I played the piano when I was a kid. I had a math tutor. We weren’t allowed to watch TV and we never had sleepovers. I was an artist – I’ve gotten offers at school’s art fair – people wanted to buy my Grade 8 art projects. My average GPA from Grade 8 to 12 was 3.75. I am fluent, written and oral, in English, Chinese and French; I graduated with offers from all major universities across the country: UBC, SFU, UA, UT, McGill…I went to Queen’s for pre-med. I was never into the clubbing or drinking scene and had never tried weed or other drugs. I got married at 24 to a guy who owned one of the first domain registrars in Vancouver, as well as an insurance company.
Dream come true for tiger moms?
Well, luckily, my mom was never a tiger mom. If she was, I’d have driven her to depression long time ago, because in addition to the above achievements:
- I hated practicing on the piano and I stopped after Level 3
- I never finished my pre-med. I went on to Nursing instead
- My first marriage ended in 8 months
- I met my current hubby in 2007 and we had our son in 2009
- but we never officially got married
- I am now a technical/copywriter and the only time my nursing skills/background comes into action is when I put Polysporin and a Curious George bandage on my son’s scrapped knees
- I have a dragon, tiger and a fu-dog covering half my back
- I’ve dyed my hair blue, red, pink, brown, orange, and purple.
- I smoke
- I have a potty-mouth
Recently I got my hands on a copy of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Quite disturbing and disgusting if you ask me. But then after some deep pondering, I can’t help but think, this whole tiger mom thing stems from insecurity and fear – the mother herself must very unhappy and insecure that her only source of happiness is from living her own dreams through her kids. It’s just like to the mothers on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras every Wednesday night. I don’t know what mother would want to dress her 3-yr old daughter in fake lashes, nails, hair extensions and a Pretty Woman costume. I certainly wouldn’t want my baby girl to look like a hooker, porn star, etc. But then again, look at those mothers themselves – most of them look like out of shape, depressed middle-age underachievers.
Back to tiger moms. I have to admit, there are times I worry about my son’s future. He’s turning 3 in July. I worry about his future – is he going to play sports and live an active lifestyle, will he eventually learn to eat his vegetables without me threatening to throw away his toy trains, will he be fluent in Chinese, will he have a loving and caring relationship with his sibling(s)…the same questions my mom had when we were kids.
But my mom never worried about our grades, she was ok with a C, as long as we tried our best. She got us a Math tutor because we were visiting Hong Kong that summer – it was too hot to do anything outside and we were running out of things to do inside the house. She could care less about our career choices. My baby sister is a hair stylist for Christ’s sake. All she cared about was that we are happy, that we know what we’re doing and we are responsible to ourselves.
She never got the perfect doctor/lawyer kids. But does it really matter? She’s happy because her kids had happy, carefree childhoods that allowed them to explore their ambitions and dreams. As a mother, that’s all you’re supposed to do, the rest, we’ll let the kids figure it out themselves.
Yes, it’s a tough world out there. But it’s my world, not my mom’s.