There are some parents who are more than happy to welcome their kids back into their home after being away at school. Then there’s Amy Chua. The Yale professor and author, also known as “Tiger Mom,” had a legal document drafted for her daughters, ages 23 and 20, who planned to stay at their parents’ Manhattan apartment rent-free as they both got jobs working in the city.
Sophia and Lulu figured they would live in their parents’ pied-à-terre while Amy and husband Jed Rubenfeld lived in their primary residence, in New Haven. Nope.
In order to deal with her new tenants, Chua had a rental agreement drawn up that is all too reminiscent of Sheldon Cooper’s roommate agreement. Chua was more than happy to share the details with The Wall Street Journal.
It starts off like any other contract, stating the pertinent info, like Chua and Rubenfeld are the owners and their children most certainly are not, and that “Children owe their parents everything, even in the West, where many have conflicted feelings about this.” Obviously.
In exchange for Sophia and Louisa being able to stay in the NYC apartment from June 1 to August 1, they had to agree to the following “irrevocable duties and conditions:”
1. To occupy only the junior bedroom.
2. To greet Jed Rubenfeld & Amy Chua with spontaneous joy and gratitude whenever they visit.
3. To make their (joint) bed every day, and not to fight about who does it.
4. To never, ever use the phrase, “Relax—it’s not a big deal.”
5. To always leave all internal doors in the apartment wide open whenever Jed, Amy or any company whatsoever (including relatives) are in the apartment, with an immaculately made bed in full view and no clothing or other junk on the floor of the bedroom in sight.
6. Whenever any guests visit, to come out of the bedroom immediately in a respectable state, greet the guests with enthusiasm and sit and converse with the guests in the living room for at least 15 minutes.
7. To always be kind to our trusty Samoyeds Coco and Pushkin, who Sophia and Louisa hereby agree have greater rights to the apartment than Sophia and Louisa do, and to walk them to the dog park at least once a day when they visit, within 30 minutes of being asked to do so by Amy.
8. To fill the refrigerator with fresh OJ from Fairway for Jed on days when he’s in town.
9. To keep the pillows in the living room in the right place and PLUMPED and to clean the glass table with Windex whenever it’s used.
The contract also stipulates that the girls “will not be excused even in the event of illness, hangovers, migraines, work crises or mental breakdowns (whether their own or their friends’),” and if they violate any of the conditions, their parents “have the right to get the superintendent or a doorman to restrain them from entering the apartment; and to change the locks.”
There are some valid points but for the most part, ex-squeeze me? It’s one thing to teach your kids the difference between respect and courtesy and the value of a dollar versus a sloppy, entitled freeloader. But this seems a little… much. Because if you raise your kids right, they shouldn’t have to be told to respect their parents and surroundings and appreciate what’s been given to them. They should just know.