There’s a tai kwon do place that I pass daily while driving my five-year-old to and from school, where I can see through the huge plate-glass window tiny people in bright white, slightly-too-large uniforms, kicking avidly.
That looks like a good time, I think. I should sign the kid up for a class. The next day, I pass it again. Yeah, I really should look that up, I remind myself. The next day: Well, it’s not going anywhere. If imaginary looks could kill, Amy Chua — the self-described Tiger Mom and author of the new book The Triple Package — would have set my head ablaze with one disapproving glare.
My kid doesn’t know how to swim. He doesn’t go to Kumon. We have peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for dinner pretty regularly. And when people ask if I’m entering the lottery to send him to a Japanese- or mathematics-immersion school, I shrug and say that our neighborhood school seems like just as solid an option.
Yep, I’m a sloth mom. Keep reading »
The last time we checked in with “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua, she had just published a book, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, which argued that strict Chinese-style “tiger mother” parenting is superior to permissive, indulgent Western parenting. The Yale professor explained how her two daughters were never allowed playdates or sleepovers and were punished for not practicing music and studying constantly. She was successful, sort of: one daughter, Sophia, performed in Carnegie Hall at age 14 and is now a junior at Harvard.
Anyway, Amy Chua made a big kerfluffle in the media and sold lots of books. Now she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, who is also a media professor, are back with a new book. In The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain The Rise And Fall Of Cultural Groups In America, they argue that there are eight ethnic/cultural/religious groups who are the most successful in American society.
They are, in no particular order, Chinese, Jewish, Mormon, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese-American, Cuban exiles and Nigerian. Keep reading »
I’ve completed my gossip cleanse and I must say, my mind feels like a once dirty carpet that’s just been steam-cleaned. On to the next quest on my journey to become a yoga teacher: practicing contentment. When I volunteered to take this on as my assignment for the month, the visual that popped into my head was me at the nail salon, flipping through the lasted issue of InStyle, while receiving a back rub. This was my image of contentment? You must have something better than that, I scolded myself.
But honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced content once in my life. So I would hardly know what to imagine. Well, maybe I felt content on my week-long jaunt to Paris, while eating oysters and sipping champagne in a famous LaBelle Epoch eatery or on my first date with my boyfriend, in that moment when our conversation became so deep that the rest of the universe receded. But maybe what I was feeling in those moments was joy. The two are different. Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness and contentment is a state of satisfaction. One is feeling and one is a state. When I’m getting a pedicure, I’ll be honest, I’m never in a state of satisfaction. I’m usually consumed with worry that the shade I’ve chosen looks too black on my toes or that my nail polish won’t dry fast enough for me to get to the next place I need to be on time. Keep reading »
I spend the majority of my time feeling like a failure. I’m not trying to solicit sympathy or be self-deprecating here — I should say, rather, that I prefer to focus on what I haven’t accomplished rather than what I have. It’s a disease that I aspire to conquer someday. Nevertheless, I have fleeting moments in life, when something happens and I have a glimpse of myself as having hit the apex of life here on earth — like, when I was hanging from the balcony of a Paris apartment about to hit the town for some oysters. I was like, look at me world, I made it! These moments are worth reveling in, like a pig would in a pile of shit, because I tell you, those who share my affliction, they are brief. Keep reading »
Here’s a comforting thought: while our planet threatens to transmogrify into an Easy Bake oven, the world economy teeters on the edge of collapse, and Scientology is permitted to exist as a viable religion and way of life, there’s a 22-year-old out there who’s bummed out because she’s never been poor. Taylor Cotter, a 2012 graduate of Northeastern University, grieves the fact that just two months after completing her Journalism degree, she has an editorial job, a car, an apartment, and a 401k, none of which factor into the “10-cents-a-word” life she always dreamed of. It’s not surprising, coming from a girl who begins her lament, titled “A Struggle of Not Struggling,” by stating that “like most female journalists,” her only two inspirations in life were Carrie Bradshaw and Harriet the Spy, and it makes me wonder — has Cotter, who lives outside of Boston, ever actually been to New York City? Keep reading »
For years after my ex and I broke up, I used to like to play this game where I’d compare myself to him. This was not a fun game. He had just written a bestselling novel, was living with his girlfriend, and bought a house. I felt like he had really “made it” in every way that mattered – career, relationship, and home. But after all this time I was still struggling and still single. Failing, it felt like. A failure. Keep reading »
Sandra Tsing Loh’s essay, “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” in this month’s Atlantic, which advises people to avoid marriage lest they “suffer the emotional pain, the humiliation, and the logistical difficulty” of divorce is raising a few eyebrows and some interesting questions. In response to Tsing Loh’s confession that after 20 years her marriage has failed, Meghan O’Rourke at Double X wonders: if a marriage that lasts 20 years, produces “two kids and a lot of domestic support” isn’t a success, what is? Why is a marriage considered successful only if it ends in death and not before? Is a marriage that ends in divorce really less successful than an unhealthy, dysfunctional, perhaps even abusive relationship that remains legally intact? Keep reading »
Over at The Huffington Post, Dr. Judith Rich poses an interesting question: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Often we stop ourselves from pursuing our desire to try something, because of fear that we won’t succeed. But if you took that out of the equation — if failure wasn’t possible — what would you do? Initially when I read this question, I thought, “Fly!” I always was a dreamer. But realistically speaking, there’s so much I would do if I knew my fears were misplaced. I would take up surfing, finally master that headstand in yoga, and, obviously, ask Ryan Gosling out on a date. So what would YOU do? Keep reading »