I’ve Read: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherAfter receiving my wondrous Kindle from Mum for my birthday I promptly downloaded the current NY Times Best Seller List.  I was STARVED for reading.

First up was Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother, a memoir By Amy Chua recounting her parenting style as she raised her  two VERY successful Chinese/American daughters.

Chua is an amazing, engaging writer.  This book has no action, romance, mystery or thrills but it does have drama, heroines and a villain (as Chua often portrays herself).  For me this was a ‘can’t put it down’ kinda book.  I was hooked as I think many readers would be, by her honesty and passion and seemingly unfaltering self-belief in herself as a mother.  I mean, we all doubt ourselves as mothers at some point? right?  I know I do.  Ethan often puts me at crossroads where I simply don’t know how to proceed.

What this book unanimously did for me, was affirm that I’m not the only mother in the world who expects a ‘little’ bit more from her child.  OK, a lot more.  I have a talented son; he is crazy smart, an exceptional swimmer (he just made his first squad at 6.5yrs!), won Player of the Year in Soccer last year and is now proving to be a natural at Rugby, playing loosehead prop.  This is all great stuff, however he is a little boy; what he does without prompting is play DS, PSP, Wii, Moshi Monsters or laze around watching shark documentaries.  That’s all good too, but when it’s time to do some homework or training, he better turn it on.

The softly, softly positive affirmation approach to participation in sports or any pursuit holds no appeal for me either as an athlete myself or as a parent.  If my kids is messing around and not listening to you at practice, then by all means yell at him.  Better yet make him do 20 press-ups in front of his team I WON’T CARE!  That’s how I was trained as a young gymnast, mistakes led to reps.  Hundreds of repetitions.  It didn’t make me cry (every day), it made me hungrier to do better next time.  It made me work hard and it made me succeed.  Little boys are lazy, they NEED to be pushed and they thrive on it.  Making them work  that bit harder, run that bit further, read that little bit more doesn’t make them hate you, or feel weak.  Quite the opposite, it’s how they develop self-respect.

Achieving something they didn’t think they could do teaches kids not to accept the limits others impose on them.  Kids are rubber, they bounce back from defeat, and they are also elastic, they can be stretched without being wrapped in cotton-wool and told how fabulous they are in their mediocrity.

Obviosuly this approach won’t appeal to all, some children won’t respond to being told their ‘best’ isn’t good enough.  What this book will challenge parents to do (I hope) is wonder if a child’s ‘best’ really is THEIR best, or are you both just settling for an easy compromise?

49 Days Later

I don’t know what the grieving process is.

Because I need to be in control and hate surprises I read incredible amounts about what to expect in Dad’s final days.  And you know what, it was right on the money.  I was nursing him.  I had to be able to recognise all the signs, I knew what to look for, I knew when he had had enough, I knew when we had to let him go.  I did not expect the semi-bell curve of grief that I am now riding.

I thought April 6th must surely be the worst day ever.  But the funeral was worse by about 10 thousand chinese burns.  And now 49 days later, the panic I feel when I dial Dad on my Iphone instead of Dave just about makes me crash my truck.  Because that’s when I used to call Dad – when I was driving home from work.  But I can’t delete his number from my phone.

It’s the worst day ever when I just want to talk to him so bad and I can’t.  It’s confusing, disorienting and feels like the day we first found out he had cancer all over again.  EVERY DAY.

Dad and I were close, we talked all the time, every day, about every thing.  And now we can’t talk any more.

Dad, I love you so much and I need you.  It’s hard being strong all the time, that was your job, but I’m trying.


Back on the Goodfoot

It had been over 18 months since my last gym workout. A snappy, shitty 18 months that saw my stress levels hit an all time time high as we battled through an audit, a miscarriage and Dad’s cancer diagnosis which got the better of him after 9 months.
At the end of those dark days I had nothing left after I came home from work, tried to keep some semblance of a ‘normal’ home life and tried to be a good or at least average wife and mother.
I let myself forget about what made me feel good and have ended up at a point where I hate my body, feel completely weak and can’t remember what it is like to feel good about myself.
Despite the launch of the marvelous KFC Double Down Burger today, I have been changing my eating habits over the past few weeks and I went to my newly joined gym for the first time last night.
I was so nervous and self-conscious at first (which is ridiculous considering how much time I have spent in the gym over the years). Yet I settled into an awesome 50 min cardio workout and then did a 75min yoga class afterward.
I surprised myself, worked really hard and LOVED it!
Back again tonight for round 2, my new weights programme and more cardio. I have set myself a 5 kg weight loss goal with another 5 to go hopefully after that
There will be no fingers crossed this time because I just have to get it done, the big genes run thick and fast in my family and I’m determined not to see how many of them I picked up!