Competitive Mothering Takes a Hit


With an eyebrow firmly raised at all the Tiger Mother brouhaha, I was delighted to find this post from Cameron Mcdonald, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s written a book, “Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs and the Micropolitics of Mothering” which looks as what she calls the “private to public care transfer”, meaning childcare moving from the household (and mother) to a paid employee. She is also interested, according to her bio, in “the consequences of healthcare offloading to families, a process which shifts responsibility for a professionalized and often highly technical form of care from public institutions to family members”, which interests me very much too. It’s the women at home who have to cope when the high cost of healthcare pushes patients out the hospital door. Let’s take a break from inside the Beltway and consider what Cameron says about parental overachievement:

But what is the fuss about, really? Who cares if a Chinese-American law professor from Yale drives her daughters like a banshee? We do. The rules of one of our favorite spectator sports, competitive mothering, are at stake. If she is correct, then the legions of “helicopter mothers,” who have carefully organized their children’s lives to reinforce their self-esteem and sense of entitlement, have failed. Instead of encouraging their children’s innate giftedness, they should have berated them to do better. Chua is the Simon Cowell to a nation of mothers who truly thought their children were talented, only to learn too late that they are tone-deaf.

Read the entirety of her post right here, and Cameron, thanks for letting me cross-post.

‘Til next Time,

Your (Wo)Man in Washington