Tiger Mothers and Pony Moms

I enjoyed this response to Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, “The Adagio of a Reluctant Pony Mom” by Jennifer Eremeeva:


Everyone wants to know how I, who seldom take on anything that I can’t do in my pajamas, managed to produce such an athletic prodigy who excels at one of the world’s most elite sports.  No one believes me when I just shrug my shoulders and say, “Honestly: I did nothing.”  I can tell they don’t believe me.  If these other pony moms had any imagination, they might wonder if Velvet is the natural daughter of a Cossak Hetman or The Duke of Right.  The truth, of course is far more complicated: I really did do nothing.  Velvet is a typical product of successful “indifferent parenting.”

During the long, hot summer months, Velvet went on the show circuit, garnering blue ribbons by the bucketful.  While the die-hard pony moms crowded each other at the rail yelling, “Get your heels down/pull your shoulders back/pull him up/push him over,” I hid behind “The New York Review Of Books” and sloped off in search of “ice for the cooler,” hitting all the antique stores in town on my way back.   Rather than insisting we stay an additional three hours so she could get in another go at “Maiden English Pleasure” (which to me sounded like a Victorian soft porn film), I took to establishing firm escape clauses such as “Aunt Nancy is coming for dinner,” or “I’m on deadline.”

It’s been a winning strategy for Velvet, who is, as I mentioned, on track to the Olympics.   Kudos to me! Thanks to the hours that I have spent trying to distract her from the relentless pursuit of excellence, she’s achieving it.   The hours I’ve clocked, wedged between the Scylla and Charybdis of pony moms, unapologetically resisting their patient attempts to teach me the difference between “over saddle under fences” and “hunter jumper” have paid off:  Velvet is a self-made athlete, and her success can be attributed completely to her.  What parent doesn’t want that sense of achievement for her child? After all, it’s nothing I did.  Parental indifference – the Western child’s ticket to greatness!

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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