Friday, September 23, 2011

battle hymn of the troll mother

I finally got around to reading Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011), which caused the mama Blogosphere to explode in outrage against this ├╝ber strict mother who denies her daughters all fun and play, forcing them instead to work hard at academics and music through constant monitoring, threats and punishment. I can see now how it struck such a nerve with people. Why? Because while in the US we take pride in our right to individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness, our culture nevertheless places an outrageously high price on accomplishment and success. Which is what Chua claims she ensured for her children through rigid enforcement of music practice and drilling for hours on end until excellence was achieved.

Chua further frustrates the readers by doing her best to make it hard for them to dislike her. She reveals her own insecurities and weak moments struggling with child rearing, and she of course highlights her personal sacrifices raising her daughters, devoting extreme amounts of time and efforts to it. She also sneaks in soft accounts about her ultimate puppy love, and the in-home care she provides her cancer sick mother-in-law with, in Chua's own house at that, despite their tense history. She also fills her memoir with a profuse amount of academic namedropping and colorful accounts of their exotic family vacations, lest you forget she's of some stature.

A friend of mine suggested I write my own Battle Hymn of the Troll Mother. In response to Chua's battle hymn and her "Chinese mother" way of parenting, my book would be an account of the troll mother's experiences as a mama, reflecting on different values and approaches to motherhood in my native Norway and the US. I like the idea, and might pick him up on it. It'd be a nice opportunity to put all my thoughts on mothering together in a memoir'ish format (sort of like what I do in many of my posts here), from our choice to pursue home birth and attachment parenting, breastfeeding and co-sleeping, diaper free parenting and body positivity, and so on. I'll let you know what comes of it. In the meantime, if you're curious to learn more about my parenting style, check out my new "about me" page.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, recently read Chua's book, begrudgingly, and found that while I started out laughing hysterically, I quickly became annoyed and had to put the book down for a bit.  I tried to keep an open mind, but then finally allowed myself to just embrace my dislike for her when she couldn't figure out if a music teacher was male or female and then proceeded to refer to the person as "It".   She inspired me to consider my own blog, and if I ever find the time, maybe.  But in the meantime, I like your idea of writing about the troll mother. 


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