- Season 2, Episode 6: Free range tiger (parenting)
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Susan: [00:00:00] I still think Montessori is cool. I really do. I’ve met some Montessori kids that are very independent minded, but are really bad at math.
Susan: They’re so bad. Like, like really simple math. And then, so I kind of sit there going, yeah. I want to make sure that yes, art go follow your destiny and your calling, but you need skills.
Kate: Welcome to model minority moms, where we talk about the complicated meaning of success in career, family and life.
Kate: I’m Kate Wong,
Susan: Jeanette park, and Susan.
Kate: Harvard classmates and Asian-American working moms to Little’s who get real about the pressures of fitting in while standing out.
Susan: Hey, what’s up. This is Susan Lou, and another episode of model minority moms. Today, we are going to be talking about tiger versus free range parenting. before we talk about our own parenting styles, we should just probably talk about the [00:01:00] biggest influence in our lives, which is our parents. Did you guys have tiger parents?
Kate: Yes. Sorta
Susan: like how, like how, like, give me examples. Was it like playing piano until your hands fell off? Like w you know, like how,
Kate: no, I mean, my dad is definitely a tiger parent for the most part, but then they weren’t in other ways. Right. So like the ways in which my dad was a tiger parent was like, couldn’t get anything less than an a or an, a plus if that was available in the class, like, they’re just no other, you know, there’s just no other option.
Kate: And then you just expected you to do that. Perform well, academically, otherwise it would just be very cringe-worthy, but it’s not like, oh, sorry, go ahead.
Susan: So what, what happens if you get an, a minus,
Kate: I get yelled at obviously
Susan: like for like a minute, an hour, are you banished to your room?
Kate: You know what I mean, various scenarios, right?
Kate: I mean, basically I didn’t, you can tell, I didn’t get too many minuses in my life. But it was like a fear driven thing. Right. I was afraid that if I didn’t get [00:02:00] an, a plus or an a than I would be like yelled at, or I would get like, you know, criticized or something like that, it was definitely that. But then on the other hand you know, and my mom wasn’t like that, she didn’t really, really focus on the academics in that way.
Kate: But interestingly enough, though, neither of my parents put pressure on me to like, you know, play the piano or the violin or these other so-called Asian. Extracurricular pursuits. And they didn’t really like, how do I say this? I think we discussed this in a previous episode. They weren’t like the way that I think Jeannette’s parents were like, you know, trying to find out good schools for her to go to.
Kate: Right. They’re talking to other parents. My parents didn’t do that. Right. They just always moved to a school district where it was like a good school, but then other than that, they didn’t spend a lot of time, like figuring which, which school should Kate go to, which summer camp, which enrichment activation Kate do.
Kate: And then they weren’t, they weren’t like, oh, you need to go to Harvard or anything like that. Right. So it’s kind of weird. It’s like on the surface definitely seems like tiger parenting because I wasn’t allowed to not Excel academically, but on the [00:03:00] other hand they just, there was like a whole piece missing from it. Right.
Susan: But do you think it’s because you know, they grew up in China and tryna didn’t in an era, didn’t have like extracurricular activities that you’d pad your resume with a lot of ours, just test taking
Kate: of our social circles, kids, you know, they had kids who did that. I think I just, maybe part of it is my parents didn’t know that much, but also part of it is, I don’t know, maybe they just didn’t think that it was.
Kate: Or if they’re not, maybe they didn’t know that that was something that was important for getting into college. Right. Or anything like that. I think that’s just, it was just, yeah. Ignorance. Not any kind of lack of interest or anything,
Susan: but you still got into Harvard
Kate: that’s right. Which is, yeah. Ironic. I mean, not ironic.
Kate: Obviously I did really well in school, but I mean, all the other stuff, I think I kind of chose to do myself. So you could say I probably tiger parented myself in the non-academic parts.
Jeanette: Yeah. How about yourself?
Susan: I remember I would get in trouble for doing student [00:04:00] government and community service. Like my dad was so mad at me.
Susan: He was sound like like, why don’t you ever listen to me? And I was like, I was like, I found a sense of purpose. I had positive role models. I, I, I felt worth like I had worth, you know, doing all these activities. And I only started doing that after my mom passed away. But up until that point up until 1996, when I was in sixth grade, like I wanted to do band, I wanted to do girl Scouts and I begged for girl Scouts and I got that, you know, but it was just like, it was a money thing.
Susan: Like parents, my parents weren’t really letting me do that because of money, I think. But in terms of tiger parenting, I mean, of course, like my mom was totally a tiger mom. It was, it was all about the grades. And I never even thought about getting a, B ever, like [00:05:00] maybe, maybe, yeah. You guys like a D right.
Kate: our minds, it was like a, B was like equivalent to a d or an F.
Susan: I mean, I gotta tell you this. I had gotten a couple of B pluses in it’s gotta be like, maybe it was either middle school or high school. Like I found English class really hard, like writing essays, writing essays was always very hard for me, which is ironic because I’m a writer.
Susan: And I remember I would go into the teacher’s room during break or lunch and start crying and telling them like, there’s no way I could get a B plus, like maybe it was like mid, mid quarter or something and they give me a progress report or something and I’d be freaking out. I’d be begging for extra credit.
Susan: I’d be negotiating F then somehow I always got an, a minus, like, I feel like me getting to Harvard. I was like total wild card, because like, I think I [00:06:00] begged to get these A’s one and somehow I convinced people to give me A’s and then also it’s just like, I. I was so non-conventional and how I got to this place.
Susan: Like I had to fight to eventually become student body president, but it wasn’t with people and students and votes. It was with my dad, you know? Cause he was always just like, why, why are you doing this? And I was like, well, if you won’t let me go to the dance, I’m gonna get a B plus, you know? And it was like, I had to convince him for me to have like this like American childhood that I wanted that.
Susan: So many of my peers, parents were like, why aren’t you more like Susan? And then I could see my peers getting mad at me and I’m like, it was just, I always felt like, you know, the I’m not Vietnamese enough at home. I’m not American enough at school. But yeah, no, I think, I I’d say my parents. I mean they had come from Vietnam, they didn’t finish ninth grade there.
Susan: So they really valued education and they saw that. That was the only [00:07:00] way you could jump class. You know, that that was the only way. And, and no one in the history of my family had ever gone to college even in Vietnam. Right. So, so for us, this was our ticket out. And my mom and dad had risked everything to come to America.
Susan: Right. They tried to escape Vietnam and it was on the sixth attempt of them escaping in the middle of the night, but they actually made it onto a boat and they actually made it to Malaysia. And then they actually got sponsored to America. Like it, it was this like epic five, six year journey. Total uncertainty.
Susan: So by the time you get to America, like you already did the hard part. So like you should just succeed. Right. So, so even considering any other option, besides like, as a kid, your job is school. That is your number one job. And we did everything for you, so don’t fuck it up, you know? And, and, and so I felt that pressure, like totally in my bones and, and also like, if I didn’t get A’s and they would threaten that they would not love [00:08:00] me.
Susan: And I was unlovable and I was so bad. So I think grades had so much just shame and worth self-worth tied to it. That I was just like, I had to negotiate with my, with my teachers, if I was going to get a B plus, like, you know, I, I find it actually very embarrassing now to tell you that I used to sob and negotiate with my teachers, but writing essays was very hard for me.
Susan: It did not come easy. How about you, Jeanette?
Jeanette: It’s nuanced. Right? like Kate said, for me middle school, I got a place on the waiting list for this gifted program. And I think I mentioned this on the, on a previous episode, but my dad, he drove me every day for a week to sit in the principal’s office, just to somehow try to convince them to get me off the wait, which I eventually did.
Jeanette: But I would say in general, they were really not tiger parents at all. Like they never, like I would bring home straight A’s and they’d be like, good job. And that was it. I mean, [00:09:00] maybe that’s similar. You guys had that good grades weren’t necessarily really praised or, you know, fawned over or like rewarded but they just never really obsessed over it.
Jeanette: And , my brother like academically, he didn’t. Excel as much as I did. And my parents would never say like, oh, Brian, , look at your sister, , and compare grades or compare me to anybody else. Like, I don’t know why they just weren’t like that. I think that they themselves
Jeanette: Didn’t necessarily try that hard in school.
Jeanette: So I think they felt like maybe they couldn’t put it on us. So, I think my parents they just were not the stereotypical like tiger parents to any degree. I think that a lot of the pressure I put on myself and I think in some ways it’s kind of messed up now that I think about it.
Jeanette: Like, I used to do the same thing where, you know, if I got a, B plus on a test, I would actually make myself feel terrible. Like I was, self-flagellate in my head, right. Like, I can’t [00:10:00] believe you made that mistake. Study hard enough, like you didn’t prepare hard enough, you know? And I would just replay that consciously, to make myself really feel bad so that I couldn’t use that as motivation to do better on the next thing.
Jeanette: I’m like, is that good? It’s not like healthy. Probably not. I mean, and I was doing this as what, like, you know, 10, 11, 12, like all the way through college. And I think the reason I did that was kind of similar Susan, to what you were saying was kind of the mantra in your family is like, at some level, , I didn’t know about McKinsey.
Jeanette: I didn’t know about investment banking. I didn’t know about any of those things, but I knew that my family was poor. I hated being poor. It was too stressful. And I felt like to me, the only chance I had of getting myself out of that situation, Was to do super well in school. And so that’s just what I’ve channeled all my energy into.
Jeanette: [00:11:00] Yeah, but like my parents really didn’t
Jeanette: Do that to me. They didn’t apply that pressure on me for whatever reason or my brother. Right. It’s really weird.
Susan: Oh. You know, and then I look back on all of this and I go, okay. Somehow we all motivated ourselves to get these badges of success.
Susan: And then now we look back on our lives in our thirties and we go like, are we living the life we want? And or how are we going to raise our kids? Like, do you want them to also self flagellate or whatever? Did I say the word fart or Dave now you said flagellate, is that right? Yeah, well, what is good behavior?
Susan: Like what, how do we want our kids to turn out? You know what I mean? Like, I, I, why would I keep asking, like, what is a successful kid or how do we know we did well? [00:12:00] And it’s like, oh, we wanna know that art, if he wants to pursue something in life, he goes in and does it, you know, and, and, and he can take care of himself.
Susan: How do you get to that place? You know, like this kind of self-discipline stuff we got got us to where we are. Is it going to, is that what we want for our kids?
Kate: I think one big thing that I would like to change for my daughter is, you know, I think all of us have. Having been parented or ourselves in reaction to our parents parenting is this idea of being afraid, right? Like Susan, you begged your teachers for that grade because you were afraid, what is the consequence of getting a B plus, right.
Kate: You were afraid of that. That’s why you begged your teacher, same thing with you Janette, right? Like you would self-flagellate when you got it. I totally know the feeling. Jen, it’s like sinking. It’s like this giant stone that goes like sinks into your stomach. And you’re just like, I cannot believe you did that.
Kate: How could you get, you know, to just, just shitting on yourself, basically, right. As a young girl who already is subject to, you [00:13:00] know, a lot of other vulnerable mental health issues. And I just can’t imagine having like my daughter go through that, that sucks. It’s super shitty. And I think also this like success only driven primarily by fear of failure.
Kate: Is not it dogs you, right? Like, I think we’ve all talked about it to some extent, like some of, even though we seem like we’re all doing reasonably well in life now, but oftentimes we like question ourselves or we are afraid to maybe take on certain things because we don’t know if we’re going to be really successful in them.
Kate: Or we just double like obsess over certain things because they’re like, oh no, did I do that read like, ah, oh, I don’t know if I made the right
Kate: choice. Like I am my life,
Kate: you know, it’s just, it’s very paralyzing. And so I, I would really want my daughter to not have to go through that, but I think you’re right Susan, you know, you don’t want someone who’s just like, oh yeah, whatever.
Kate: I can do whatever I want. And then, but not realize that, you know, you sort of, you have to combine that with this [00:14:00] sense of, I need to work hard to add something to mutually exclusive, but I’m just saying like, kind of add another characteristic to that. Working hard, having discipline is also this sense of wanting to be successful.
Kate: Not because you’re afraid of failing. Right. Yeah, that’s a big one for me.
Susan: Yeah. Like if, if art isn’t self-reliant, he knows we’ll always catch him and he just, just doesn’t try and then kind of floats around in the world. Like, I love the bumper sticker, quote, all those who wander are not lost. Like I agree.
Susan: I wandered a lot, but I felt like I wandered with earnestness, you know, and I wandered to figure things out and I was on my own quest and looking back on it now, I mean, my siblings make fun of me all the time. They’re just like, what’s I like, they don’t get me. You know? They’re like, if they’re like, you’re such like a weird hippie black sheep, like artists, like you could have made a lot of money going to Harvard, you know?
Susan: And I’m just like, I’m like, yeah, why what’s wrong with me? You know? Like, I [00:15:00] wonder why could it. I got this, this amazing opportunity. And I felt like I squashed it in terms of like, not pursuing a capitalistic route. But I feel like when I wandered, even if I did very dumb things that I look back on and go like, that was, that was, that was done.
Susan: I did it with full effort, earnestness and independence. You know, my siblings will say I mooched off of them for years, but I did it with my own form of independence. And so the question here is like tiger parenting versus free range parenting, right? Like, do you let them just like. You know, like I was reading this one
Kate: for the listeners who don’t know, because I actually only recently came across this term of free range parenting.
Kate: And at first thing I thought of is like chickens. Cause you know how they advertise eggs, it’s being like free range, chicken eggs, or like free range chicken. I was like, what the fuck is free range? I was like, is it font?
Susan: What is it? What is it? What is it? What is, I just assume chicken,
Kate: my casual definition, correct me if [00:16:00] I’m wrong here.
Kate: It’s basically parents who kind of let kids well in the context that I read about it, it’s like they just have free and open play. Right. They like, their kids kind of like play with the other kids in the neighborhood and they go out like unmonitored unsupervised and just have a lot of unsupervised play time.
Susan: Yeah. Yeah.
Kate: I mean, I feel like a nice sense. I was like free range or okay. It wasn’t really free range. It’s partially. Right. I kind of just went out and played by myself. I didn’t wasn’t over-scheduled or anything.
Susan: So you were raised in cage-free humane conditions, but free range. The fields.
Kate: I was not pasture-raised that it’s definitely fed high quality feed and cage-free cage-free
Jeanette: I think that’s my understanding of free range parenting. There’s multiple values in there. Right. Which are like, you should let your kids choose what they want to do and how they spend their time. You should also not [00:17:00] overly supervise them because you want them to learn how to make their own risk reward.
Jeanette: Trade-offs you know, and you want them to develop that sense of independence. I think that that’s kind of like the values that, that whole parenting philosophy is trying to follow.
Jeanette: This isn’t I forget your original question. Like, is that what w what do we want for our kids?
Susan: Yeah, because, I mean, is it going to be like, oh, I, I do a blend of both, you know, I give them options, classical piano, or, I don’t know, like reggae guitar, like, I never had musical training. I don’t, I just made that up, but like, do we give them choices? Because we want them to be like, okay, this is how we’re going to maximize their brain development.
Susan: And we’re like, still orchestrating, or is it literally like, sit out within a giving tree and like, write your own poems, man. Like,
Kate: You know. Okay. So the context number which I found out about free range parenting gives me kind of a bias. So, [00:18:00] so I read a lot of next door posts for fun.
Susan: Oh my God. Are you stressing yourself?
Kate: Oh, sorry. Trust me. I don’t read the stressful ones. It’s just really funny. Like today it was this whole drama about a deer that got shot by a polygon anyway. And I think it was like, or maybe it was a Facebook parents group. I can’t remember either way. Both are kind of stressful, but also entertaining.
Kate: And they were talking about , you know, kids there’s so many people who send their kids out in a bunch to kind of play with each other and they like do whatever. And I was like, you know, in some ways the parents can do this because like, I live on a plate, it’s literally, it’s an island and it’s mostly white.
Kate: I think it’s like 80% white. And you know, people are affluent here. Right? Like you’ve got really safe. Everything’s very safe here. And so I’m like, yeah, sure. Of course you can. Free-range parent here because there’s like, you know, it just like, it’s like the Truman show, right?
Kate: But like not everybody lives in this kind of environment slash also like, you know, I dunno, I guess I associated with like white suburbia.
Kate: Is that just me? And I’m being like racist here [00:19:00] or something, you know? And it’s like, it’s, I don’t always seem to see it. It’s trotted out as like the antidote to like tiger parenting, which is always associated with Asian people. So I feel like there is, and I may again be reading too much into it, but like a racial subtext there that kind of makes me feel uncomfortable.
Kate: It’s like the white suburban or hit and, or hippie parents were like, oh, tiger. Parents are like too intense and over-scheduling, they’re their kids. So we’re going to do this like free range parenting thing. Right. But like, there is a racial subtext. There, there is because tiger parents are indelibly associated
Kate: with Asians is because of that lady.
Kate: What’s her, what’s her name? Amy. Yeah. Amy Chua. I feel
Kate: like she gave tiger parenting, like a bad rap
Susan: are you, are you trying to reclaim tiger parents more
Kate: nuance? I’m just saying these things are more nuanced. Right. But like under her, it became this like flag of like just very black and white.
Susan: Well, okay. Wait, I mean, if you’re going to bring up race in class, I [00:20:00] mean, if you grew up, I grew up low income and my parents weren’t around because they were just busy working.
Susan: They’re very busy working. So part of it is they would tiger parent with a couple of like principles. And then my brothers would discipline me and my sister if we fell out of line. But besides that, like, we didn’t have money for the extra curriculars. So I went to go find my own, like apply for scholarships to go be in like certain groups and stuff like that.
Susan: But also we were free range in the sense that we were kind of latchkey kids because the parents weren’t just around, you know? So I guess what I’m trying to say is maybe free range parenting exists. Low income settings, but it’s just because they’re just like, but it’s not, here’s the difference, right?
Kate: You’re absolutely right. I was like that when I was growing up in like in China and I went back to visit my family in China. Also my parents just like left me alone at the house after school. Right. But I think the difference is it has been taken as [00:21:00] a concept. There’s a label slapped on it and it’s contextualized, I think my personal opinion in the upper middle class white setting.
Kate: Right. It’s like another one of those things that it like, you know, like farm to table. Okay. If you’re really poor and you’re a farmer in like Sub-Saharan Africa, you’re definitely doing farm to table. Cause you’re like, you’re poor and you’re like subsistence farming. Right. But then here we call it like farm tables.
Kate: It’s like elevated concept. I feel like free-range parenting is the same thing. Right? You just like you described, we all probably grew up to a certain extent being free range parenting. In the sense of, we were kind of left to our own devices. Right. I was definitely. So, I don’t know. I, I kind of like that.
Kate: That’s, what’s interesting to me about this concept as it is applied today
Kate: in this specific social strata
Jeanette: Is the discomfort with the sense, like, you feel like this is kind of cultural appropriation or you feel like it’s a very blinkered way of thinking about this approach to parenting or like yeah.
Kate: I think people aren’t [00:22:00] who are proponents of it are not necessarily aware of how
Kate: mm. I guess how one dimensional it’s like how it’s become warped when they as upper middle-class or upper-class people have adopted it, right? Like a lot of people are being free ranged because they don’t have a choice.
Kate: Like Susan said, right? Like her parents are really busy even today. It’s not even just our, our generation. A lot of people don’t have the choice. They don’t have the money to send their kids to all these extra extracurriculars. You don’t have like money to hire a babysitter to watch their kids afterschool.
Kate: So their kids are free ranged right on the streets. I mean, I don’t know if that’s how it strictly is defined. So I think, but, but I think maybe we need to go back to those values at Jeanette. You were mentioning earlier, maybe I think maybe free range parenting is sort of like kind of take sprouts some bad wings.
Kate: Like what are the original values, right. And those are the things that maybe should define it. Whereas I think the, the, the, the tone itself and the idea of kids like running around is maybe like, just too.
Susan: So maybe it’s like how [00:23:00] active the parent plays in a role of determining activities for the kids.
Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a, that’s a big part of it. So it’s like the kids get to choose what they do. And there’s a lot of unstructured time and there’s less parent supervision, so kids can make their own risk reward trade-offs and develop independence.
Susan: Can I tell you. I had a client of mine years ago and she was like, oh yeah, my son goes to Montessori school.
Susan: It’s so great. And I’m going to say I’m part hippie here where I’m like, oh, tell me more. Wow. They get to uncover what they really care about and, and determine what they want to learn about. And she goes, yeah. And I was like, great. And she goes, but my son spent the first two months sitting by the shoe area cause he didn’t want to go inside.
Susan: And that’s what he wanted to do. And I was sitting there going, like you paid how [00:24:00] much to have the kid play was what shoes for how long? And I was like, oh, okay. And then like, I still think Montessori is cool. I really do. I’ve met some Montessori kids that are very independent minded, but are really bad at math.
Susan: They’re so bad. Like, like really simple math. And then, so I kind of sit there going, yeah. I want to make sure that yes, art go follow your destiny and your calling, but you need skills. You need to know if someone is cheating you out of money. Cause that that’s like a favorite thing to do is like go to the grocery store.
Susan: And then I just like stare at the screen and see the thing. If I bought on sale, did it register in the system and I love correcting them and making sure I get the right price, you know, like I’m really intense about it. Or like when traveled to like Asian countries, like, or when I go to Vietnam, I’ll just say on Vietnam there, because I’m Vietnamese.
Susan: I, they are consciously cheating me all the time and I’m just like, I just politely and let them know. We didn’t order these water bottles and whatever, whatever they, we just tallied up at the [00:25:00] end. But if I do not have a son that that can not have basic math skills, I just, I’m kinda sitting here. Okay, free range.
Susan: Sounds really cool and everything, but you need some basic skills. You are not going to be cheated, especially at the grocery store. Okay. So,
Kate: so I have, I pulled up a couple of articles. So apparently don’t confound free range with Montessori. People are going to have like a meltdown over this. So here’s how it’s defined.
Kate: The definition varies between families, but it essentially involves giving your kids responsibilities at a young age. These responsibilities vary based on the specific child’s capabilities they might include. For example, walking to the park alone, riding bikes to school, or taking public transportation without supervision.
Kate: It’s important to know that free range parenting isn’t detachment since mom and dad are still very much involved. They’ll teach essential life skills, guide their kids through challenges, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but free range parents, step back and let their children take the reins in practicing lessons in real life.
Kate: And the desired result is an increased sense of independence, confidence, problem, solving skills, creativity, and more. Okay. So [00:26:00] that’s sort of like, and it’s the opposite of helicopter parenting.
Jeanette: Yeah. I think the other dimension of this is. Okay. I don’t want to be all like more money, more problems.
Susan: Right. But like you were,
Jeanette: but it kind of is right. I think all of us were forced to learn those skills because out of the constraints of our family’s life. Right. And so it just wasn’t even a question.
Susan: They were not, they did not read a book or take a parenting course and then apply exercises and learn and reflect. It was like, this is the nature of our lives.
Jeanette: Right. Whereas like, you know, the part of the angst is , we actually can make these choices. So it’s , do we hire a babysitter when our kid is eight or nine or 10, you know, to pick them up from school or do we , let them take public transportation or the school, you know, it’s we can make these choices.
Jeanette: Which is why I think there’s more anxiety associated.
Susan: So, what are we going to do?
Jeanette: I don’t know. I mean, it also depends on the [00:27:00] kid. I could already see between my two kids. They have very different personalities and I could see that they’re going to need different things . From us as parents.
Jeanette: So I don’t think that there’s like one size fits all. Which I think is a terrible answer, but,
Kate: well, I like the concept of teaching children to be more independent actually in Montessori, by the way, Susan, I’m gonna counter you. Cause I’ve read a lot about Montessori. It’s sort of, it actually is intended to teach children to be more independent.
Kate: So I don’t follow Montessori to a T at home, but I do follow a lot of their principles. So it’s the reason why we have like child sized furniture. We have like a little toddler tower that Riah has been in since she was nine months old. So she can be at our height, I’m at the kitchen counter when we’re doing things.
Kate: I let her take some things out of the dishwasher. You know, actually spent more time to empty the dishwasher when she’s helping me. But I feel like, you know, it’s good to get her involved. And she like was, is really into like sweeping the floor, like, you know taking a paper towel and wiping surfaces.
Kate: So actually I bought her like a mini little broom. [00:28:00] And, and so I do, I like that actually. So I’m kind of in, in, in principle, behind the concept of teaching your children to be more independent, to be involved in your everyday life, because I don’t want to be that kind of parent where, you know, you see all over China, the little kids, like their grandparents, do everything for them.
Kate: They literally don’t even lift a finger. And it’s actually regardless of income level, right? Because like, because of the only child policy, you have a whole generation where there’s just, you know, one child, although now you can have more, but anyway, many families only have one child and four grandparents.
Kate: Right. I don’t want to be like that. Just think that, oh, mommy, daddy is going to do everything for me. And all I just have to do is like open my hands and open my mouth. Right. Like, I definitely don’t want that, especially because interestingly enough, and this isn’t a side question for the two of you, like in the household, how involved were you in like tasks?
Kate: Right? Because for me, even though my parents had the high you know, my dad had like. Requirement that I like ACE everything in school, but I was also expected to contribute domestically. Right. Maybe it’s because I was a girl, but I had to like do my, not just do my own laundry, but also I ended up doing my parents’ laundry when I was in high school.
Kate: Right. And like [00:29:00] cleaning the kitchen, helping my mom like prep stuff. I was very involved in all of that and how my husband is not so much, I think partly because he was also an only child, but I think partly that’s gender related. So anyway, sorry, this is like a tangent, but I’m curious to know if you know, the two of you were just like, it’s okay.
Kate: If you just Excel academically, you don’t need to be involved around the house or were your parents also like, yo, you gotta do your
Jeanette: Yeah, I was very involved in household stuff. I mean, it’s like ironing my dad’s shirts, like you know, doing the dishes. Yeah. Helping prep, vacuuming, just everything.
Jeanette: Right? Like
Kate: did your brother do that though?
Jeanette: No. Yeah. And I, it wasn’t even like, oh, you go study. Because like I said, my parents never said that to us. It was just like, you watch basketball games, we will set up everything for dinner. And yeah, I know. No, I mean, I think that I’m trying to recall, right.
Jeanette: Because I, I think that there definitely was an aspect of it where I felt my parents’ expectation that [00:30:00] I would do that, but I think I’m also
Jeanette: I’m like was I messed up in the way because like, I feel like I overdid it with actually helping my parents. I think I did things even if my parents like, didn’t even ask me, because I felt like my parents or my mom especially was like, so overburdened at certain periods of my childhood that I think, I just felt like I needed to help.
Kate: What about you, Susan? What about you and your siblings? Did you one, were you all involved in household stuff? And two, did you notice a difference between the girls?
Susan: Oh, a hundred percent. We were all involved. I think, I mean, I guess I didn’t have like, starting to recall. It was like, I don’t know when my brothers did, but you know, sometimes my brothers would go help.
Susan: My dad mow lawns. Cause we hit, my dad was a gardener at one point, you know, they went out and did that. I mean it was probably definitely gendered in what, like who did what, you know, but we’re always chipping in [00:31:00] because there’s four kids, you know? And then at one point our household becomes 13 people with my grandparents, my aunts, my cousin moving in, like we were a big family.
Susan: And so everyone had their tasks to do for sure. I remember, I was like, I remember when they would come home from the nail salon, there would be a big black trash bag by the garage door and I’d run it upstairs and I’d go wash the towels, you know, and then we’d go fold the towels later at the nail salon.
Susan: So, but the, my brothers never worked at the nail salon. Never not a day. Interesting.
Jeanette: To go back to your original question, Susan, about just how to approach this with our kids. I mean, I know you said you don’t want us to say a little bit of both, but I think that’s the way I’m thinking [00:32:00] about it now. Like math reading, right?
Jeanette: Those kinds of skills. I think I will have a high bar for them, like academically. If I feel like they are capable of.
Susan: Like, are you going to buy the workbooks that you can get at Costco? Like give them extra, like be on at home or something
Jeanette: I’ve already bought him little letters that he can put into like these shapes.
Jeanette: Right. So he can play with them. And I try not to stress him out about it, but make it kind of into a game. Right. Where I spell out words that he likes like trained. And he, he likes that. So I try to make it fun, but I also want him to be exposed because you know, he really likes a lot of things naturally, but he’s not, he doesn’t have a natural affinity for everything that I want him to learn about.
Jeanette: Right. And so I kind of, I want him to be exposed and I feel comfortable playing a more active role there. I don’t want to stress him out like saying , oh, you need to learn how to spell right now, you know, or start reading right now. But yeah. But [00:33:00] I do feel like I want to expose him like gently put him down the path
Jeanette: of like, Hey, you love books.
Jeanette: You can, you can read some of the letters, like very simple words like cat, you know, I think you can do that. So, let’s, let’s practice that, for five minutes at a time, a couple of times this weekend. I’m comfortable doing that. I don’t think I want him to be self-flagellating or ever feel like, you know, so much pressure from us that he needs to go ask for, you know, like ask, like, do what you’re doing.
Jeanette: Right. Like have that kind of conversation with his teacher. But I do,
Jeanette: I do feel like I’m not going to just totally step back and just let him
Jeanette: do whatever. Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel about it. And at least now I, I plan to take a similar moderated path, for other things too, like music or athletics.
Jeanette: Right. Which is, Hey, once you start something we’re going to commit to doing something for something period of time,
Susan: like the whole [00:34:00] season or something. Yeah.
Jeanette: Maybe you have to choose like one, two activities, every semester. Right.
Jeanette: And once you pick them, we’re going to do them for the whole semester. And then at the end you could decide not to do it anymore. But, you have to do something and you have to do it for some duration. Both like, yeah.
Susan: I was like, I was like, sure. I’ll subscribe to the Jeanette plan that I’ll sign me up. Well, okay. So I was talking to a psychic and the psychic was like, oh, arts really inclined to the arts. And also he and I was like, okay. And I, and I thought it was music. Cause when he, a new song comes on, he like totally gets excited and he kind of rocks a certain way.
Susan: And then we go back to whatever we’re doing. So I was like, oh, I’ll expose him to more music. And I have to admit to you that when Marvin is not at home and I’m like feeding art dinner or whatever, I’ll be like, Alexa, play baby classical music or whatever. And like, I, I, you know, I’m just like, well, you might as well input into the, to the brains now, [00:35:00] you know, like we’re not, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s like, it’s eating.
Susan: Deep fried vegetables. You think you’re doing something good, but you’re, I don’t know. There’s some pleasure in it. So I like tried to put in like small moments during the day of like, it’s good for you. You like it? I guess. So let me try a little bit and I, and I’m starting to research different, like music classes, hopefully they’re free, but I don’t know.
Susan: I’m just like, I feel like I should expose him because now we can. Yeah, but I, I just, I, I just feel like when the time comes, like, I I’m pretty chill right now, but at six, seventh grade, eighth grade, I know there’s all these New York times articles about like, over-scheduling, your kids are stressing them out.
Susan: Or now this generation feels like there’s so much more pressure to have all these achievements on their resume earlier on to be competitive, you know, like I’m sitting there and going, like when he, [00:36:00] because. 10 to 13, how am I really going to react? Is there a part of me that’s still like, look, I’ll get, if you want more choices, listen to me, you know, like you choose from these choices or like, how am I going to know what is too much?
Susan: Like, what if it’ll backfire, you know? Or then you just be like, no, you know, like, I, I think that’s where I’m getting nervous about is like, I I’m, I’m still, I guess I’m what I’m trying to say is I’m scared that he ha he will not have the grit that I had to survive in my own weird parent construct of being enough.
Susan: And if he doesn’t have that grit, will he opened himself up to all the options that are, that could be available to him or not. You know? So I think inside I am a tiger parent.
Kate: That’s funny. Cause I feel like I’m almost the opposite, Susan.
Susan: Yes. Like research like for different sweat now. [00:37:00]
Kate: No, no, no. I know. But the, the, the, the exactly, see, that’s the thing on the outside, Kate seems like a tiger parent because she like buys all the products she’s advertise on Instagram. She like, you know, puts all the school options into an Excel sheet.
Kate: However, when I think about Raya and like how I want her to be, I’m like, I just want her to always be able to talk to me about all her issues and I want to be her BFF.
Susan: Oh, that’s really cute.
Kate: I know she was telling him to Nirav the other day. I don’t know my husband and I was like, what if she doesn’t want hide, starts hiding things from us when she gets older and she can’t tell because he was joking.
Kate: He keeps periodically joking about like microchipping her, or like, now that you know, there are air tests and it’s a joke. It’s like a bad joke. Oh my gosh. I hope he’s going to get mad at me. But I mean, his point is like, as a girl, he just wants to know he wants to protect her. You know, he’s, he’s like, he’s like, you know, what, if, what if with her permission I could microchip her.
Kate: I was like I don’t think a child will allow you to microchip them. He was like, I don’t know. Let’s just see. Anyway, the point was, I was like, if the point is you shouldn’t try to always monitor your child and like, see [00:38:00] where they are, but they should feel comfortable enough with you that they’ll be open with you.
Kate: Right. I mean, and then, and then we both got sad thinking about what if one day she doesn’t want to tell us things and it would look really, really sad. So we’re actually very sentimental on the inside, even though I seem like I’m this total badass bitch, like researching all the, you know, best whatever’s on the outside.
Jeanette: So I don’t know. Do you feel like that you’re able to fully express that sentiment with her or, and that intention?
Susan: Geez. She’s not yet. Yeah.
Kate: Well, you know, like, well, yeah, so I’m trying, you know, with her big feelings these days, like when she gets really upset. So I’ll just say, you know, I know you’re really upset.
Kate: I know you want this. Okay. And so I just let her, you know, this is where you’re supposed to start. Right. You’re just gonna allow them to feel okay. Just sort of, you know, have these like emotional meltdowns in front of you because they feel like it’s a safe space. It [00:39:00] starts now. Right. It’s kind of easy to say, well, I want her to be my BFF, but if you want that, you have to start early.
Kate: So they feel like good B you know, rolling around and screaming and fighting. But which I know sounds kind of weird. Right. We’ve talked about it the other day or like even her hitting me right. Because she’s frustrated, like I can allow her to show the emotion, but I do have to set boundaries for what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Kate: So yeah, I mean, I think it’s more about me, like learning how to practice that and being able to do it in a way that’s really healthy. Right. Instead of getting triggered by, like we talked about in our previous episode
Jeanette: Yeah, I just asked because I feel like for, you know, for a lot of our parents,
Jeanette: If we ask them about their intentions, like their intentions might be totally different than what we feel like we’ve received. Right. And so
Jeanette: why I ask because, I think the difficulty, most parents have good intentions, but I think the tricky part is how do we actualize the intentions?
Jeanette: And[00:40:00] I, at least for me to feel like that’s that’s hard, it’s hard to know what is exactly like the right tactic to use.
Susan: Yeah. I mean, I, I go back to love languages and for me, I it’s like inner Susan inner child. Susan wants affirmation. I want it from my husband, asked for it all the time, you know, like, I’d be like, say I’m doing a good job and he’ll be like, you’re doing a good job.
Susan: I’m like, no, in other words, otherwise it doesn’t count. You know? And, and, and I think I had talked to my aunt once and I said, how come you guys never said I was doing a good job? And she said, well, if we did that, then you will never try because you already thought you were good and it’s like, she’s not wrong.
Susan: She’s not like wrong. I mean, I would have appreciated just feeling enough and like unconditionally lovable, like that would have been helpful. But her perspective of thinking that then I won’t have any hunger to keep trying. It’s very [00:41:00] interesting because I understand why it’s actually quite rational. So I think it’s like with the, you know, we’re trying to be very aware of the words that we use with our, and we’re not body shaming him and we’re not doing all these things.
Susan: And then, but how do you walk that line of, Hey, we will always love you. You know, you don’t have to do anything or be anyone you could just, just be you, right. Like in a sincere way. And also like live with effort and Gusto and intention and like. Just draw resources and sucks. Society’s resources give, you know, like how do we instill this sense of not just having entitlement, like, oh, I’m so great.
Susan: And I’m like such a great kid and I’m whatever. And I’m just going to be a lazy blob too. I’m a part of this collective society and I’m here to be an amazing citizen. And I mean, I don’t know,
Jeanette: you can
Susan: make [00:42:00] your comment and no, no, you go, no, you go, no, you go,
Kate: well, I, I think I have some anecdotal solution or answer for you. So I look at my parents, friends in China and their you know, and how various people’s kids turned out. And I think the ones who really have the most issues, like even though their parents are all well-resourced, et cetera, are the ones whose parents.
Kate: Actions were very inconsistent with what they said. Right. So for example, you’d have parents who are like, okay, you got, you have to work really hard. You have to do this and that. But then, you know, in China, when you do business and so forth, you need to go out and like, you know like drink with your business associates or like, you know, sometimes people will just, you know, men especially will stay out late on these things.
Kate: So they’re not really around. And then when they are, sometimes maybe they’ll just like be playing cards, you know? And so, so I think when kids, when you say something to kids and they don’t, I mean, kids are [00:43:00] very sensitive people, right. Even from like, as an infant, they observe and absorb what’s around them.
Kate: If they see inconsistency between what you say and then what you do, I think that’s a huge, huge, huge influence on them. Right. I’m not thinking that’s like the answer, but I think that, you know, Susan for you and Marvin, like, I think what you guys do in your everyday life and also even in your careers and then also.
Kate: What you say to our, how that matches up? I think as he grows older, that in itself will be very powerful. Right? I mean, just again, anecdotal
Susan: Can you solve my life’s problems?
Jeanette: Oh, no. I was just going to yet bring up another different question. Okay. Yeah. Where there’s no clear answer, which I wanted to ask you guys, if in your heart of hearts, do you really feel like you believe [00:44:00] in this idea
Jeanette: like most people can be motivated out of just like a love for something versus like, you know, like th th th.
Jeanette: Without being kind of more motivated by like these negative emotions we’re talking about. Right. Like shame and fear of failure and stuff like that. Right. I mean, because I think when I’m like totally honest with
Jeanette: I’m like not a hundred percent sure. Right. And like Kate, what you were saying. .
Jeanette: I fear
Jeanette: that my
Jeanette: lack of resolution around this perspective will impact my kids because whatever’s coming out of my mouth and whatever I truly believe or like, not like
Jeanette: consistent. So yeah, I’m just interested to hear, hear from you guys, what you think. I mean, I don’t, I think that it seemed like all of us shame has played an outsize role right.
Jeanette: In our motivation. And it [00:45:00] seems like that’s definitely not what we want for our kids, but yeah.
Jeanette: It’s maybe sad, but it’s like hard for me sometimes to totally imagined myself doing the things that I’ve done or doing the things that I want to do in the next, you know, in the rest of my life, the big things that I want to do
Jeanette: Without being motivated by any negative emotion,
Kate: think it’s a little more complicated than I think just saying it’s sort of lip service to say, okay, if you love something, just go do it.
Kate: I think that if you’re interested in something, it be the reality for many people often ends up being like this, but you’re interested in something you start doing. You know, if your parents have resources to help you let’s say take classes or things like that. If you apply yourself, you become better at it.
Kate: You develop more confidence than you may be like doing it more. Right. It’s not just, oh, I love X, Y, Z, and then just, I’m going to pursue it, like, you know, wholeheartedly and it’s going to work out. Right. That’s sort of like the fantasy version, like Hollywood version. I think the reality is there is an everyday grind you know, things that you like, like even Susan, right?
Kate: I mean, come on, she [00:46:00] loves what she’s doing, but she’s still goes through the everyday grind of like feeling uninspired at times. And like, you know, not being able to turn out books or having her editor tell her that 50 pages she wrote is like, oh, maybe one sentence
Kate: is usable. Right? Like, you know, that’s like the reality.
Kate: And I think So, so I don’t know that didn’t really answer your question Janette, but I think, I think I agree with you in that it’s not just so simple, like, oh, if you love something, like you can just pursue it and it’ll be really great. Like there it’s, there is a lot of hardship along the way and you’ll experience a lot of disappointment, but I’m hoping that, you know, like what I would like is that if I have something that she’s interested enough to pursue, I think I also want to be really realistic with her about what it takes.
Kate: Right. Okay. So there’s like a really dumb example, but you guys have heard of the Korean pop group, like black, pink. They’re so hot right now. Are they so hot? Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. They’re so hot. Black pink. And then also the that boy band. What is it, Jeanette? They were just, yeah, BTS. That was on a McDonald’s meal recently.
Kate: Anyway. So I was watching the black pink documentary on Netflix, highly recommended. It’s really fascinating. If any of you guys know? Well, Janet probably knows about like how Korean pop stars [00:47:00] are created. If there’s like a studio and they just like go through intense training. It’s like, you can’t, you know, they take raw talent.
Kate: They just like create you into this
Kate: ex superstar.
Kate: Yeah. It’s it’s not like in the U S where it’s like, oh, I was very talented and I got scouted. Yeah. No. It’s like the opposite of that anyway. And I turned to Nirav and I was like, Hey, what if Raya wants to be a K-pop star? No, seriously straight face, because it’s actually really harrowing, meaning like just listening to the girls in black pink just describe everything they went through.
Kate: I’m just like, damn girls, like, this is rough. Exactly. So, so it’s like, that’s for Nirav of, and he was like, you know, if she really wants it. And also she’s realistic. Like we got to tell her, this is what this involves all these ups and downs. Like you just have to be realistic. Right. I think that’s sort of, I know it’s like a dumb example, but it’s I think if you able to communicate with your child about what the reality of pursuing something that you were interested in, or that you love looks like that that’s really important, right?
Kate: Maybe, sometimes kids don’t understand that it, [00:48:00] depending on their age range, but it’s as, you know, parents, your responsibility to kind of be realistic with them about it. And then if they want to try it. You carry it out in that realistic way. Right. I don’t know. Anyway, don’t make example, but yeah, so she wants to be a K-pop star if she really does.
Kate: And she understands what it involves. We will, I don’t know that I would really want
Kate: that. For her,
Jeanette: we should talk about side note, their whole Korean pop phenomenon and how I find that. So interesting in terms of just cultural appropriation and how it’s become this crazy thing. But what I feel like are very shallow roots.
Jeanette: I just think the whole, that whole thing is just like fascinating. Right. But I mean, I think he like to what you’re saying, yes, it’s going through the ups and downs and how to set expectations for our kids. But what I’m also referring to is not just that it’ll be [00:49:00] hard. Do I really think that people can be motivated because I think you can still be motivated by a love for something through the ups and downs, but it’s like, what’s the role of shame.
Jeanette: Is there ever a proper role, an appropriate role for negative emotions, like shame and fear of failure in pursuing
Jeanette: a big goal?
Kate: Yeah. If that, if this is where ethics, ethics is involved, right. If what you’re doing is hurting other people is in some form or way like damaging to other people. For sure.
Kate: There should be shame in that. Right. And that’s where I think as parents, we teach them sort of these, these like a sense of ethics.
Susan: Jeanette, I wanna, I wanna tell you my thoughts on your question about motivation. So I, I I’ve, I’ve always really liked being the center of attention. Okay. I really like being on stage. I’ve been on stage since I was in middle school. [00:50:00] Teaching workshops and then leading rallies. And like, I’ve always been on stage since I was a little kid.
Susan: Cause it was very fun for me. And 10 years ago I started stand-up comedy and I was on a roll for like six months. And then I got kind of like booed off stage sort of at this like suburban charity. And it was frightening and traumatizing and demoralizing and I quit and I quit for a number of years. And then eventually like I got back into improv and then became a solo performer and it’s been like a really long journey to figure out like, once I’m on stage, what am I even talking about?
Susan: What am I performing and why am I doing it? Like finding my voice and my message has taken a really long time. And so that whole process, it was, it was very bad because I, when I kind of got kicked off stage, it was like, I felt like I failed. My siblings were there. [00:51:00] We don’t talk about that day. It was a very bad day.
Susan: It was painful more than painful. Like it was like emulating the very thing I thought I loved, I was really bad at, so I should never try ever again. Okay. So that’s, that’s one part of the answer, which was like, I loved something. I didn’t know what to do with that love and I failed and I was ashamed and then I was like, okay, I just need to accept that.
Susan: That was a stupid dream. Okay. And then before having a kid, I’m like, God, I feel like a coward. Like I still have that love. I like, it’s still inside of me and I don’t know what to do with it. And so then I had this two year time box to just figure out, like, just give myself more space to just try and explore without the pressure of, if I’m going to try to be a performer.
Susan: And I don’t have a million followers on YouTube within a month, I, I really do suck and I should stop. Like I, the, the, the higher achiever in [00:52:00] me was ready to set a goal to something and then like, drive me towards it. But then the free range, part of me was like, I just want to just just allow the embers to just, just fan them a little bit more.
Susan: Cause they’re so weak right now. Like there’s, they’re, they’re, they’re about to be burned out. And, and so when I went on this journey to become a storyteller and then eventually I was like, I’m going to talk about my mom’s death and about mental health and lack and, and how we don’t process grief and intergenerational trauma.
Susan: When these topics start to get really heavy and very personal and very intense, I got pushed back, push back from my family who didn’t ever want to talk about her death, but also like, why am I talking about it in public? I was frightened. I was terrified about this entire thing that I was doing, but then like this, like the higher calling thing happened where other [00:53:00] people were, were reflecting back to me saying, Hey, this is actually very helpful for me to hear for my own life.
Susan: And then when I started, when I started to see, yes, I’m doing my own work for my own healing, but now I’m like building this community around it. And that people are able to really reflect on their lives in really deep ways and have a lot of emotional processing during, during the show. And after the show, all of a sudden the meaning-making got really big for them.
Susan: And I realized, like, this was very aspirational for me. This was awesome. This fed me and I’m very deep, spiritual way so that when I do hit up against the wall with things that’s, what’s picked me back up. Is that knowing that this there’s this higher purpose here, but then, but then there’s another twist, but then when like, but then, but then, but then the tiger parent was like, okay, you want to do this Susan, you want to do this?
Susan: And I’m like, yeah, they’re like it. And then that tiger. Susan’s like, oh, we’re going to sell out the show. And I’m like, yeah. And then it was like, we’re going to do it. And we’re going to [00:54:00] offer scholarships to local people. I’m like, yeah. And then, and then it’s like, and then you have to ask people for money and I’m like, no.
Susan: Or, or it’s like, then I’m going to sell it the whole tour. Then I’m going to do this. And then like, and then I make it public. And then I make a thermometer of what percentage of tickets are sold. And then it becomes like this like really intense world that it creative. You get what I’m saying, but then it’s like, well, I’m going to fulfill this ability to reach more people.
Susan: So isn’t this good, but it can be debilitating. Like for me, it’s like writing a book right now. I’m like, all right, great. I just need to write 1,416 words per day by August, I’ll have a hundred thousand words. That’ll be, then I’ll have like three full drafts before my first draft is due. And then it’s going to be awesome when I’m in that zone, it’s terrible because then it does become paralyzing.
Susan: And then, and then I get so afraid that if I don’t achieve I’m worthless. And so today, guess what? I wrote [00:55:00] 860 words. And that wasn’t even for my book, it was for my sister, you know, like, and I was like, well, that’s what today’s going to be. You know? But my point in answering your question is, yeah, Because I know that this is not just about like, oh, I have enough money to like buy a Maserati and like my kids going to the best school and everyone’s going to see that we’re like a Harvard deal family, you know, like it’s actually has nothing to do with that type of achievement anymore.
Susan: And it’s really like, these are about people and their own hearts and the trauma that they face. Like, it’s so much more motivating to me that I, that, that I’m still with it. And I could have stopped a long time ago, but it was like, I’m just not motivated by that money or prestige. I’m motivated by the healing.
Susan: And, and then that has kept me going and sometimes in some time, but in, and then sometimes I go like, [00:56:00] but you gotta do it like a hundred percent. And then, and then I have my own fights inside my brain and it’s like really intense. And that’s what. Therapy is awesome because I’m always trying to figure out like, well, which, which voice do I listen to right now who is really right, is the competitive part of me actually pushing me and, and justifying to get to the goal that I want or not.
Susan: You know? And, and I, you know, that’s a lifelong skill for me is to figure out is what I’m doing actually helpful in this moment. Or if not, like, which parent do I need to turn on for me right now. And I think that as me, as a parent is trying to say for my kid, can I give him the skills? So he can actually live the life that he wants that is serving to him,
Jeanette: but you want both parents
Jeanette: for him?
Susan: Can we do just be like mommy and daddy, you know, like devil and angel, like you just have both [00:57:00] voices,
Kate: but I think Susan, it’s not mutually contradictory because I think what you’re talking about is. You want to achieve this drive to achieve in your current career? It’s not about achieving the things that are traditional markers of Asian success, which is money and social status, right?
Kate: It’s, you’re driven by this need to like, you know, build this community be able to reach out to more people that’s, what’s driving you to achieve. Right. And I think that actually makes the biggest difference. And that maybe for our parents are like first generation immigrants, especially if they came from a place where they, you know, they didn’t have very much materially of their own success is defined by going to good school, getting good job, earning good money and like, you know, you’re upper middle class or upper class socioeconomically.
Kate: Right. That, that, that was that, you know, our parents’ generation. But I think this what, you’re what you are. Talking about now as success. It’s very different. And I think we keep coming back to this, like [00:58:00] across multiple episodes, I was just thinking like across maybe three or four episodes, now that talked about what does it mean to be successful?
Kate: What does it mean to achieve? Right. And I think you know, for our parents tiger parenting was to maybe, I don’t know. Well, I don’t know about my parents actually. I don’t know if they wanted me to like, make lots of money or anything. My mom just wanted me to, I think we should be a good person work hard and you know, live a good life.
Kate: Right. But yeah, I don’t know. I think maybe that’s what we need to think about more as like, what does it mean for our children to achieve? What does it mean for them to be successful too? Right. So do you feel like that part of yourself that’s like, oh, drops the thermometer, like, you know, have this set goal, like, do you find that side ever helpful or is it just like this kind of side of you that pops up intermittently and it’s
Jeanette: actually not helping.
Jeanette: Wait the tiger part or the tiger part.
Susan: [00:59:00] I really do like her. I do like her because I think once I’m clear about what I want and why I want, what’s the tiger. She, she gets me, we iterate, we accelerate, we go fast. You know, I get more information. I meet the right people. Like, like what I, what I feel like I’ve been able to do in my 36 years of life.
Susan: I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done it on a high speed, you know, because like there’s a ferocity to the tiger. Right. And, and then it’s gonna just get you more information to, to figure out, okay, should I keep going that past? Should I not? You know? And, and I’ll be honest, like, Going to these schools, it has opened, opened up networks for me to tap into certain people.
Susan: And then they helped me. They’ve helped me along this journey to becoming an artist, right? Like that that’s still [01:00:00] something I need to acknowledge and say, that’s been helpful. And that they helped me sell tickets. They helped me get to these places. And the more exposure I get leads to the next press, article leads to the next opportunity, needs to the next consulting gig or whatever partnership I’m going to do, which then keeps helping my brand as an artist.
Susan: Right. It still all builds upon itself. It’s not like I can still just wander into a field, write a couple of pages in my journal and like just exist in the world. Like mama got to eat, mama got to make money, you know, like I’m, I’m still hustling. And, and I, but so for me, it’s just not also, what is achievement?
Susan: What is success it’s like, do you have the fire in you to, to do the thing. Then again, I did take a quiz once about like my own cultural competency and it’s like, there’s a spectrum of people who like to be, and people who like to do and no one’s wrong. And it’s like, yeah, I have to get high to be, you know, like to actually relax slow down [01:01:00] because, because of the tiger self in me, it’s like, I I’m, I’m wired to always think, always improve, always do the thing, you know?
Susan: And like, and that’s exhausting, especially for Marvin, it’s exhausting for people including myself. So I’m not going to say just that tiger world is great. Yes. It’s a blend of both, but it is destructive. Tiger is also destructive when not use responsibly.
Jeanette: Yeah. So if I could kind of summarize, I think what I’m hearing, which is like, you kind of modulate between the tiger side of you and like maybe this I don’t know, free range or the pull of something, right.
Jeanette: The pulling force versus the pushing. And it sounds like also when you are in more difficult times, like the kind of your love for how this, your work reaches people is really what helps you pull out. Right. And then actually like the, the kind of tiger side can put you in that [01:02:00] place. If you’re like setting certain goals, but you feel like you’re not
Jeanette: meeting them.
Susan: It just sucks. It just sucks when tiger comes at a place when I’m down. And like, I’m just like, not, it’s just not working. Like I’m not productive today. Or like I’m feeling my mood is low. And then it just keeps beating me up. Like, like when you got a bad grade and you completely feel that bad grade, I’ll completely feel it to a point where it is paralyzing.
Susan: And then it takes me like a lot of the self-help tools I’ve acquired over the years that I have to like really. The place to get back to a place of like stability and balance so that I can get back to a place of being generating more pages. So I can one day reach more people, you know? And so it’s, it’s I, I, I think I want to get to a place where I can be very self-aware that these are just voices.
Susan: These are just choices. Or maybe, maybe that’s the bumper sticker phrase, you know, and that, and that, [01:03:00] that one voice isn’t all meaning. And it will not determine the fate of who I am and, and my worth, because that’s, that’s the danger is that when we see you can get so addicted to that achievement, that, that if you do not get it, you live in this now binary world.
Susan: If you do not achieve, then everything gets destroyed underneath. You know, and, and your ego is nothing. Well, we want our ego to be nothing, but, but, but you’re worthless. Right. And so it’s like, how do we get to a place where we parent so that kids don’t think their entire worth lives on that achievement?
Jeanette: Yeah. That’s where my brain was going to. Right. It’s like applying this to parenting. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, I think your framework, there’s a lot of things that are interesting there. I have to think about it more before I’m like, oh yeah. That is like the framework that, you know, I want to adopt.
Susan: Maybe that’s how
Susan: let’s do star just choices. But
Jeanette: I’m just thinking, like, [01:04:00] if I wanted to apply that for our kids, it’s like, that requires a level of attunement right. To where our kids are. Right. Because it’s like, you kind of need to know like, which one to bring, right? Like, is my kid kind of in a place where they can, where I can maybe give them a nudge to shoot higher, right.
Jeanette: Or like aim high. Or are they kind of like down in the dumps and like actually pushing them more is going to
Jeanette: not help?
Susan: Totally. I mean, I feel like if I never set crazy goals, I would have never been, I would have never even gone in that direction at all. I would’ve never thought I like most of the time when I set crazy goals, I can’t believe I’ve achieved them.
Susan: And then I did, and then I go, oh, then there’s even more I could do, you know, like it, it made my world bigger. It did, you know, and, and I think we all want for all of our kids is for them to have as big a world as they can.
Jeanette: Yeah. I’m reading this book [01:05:00] called right now called strange situation. It’s about attachment theory and it’s about this one mom’s journey about really getting very deep into the science of attachment theory and how she was motivated to do that because she felt like she wasn’t very well attached to her parents and she was concerned about how it was going to affect her relationship with her daughter.
Jeanette: It just came out and so far it’s really good. I would highly recommend it. What is it called? It’s called strange situation. But you know, she talks about her journey of starting to conceptualize this book and talking to this one researcher of attachment theory. And he looks at her and he says, you’re going to have a really hard time writing this book because, and I’m paraphrasing here, but like, this is going to bring up a lot of distressing emotions for you.
Jeanette: And basically being in distress is kind of the opposite of being creative.
Jeanette: Right. So
Jeanette: and so I thought that was interesting. I’m like, well, I mean, I, I don’t know if what I [01:06:00] did in school was creative, but like I was able to achieve, even if I was in distress, like sometimes just motivated by distress.
Jeanette: Right. And so I’m just kind of like thinking through that, like, okay, well, do I think that’s true? Like, how do I, how does that apply to me or my kids? Or like other people in my life?
Susan: I don’t know. But I was just like, right. When you set that, I was like, I’m going to prove him wrong. This guy, like, I started getting really angry and I was like, he’s wrong?
Susan: And I was like, you know, that’s a form of motivation too. Yeah.
Jeanette: Okay. We could wrap here
Susan: cool. All right. My free range tiger parents.
Susan: Live humanely and be cage-free. Alright, bye.
Kate: you’ve just listened to a confessional of model minority moms. If you loved this episode, please give us a rating. Follow us on Instagram at model minority moms and tell a friend about us. If you have a suggestion for a [01:07:00] future episode or questions, send us an email@example.com