Many of you may have read the article about Tiger Moms recently. It went viral through Facebook and was the story of a Chinese-American mom (you can read it here). Basically, the mom talks about how Chinese child-rearing techniques are superior. Personally, I find many of the techniques quite questionable. Having had many Asian-American friends growing up, I found their parents overly oppressive. I also saw that rather than actual rebellion, the majority snuck around, pretended obedience, then went off and moved as far away from home as possible ;). That’s neither here nor there.
The articles I found today give a variety of different perspectives. The first I read is an almost diametrically opposed approach tot he Tiger Mom. Written by a woman who decides not to be her sons’ custodial parent, it is an interesting tale (you can find it here). She leaves her husband and kids to do a fellowship in Japan. During the stay, she realized she isn’t meant to be a full-time mom. Her story had overtones of wanting her cake and eating it too. She gets to be a mom when she feels like it doing the fun stuff and leaving the hard work of parenting to someone else.
The parade of articles continued. Maybe I had too much time on my hands… Next I explored the article about why people don’t like the kids of working moms (found here). It turns out that this is based on a study of people’s perceptions. It’s an interesting look at what people think about working mom sand their relationships with kids. The comments are actually as interesting as the article. Having been raised by a working mom (single moms kind of have to be, no?), I can’t really sympathize with the feelings of the people.
Then, I came across the almost response regarding the fact that staying at home is a career choice as well. The premise is that if all moms are “working moms” then staying at home is a type of career choice. Interesting perspective, this one (read it here). I find myself sympathetic to much of what she says. This isn’t surprising given that I’ve been a working mom since the beginning. I have periods of part-time and periods of full-time employment (I went back to my full-time job 4 weeks after the twins were born). I’m actually a better mom when I’m working than when I’m not.
Then I found an article about parents hating parenting. It gives statistics and information on depression and such (read it here). Somehow it takes the foundation premise as one that people have children to make themselves happy. I would suggest that this premise is flawed. But that’s just me. I don’t know anyone who decided to have kids so that they would be happy. Fulfilled? Maybe. But, happy, not so much.
The last article I’ll share is one that talks about what to do when you like one of your kids better (see it here). Imagine the horror! Someone likes one of their children better! You know what? Show me someone who vows that they don’t like one of their kids better and I’ll show you a liar ;). Seriously, though, I think all of us have a favorite. My favorite is surprising to me (and others, I suspect). Having said that, I love them all equally, just not the same way. And I find one easier and more special to be with. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m certain of it.
But the most interesting thing about my reading-fest this afternoon was this… it made me accept that I am just as guilty of judging other moms as anyone else. I may be less vocal. I may even be less focused on it, but I make value-judgments all the time. I think the Chinese mom is doing real damage to her kids. I think the “part-time” mom is setting her kids up to feel abandoned. And yet, when I think through their choices, there are things to recommend each. The Chinese mom drives her kids to do better. The part-time mom gives her kids the best of herself each time she sees them (that would be nice). And, each of them is the best mom they know how to be. So, rather than judging them (or anyone else), me, I’m going to start thinking more about how I can better and less about how others can… After all, judging others comes from our own insecurity. So, let’s understand that we are the best we can be and stop beating up ourselves AND others, hunh?
Happy Mother’s Day!