Judy Murray, mother of tennis superstar Sir Andy Murray, made headlines this week, saying she was called an arrogant parent a ‘nightmare’ because she was a woman. If she had been a man, she said, she would “have been seen as so supportive.”
I can see how she would feel that way. When you are successful, people who attack you because they are jealous or feel defensive tend to use whatever weapons they can. If all they can find to crush you is that you are a woman, they will call you a “nightmare” or “shrill” or any of those other words that people, not just men. , like to use to demean women. .
But do people generally distinguish between arrogant moms and arrogant dads? I do not think so. We non-pushy parents are a great bunch and committed to equality in all walks of life. As such, we see no biological distinction between arrogant moms and arrogant dads. My son is eight and quite athletic, and I’ve seen plenty of red-faced dads on muddy sidelines, urgently chewing gum, yelling at their little sons like it’s the final FA Cup and not a crowd of kids bumping into each other. mud.
If Judy Murray thinks the rest of us are telling about how “supportive” these dads are, she’s wrong. We think all pushy parents are a nightmare. Men and women. Not because we are jealous of your success – you can keep it – but because you make us question the non-pushy path we have taken.
No philosophy by which you choose to be a parent is always rock solid. I’m sure “helicopter parents” often have long, dark soul nights, as do “tiger moms”. On the other end of the scale, “Fairly good” parents like me often panic that we are allowing our children to slack off and not “reach their potential” (whatever that means).
I often have to remember how happy I am that neither of my parents were arrogant, because their ideas for me were crackers. My father’s dream child was an important and serious person in, perhaps, the government or the international bank. He kept suggesting that maybe I would like to learn German and left in star-eyed musings about me taking my GCSE math early when I had shown no gift for it. topic. I mean, he’s given it all up now, and I’m sure he’ll deny ever having any such aspirations. (But he did.)
If he had decided in 1985 to be very insistent on all of this, what would have happened? I am not weak, but maths and foreign languages do not bring me joy. If I had worked all the time I guess I would have done it well, but at what cost? As it is, I was given the space to fail horribly in some things and succeed in others. I am very grateful to have been allowed to find my own path and I am committed to applying this principle to my own children.
And even. My daughter is 10 years old. She just passed 11+ and applied to several schools, some of which had entrance exams. 11+ is a long and boring process and you end up having a lot of conversations with other parents about it. I found them alarming.
A mother told me, with some joy, that she locked her daughter in her room and only let her out after she had completed the required number of practical exercises for that day. “It ruined Christmas,” she said with a shrug, “but she’ll thank me when she comes into school.”
I can’t lie, I had a big wobble. Should I have locked my daughter in her room too? Has my whole approach to parenting been completely wrong from the start? Will my children both be unhappy wanderers because of me?
This is what a meeting with an arrogant parent does to me; that’s what it does to most of us. And that will be in part why Judy Murray was grieved. Is it because it’s a woman? As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out.