French parents are superior? Only if we let them say so

I have a story up on Huffington Post this week about the Wall Street Journal’s latest attempt to make us feel bad about ourselves. Last year we were all told Why Chinese Mothers are Superior; now we’re being told Why French Parents are Superior. My own take on this is that ’70s parents were doing the whole laissez-faire thing forty years ago, so step back, mamans.

I was totally annoyed by Chinese mothers are better article last year, and said so, and so did pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere. But in the end all we did was help the Tiger Mother go on every single TV show and say “boo hoo I was so misunderstood” and sell approximately one hundred bajillion books.

And so I am loath to do the same for the latest book excerpt telling American mothers that we all suck. But I also think we’re all getting too smart for this guilt trip from the media. If French mothers are better than us because they pretty much don’t give a rat’s ass, then I say the first French thing we should do is refuse to let the Wall Street Journal push our buttons again. As commenter Andrew McKenzie said over on Huffington Post,

The real reason French parents are superior is that they would never bother asking themselves which country’s parents are superior.

Touché, Andrew! Thanks for the reality check.

Did you read the WSJ excerpt? Will you buy the book? Do you care? Are French mothers better than you?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

The Tired Mother February 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm

In 1994, I did a study abroad program in Paris for a year.  In all that time, I NEVER heard a child misbehave in public.  When I came back, I was appalled by how Americans seemed completely incapable of navigating a tantrum.  And now that I have children of my own, that feeling persists even more so.  What is accepted as normal in this country is a source of shock by others, and it really doesn’t make us look good, both as parents and as citizens in general.  While I don’t believe in letting the media dictate anything, having your own world view changed by education, travel, and first hand experiences is never a bad thing.  At the very least, it can open your eyes and change the way you proceed.  But you are right, turning everything into some ridiculous competitive game is not in anybody’s best interest.  We are all human, and we can not be the best at everything.  And we are adults, should be strong enough to be  ok with that.


Mollie February 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm

One way French mothers are better than I am: they teach their children to speak French. Like, when they’re just babies. No way can I pull that off.


Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I read your guest post and loved it. I won’t buy the book and don’t care. Although I have to say, I have based my entire blog on poking fun at the whole attitude we get in this country that whatever we do as moms, it’s not enough, and we are bad moms. Did you breastfeed long enough? Serve organic babyfood? Co-sleep? Not co-sleep? Use a pacifier perfectly to prevent SIDS but then ditch it at exactly the right time so as to not delay speech development? ETC, ETC! Whatever!! We’re doing our best and loving our kids.


Stephlivengood February 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I am a mother, hear me roar! I do the best I can why should I compare myself to anyone else?


Courtney February 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I don’t read articles like that, because what is the point? At any time any one person or country could say they are the best mothers, and this and this and this is why. I choose to spend my time BEING the best mother I can be, not reading why other people think they are.


Susanna Iris Astarte February 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm

 First of all- being that this attack on mothers is from the Wall Street Journal ( they MUST be experts on parenting right ?)
let’s take a closer look at what is REALLY going on here..
Honestly, a bunch of older, straight white men are not people from whom I would seriously take ANY parenting advice- period.
Secondly, this ‘divide and conquer’ tactic (American mother  vs French mother, American mother vs Chinese mother, stay at home vs working mother)
is a very old and tired tool of the sexist patriarchy. Sad to see it stilll works. This is just a huge red herring- a distraction to make ALL the  mothers fight and make each other see someone else as ‘the enemy’.
So pathetic. Seriously it is. All the mother of the world should just ignore this kind of blatant nonsense and band together.
Thirdly- have you noticed the WSJ attacks are NEVER on French fathers vs American fathers and there is NEVER any discussion over stay home vs working fathers. At least none that I have seen.
Think long and hard about this, ladies.
The mothers from other countries are NOT your enemies.Consider the source here and realize who our TRUE enemies are!


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