Hey guys, sorry it has been a while since my last post. My Approved Profession doesn’t exactly leave much time for anything else, much less my Secret Unsanctioned Side Gig. Do you ever have those days at work where not only do you not have time to pee, you don’t even have time to drink water because that would entail peeing later, which, as we’ve already established, you don’t have time for. Over the top? Perhaps. But accurate description of the last few weeks.
Speaking of over the top, I recently read an article in the New York Times, Welcome to College, Your Parents Are in the Tents Next Door. Apparently, parents across China are camping out in tents near their children’s dorms while their children settle in at university.
I suspect this doesn’t come as a surprise to many Asian-Americans or anyone with a helicopter parent.
I imagine my mother could have been a Tent ‘Rent. My mother has offered, numerous times, in jest (but not really), to stay with me for a couple of months and cook and clean for me. I’ve always turned down her offers because: (1) my mother would make me eat healthy food; and (2) you know that comes with MAJOR strings attached.
See, the dirty secret of Tiger Moms is that every Tiger Mom is in fact comprised of two Tiger Moms. We’re all familiar with Tiger Mom, The Authoritarian, whose singular goal is her Tiger Cub’s utter domination in every aspect of life: get straight As, pursue an Approved Profession, marry a rich husband / beautiful wife, and raise another generation of Tiger Cubs.
But there’s also Tiger Mom, The Manservant, and there is no length that Tiger Mom, The Manservant, will not go to help her Tiger Cub fulfill his/her destiny. It’s all part of the Tiger Cub Luxury Package: you just focus on your studies/work and I, Tiger Mom, will do everything and anything else to ensure that you achieve your prime directive – I will cook for you, clean for you, and wash your clothes for you. I will even spoon feed you while you study if that’s what it takes.
It’s just … too much. Don’t get me wrong – I admire Tiger Moms’ dedication to their children, and I certainly wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without my parents’ sacrifices. But it seems that many parents don’t practice moderation. They swing from one extreme to the other, from being too demanding on their children to coddling them.
I think it’s fair to say that many Tiger Cubs would rather wash their own laundry, clean their own rooms, and cook their own food if it meant they wouldn’t be scolded for getting a B+ on an exam. Sadly, I don’t think Tiger Moms understand that.
Coming back to the Tent ‘Rents, I really think they are denying their children a critical aspect of the college experience – learning to become an independent human being. College was where I learnt some of my most important life lessons: (1) tequila shots may seem like a good idea, but it never ends well; (2) just because I can eat pizza for every meal doesn’t mean I should, and (3) watch out for bank fees – those guys are barbarians and will rob you blind.
I wouldn’t want my kids to miss out on these experiences. That’s why I say to the Tent ‘Rents: Let go, it’s better they learn these lessons while their livers can still process alcohol, their metabolisms can still digest food and they’re still drawing from the Bank of Mom and Dad.