Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Discusses Work-Life Balance
Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has been soundly and widely critiqued in many circles for her harsh approach to parenting. In Chua’s idealized mind, her efforts to make her children wildly successful in music and academics are driven by her love for them, desire to prove herself a devoted Chinese daughter, and desire to see her offspring excel.
How Chua, a successful law professor with a busy teaching and publishing schedule, finds time to attend music lessons with her daughters, plan elaborate parties celebrating their successes, and deal with the unteachable family dog is a mystery. So how does she do it and maintain work-life balance?
Drive toward goals. Chua’s indefatigable drive is evident and clearly being goal oriented is a major motivator for toting her daughters to music lessons and performances. She is relentless.
Money. While Chua and her husband forego some things for themselves, the reality is that they are pouring their plentiful resources into what Chua thinks their children need to succeed or to show off their achievements. Unlike the bootstrapping immigrant ideal that Chua thinks she is emulating, these are not people wondering how to make their mortgage payment or fretting over how to pay the light bill.
Juggling. Chua keeps her daughters practicing by leaving them notes and doggedly following up on their activities. She is a helicopter parent to the nth degree in many ways. When students from her law class find a note she left for her daughter about practicing, she is left apologizing – as her two worlds collide a bit. This is where Chua’s approach falls apart. She approaches parenting like a job.
Many working mothers might not subscribe to her hyper-involvement in certain areas = hyper-success theories, but many of us have made the same mistake.