The controversy over author Amy Chua's "Chinese Mothers are Superior" essay never ends. The Wall Street Journal, which published Chua's essay, today graciously allowed a Western, Jewish woman to explain why her lackadaisical parenting approach is fine.
Brooklyn writer Ayelet Waldman (wife of novelist Michael Chabon) offers up "In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom." It's cool to be a slacker mom and let your kids goof around! Sure, Waldman gets annoyed at her kids when they get only five A's instead of seven. (Mommy brag alert.) But:
The difference between Ms. Chua and me, I suppose-between proud Chinese mothers and ambivalent Western ones-is that I felt guilty about having berated my daughter for failing to deliver the report card I expected. I was ashamed at my reaction. But here is another difference, one I'll admit despite being ashamed of it, too: I did not then go out and get hundreds of practice tests and work through them with my daughter far into the night, doing whatever it took to get her the A. I fobbed that task off on a tutor, something I can afford to do because my children reside in the same privileged world as Ms. Chua's.
Seems like the Wall Street Journal missed out on a big opportunity to milk this thing to its fullest. They should have provocatively titled Waldman's piece Why Western Moms are Superior, then solicited a rebuttal to the rebuttal from Chinese moms, then another from western moms again, and back to Chinese until the entire Internet exploded. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.