Battle Hymn Of The Tired Mother

Battle Hymn Of The Tired Mother
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My kid doesn't stress me out nearly as much as what I think other moms think of me.

Who knew Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was intended to be a comic memoir? A quick visit to Amy Chua's website reveals she wrote Tiger Mother as a self deprecating confessional about failing to raise her kids in the same strict, no-nonsense Chinese way her immigrant parents raised her.

But when the book was released, something was lost in translation. Many mothers were enraged. The book became a best seller mostly due to mothers reading solely it to stir-fry Chua for pushing her daughters beyond socially acceptable levels of extreme parenting.

Anti-Tiger moms loathe being that strict with their kids-- yet they hover so intently over every waking moment of their children's lives that they are unable to let their kids do anything on their own, like just be kids.

Cathy Thorne

Until becoming one, I didn’t realize how much moms side-eye each other-- clocking who's pulling it all off while relishing who's fucking it all up. My kid doesn't stress me out nearly as much as what I think other moms think of me.

Many moms feel pressured to create the most well-rounded & over-scheduled humans who still poop themselves. After another parent rhapsodized about their 8 month old's synchronized swimming-based, dual immersion Mandarin-Urdu Waldorfian daycare, we were convinced we’d already destroyed our 2 year old’s future-hood. Canada broke it to me.

CANADA: We just might have to settle for having a regular kid.

Since rearing a regular kid in Los Angeles is beyond unacceptable, I caught MAMAFOMO— or Mama's Fear Of Missing Out. MAMFOMO is code for moms who fret they’ve ruined their toddler's chance at a brilliant adulthood because their kid hasn't thrown a sensory overload tantrum in the Infinity Room at the Broad or taken a yoga/pole dancing class under the Hollywood sign on the first gibbous moon of the Vernal Equinox.

MAMAFOMOs are determined to pack as many meaningful, maximized bandwidth vision-quest experiences into their little one’s life long before their children will remember any of them. After another family returned from a Nepali monastery with their 2 year old in training to be the next reincarnation of the Lama, I played The Power of Now audiobook, sung by Bjork in Icelandic and English simultaneously, while Grace slept. She woke up still needing pull ups and only speaking English, but we soldiered on.

My MAMAFOMO metastasized when Clem started preschool. This meant making 167 lunches a year until found dead, my head stuck in our Tupperware cabinet. More concerned of what her teachers would think of my lunchbox skills than if Grace would eat it, I Pinterested school lunches. When I found this---


and this--

...something inside snapped like a gluten free, conflict-free, organic, locavore pretzel stick.

In that moment, my MAMAFOMO died. I’m too tired to be Mega Mom, so I’m settling for Menopause Mom- one hot flash away from spontaneous combustion. Birthday gifts set off another anxiety shame spiral.

This DIY gift wrapping idea is super-cute, but even Arianna Huffington would rather nap than do this.

And where is your kid while you are Umami gift wrapping? Your kid might have balance biked all the way to Tijuana by the time you finish this masterpiece.

I’ve come to appreciate my mom’s 1970s mom-style. She'd holler, “Go out and don’t come back til the street lights come on.” If we nagged her to find something we were too lazy to look for, she'd ask, "If I find it, can I hit you with it?" Mom made us liverwurst sandwiches five days in a row, convinced us TV dinners were super special treats, didn't supervise or finish our homework. She left us to our own devices, so we could grow the rest of ourselves by ourselves.

Back then, surviving childhood meant actual survival- like making sure they didn't forget you at a rest stop. Now, surviving childhood means escaping your parents' unrelenting clutches.

Never leaving your child's side might convince you your child is safe, but it also teaches them that they are incapable of survival without you.

I used to need to be perceived as a perfect Mom. Now, “She survived” is a perfectly acceptable answer to what we did on Spring Break. “Sugar happens” Is the answer when someone asks me if Grace can have candy.

Tired mothers, unite. Don’t worry, we don’t actually have to get together. Just—don’t be ashamed to treat all vegetables as organic. Let your kids make mistakes with their homework. If you ’improve’ their solar system diorama, it’s your A+, not theirs. If they don’t take a bath every night, you’re saving water!

How to be a 1970's mom

1. Worried you have MAMAFOMO? Here's a quick test. If you hold your urine for longer than six hours because you need to get Lazlo from goat yoga in Echo Park to booty-mind-ballet in Venice, and you refuse to stop and pee, you are over-scheduling.

2. Stop over-scheduling kids as if they are Oprah. Boredom stimulates imagination, drawing, playing, creating, or plain old day-dreaming.

3. Let kids be grubby, messy, stinky kids. Also let them clean themselves.

4. Let kids dress themselves. They might look like a thrift shop floor, but they're building their own minds, self esteem and fashion sense. (Right now Grace resembles a Trader Joe’s manager.)

5. Instead of hiring people to keep them out of your hair, let your kids 'help'. Grace loves cleaning our cars, loading the dishwasher, putting the ATM card in the slot, feeding the dogs, and sweeping the kitchen. Will it be perfect? Hell no. She dropped Canada’s birthday cake twice. While we were frosting it. Take advantage of the free help while your kids still think all this shite is fun.

6. A brilliant mom gifted me the following advice when Grace was born. "You have 18 years to make yourself obsolete."

Empower your kids now so they don't become adults who need you to adult for them.

7. Ease up on birthday presents for your child’s one million friends. Save money and toy store drama. Regift a toy or game your kid totally ignores. Let your kid wrap the gift and make the card. If you buy an adorable gift and wrap it like Martha Stewart owes you money, you're breaking mom-code AND making the rest of us look bad.

8. Find a decent if not great local school for your kid to walk to. Imagine your kid playing with kids that don't require passports for play-dates. Imagine not having to carpool 4 hours a day for your kid to attend the most impeccable school you can't afford. Imagine all the free time you’ll have without cursing out strangers driving their kids to equally un-affordable far away schools.

9. Do NOT follow parents you do not personally know on Instagram. Those crazy-makers use Perpetua-filtered, edited & styled photos to convince you that you are missing out on a life they aren't even living.

10. When you unplug, your kids unplug. If you hate them staring at screens all day, then you stop it first. Then go make a pillow fort.

DO NOT CONSULT PINTEREST FOR HOW TO MAKE THE BEST PILLOW FORTS. Just fucking do it wrong. That's how you make memories.

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