I haven’t read Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, but I’ve read several reviews and a hell of a lot of reaction-based posts. This bitch usually avoids wading into the Mommy Wars, but something about the back-and-forth critiques of how people mother got me pondering why many people assume that [insert parenting style here] will result in a wonder child or a fucked up mess of a kid.
Kids aren’t topiaries. You can’t just follow the instructions and create an accomplished child.
A lot of times parents fuck up all over the place and their child still turns out okay.
‘Tis true that a lot of messed up adults had messed up childhoods due in large part to fucked up parents…but ‘tis also true that there are a lot of accomplished people who are where they are despite their parents not because of them.
I’m not a mother, so I tend to view this shit from the perspective of having been a child with some messed up parents.
My mother was emotionally unstable and verbally abusive...my father was a lousy husband but a pretty great dad when he was around, which wasn’t often. Together they had some serious academic expectations for their kids and they managed to erect a fabillion trillion family-falling-apart hurdles on our road to academic success. Happiness wasn’t a high priority…but deep down I like to think my parent’s wanted us to be happy even if they didn’t do a lot of shit to make us happy.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that I must have an amazing mother because I went to college a year early or won some sort of award, I’d have been able to afford the therapy I needed after escaping my mother’s house.
I used to just smile when people said shit like that, but I realized I was perpetuating a myth. Now I gently correct by saying I was lucky to have a lot of amazing teachers and mentors in my life and they, along with my older sister, get most of the credit for my not being an absolute fucking mess.
I’m not saying that there aren’t some fantabulous mothers out there who have raised well-rounded happy individuals.
There are and they have.
But there are some messed up adults who had loving mothers and there are some accomplished adults who had pretty horrible mothers.
A lot of shit goes into making people who they are, including parenting but not exclusively parenting.
As I ponder the back-and-forth over whether Amy Chua is a good mother or a bad mother and what parenting style is the “right” parenting style, I know one thing to be true – the Mommy Wars will continue.
***logs off to enable bad canine behavior by giving the sorta-beagles bones just because they're cute***