Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.
In Laotian ceremonies where blessings are the cultural spotlight, “get good grades” was the most common blessing for children by elders next to lifelong health. Another common blessing was also to “be good children,” disguised as don’t fail your parents; “get good grades.” Academic success is financial stability is parental success. My mom was born in Laos, a tiny country in Southeast Asia, and she is known to be a classic “Tiger Mom.” By the time my siblings and I were in school and my memories were valid, I was raised to succeed in school and I did. I began earning as a straight-A/B student during the grade years that counted and earned a varsity letter in tennis my freshman year of high school then go on to be the first female in my family of immigrants to graduate college and, hell, high school in my immediate family. In Tiger Mom finesse, she still attributes all my achievements in the way my mom raised me, the way she talked to me, and even disciplined me.
Tiger Mom is a term used to describe a mother, who uses strict ruling and tough love to drive their child(ren) toward academic success. The stereotype is the overbearing, always yell-talking Mom, who seems to hate all your friends. That example is loosely based on my experience growing up with my mom, who moved to the U.S. in 1979 and was (arrange) married to my father six years later. There are a few definitions which narrow Tiger Moms down to being Chinese but it can cross many ethnicities. In all accuracy though, Tiger Moms usually are Asian and their children are first-generation American students, who are terrified of getting spanked by a flip flop for anything less than an top of the class.
I felt deprived and embarrassed like when my mom vehemently denied for me to attend a sleepover across the street. She was so rooted in
her our culture that she would’ve done most of anything to keep me from assimilating into sleepovers and Hanson music videos and focus only on academics. Her parenting energy was devoted toward my success and stripped my emotional well-being that I rebelled so hard that it shattered all her work with underage binge drinking and a few citations to show for it. Lavishing in my selfishness and proclamation to be forever child-free, I was smacked harder than the fly swatter when I became pregnant in 2010. I made this internal vow to never be like my mom. I will never heed her advice, I will never let her teach my children, I will never forgive her. Two grand-babies later, the proverbial apple didn’t fall far from the motherhood tree no matter how hard I intently reached for the opposite of my upbringing.
It took me 20 months of gestation and two natural births then 26 months of peaceful parenting to finally realize I’m my tiger mom. I want my children to succeed. I want them to have a stable life. I want them to be driven. Most of all, we both want the best for them. My tiger mom wanted me to achieve more than she was able to and I have the same wish for mine. She had her way of making it happen and I have my peaceful ways to guide them. Though using eccentric methods, she was selfless in wanting me to always do my absolute best. I believe that’s all my mom knew and I know differently as a mom so I do better. Disguised under “peaceful parenting,” I’m driving myself to excel at parenting so my children will be successful people much like the wishes from my tiger mom.
How are you the same/different as your parents?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):
- My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
- Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
- Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
- A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
- I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
- The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
- I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
- They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
- Parenting Human Beings — Erika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
- Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
- A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
- Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
- The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
- Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
- How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
- How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
- My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
- Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
- Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
- 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
- 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
- Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
- The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
- Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
- The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
- What my daughter taught me about being a parent — Mrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
- Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
- Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
- I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.
- How I Ended Up Like My Tiger Mom With Peaceful Parenting — Theek at The Laotian Commotion somehow ended up like her Tiger Mom, even though she purposely tried for the complete opposite as a peaceful parent.