That Tiger Mother

Monday January 30th 2012
Tiger Mom: me me me

As an indulgent, child-worshipping Western mother, the Tiger Mom thing really gets up my nose.

In case you missed it, (which I’m sure you didn’t), last year a law professor at Yale published a book explaining how she was a brilliant mother as well as a fabulously successful academic. I expect she can cook and do really athletic stuff in the sack too. Oh well.

The premise of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is that strict Chinese-style parenting is much better than namby-pamby Western parenting.

The book is a memoir by Amy Chua of how she brought up her two daughters with no playdates, no sleep-overs and two hours instrument practice a day. Since so many parents already seem to schedule their children up the wazoo (French lessons, band practice, therapy) – and then put them on prescription drugs if they don’t conform – I really hope we don’t start taking this shite seriously.

Time is unknown

So I thought it would be fun to see where Amy Chua’s Ceres, the planet of motherhood, fits into her natal chart. I have her birthdate but not her time of birth – still it made me laugh.

Ceres is in Leo in an out of sign opposition to Jupiter in Pisces. Maybe that’s a very big need to show off about being a mother. Leo is all about the performance, and at its lowest extremely self-centred.

When asked to discuss the book Chua’s daughter said: “I’m sure it’s all about you anyway.” 

And what about her Moon, the traditional planet of mothering? It’s conjunct Dark Moon Lilith – the planet of anti-mothering and Mercury (children and communications) in Libra. Libra is an intellectual air sign, so it’s no surprise that her approach to parenting was, to say the least, rather cerebral, with Mercury there I guess she really had to tell everyone about it. The DM Lilith can be our most unacknowledged darkness, the thing we really cannot bear to look at.  What’s interesting is that Chua clearly had not realised how much she inadvertently revealed her own darkness in the book.

But there must have been tremendous emotions for Chua because her Sun is in watery Scorpio exactly trine Jupiter in even waterier Pisces. This is a potentially obsessive combination, and frankly her behaviour tips over into bonkers. Some of the things she describes in her book are incredibly emotionally cruel, a speciality of a poorly developed Scorpio. In fact, some of it, for example not allowing her daughter to drink or go to the loo, is simple child abuse. Mars opposite Saturn is a classic signature for violence. Mars (pain) is in Leo (the self) and Saturn (discipline) is in Aquarius (the other, them, society). 

I wonder what the reaction to her behaviour would have been if she were not a professor.

She says she feels no guilt – but with Jupiter in Pisces, she will. Her daughters will be able to tell her exactly how good she really was as a mother when they have their own children, unless she’s put them off the whole idea of breeding altogether. 

Chua’s back in the news at the moment because of some research that shows Chinese parenting might be rather horrid. To read an article about that click here.

Me, I’m off to indulge my children.

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  1. Sarah Mc says:

    I so love that you have done some research on this Osama bin Laden of a mother, Christina! I have read and reread the articles (I didn’t line her pocket by buying the book) and felt deeply upset that she was held up as an example to us all. Thank you for demonstrating her inadequacies and dark promptings via astrology.

  2. Well, if someone finds a gap in the market, we generally get to hear about them, don’t we.

  3. Christina says:

    @gawd I think it’s a case of finding our insecurities and playing on them – another tried and tested marketing technique

  4. That’s true. I bet she’d have something to say on the current debate on smacking!

  5. moonchild says:

    Interesting that her Venus in fall squares that Ceres. Could it mean that she buttresses feeling unfeminine by showing off her momhood? Or just that she sees mothering as a competition for femininity points?

    An example of how people who are super smart on paper can dumb ideas about how to run real life.

  6. Opal says:

    ‘I really hope we don’t start taking this shite seriously.’

    Agreed. Left-brained insanity run amok. A perfect example of how to destroy imagination and creativity.

  7. Opal says:

    Also interesting that her Sun squares the Nodes which are conjunct that Mars Saturn opposition.

    The quest for correct action is a pivotal theme, so she’s working it – but at what cost to her children? The square is to the Sun so correct action of the SELF is the issue, not the other.

  8. Christina says:

    @Sarah Osama bin Laden of a mother!! ha ha
    @Opal – I had two separate conversations last week about kids known to friends who have to practice their piano for two hours a day.
    @moonchild – (whispers) here in OhEx I am surrounded by stupid-clever people!

  9. Christina says:

    Opal, excellent point about the nodes. She was doing the Tiger Mother thing for herself, not for her children. All that time, all that commitment was really about her.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Christina

    Excellent post! We were all really shocked by Tiger Mum here in Switzerland but at the same time questioning our skills if we do our the best bringing our children up.

    First of all I agree that her book is all about her, Tiger Mum and also about her own doubts and regrets. It reads like a confession of abuse to me.
    In that respect it’s also interesting that her Sat/Mars opposition falls on her nodal axis with Sat on the South Node. Planets on the South Node need to play a less important role, one has to let go of that quality. With her book she seems to have done the exact opposite.

    Tiger Mum is also a brilliant example of DM conj the Moon. (given she is born around noon) DM Moon conj Mothers tend to smother their kids, suffocate them. It’s as if they are blind to what mothering really is and often it is a really cold and rational approach to mothering and of course to the whole emotional realm.

    PS: Please note that DM is not a planet, not a sensitive single point but an axis (similar to the Nodes)

  11. Isy Aweigh says:

    Does my heart good to see you take this rubbish apart. I had a hard time reading all those drooling worshipful articles on the subject, let alone hearing some of my parent friends drool on about it, because the issues of attachment and respect and healthy brain development were so obvious to me.

  12. Christina says:

    @ Isy The fact that she’s taken seriously for one minute says a lot about why we value in our society and how we measure success.

  13. Renpix says:

    Traditional Chinese parenting is best? From a country that gave us foot-binding, drowning unwanted female babies, and cannibalism of orphans and kidnapped children during famines in the early 20th Century?
    Boy am I glad that my mom’s Ceres was is Libra! She might have been ambivalent about being a mother but at least she was balanced!

  14. Sabrina says:

    this is a great post. when the whole story came out, I just couldn’t believe that someone actually be so comfortable (and proud of)rising her children that way… at the same time I suspect that she might have taken some literary ‘licence’ to make a more dramatic statement…and get more press and more money out of it!
    now… I went to check lilith…yikes!
    I have a lovely bunch of people in 5th, ceres included, but then smack! lilith right on the cusp. I’m really puzzled. (I’m already quite self critical, so you can imagine)

  15. Christina says:

    Sabrina – mine is scary too! But I’m no expert on Lilith, so (I think) Barbara Beckenbauer from Switzerland is going to be contributing a piece on Lilith in March.

  16. Sabrina says:

    That would be great. Really curious!