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Philosophical Monday: I Wish I Had a Tiger Mom

I find the controversy over this “tiger mom” Wall Street Journal article interesting in that I had maybe a different reaction to it than most. My initial thoughts went in this order:

Man, though I would love to have Betty grow up to be an Intel Science Talent Search award winner or something along those lines, I really, really don’t have the passion or the energy to be a Tiger Mom.

And I wish I’d had a tiger mom.

My mom encouraged me to get good grades and to speak “good english,” but she didn’t really push me. For a few weeks after this article hit, I got caught up, wondering what I would have been like, how much more I could have accomplished if I’d had a tiger mom.

But then another thought hit me, while watching an episode of Private Practice while on bed rest from IVF. This episode featured a case that revolved around what can maybe best be described as a Tiger Wife — a woman who sacrificed her time and youth in service of her husband’s brilliance, only to find out that he had gotten another (younger and not-all-that-smart) woman pregnant. It was pretty tragic, but that’s when I realized …

I don’t wish I had a tiger mom growing up. I loved being nurtured and getting lots of non-academic-based hugs. Also, I think it’s important to explore a lot of different interests of your own choosing when you’re young, because when are you going to have a chance to do that again? Certainly not when you’re hustling to make a living. My next opportunity to do a lot of something else other than mothering and writing probably won’t come along again until I’m at retirement age, so yay, that I explored so much when I was young.

No, I decided, I’m happy that I was raised by a nurturing mom that neither held me back nor pressured me to pursue subjects and activities I wasn’t interested in. However, I do wish that I had a tiger mom NOW.

I wish there was someone pushing me to become better at my craft, someone who forced me to rewrite sentences over and over again until they were just right, someone who didn’t allow me to watch television or go on playdates because that was a distraction, someone who threw my drafts back in my face saying, “No this isn’t good enough. I know you can do better.” I wish that I wouldn’t even dare to write a sentence with a passive verb for fear that my tiger mom would go apess$&t, berate me, and take away all of my birthday gifts.

But after spending a further twenty-four hours wishing that I had a tiger mom of my own right now, it occured to me, “Wait you do have a tiger mom. She’s right there inside of you.”