First it was the Tiger Mom, now comes the Part-time Mom. I’m sick of it. Really people, do you have to categorize yourself into the uber-mom who is making sure your child is at the top of his/her class, or the mom who realizes AFTER she had two kids, that she never wanted them in the first place?
I’m talking about two moms who have written memoirs about their parenting (or lack thereof) styles and philosophies. The self-professed “Tiger Mom,” Amy Chua pissed off legions of parents when she inferred that her way of hard-core parenting made her Asian kids superior. She was shocked when her views caused a backlash. I’m shocked she thought people would applaud her parenting style. I admit, I do have a kid enrolled in violin lessons, and I feel like I’m constantly on her back to practice. However, I don’t force her to practice until perfection. In fact, only now after a year of lessons can I listen to her practice without cringing with every awful note. Isn’t part of being a kid actually about having fun learning and playing an instrument, mistakes and all?
The other mom, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto just published her book, “Hiroshima in the Morning.” In it, she explains why she decided to walk away from her two boys and husband. I heard her talking to Meredith Vierra on the “Today Show” as I was getting ready to schlep my kids to pre-school yesterday morning. It stopped me in my tracks. At first I didn’t get it. Did she really just walk away from everything? It turns out no. She just wanted the best of both worlds. She now lives near her ex-husband and boys, and says she’s a better mom when she can give them her undivided attention for a few hours a week. Well, wouldn’t we be better moms if we only had to do it on a part-time basis? She answers critics who call her selfish, by saying her kids aren’t traumatized and credits her ex-husband for doing, “most of the heavy lifting.” That’s not real parenting. That’s getting all of the good, and none of the bad. As much as everyone tells you how hard parenthood is, you don’t really grasp it until you become a parent. It is all-consuming, and yes, you do lose yourself for a time, whether you’re working full-time or not. I too, like getting away every once in a while. It’s great going out to dinner at a place without color crayons or having to blow on a little person’s food. However, at the end of the day, it does all come back to the kids. I was telling my husband about Rizzuto’s story, and he made the point that for all of the frustrations and hair pulling moments your kids will give you, they make it all worthwhile in the moments they climb into bed with you, or run into your arms.
At first, it seems like these women have nothing in common, but in reality they’re very similar. They’re narcissistic women who have selfish motives. The just go about fulfilling their lives in a different way. In the case of the “Tiger Mom,” she sees her successful children as an extension of herself. The Part-time mom sees her kids as a burden to her success, so she let’s her husband handle the majority of the child rearing. The media, (which I am part of) uses their stories to sensationalize and marginalize the role of mothers. The two mothers seem to exploit their experiences in attempt to sell more books. That action seems to be the epitome of selfishness. Instead of spending so much time writing about why you are such a good or bad mom, how about actually spending time with your kids, and letting your actions, not your words speak for yourself?