My husband is a software engineer who specializes in smart phone application development. Our four-year-old son described his father’s job as “very challenging.” He said, “Dad is always fixing phones, lots of phones. His lab is loaded with phones.”
I am an independent journalist and a freelance writer. Our son described my job as “very easy.” He said, “Mom is always playing with her computer, chatting on the phone, and traveling by air.”
So this is how my son looks at writing to deadline, phone interviews, and business trips. How cute, yet how annoying! My husband and I joked about this, and I told him, “So our son thinks your job is challenging and mine is easy. That’s not fair. I don’t want to be looked down on—not by our own child!”
For the first time I saw myself through my child’s eyes. I was both surprise and amused to realize that I actually have a fear of being looked down on by my child. Then I thought about my mother, and what she was like in my eyes when I was four years old.
Back then, I was afraid of my mother. She was a so-called “tiger mom” who spanked me often. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I had done wrong. I was constantly scolded for my “bad attitude” when I was too young to even understand what an attitude is. I vividly remember how scary my mother was when she was beating me, but I barely remember what I did to anger her.
There are a few things that I remember, though. Here is one memory. My mother used to make fried rice noodles and throw in a lot of dried shrimp. The smell of the dried shrimp totally covered the flavor of the shiitake mushrooms and the sweetness of the cabbage.
I asked my mom, “Can you not put so much dried shrimp in the fried rice noodles?”
She effectively silenced me with an angry shout: “This amount of dried shrimp is necessary in fried rice noodles! Shut your month and eat up, or I’ll beat you up.”
When we visited my uncle, his wife made fried rice noodles, but without the dried shrimp. It was delicious. I ate two bowls and happily said to my mother, “Look, Auntie made fried rice noodles with no dried shrimp! It’s good! Let’s try this, too!”
When we got home that day, my mother grabbed a tennis racquet standing by the door and started to strike me with it. She was too upset to find the rattan that she usually used. The racquet strokes fell on me like raindrops; the pain was great. I started to cry, “Why are you hitting me?”
She shouted, “Because you have a bad attitude! Stop crying or I’ll beat you even more!”
For a long time, I didn’t know why I was punished. My mother was an irritable and horrible person in my eyes. I guessed she hated me, but I wasn’t sure. I dared not ask.
Later, when I was in middle school, a friend of mine lent me her CD of Blur’s. I brought it home, totally forgetting that we didn’t even have a CD player. I put the CD on my desk.
My mother saw it and asked me, “What’s this?”
I said, “It’s a CD I borrowed from a friend. But we don’t have a CD player at home, so never mind.”
My mother asked me what a CD was. I said, “A CD is a compact disc. You don’t know that?”
She suddenly raged, grabbed a clothes hanger and hit me in the face. I cried, “Why are you doing this?”
She shouted, “Because you have a bad attitude!”
I was fourteen years old. While I was being hit by that hanger, I started to hate my mother. I thought she was being unreasonable. I thought she was just randomly beating me up because she happened to be in a bad mood, or worse, for no reason at all. I vowed that I would never become somebody like her.
Then I grew up. I left my parents a long time ago, but I’m still searching for the answer to the tough question, “Why my mother physically abuse me?” I tried to look at her from a mature woman’s eyes, and not from a child’s eyes. I finally figured out that maybe, just maybe, I knew one of the reasons behind my mother’s abuse. She spent her whole adult life as a housewife, and was kept at home for the whole time. My father’s parents did not have a harmonious marriage. My grandmother once ran away from home, and as a result, my father was insecure about relationships. He limited my mother’s social and career life. My mother hated to be isolated from the outside world, but she was helpless. She was afraid of being despised, especially by her children. And when I showed the attitude that she considered scornful—for example, by criticizing her cooking or questioning her knowledge—she beat me to maintain her dignity.
When I was a child, I first feared and then hated my mother, but I didn’t despise her until I became a teenager. Now, when I think of her sense of inferiority, my heart almost aches. But I don’t want to be sympathetic. My mother had a big ego, and it would be painful for her to know that her daughter had sympathy for her.
When my own son described my job as “very easy,” I realized that I too did not want to be underestimated by my child. So I reminded myself about my own mother. She was eventually despised by her own daughter, not because she made bad fried rice noodles, not because she didn’t know what a CD was, and not because she was an isolated housewife, but because she had abused her child. Ironically, she abused her child exactly because she didn’t want the contempt.
I realized that children are not confused. They only despise parents when the parents despise themselves.
I asked my son, “Surely Dad is great! When you grow up, do you want to be an engineer just like him?”
He said, “No. I want to be a writer just like you. So that I can play with my computer, chat on the phone, and get on airplanes all the time.”
How did you see your parents when you were growing up? How would you like your children to see you?
This is an original post for World Moms Network by To-Wen Tseng. Photo credit: Mu-huan Chiang.
Recently, my 9-year-old hit a snag in his martial arts class. He practices Shotokan, a style of karate that focuses on mastering technique through continual refinement. His sensei sums it up by saying, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” (more…)
“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or fan, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free pass.”
Heartfulness Meditation Conference 2016
Below, #WorldMom, Sophia from USA, recounts how the process of ‘cleaning’ helps her to deal with her everyday life-situations better, and with clarity and wisdom. She regularly attends the weekly #Heartfulness meditation on the Webinar workshops conducted by #WorldMomsBlog
Over a month ago I joined #Heartfulness meditation sessions once a week. The first time, after going through the relaxation method, I was able to calm down by taking deep breaths and focusing on releasing the … weight of my body. The instruction was to feel everything melting away, eventually my heart as well. Then to dwell there for a few minutes, focusing on the light in my heart.
Well, that first time, I fell asleep. It was about 9:30pm, and the babies had just gone to sleep, and I couldn’t help but feel relaxed enough to fall asleep where I was sitting!
I haven’t fallen asleep during these meditations, since. One thing I have learned through my short life is that taking a moment to breathe deeply, and taking a moment to release the tension, intentionally smiling, and just shake your head at a ‘trying’ situation … they all make my life simpler.
A few days ago, I attended a session facilitated by our Heartfulness Trainer, “P”. We spoke a bit about our lives and things that are heavy for us to deal with, at the moment. After sharing what I am dealing with emotionally, that is physically affecting me, she suggested I try the “Guided Cleaning Process”. So before beginning the usual meditation, she guided me through it.
Immediately I had a massive headache! (I didn’t say anything, though, as it just came out of nowhere) Then she said to imagine all complexities and impurities going out of me from the top of my head to the tip of my tailbone. And to imagine them going out in the form of smoke or vapor.
For me, the mental cleaning was much easier to get into, than meditation has ever been. I could imagine the dense smoke going out from my system. The massive headache was gone and I felt … space; which is a beautiful thing to feel when you have been busy over-analyzing your current situation in life. And I felt a sacred energy entering my whole body.
I felt like my body’s particles were floating with energy around them, remembering that all of creation is made of the same energy. And I mean all of creation, not just humans.
After taking me through the guided mental cleaning, which I have been doing everyday we decided to do our regular weekly meditation session. I kept losing track of what I was doing, and my mind kept wandering off. Twice, though, I was able to imagine my heart as light, and it was fascinating.
It’s hard to explain all of this!!! I think it’s something one has to try for himself/herself, a few times, as once may not be enough. Repetitions are important, I feel, in today’s life.
I think everyone could benefit from removing complexities and impurities from life.
Do you meditate? What method(s) do you use to meditate? What do you do to bring yourself back to center?
A life coach (LC) once told me it is important to be selfish sometimes. She had to explain what she meant because for as long as I could remember, the word ‘selfish’ was synonymous with not caring about anyone other than yourself. Well, LC was one of the sweetest people I have met, yet she did not strike me as one who would accept being pushed around, or would accept becoming a doormat. Usually, really sweet people are considered people on whom you can ‘get over’, right?
When I had this conversation with her I was already mother to by firstborn. However, I did not come to really contemplate the meaning of being selfish while being a mother, until after having my second child.
What LC was conveying to me is that although I am a mother, I am a person. Separate from all the titles I gather in life I have myself and I have to take care of self. You’ve probably heard it or read it somewhere…’If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else’. I have heard people reference it to when an aircraft loses oxygen and you are to put an oxygen mask on yourself before helping someone else, even your own child, put on her mask. Still, the word ‘selfish’ isn’t used here, even though it may be more concise and cost less to print. I do understand why: it just doesn’t sound good.
Nonetheless, being selfish (to an extent) is necessary for sanity, self-esteem, creativity, and a dynamic life.
I don’t know about other mothers, but I tend to analyze a lot. It used to be that before I left the house (children and husband in it), I would think of all I could do to make sure everything for the kids was where it was supposed to be so my husband could easily find it. It was as if the time I was going to be away had to be excused in my own mind, and that I was negatively selfish for not being there to care for them myself. I know this is absurd because we are both their parents and my husband hasn’t indicated, in any way, that he thinks or feels any of the things I am explaining here.
I realized I was hindering my own self from taking a break. From clocking out from my Stay At Home career. From taking care of me. From figuring out how to take care of me beyond taking a shower and maybe putting on some make up.
So about a month and a half ago my husband and I had a conversation. We acknowledged that we both feel the difference in our lives from how it was pre two small children and a teenager, to post two small children and a teenager. We agreed that we both need time to be ourselves individually and together. At the end of that conversation it was decided that I was going to begin taking scheduled ‘Me Time’.
The first time I had no clue what to do with myself. I was happy to leave the house and go do something. I didn’t want to waste my time. I didn’t want to do something as mundane as go window-shopping or take a nap in my car…like I have done a few times in the past. Then I realized I could do anything I wanted and I would be doing it by myself!
When I returned home I felt energized and didn’t feel like I needed to clock out again for a while. The second time I felt kind of guilty, leaving everyone again, so as it was already hard to schedule something with holiday travel, I just let that one go. Today was my third scheduled Me Time and I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to take my selfish self to the forest and hike! Yes, I was going to take a hike!
My hike was phenomenal. It was something I needed more than I thought. I wished for my husband and my children to be with me. I kept envisioning them there, but I knew I needed to be by myself. I needed to not worry about what they might need… if they are hungry, thirsty, or need a diaper change. Or if the 15-month old had eaten a crayon or is putting his finger in his mouth and maybe is now interested in sticking it in an electrical socket.
That’s the thing, you know? Being a Stay at Home Parent means that as long as your children are awake, you have to be aware while you’re cooking or cleaning, or doing whatever else you may need to do, Additionally, you have to be present for the myriad learning moments young humans have. I personally think that is tiring. I feel like I am wrong for feeling this way. That, as a parent, but more so as a mother, I should want to be with my children all the time and I should only get a tiny bit tired just as any human would from being awake and doing regular things.
To continue, my hike was what I needed. I focused on thinking of nothing. I took deep breaths as I walked briskly onward in the chilly air. Every time I thought to meditate I would first repeat a prayer I know, and then somehow ended up seeing Purnima Ramakrishnan’s face as if she was leading a meditation session. It was so strange and SO funny! Then I kept thinking about how I should have asked if there are wild animals to be concerned about on the trails. Black bears and cougars would have to just let me have my Me Time, you know?
After the hike I watched a R-rated movie (The Big Short) and ate a cookie.
I got home to two little babes wanting to be tickled and wanting to use me as an obstacle they had to demolish. It was a lot of fun and I knew I was better for them since I went and had some time with my own self.
Do you take time to do things on your own? Do you ever feel like you could be better for your children? When you do take time away, are there specific things you do that bring you back to center? What do you think about the word ‘selfish’?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia. You can find her blogging at Think Say Be and on twitter @ThinkSayBeSNJ.
Photo credits to the author.
You might think otherwise, but in truth, no one owes you anything. Not God, not your spouse, not your parents, not your kids, not your friends or your colleagues. Seriously, no one owes you a single thing.
I don’t think any one of us go about our days consciously assuming that we’re owed anything, yet we somehow unknowingly end up behaving in a way that says just that.
We live lives full of expectations. We’ve come to expect certain things, certain behaviors and certain reactions. And because we’ve come to expect those things, we unwittingly end up feeling entitled to them. Then, when we don’t get them, we feel upset and short changed.
How many times have I gotten upset with my kids for not doing their chores? How many times have I snapped at my husband because I felt I didn’t get the reaction I hoped for? How many times have I gotten annoyed at someone?
Yes, I feel that my kids should have responsibility. Yes, I wish my husband could read my mind. (Or maybe not.) Yes, I wish people would be more polite. But they’re not the problem.
The problem is expectations and the false notion that people think we need them. When you have an expectation, you’re putting forth a demand. Is that the way to manage any type of a relationship? To demand something from the other party?
An expectation is one sided. We don’t need to live lives filled with demands.
So what do we need? We need hopes and wishes. We need reciprocity in the form of cooperation and partnership.
In the example of my kids and their chores. My wish is for teamwork. Being part of the family means being part of the team, a team that helps the family function as it should both physically and emotionally. Not because I want them to do it for me personally, but for the good of the whole unit.
In marriage or in any type of a relationship you’re looking for cooperation and partnership as well as mutual understanding. You wish for good and by wishing for good instead of expecting or demanding it, you can find the good and are grateful for what you have.
You have to earn love or respect or kindness. Demanding them will get you nowhere fast. When a relationship is a loving one, not one based on debts, people will be more likely to want to be there for you.
Learning that you’re not owed anything doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat or be treated badly. It means you have a choice and can decide what relationships and actions belong in your life. You don’t demand things from other and you don’t transfer the blame or responsibility on others. You decide what is right for you. You decide to see all the things to be grateful for.
Love can only be unconditional when you earn it but don’t feel you’re owed it.
Can you imagine how many of the world’s problems would vanish if we all believed that we aren’t owed anything and took responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
Do you think you are owed anything?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.
Photo credit to Susie Mayerfeld
I recently left my job in a poverty law office to start a daycare and pre-school. Before opening my home, I researched every aspect of the business; at least I thought I did. Since I’d been homeschooling since forever, I thought that my new venture would be an extension of what I had been doing. What you can’t find written in pages of wisdom is how to get through the day with young children – that is something you have to experience on your own. (more…)