CBS Evening News – Sandra Tsing Loh quote

REVIEW: The Three-Martini Playdate

CBS Evening News - Sandra Tsing Loh quotes Three Martini Playdate in her commentary

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(CBS) For Los Angeles writer and comedian Sandra Tsing Loh, the pressure started even before she gave birth – the pressure to be the perfect mother to the perfect child.

“You’re in this hormonal state, reading these endless baby books,” she says.

Then came piano lessons, the tutoring for kindergarten entrance exams and, as CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes reports, soccer.

“I read one statistic where the greatest number of red lights were run by soccer moms,” says Tsing Loh.

As it all piled up around her, she agreed to review the latest unconventional advice books for parents who need to clean up the chaos – books like “The Three Martini Playdate,” “Cheap Psychological Tricks for Parents,” and “Confessions of a Slacker Mom.”

“It’s, you know, C+ parenting, relaxed parenting, under-achieving parenting where you just go, ‘I just can’t do it all,'” she says.

Muffy Mead-Ferro, who wrote “Slacker Mom,” thinks that for this generation of mothers, parenting has been taken to a professional level.

“It’s very easy to take the zeal you brought to your career and apply it to your children,” says Mead-Ferro. “For some people parenting is the ultimate social competition.”

“Slacker Mom” says dial back – fewer lessons and more free time produces more capable kids, like her 4-year-old who makes his own lunch.

“If you’re fearful of making mistakes and raised with the expectation that you’re supposed to be doing everything perfectly, I think you will be fearful of making mistakes,” she says.

She doesn’t expect perfection but there is consistency when her children misbehave.

“We don’t do it anymore, but when they were little we would spank them,” she says.

That’s right, discipline is back and so is saying “no.” Even getting really mad once in a while is OK. The idea from Mead-Ferro and the other authors, many of them moms or psychologists, is that striving for perfection has produced a generation of whiney, self absorbed and incapable kids.

“Kids have lost this ability for unsupervised, unstructured play,” she says.

“I’ve found that, like, a roll of Scotch tape, give a kid a roll of Scotch tape, say ‘No you can have the whole roll,'” says Tsing Loh, as her child happily tapes his mouth shut. “Like that’s amazing.”

And what mom isn’t secretly hoping this “slacker” idea is here to stay.