Are you tempted by Tiger Mum?
Why do mums even bother to argue about how to bring up their kids? We’re all just doing our best, and there are a heap of ways to do that. More thoughts from Nicola Baird, partly adapted from her book Homemade Kids.
Amy Chua is the “lucky” lady with an amazing career, a hunky husband (teaching at Yale like her), two delightful teenagers and the ability to so irritate American mums that her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has become a must read and shot up the Amazon and New York Times bestseller lists.
It’s not published in the UK until 7 Feb 2011, but there’s already such an uncomfortable buzz about it, my first taste was this in the Guardian Saturday Family section (which actually I liked for its raw honesty, see here).
And so there should be a buzz – Amy wanted her kids to be straight A achievers and so they had to put in the hours to get there. This meant no TV, no sleepovers and agonies of violin practice.
To most of us this seems like a mix between child abuse and bullying. For anyone with older children it’s hilarious: a child who has been taught to think doesn’t accept a dictator. Even if she goes by the name “mum”.
The irony is that caring for a baby is such a small task, one that ought to link the world’s billions, but within the book buying world of lipstick, breast pads and feminism (and yes you are allowed all three) having a baby in the hallway is the greatest source of sisterhood wars.
I work because I like it, not just because I have to. But raising my children is another very big job, probably the most important job most of us will ever have . And it’s one all of us learn as we go along.
What I’ve found striking about bringing up my two girls – using green not super pushy mum values – is that a baby quickly becomes a highly motivating teacher who wants to turn you into an ideal parent. No wonder so many of us write about it…
For a fantastic summary of Amy’s Tiger Mum book – sympathetic really,despite her extreme regime approach – see here.