Lutheran hymn of the Minnesota Mother?
January 27, 2011 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Why Minnesota mothers are doing pretty good. Cripes we all know about Tiger Mothers already, but what the heck can we learn from Minnesota Mothers?
posted by mandymanwasregistered (28 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I just read that Time magazine article about Chua, and talk about someone who is completely unreflective. She seems to have a platonic image of how she parents, but when asked to describe how it actually functions, she describes a completely different, more tolerant and authoritative parenting situation! It was incredible (read: incredibly greedy) that anyone would publish her book about how her children are imaginarily so obedient to her imaginary standards of excellence.
posted by muddgirl at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2011

Marshall Eriksen is awesome, so Minnesota mothers are OK in my book. Though, perhaps cut back a bit on the seven layer salad.
posted by kmz at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

saw Chua on the Colber Repor last night. wow...she's...vacuous? annoying? a complete loon?

and this article, I read nearly 1/2 thinking it was a 100% sincere, serious thing. please no one shatter my current belief that its tongue-in-cheek or my new jersey bred meanness may implode :)
posted by supermedusa at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2011

Is the answer understated, mutual respect and gentle parenting? Because that's not going to sell many books, donchaknow.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like being a Minnesota mother means sulking angrily when you are upset instead of talking about why you are upset, using guilt and passive aggression to get a child to dress the way you think is appropriate, and telling them a "B" means "room for improvement" when half their class is probably getting D's or worse.

I was raised sort of like that, and I have to say - no thank you.
posted by little_c at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Minnesota ice? speaking from experience, and looking at the Lena example from the article, perhaps Minnesota nice is just a very extreme form of self-repression. Nice only because if our facade cracks then the whole world will come tumbling down?

Well what can you do 'eh?
posted by kuatto at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2011

Garrison Keillor called, he wants his shtick back.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2011

If a Minnesota child gets a B, well, good for them! Room for improvement.

My parents basically did this, and I can confirm that not only didn't scar me for life, but was probably about the right reaction.
posted by echo target at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was raised by Mothers of Invention.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

posted by briank at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2011

You nice folks sure bring up some interesting points, I'll have to look into that.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2011 [13 favorites]

Had to head back to The Blue to look make sure there was a 'Humor' tag. Phew.
posted by schmod at 1:14 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

saw Chua on the Colber Repor last night. wow...she's...vacuous? annoying? a complete loon?

I don't think she was vacuous. She may have been annoying, and she may be venal, but she's not vacuous. Not to mention that Colbert didn't let her get a word edgewise. He seemed more than usually combative with her, for whatever reason.
posted by blucevalo at 1:17 PM on January 27, 2011

Ah, parenting. A topic everyone can have an opinion about, because we were all parented in some way or another. And of course a lot of are now doing the parenting ourselves, which is a delightful/terrifying process of self-discovery.

I was raised mostly in California. My dad was in the Army and my mom stayed at home to raise us three kids. Her parenting style mainly consisted of Epic Guilt Trips about anything and everything, followed by occasional high-drama outbursts in which she called into question our common sense, our ability to connect with reality, and her own self-worth as a parent and human being. In my young and tender years this shattered my psyche every time, but as I grew older I came to recognize the patterns and eventually learned to ignore these episodes. As a result I'm pretty stoic, rarely take offense, and (probably a negative) rarely take anyone or any situation too seriously.

My dad was militaristic, but good. His form of punishment was push-ups, and lecturing. You didn't excuse yourself before leaving the dinner table? Tweny push-ups. Same went for backtalking, whining, dereliction of duties, etc. Although one time he threw my little brother into an open closet (landing on soft clothing) for stabbing my 3 year old sister with a dart, which I can't really blame him for. And one time he punched the windshield and broke it because we kids wouldn't stop arguing. That put the fear in us, and then we laughed about it the next day.

We're all grownups now and I think we're pretty healthy. Well, most of the time. I'm a stoic and I don't let people into my life easily. My brother has issues with authority and being told what to do. My sister has some weird affection/attachment issues that manifest themselves in usually quite poor boyfriend choices. And none of us joined the Army.

And now my parents are raising a new sibling, a happy accident if you will. 14 years after the last one is a long time and needless to say their parenting style has changed. In some ways it's probably worse; more mercurial, less consistent. But in other ways, the ways that matter most, it's just fine.

Because the only thing that really matters, in my humble opinion, is to be there for your kids. Just show up. Be with them. Discipline, cajole, persuade, crumble, whatever. Just stick around. That is absolutely the strongest message you'll ever send. Tiger mothers do OK, despite the ceaseless demands for excellence, because they are always there. Minnesota parents or Idaho dads or whatever do fine too, as long as they show up. That makes up for a whole lot (obviously it won't make up for actual abuse).

Best advice you will ever read on parenting: be there for your kids, no matter what. How your are there doesn't matter so much, as long as you are.
posted by jnrussell at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fortunately my dad was a terrible speller so I never had to do push-ups for that. Of course as a consequence I sometimes forget to proofread...
posted by jnrussell at 1:26 PM on January 27, 2011

Oh yep, this is my Mom through and through ("ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE!" still echoes in my head when I'm out at a restaurant or when I bother to eat a meal at my dining room table). Dad too. They grew up in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Mom also did time at an all-girls' college in Iowa, which added like twenty extra levels beyond the behaviors that the author mentions. Friends say I sit like I have a yardstick permanently attached to my back. That's Mom's doing.
posted by medeine at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2011

Anyone have a rough estimate of how many posters thus far have missed that this is a joke?

I'm guessing around 60%
posted by Think_Long at 1:40 PM on January 27, 2011

I'm guessing 10%.
posted by muddgirl at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mother turned out to be a terry-cloth covered wire mannequin with a heating element inside, and I turned out fine.
posted by maxwelton at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2011 [25 favorites]

I was raised by Mothers of Invention.

And I was raised by one baaaaaaad mutha...
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2011

"I'm using the term "Minnesota mother" loosely. I know some Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowan and Minneapolis parents who qualify too."

Is that a subtle jab at the idea that the Twin Cities metro has very much in common with outstate Minnesota?
posted by soelo at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2011

Not to mention that Colbert didn't let her get a word edgewise.

Because of the character schtick, Colbert is just about the worst interviewer on TV. I don't even watch the interviews on Colbert unlike Stewart's.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2011

As a Minnesotan and former Catholic, the jab that Catholics aren't Minnesotans doesn't make all that much sense to me.
posted by localhuman at 8:02 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The best Roast Boned Rolled Stuffed Shoulder of Lamb (Farce Double) I've ever eaten was prepared by a Minnesota Mom.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:16 PM on January 27, 2011

I think I might pass on the apple pie, actually...
posted by Segundus at 1:25 AM on January 28, 2011

Hey, localhuman, I agree. There are plenty of Italian & Irish & Polish Catholics in Minnesota, but the Lutherans from Germany & Scandanavia got there first and took most of the best spots for churches (other than the St. Paul Cathedral).
posted by wenestvedt at 6:11 AM on January 28, 2011

I think a part of me wished my Catholic family wasn't so fucking emotive--we could all learn something from those Lutherans!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:40 AM on January 28, 2011

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