Saturday, January 22, 2011
If you watch TV, play on the internet or pay attention to book circles, you've heard of Amy Chua's memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom" and the advocacy for hardline parenting.
"No sleepovers or playdates. Grueling rote academics. Hours of piano and violin practice. Slurs like "lazy" and "garbage," and threats to burn stuffed animals when things don't go mom's way...
No TV, no pets, no computer games, no grades under A, no parts in school plays, no complaints about not having parts in school plays, no choice of extracurricular activities, nothing less than top spots in any school class except gym and drama, no musical instruments except piano or violin."
What people, the media, and her publishers seem to be skipping over is the conclusion of this memoir, which summarizes some of her regrets.
"Chua stands by much of her tiger mom ways: intense attention to academics, for instance. And she has some clarifications: Her girls HAVE had sleepovers and playdates, but they were few and far between."
Regrets? "I wish I hadn't lost my temper," she said. "I wish I hadn't been harsh. I wish I would have let them have more freedom."
The Tiger Mom has, in fact, been largely a product of her publisher's promotion tactics.
The intertubes are alive with responses to the Tiger Mom, the tough love parent who produces top-scoring, high achieving offspring who aren't coddled, their "self-esteem" not padded, their failures not tolerated.
Amy Chua Parenting Memoir Raises American Fears
Tiger Mom Amy Chua getting clawed
Tiger Mom Amy Chua A Good Mom? A Past Tiger Dad Reflects
Mom bloggers mixed on ‘Tiger Mother’ Amy Chua’s rigid parenting
'Chinese Tiger Mother' Amy Chua -- Is Her Parenting a Form of Child Abuse?
Pussycat in 'Tiger Mom'? - The real story behind Amy Chua's Book 'Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother'
A remarkable number of people are coming out in favor of this style of parenting in response to the increasing number of parent enablers who sue the school when their kid gets a poor grade or refuse to let their kids climb on a jungle gym because they might get hurt. I call this mom the Bear Mom, after Sarah Palin's Grizzly Mom.
Sarah Palin pushes fundamentalist Christianity while in the same breath demanding privacy and non-scrutiny for her own teenage mom daughter who got pregnant out of wedlock. Bear Moms, in my opinion, aren't doing their children any favors by covering up for them. Love that enables children to never take responsibility for themselves isn't any better than love that hurts because it loves.
Lion Moms are those moms who parent tribally. Lion moms are the attachment parenting moms. Lion Moms are the Consensual Living moms. Lion moms are the democratic moms. Lion moms are all those moms running the wide spectrum in between the seemingly uncaring Tiger and the seemingly paranoid and entitled Bear Mom.
Lion Moms have mother groups they turn to for play groups, parenting advice, mom's night out, social networking, chat rooms and group trips to the museum. Lion Moms are sometimes Attachment Parenting moms, sometimes Natural Living moms, and sometimes both. Lion Moms are those moms hanging out on Celebrity Baby blog to see what the latest style of baby shoe or stroller is and leave a comment about how cute Natalie Portman looks pregnant. Lion Moms have birthday parties where no presents are required and everyone makes a craft, or birthday parties planned weeks in advance with coordinated cakes and decorations where the take-home party favors are often more elaborate than the birthday kid's presents.
Lion Moms are all us moms in between the two ends of crazy.
I came across the video of one of my favorite Lion moms, Arianna Huffington. She is one of the most successful women I know. She was also not raised by a Tiger Mom, and did not raise her two daughters that way, either. As these four discuss this type of strict parenting, Arianna says , ""I'm completely against it. The most important thing a mom can give her children is that sense of being loved no matter whether you succeed or fail."
Of course, there are also those "Shark Moms." Some sharks give birth to live young who then need to swim away as fast as possible before Mom decides to eat them. Those are the Moms who really can't stand their kids and think Motherhood is boring or a waste of time. But I've ranted about those before...
Here's to all of us middle-of-the-road Lion Moms!