Monday, January 24, 2011

Tiger Mother - Really?

The big controversy on the news now is the new book from a strict Chinese mother.  I've not read it  nor have I tried to tune in to see how strict is too strict.  You can't help but pick up bits and pieces though.

 My daughters had rules, and chores, and responsibilities.  I know they hated it and I know most of the ladies I worked with through the years were not as strict as I was about these things.  All three daughters have said "Thank You" when they became adults.

I was called the "Nazi Mom" by my younger daughter's friends.   I only asked what my mother had asked of me. My mother began working when I was 13.  The stove and I had to get acquainted real fast. My father worked 2nd shift so it was just my brother, sister and I home when Mom got out of work at 6:00pm.  She was fortunate to work minutes from home, so dinner had to be on the table by then..  She didn't care if it was hamburgers, tuna sandwiches and chips, or pizza.  Something had to be ready for her.  She was tired and years later, when I got home from work, so was I.

I was much more fortunate because my husband worked days 90% of their "growing up" time.  Our family rule was, whoever is home first starts dinner.  It varied.   There were no excuses.  By 12 to 13 I was babysitting.  I figured if I were trusted with other people's children at that age, I can trust my daughters with the stove.  No, it wasn't always perfect.  My favorite example is telling my younger daughter, at about 13 to "throw the potatoes in the pot" and turn it on.  I'll mash them when I get home."  I got home to their father opening every door and window because that's what she did.  No water.... just potatoes in the pot and turned on.  She did exactly what I told her to do.   Yes, it could have been worse but it wasn't.

I couldn't understand the Moms that I worked with, that had teenage daughters or a husband at home, waiting for them to come home and get dinner for them.  Get up off your butt people. I think they needed to hear a little more Helen Reddy singing "I am Woman". 

We had a dry erase board where I could write "The List".   P/U living room.  (That stood for pick up, Now they told me they never knew what plu meant.)  Clean bathroom, etc.  Did it work all the time.  No...  In looking back, I see I expected things to be done to my standards and they were doing them to theirs.  We've had that discussion.  I should have said "Thank You" more because it really did help me.  I was lucky and I know they tried. 

Daughter #1, as a freshman in high school, left a pot roast on the top of the stove, turned on, and went to a football game, in a car, with friends. There was so much wrong about that!  I got home to a burned roast.  I don't know where the other girls were, because no one was home and whole thing could have caused a fire. I called Dad.   He left work, drove to the "away" ball game, had to pay to get in to the game (which really irked him) found her, and brought her home.  She was mortified. She had been told she could not ride in a car accept with a parent.  Big oops.  Big "Grounded" for 6 weeks.  The first 6 weeks of her Freshman year.  Even the neighbors were pleading her case.  She also had to write a paper on "What Does Truth and Honesty Mean in Our Family".   That's when I earned the title of  her "Crazy Mother".  I had all ready earned the "Meanest Mother" award when she was in middle school, or Jr. High, to us.  Now when her 9 year old son called her the meanest mother in the world, she proudly called to tell me I had been relieved of the title.  She knew she had done something right.

Being a parent is the most difficult job possible.  There are no instructions, rule books, or diagrams to follow.  I'm sure I could have done better. I know I could have done a whole lot worse.  You just don't get a "do over".

To my daughters, I love you ladies.


Nezzy said...

This Ozark Farm Chick was raised doin' inside and outside chores. My children always had to make their beds and do the inside chores but you could find the gathering the firewood and rakin' hay. It builds character and makes for responsible adults.

I teach Kid's Church and if ya ask any group who has the meanest parents in the world...all hands go up! If not, your not doin' your job!!!

I just wanted to thank you for your visit and sweet comment ya left over at my place. Please, visit often... the door of the Ponderosa is always open.

God bless ya'll from the beautiful hills and hollers of the Ozark Ponderosa!!! :o)

Kathy said...

Thank you Nezzy. My grandmother was from the Ozarks too, so I will continue to see how things are going with you there.

Anonymous said...

In looking back, I wish I'd given my own kids more responsibility, but you are right, we don't get a "do over".

When I was a young teenager, I forgot about something on the stove and went to the pool with a friend. In the middle of our swim, I remembered the roast. Had to get the friend's mom to take me home quickly! Luckily no harm was done. Your story reminded me of that. LOL

Kathy said...

Good save on the roast Kathy. The only way for me to learn anything, has always been the hard way. You snuck by on that one.

Nezzy said...

I do so hope I have the correct Kathy. On your friends connect you do not have your websight listed.

I just wanted to thank you for hoppin' on my blog and am lookin' forward to gettin' to know ya and hope ya enjoy the ride!!!

God bless and in the words of that silly old Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now, ya hear!!!" :o)

Kathy said...

Thanks Nezzy for that info. I will have to look into it. And in the words of Sting "I'll be watching you" but, in a good way. :)

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