Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


As I read the controversial book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua (see link), I gleaned some important messages.

In contrast with the hype and criticism the book (and author) received, I found the book uniquely empowering and enlightening.

The story takes the reader on a journey into the sensibilities, challenges, and considerations of a world-class mommy. It begins with her first daughter, who seems, for the most part, to follow her mother's directions and directives. Her second daughter provides most of the drama in the tale, as her headstrong, defiant nature challenges her mother's dreams, goals, and hopes for her future.

She begins the book with some introductions on Chinese parenting, including:

"...I came to see that Chinese parents have two things over their Western counterparts: (1) higher dreams for their children, and (2) higher regard for their children in the sense of knowing how much they can take." (p. 8)


"Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away." (p. 63)

There are some clearly positive-value results from such parenting, including a solid work ethic and sense of respect, as Chua writes, "in Chinese culture, it just wouldn't occur to children to question, disobey, or talk back to their parents. In American culture, kids... score points with their snappy backtalk and independent streaks." (p. 24)

As the book progresses, Chua shares some doubts about her Asian-style of parenting, struggling with her commitment to many of its principles. And here, friends, is where I found the book refreshing and inspirational - the Chinese values are clearly worth consideration, and her struggle to maintain them while entrenched in a thoroughly Western environment brings beautiful drama to the picture.

Where the book begins with her embracing rigid determination ("Asian-ness") as a parent, by the end she shares newfound ("Western"?) wisdom with her daughter, claiming, "See how undefensive and flexible I am? To succeed in this world, you always have to be willing to adapt." (p. 221) Indeed, she admits that, "I'm still in the fight, albeit with some significant modifications to my strategy. I've become newly accepting and open-minded." (p. 221)

The clincher and the greatest message of this book is: dedication. Chua is clearly supremely dedicated to her children. Whether her methods are quirky, extreme, or questionable, her motives are pure and admirable: to challenge her children to tap into their own greatness and potential - to work hard and reap the benefits of their labor.

On the reverse cover of the book, the quote reads as follows:

"Chinese parenting is one of the most difficult things I can think of... there's just no letting up, no point at which it suddenly becomes easy. Just the opposite, Chinese parenting... is a never-ending uphill battle, requiring a 24-7 time commitment, resilience, and guile."

Whether Asian or Western in style, Chua challenges her readers to dedicate their time and energies to their children. On reading her book, one cannot help but consider "Am I too weak? Should I be more dedicated to my child's greatness-potential? Am I doing enough to encourage/challenge them to do more, be more?"

These questions, along with the message of dedication, are the real gifts of Chua's work. Set the controversies aside and consider what the book can offer you in your life - you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Blessed Cry

Unfortunately, it only hit me after 4 kids just how important my baby's cry really is. What a blessing, in disguise.

See, with my first, second, and even third child, the cry, whine, or even pout were something of a nuisance, and I'd do my best to quickly calm, appease, or otherwise tend to their needs and put a stop to the crying. I couldn't wait until they were old enough to "use their words" and teach them not to cry, but rather to express their needs in calmer, more polite terms (ha!)

Because, let's face it - crying gets under our skin. Yes, I know that biologically it has been fine-tuned over millions of years of evolution for just this purpose - to get us to move - and move quickly - because an infant just can't wait. But once the baby isn't so small, isn't so frail, and starts to be able to put words together... well, the crying just gets annoying. Especially when all 3 children start up in unison (or cacophony, as it were)!

With my 4th child, crying started to take on new meaning. I realized that I was often so distracted by my other children, that if he didn't wail - and wail with some might! - that he really wouldn't get his needs met! Then, I started to view my other children's whining differently as well. How quickly will I listen to my 7 year old, if she says "excuse me mother, but I'm having difficulty with my homework" versus "MOOOOMMMMYYYY - I can't do this homework and need your help NOW!" Clearly, when I'm distracted with making dinner and balancing the needs of her 3 siblings, she'll opt for the whiny version to get my attention. Let's face it - I'll hear her better if she whines. I could beat myself up about it, or I can just recognize the truth: children will do what they must to get their needs met. And that's a blessing.

Until now, I saw crying/whining as a sad truth, a tragic part of childhood that we mothers must endure. Now, I'm realizing my own humanity, and that in my overwhelm I may not hear their sweet, quiet "please can you pass the potato" and instead react more quickly to "MOMMY! Come NOW you have to FEEED ME!" And since I want my kids to feel confident to stand up for themselves in this world, that means I need to recognize their cries are a blessing.

Now, that's not to say that I actively encourage the crying. I'm just newly able to appreciate it and smile at my little screaming-angel, and complain a little less about life as a mommy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is Peace always the Path?

We moms often run the emotional spectrum - one minute blissfully peeking at our napping angel, next screaming at our daughter who has thrown juice all over the floor.

Many psychologists encourage us to remain calm at all times, do our best to project a peaceful and comforting energy to our children.

I'm not so sure about that.

Now, I definitely believe that in the early years, say from newborn to age 2 or 3, it's important to be patient and loving, since these little tots are extremely sensitive to our support, and they don't understand our anger or upset. They also rarely (in normal home environments) deliberately harm or hurt themselves or others.

But something changes by elementary school, and I, for one, think they no longer need to see me as an Angel of Peace at all times. On the contrary, they need to see me "break down". Why? Don't they need a role model for maintaining a calm demeanor, even when facing challenges? Well, yes and no.

While truly we parents are our children's primary role models, we are also their primary teachers. When we yell and punish them, not only are we showing them that what they say or do have consequences, but we also teach them that they can and will be hurt in life... and that LIFE GOES ON. What I'm considering is that it's not about the yelling &discipline, but rather the what-happens-next.

If children never (or very rarely) see or experience an angry, upset, or otherwise-riled parent, then s/he is ill-equipt to deal with his/her own anger and upset which WILL appear at some point in life. And since they have never seen an adult be angry and then get over it, then they will likewise not know how to deal with their own anger. Ditto on the receiving end: if they've never been the target of someone's anger, then when they experience it later in life, they will be thrown and uncertain of how to respond and how to move past the situation.

On the other hand, children who have seen their parents angry, yelling, even spanking, will have a deep and strong sense that sometimes life is tough, but they will know from experience how to shake it off and move past.

In other words, we should (responsibly choose to) be angry, show upset, and allow our children to react and respond... and then guide them as to how to manage their feelings and how to move past the hurt.

Rather than hiding and sheltering them from rough times, help them get through them, past them, and rise above them.