Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OUT: Tiger Mom -- IN: Panda Mom

MY take on Amy Chua, Tiger Mom? She’s crazed about all of the wrong things. Her dedication to her children’s success is crushingly over the top, however admirable for its ferocity. What Tiger Mom wouldn’t want an Ivy League college, Carnegie Hall debut, Power Marriage and a Career  Ruling the World for her own tiger cub? A good Tiger Mom dedicates her adult life to beating her dedication into her children…but Amy Chua COMPLETELY overlooks the true meaning of parenting success.

Introducing: Panda Mom.

Let me give you an example: Me.

Like many other of my Panda Mom peers, I’ve put on a few older-mom pounds (DAMN you menopause!). Listen ladies, it makes us all the more adorable; no one likes a skinny panda. Plus, I’m at my very best perfecting creative laziness…feet up on my Baker lounger, directing life, eating unhealthy snack foods. I’m sure you can draw the blissful panda picture, but you may be wondering how my personal panda savoir-faire relates to parenting...

Creative laziness
forces Panda Moms to teach their panda cubs how to Make Mama Happy. For the cubs, making-mama-happy means getting grades just good enough so that Mama Panda doesn’t have to make the effort to hire a tutor, or attend dark meetings with teachers and school counselors. It means that homework and projects get done quickly and simply, so Mama Panda doesn’t have to come unglued reminding her cubs about due dates - or go broke hiring an electrical engineer to wire the Michigan Lighthouse for the 5th grade science expo.

Panda Moms teach their cubs how to make a lunch, dust a room and throw in a load of clothes at an early age. These accomplishments create an entrepreneurial spirit in a cub, an “I can DO that!” attitude that is cosseted and encouraged through…well, servitude. Better living through live-in help, I always say! My Panda Mom job is to guide my children toward their full potential… without losing my mind, scarring future generations or cleaning the cat box (cub job).

“Don’t Make My Life Hard”
is the number one Panda Mom Mantra. Children who drink, do drugs, run with a bad crowd and forget their violin on orchestra day make my life hard. My three cubs know this, and they mostly abide by panda parenting tenets. On the days they don’t? I go to Wolong in my head, and slowly waddle across a verdant, Chinese mountainside. I search for inner fortitude, for grace from the Ancients and for a tasty bite of deep-fried bamboo shoot. This usually brings me back to my senses, and reminds me of the secret, defining equation of true panda parenting victory:

Happy Mom + Happy Cubs = Success!

Why do the Big Cats have to make it sooo difficult?

By Jean MacLeod

Copyright 2011, MacLeod, All Rights Reserved


  1. Great perspective Jean!! Keeping Mama Panda off their backs is my sons' goal!!

  2. GREAT prospective!! Being 63, my "man pup" of 6 years old learned quickly that Momma does NOT do well prior to the cup of jet fuel (coffee) in the morning!!

  3. Thanks for this perspective! Now I know what I am (right down to the menopausal poundage). Whew! For a minute, there, I was feeling a tad inadequate compared to the Tiger Family, but Pandas are loads more fun and infinitely more approachable.