2 Ways to Make Me Feel Like I’m a Bad Mother in 1 Week

The New York Times ran what I’m sure was meant to be an innocous article this weekend in their NY/NJ Metropolitan section about an Upper East Side professional organizer. Basically for $450 for about 3 hours she will come to your fancy apartment on Park Ave and throw out all of your crap for you and then label what is left with a P-touch. This woman, Barbara Reich, is to thank for sentimental gems like “Everybody’s going to learn how to read and write” … “You don’t need the evidence.” as she tosses out your child’s first scribbles of the alphabet.

I don’t ideologically disagree with Reich and I will admit that the article motivated me to gather up 3 big bags of toys to donate. But I do think this article was another way to criticize moms for hanging onto toys, projects and sentimental sports equipment. Reich uses a tough love approach that must have worked well for her in her former life as a MBA management consultant. Her abrasive shtick gets her clients though and I’m sure her phone was ringing off the hook by Monday morning. The part that really bothered me in this profile though was that she makes NO attempt to recycle or donate the castaway toys. Instead she complains that “Our society is wasteful” as she fills up another garbage bag. I am far from green, to say the least, but I don’t think throwing away perfectly good toys and sporting goods sets a very good example for our kids or teaches them anything about value or charity.

The NYT article was nothing compared to the maelstrom caused by The Wall Street Journal’s article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” this past weekend. This article (really an excerpt from Amy Chua’s book that came out this week) was intentionally controversial (remember, book came out this week). The premise was that Chinese mothers raise more successful children because they don’t follow Western warm and fuzzy child rearing philosophies. While I read the article I will admit to beating myself up over my own lackluster discipline skills. I let my children have playdates and I imagine when they are in school I will “accept” an A- instead of an A+ on occassion. Chua’s superiority as a mother has caused a real blogosphere ruckus and has made me question my parenting just a little bit since reading it. (I will admit that the excerpt was a brilliant publicity move to market the book to women. It’s #6 today on Amazon).

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May 23, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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