(S)motherly Love | What To Get Your Tiger Mom on Mother’s Day

Posted by Marissa Willcox & filed under Identity.

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It’s that time of year again, flower shops are fully stocked and dark chocolate is flying off the shelves like the world is ending. Spring you say? Nope, it’s Mother’s Day!

I love this day, as it credits women for the work, strength and dedication it takes to be a mom. However, Mother’s Day for many isn’t a pleasant experience but a reminder of strained relationships, cultural conflict or even disappointment.

As a culturally diverse community, Vancouver is home to a variety of traditions taking place upon this celebratory day. The city’s very own ‘Asian Super-Mom’ Lara Honrado, is celebrating a very culturally diverse Mother’s Day with three generations of their family coming together. When we asked Lara about her plans for Mother’s Day and how this experience is different for her as a born and raised Canadian, versus her two adopted Chinese children, she replied:

“My daughters are getting older, so I tend to follow their lead around what they are comfortable exploring and expressing about their roots. Apart from that, this year we get to spend Mother’s Day with their Lola (the Tagalog word for grandmother) who is visiting from the U.S. We’ll probably have a nice brunch and then I will do a very Vancouver thing and force everyone to go on a little hike, which is the tradition I’m trying to instill.”

For Lara, this day sounds like a great way to bring together all three of her family’s different cultural heritages. However for some, the strains of cultural difference and even distance can come into play.

From a more recent encounter with a co-worker, I became aware of the term “Tiger Mom,” a stereotype popularized by author Amy Chua, used to describe mothers who use a “more aggressive and disciplined parenting style” compared to a “more relaxed western style of parenting”. Tiger parents are commonly known to be overbearing and notorious for micromanaging their children’s lives.

My co-worker Jenni* shed some light on her personal experience as the daughter of a tiger mom. When asked about her Mother’s Day plans, Jenni rolls her eyes and says, “Probably nothing, want me to take your shift?”

After some further discussion about our shared experiences with over-protective moms, and more specifically the high expectations many Korean mothers have for their daughters, we came to the conclusion that following the move to Canada with her family, at the age of 13 , the cultural transition strained their mother-daughter relationship. Jenni pointed out the root of the problem as coming from unrealistic expectations and out-of-date Korean traditions, that have only gotten worse since she found success in modelling.

Holding back her mix of anger and resentment, Jenni talked about how her mom does not want to see her. According to Jenni’s mom, she “embarrasses their family” and “is seeking an unfit profession for a good Korean girl.” Their difference in opinion may be culturally-specific, but not uncommon between mothers and daughters in all cultures. It has certainly lead to an uncomfortable approach to her Mother’s Day plans.

Looking at the various points of view, it’s clear that although cultural constraints can call for a Mother’s Day full of surprises, Mother’s Day is about acknowledging our mom’s hard work and we owe them plenty of gratitude for bringing us into this world.

A little celebratory tip for everyone this coming Sunday: Maybe some communication goals and work on the Mother-Daughter relationship is a greater gift than a bouquet of flowers. Although a box of chocolates (or the culturally appropriate equivalent) couldn’t hurt …

Happy Mother’s Day!

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