I’m no Tiger Mom, and that’s okay

This particular article below was taken from Jacq SunYoga’s Facebook page:

 

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Parents, do read this.

My third son Jack has Sensory Integration Disorder, which is on the autistic spectrum. He went to a school that pushed him to go to University, though I fought with the head of sixth form on many occasions, telling him that Jack went to school for the socialisation and sports, not damn A’s. Anyway, Jack was influenced and wanted to go to University (because everyone else was).

I tried to make everything as smooth as possible for Jack. During exams, I made sure he had good breakfast, I made sure there was petrol in his car, I made sure he knew what he was supposed to revise, and I made sure he knew the time and date of every exam.

He scraped enough grades to get into a second rate University back in the UK.

And guess what? Because I was not there for his first year finals exam, he missed a crucial paper. And then he went on a downward spiral after missing one paper. To stay on the course, he would have to repeat the whole first year again. He dropped out, demoralised.

I had to spend a year rebuilding him and put him back on track. Today, he works for the Haywards Group and earns a six figure salary doing a job he loves without the degree that his school pushed him into just so that the school looks good on the league table. I unfortunately played my part and became a helicopter parent in Jack’s case.

Helicopter parenting does not work. Because what happens when you stop? And when will you stop? When your child is 18? 21? 25?

My 16 year old should’ve been in an exam this morning but we last saw her on the football pitch at 9.30am. Maybe in her infinite wisdom she has decided not to sit the paper. Who knows but she.

If you want to see Jack’s work, go to this website. He is the one who does the house designs.

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Reading Jacq’s post on education prompted me to jot down my own feelings toward this subject.

 

Many people ask me why in the world would I put my children into Waldorf, my answer is simple. Mainstream education interferes with their learning. I’m no Tiger Mom, my children don’t need to know their ABCs by age 3, nor do they need to know programming by age 8. They only need to know the joys of learning, without social and peer pressure.

 

Why not let them be children? Let them climb trees, walk on balance beams, draw with a stick on the sand, or water the garden. There’s always something interesting to learn from these simple activities – watching that praying mantis camouflage among the leaves, putting your hands out can help balancing easier on a small plank, a shorter stick is easier to draw with than a ultra long stick, water helps the plant grow, etc.

 

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Learning doesn’t have to come from books. Learning comes from the heart, it comes from what you see, hear and feel around you. There’s always something to learn about anything, anyone, and anywhere.

 

I came from a typical “mainstream” life. That includes schooling, social life, and well, life. But I won’t talk about social life and life in this post, I’ll leave that for another day. I went to mainstream education, had tuition (thankfully not all the time), studied enough to pass through all my subjects. Key word here being studied. Because quite frankly, I never really understood what I was studying. It wasn’t a requisite. I wasn’t encouraged to make sense of it, I was only programmed to memorise what I’m suppose to “learn” in order to pass my exams. It was peer pressure that I went on to Science Stream, because you were considered “smart” if you were in it. Once my exams were over, I would literally forget about them. Looking back, what was the point of learning my algebra, history, geography really? It’s something I never understood.

 

It is because of my own educational experience that has led me to parent my kids differently, to show them that there is a different route in life that they could take. They need to know that there is always a choice when it comes to life. Mainstream schooling doesn’t allow that. There is no choice. You either excel or you fail, and the ones in between just get through life doing what they hate, but don’t have the courage to pursue what they are truly passionate about.

 

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I’m no helicopter parent either. Because if I was, Big Warrior wouldn’t be attending Waldorf, where she gets to jump on muddy puddles, plant gardens, climb trees, bake bread, and draw on the pavement with chalks. I’d be too worried about the dirt, the height, the lack of academia. But I’m not, so we’re good. Soon, Little Warrior will follow suit. I want them to enjoy the process of learning, to know that there’s more to learning than just text books. They learn how plants grow by actually witnessing the growth process from seedling to plant because they were the ones who dug the hole and placed the seed in to the ground. They learn how they reap what they sow. They learn that it’s okay to share their harvest, because they have the necessary skills and knowledge to source and grow more. They learn that it’s not the end of the world if there’s no TV or iPads, because Waldorf children are not encouraged to have any gadget or technology time during Kindy and Primary years. The earliest they can use a computer for their home work is when they reach high school. As a result of all these, my children are never dependent on technology to keep them entertained (they do get to watch movies on the weekends but they never demand for it), and they can be just as happy just playing in the garden looking for dandelions. For that, I’m forever grateful.

 

 

I get that I’m no tiger mom, and that’s okay. I don’t seem to have that urge to push my kids academically at this point (or ever, but we’ll see). I’m not so much of a helicopter parent as well, and that’s also okay. I let them fall, cry and pick themselves up, because the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and they need to understand that. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between, somewhat of a lazy parent. LOL. I let them figure out how to entertain themselves when I’m busy, but I also try to spend time with them when I can. We co-sleep because I’m too lazy to sleep train them, and because I believe that they will eventually move out into their own room in due time. I still breastfeed my 18 month old because I’m lazy to wean her. I let them eat by themselves even though my Little Warrior still makes a mess most days because I’m too lazy to chase her around to feed her.

 

Being a lazy mom is tiring, and adhering to Waldorf teachings can make it even more tiring, because I can’t rely on the idiot box to babysit my kids. But this combo works for me, and the results are so worth it. My girls are happy, and that’s the most important. They are blossoming in their own way, and they are doing it beautifully.

 

Having said all that, as tiger parents, helicopter parents, lazy parents, we all just want what’s best for our children. If it feels right to you, and your children are thriving, then you’re on the right track. Have faith in your judgement and your parental instinct. After all, it is our human instincts that have allowed our species to survive for so many years.

 

 

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The Mother’s Day I was hoping for

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

 

I’ve been slacking in the updates department, but I reckon that the blog deserves an update on this special day.

 

I woke up today not expecting anything, really. Because really, my everyday life isn’t so bad that I had to wish for something to only get it during special occasions. But I was silently hoping for, I don’t know, maybe just some peaceful moments alone where I could put my feet up and read my book? Or maybe some breakfast in bed? Or just a whole day lazing in bed doing nothing? You know, a day where I don’t have to nag at the 2 little monsters running around the house, a day where I don’t have to crack my brain (or what’s left of it) to find the answers to Big Warrior’s questions about life and what not. lol.

 

However, in reality, I woke up to 4 not-so-tiny-anymore arms around me and a snoring husband in bed. Ah, life is so blissful… not. As I was contemplating waking up to prepare breakfast for the household, Little Warrior opened her eyes… and smile. Darn those motherly hormones, who would have thought one could be willed to do anything with just a simple smile in the morning?

 

We chatted for a while, her blabbing really, and me asking her what she wants to eat and telling her about what today is. She then decided to sit up and pointed at the other 2 sleeping beauties and proceeded to wake them up. Little did I know that the husband was actually semi-awaked, observing us through his tiny slit of groggy eyes. He smiled when I looked his way, and wished me Happy Mother’s Day and told me he’s going to cook me breakfast. I looked at him, happy that he was trying to start the day off doing something special for me. I didn’t need any superficial gifts, I could have gotten whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and he knew that (thanks to Gary Chapman’s 5 Languages of Love, we managed to identify what clicks for us). Mine were words of affirmation, acts of services and physical touch. A simple greeting, an offer to prepare brekky, and a hug would have been just what I needed.

 

So after brushing my teeth, I headed out to the kitchen to be greeted by this, and a hug. My 3 love languages officially checked for the day. ❤

 

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It might not seem special to anyone, because it’s really just scrambled eggs, but it was special to me. You see, my husband makes the yummiest scrambled eggs in the whole wide world. And this time, he was trying to make it into a shape that resembled a rose (he admitted to checking out a few youtube channels yesterday night lol), how sweet is that? ❤ ❤ ❤  Darn wifey hormones, oh wait, is there even such a thing as wifey hormones? Gah.

 

To be very honest, it would have been a major challenge if he needed to come up with something every special occasion. He already cooks half the nights in a week, he’s the breadwinner of the house, he helps me with the kids every day, he lets me buy whatever I fancy (to our budget of course) even when it’s not Mother’s Days or birthdays. So really, I’ve been lucky to have been showered with love most days of my married life. Thank you hubby, I know I don’t say it often enough.

 

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The day proceeded as usual, with an extra small treat in the evening. A specially prepared Young & Living Peace & Calming infused bath by the hubs, while he took care of the kids’ bath and sleep time. He even found time to help finish off my left over laundry. ❤

 

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Today was perfect. Even though it wasn’t much far off from our usual routine, because I still had to nag the kids to pack away their toys, tell them to be nice to each other, prepare dinner, do the laundry… But it was still perfect. Plus, Big Warrior has been going on with her current phase of “Mommy-ah! *waits for me to look at her direction* I love you!” the whole day, so it was kinda sweet. Annoyingly funny, but sweet. I know I don’t show it enough as well, but my little darling rascals, if you ever get to read this post 10 years down the road, know that even though mommy might seem mean at times, I still do love you very very much.

 

 

Now the kids are sleeping, and I walk into the room thinking, what was I really hoping for on Mother’s Day? And then I realised, the most ideal Mother’s Day, would actually to have a day like every other, where I get to spend the day (and night) with my beautiful family, because deep down, that’s all that really matters.

 

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