be ignored if you so much as smile in their general direction. The more aloof they are, the more likely that they're actually an indoctrinated Delta. Remember that the truly shy moms will at least manage a shaky grin, while the Deltas are only capable of an icy stare. Learn the difference, and don't waste your time if your first attempt to be cordial with an aloof mom isn't reciprocated. Famous, truly shy (away from the spotlight) moms include Sally Field and Lucille Ball.
Xei Moms: The superstars. Unlike the Sigmas, the kids aren't the main focus, mom is. Consummate martyrs, these women head every possible committee, organization or team that they come across. While giving you a full rundown of their daily planner, they'll pause occasionally to complain about exhaustion and then be off to the next gig faster than you can blink an eye. The best of them are legitimately overstretched because they just want to spend time with the groups that their children are involved in, but the worst of the bunch overload merely to have their name listed repeatedly on committee minutes, organization websites, or team rosters. Many will end up running for a political office at some point. Think Sarah Palin.
Ypsilon Moms: The neurotic, smothering moms. Always well-meaning, but a little on the nuts side. They're paralyzed with fear whenever their kids leave the house and they tend to be over-protective, more out of true concern for their children than a desire to be controlling. They're the moms who follow their kids everywhere and screen the neighborhood children (and their parents) before allowing play dates with their brood. Their kids are either prone to living at home well after they become adults, or fleeing the house as soon as they are able. If you ever cross your eyes at one of their children, prepare for the wrath of mom. Keep in mind that an extra set of protective eyes never hurts these days, and as long as your kid is nice to theirs, these moms will treat your children like one of their own. Think of Shirley McClaine's character in Terms of Endearment or Tom Hanks' mom in Big.
Zeta Moms: The slacker moms in all their untidy glory. Their kids live the life of heathens and these moms don't blink an eye. Breakfast is usually cold pizza and Kool-aid because there hasn't been milk in the house for weeks. They're laid back like the Beta Mom, but take it to the nth degree. Usually cool to party with for a few hours at the local summertime beer tent when you're at the peak of a short-lived midlife crisis (who of us has time for a full-blown breakdown, anyway), long-term friendship is out of the question when you're a serious parent. These girls are reputation killers. Think Peg Bundy (Married, With Children), Roseanne Conner (Roseanne) or Nancy Botwin (Weeds).