moms…more than…just

From Sylvia… me… you………………………………………………….

Happy Mother’s Day

A woman, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk ‘s office,
was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.  

‘What I mean is, ‘ explained the recorder,  
‘do you have a job or are you just a …?’

‘Of course I have a job,’ snapped the woman.

‘I’m a Mom.’

‘We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,’
Said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation,

this time at our own Town Hall.  
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
‘Official Interrogator’ or ‘Town Registrar.’ ‘What is your occupation?’ she probed.

What made me say it?  I do not know.  
The words simply popped out.  
‘I’m a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations.’

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
looked up as though she had not heard right.  

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

‘Might I ask,’ said the clerk with new interest,
‘just what you do in your field?’

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
‘I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn’t)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).  
I’m working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters). 
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).  
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.’

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants — ages 13, 7, and 3. 
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
testing out a new vocal pattern.  
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! 
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than ‘just another Mom.’  

Motherhood!   What a glorious career!  
Especially when there’s a title on the door.


Does this make grandmothers
‘Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations’

And great grandmothers
‘Executive Senior Research Associates?’  
I think so!!!
  I also think it makes Aunts   ‘AssociateResearchAssistants.’


Please send this to another Mom,
Aunt, And other friends you know. 

May your troubles be less,
Your blessing be more,
And nothing but happiness come through your door!   


‘Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place.’ — Rosalynn Carter

not without glitches, chinese parenting

Read a review of Amy Chua’s recently released book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. Clare McHugh, editor of All You magazine writes

Asian parents are renowned not only for attempting to steer their children in the right direction but also for exerting such impressive control over them that young Asians excel in almost every area of worthwhile endeavor. Can we all learn from this example? Can we move from merely spouting off to shaping prodigies? Can we get our children to achieve more, misbehave less and revere us all the way to a sunny graduaton day in Harvard Yard?

McHugh explains that Chua answers these questions in her new book, which details how she raised her own two daughters. She admits that doing so while living in the West, far from her support system in China “is incredibly lonely…You have to go up against an entire value system–rooted in the Enlightenment, individual autonomy, child development theory and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” McHugh finds the author “endearing,” for her ability to candidly speak of “her excesses and poke fun at herself.”

Notwithstanding Chua’s moments of self-deprecation, she remained a “determined taskmaster.” Fearful that her daughters would exhibit the same bad characteristics as other pampered and decadent American teens, Chua insisted they perform physical labor like trucking ” ‘overflowing laundry baskets up and down stairs, garbage out on Sundays, suitcases when we traveled.’ ”

For one of the daughters, however, being pushed to eat caviar while dining at a restaurant near Moscow’s Red Square, was the proverbial “last straw.”

Somehow that demand triggers in the 13-year-old girl a true American-style teenage outburst featuring thrown glasses and I-hate-you’s ricocheting around the room. After this shocking display of disobedience, Ms. Chua concludes that she needs to relax her hold and grant the girls a modicum of independence. 

That gave her daughter new-found courage to dial back daily violin-practices to only 30 minutes, while forbidding her mom any input. But Chua is able to find solace in the family’s 2 dogs, with whom she has a great relationship. 

I don’t make any demands of them…or their future…For the most part, I trust them to make the right choices for themselves. I always look forward on seeing them, and I love just watching them sleep. What a great relationship.

In the end, McHugh suggests that Chua is like “millions of other parents…standing on the sidelines of our children’s lives, proud, anxious observers trying to offer useful advice.” And it seems, another dog may be in the offing, to bring her even greater comfort.

not so different after all…hugmamma.