Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Not Your Quintessential Tiger Mom


I would never consider myself a quintessential Tiger mom. I was not raised by one, nor have I experienced what it means to be in contact with a Tiger mom. In fact, my mom is the epitome of understanding. I got 2A's for my SPM, the first thing she asked me when she saw my results were, "Did you put in the effort to study?" I said "Yes" and she was proud... The next thing she told me was, "Well, at least 2A's is better than none"

When I started college, she never once nagged me to study even though i preferred going out and hanging out with friends. Despite not studying I still got a CGPA of 3.87 upon graduation. This went on until I got my Masters in Political Science and as I'm writing this today, I've been a lecturer for 4 years, I'm married and my little boy is 18 months. And I'm your quintessential Tiger mom.

I do not know how I got here, I do not know what came over me, but, I realized that no one becomes a Tiger mom overnight. Its an amalgamation of events that caused them to be so hard on their loved ones just because of LOVE.

Us, Tiger moms are not slave drivers. We have emotions, feelings and frustrations. I started out being hard on my then 1 year old son. He's rambunctious and very spirited. He's also very stubborn; a trait he inherited from the both of us and I was getting concerned on his discipline.

I'm a first time mom and I never really liked kids, I expected a 1 year old to reason and understand like an adult, I expected him to behave appropriately, like an adult, but, in reality, I forgot that he's only 1 year old. Because my expectations weren't met, I started to become hard on him.

I was never excited over the little things he does. I never gave him credit for his little accomplishments because I believed that he could do better; He can behave better, he can reason better and he can do much better! If he took his first steps, I believed that he should have been able to walk earlier or be able to run.

I introduced the cane to him at 1 year old. I literally followed Pavlov's style of learning by associating pain as a corrective method. 

It broke my heart that my 1 year old son "beat" himself on the thigh whenever he did something wrong and I said "Beat, Beat". It broke my heart that he cried silently as I " beat" him lightly. At that time, I just thought that his playfulness is a form of misbehaviour.

I became so stern with disciplining him, and I keep forgetting that he's only 1. As the days go by, I started to be hard on my husband too. Everything he did was never good enough. I kept thinking that he could have done more, he could help out more, he could do things without having me to ask him to.

And when he didn't live up to my expectations, again, I became angrier. Everyday, I'm like a pressure cooker under both of their "incompetencies", just awaiting a time when a single " Are you OK?" From my husband would set of the pressure. I hated this life. I believed that both of them were the cause of my sorrows. The only reason I'm hanging on is because I believe that a dark tunnel can't go on forever.

So, everyday, little by little, I manifested into a Tiger mom. Trying to push everyone to do their best because I'm an over achiever; I can seemingly balance 2 jobs, writing a research paper, writing a proposal for my PhD, and juggling life, all at the same time, oh, and with as little as 3 hours sleep a night, if I'm lucky!

I realised that I became a Tiger mom because I don't vent my anger or frustrations. There's no outlet to let off steam and I became a pusher as a self defence mechanism. I wrote this piece to remind myself to appreciate every little things that my son and my husband does for me. So, here's a list of things I want to remember and things I took for granted.

1) Hubby cook for me ALL THE TIME, ANYTIME. My fav dish is Midnight Chicken.
2) My son wakes me up with kisses and some days, its nice hanging out with him. Some days, its just us doing grocery shopping and having lunch. I liked spending time with him.
3) My hubby buys me anything I want if he can afford it. He has never said "NO" to things that I want.
4) My hubby cleans the house so we can live comfortably.
5) He calls to ask me if I want anything if he's on the way home.
6) He has never complained about getting my used stuff. He buys me a new phone and he will use my old phone.
7) He carries everything.
8) If he has RM10 in his wallet, he will give it to me.
9) He's faithful and someone I can trust.
10) He's holy and God fearing.
11) He's a great dad to our son.
12) He's always there for his son. Every hospital appointment, every thing.
13) My son is a happy child, he rarely cries unless he wants milk.
14) My son is a loving child, he gives the best hugs and kisses.
15) My son is a smart boy, I rarely have to use the cane now.
16) My son is independent, he can play on his own.
17) My son is a lovely boy, he's the cutest and he loves animals.
18) He always apologizes first.
19) Hubby gives me a massage every night.
20) My son's laughter can always make me laugh.

This is for all the things they do that wasn't enough for me. This is for all the love they've given to me that I did not reciprocate. This is all the joy that they've brought me that I didn't appreciate. This is for the family I have that I didn't embrace.

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