Tiger Mother, Meet Black Sheep Mama

by Christine@TheAums on April 9, 2011 · 7 comments

Tiger Mother is back in the news and so is her arch nemesis, Panda Dad! I meant to hop on that bandwagon months ago. I also meant to read Amy Chua’s book, but thankfully Sharon, at Mom of 6, just posted a summary of both sides…so here goes nothing!

I was recently asked four months ago what kind of parent I am. What philosophy/ies do I believe in and live by? In other words, what labels do I use to describe how I’m raising my children…attachment, free-range, green, homebirth, natural birth, elimination communication, family bed, co-sleeping, baby wearing, breast feeding, cloth diapering, homeschooling, freeschooling, unschooling!!! *hands to cheeks like the kid in Home Alone*

So what kind of parent am I? Hard to say because I never quite fit in anywhere.

I make spinach/kale smoothies for snack time, and buy donuts for breakfast.

I believed in sign-language with my first baby and talk baby-talk with my almost 2 year old, da baby of da famiwy.
I believe in cloth diapers, but I won’t wash them myself. In fact, I believe in warm weather and wood floors so my kids can be naked and really become acquainted with their poop and pee. Also, my babies wore disposables at night.

I have been known to turn the other way when my kids start drinking the bath water. Choose your battles, right?

I prefer wooden, eco-friendly toys, but my house is a magnet for dollar store trinkets. I firmly believe in cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes.

I rejected the pacifier with my first 3. Actually, they did too. But my fourth embraced it, and so have I.

I’ve been accused of holding my babies too much. I also used the same Baby Bjorn well into their first year and usually faced them in. I never got into wraps or slings, though I tried.

I have shared my bedroom with all 4 kids, but not my bed. Incidentally, they all end up in our bed at some point during the night. 

I breast fed discreetly in public, but never used a nursing cover. I loved breast feeding, I miss it! But I also love wearing a normal bra.

I believe in feeding my family organic, vegetarian meals. I also believe in mac ‘n’ cheese from a box.

I believe in homeschooling my kids. But that could change. But don’t count on it. I secretly feel satisfied when I hear my friends complain about their kids’ private, charter, co-op, and public schools.

I expect my kids to clean up after themselves. Which is why they always catch me not putting my shoes away.

We don’t own a TV. My kids watch plenty of DVDs. I am concerned about video games, even “educational” ones. My kids play plenty of “educational” games on our computers and cell phones.

My kids run around the house naked because they have been taught to put their clothes away. I find the more independent they are, the more independent I can be.

I push weekly piano lessons, but I care more about how my kids play with others, than how they play an instrument. In fact, if I am tiger-ish about anything, it’s how my children treat others.

I believe in a soft heart, using my words, and lots of cuddles. I also accept that sometimes I have to get pissed off and angry just to make my point about something.

I believe in chaos. I have no choice! But controlled chaos is my daily goal.

I believe kids who are allowed a childhood filled with unstructured play, opportunities to imagine and be responsible, and firm but kind adults, will be happy, confident grown ups who are good at doing anything that makes them happy.
Some days I’m a Tiger Mom, but most days I’m Panda Mom. Monkey Mom days are the best! My house may lead you to call me Pig Mom. I’m never proud when I’m Donkey Mom. Can’t help but feel like Sloth Mom by the end of the day and sometimes at the beginning!

So what kind of parent am I? I am Black Sheep Mama.  Hear me roar or bleat, depending.



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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Yamamabad April 10, 2011 at 4:55 am

Wow, you sure cover the whole gamut, and certainly paint an imaginative picture of what life in your house must be like. I didn't realize there were so many labels for all the aspects of parenting, just hearing all of those made me feel like I know more now about how to be a good parent. And the list of animal Mom labels to define your parenting moods, classic. Though I'd bet that some days there is a Dragon Mom in there too, roaring or bleating as the case may be. :*)


sharon April 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Thanks for the shout out! :)

I love the way you contrast your approach to your preferred parenting style (the healthy kale smoothies) with the reality of your life (serving donuts for breakfast). I think that perfectly captures the essence of parenting for most people…. the ideal vs what we an really accomplish. And far more often I live in the reality of compromising my values vs. living closer to my ideals.

And yes… Steve just walked in with Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast for the kids this morning…. which they need to finish up quickly so we can get to Chinese School this Sunday morning…. how's that for a panda mom / tiger mom contrast?


The Aums Mama April 11, 2011 at 3:04 am

@Sharon, that is HIGHlarious…Dunkin' Donuts and Chinese School on Sunday! Thanks for understanding my parenting dilemmas and thanks for inspiring this post!


Ado June 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I liked you a lot before reading this but now I like you even more. You just described how my mothering feels – I flip-flop between the two sides myself, and reading your post made me feel a whole lot less guilty. It's like there's an unwritten rule some place that a mom has to be "one" or "t'other" – but NOT both. Loved this – very inspiring.


The Aums Mama June 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Ahhh, Ado, I'm so happy and comforted to be in your good company as a parent. Thank you for your kind words!


Mama, Hear Me Roar December 3, 2011 at 8:18 am

I like how you’ve captured your mothering in all these unique ways. Labelling parenting styles makes me feel uncomfortable, I don’t feel as if I belong anywhere. Reading your list, we have a lot in common!


Christine@TheAums December 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Thank you…this was a fun one to write and definitely inspired by my not knowing where I fit in. Baaaaa!


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