Monthly Archives: February 2015

Defining The Panda Mom

After Muay Thai class this morning, my wonder twin and I went to grab a quick bite to eat at Nan Xiang Xao Long Bao and then the Prince Tea House on Prince street in Flushing.  I started telling her about this blog I started and she asked, “what is Panda Mom?”

Last year in the park, my first born and his friends were talking about one kid’s study schedule.  He couldn’t stay in the park too long because he had a lot of homework to do, homework from regular school and homework from Saturday school.  Saturday school is basically what Fresh Off the Boat referred to as “CLC, Chinese Learning Centers.”

Me:     You have a Tiger Mom.

Kid:     What are you?

Me:     I’m a Panda Mom.

Kid:     What’s a Panda mom?

Me:     What do pandas do?

Kid:     (shrugs)

Me:     A panda lies around all day chewing on bamboo.

Kid:     (laughs and starts to understand his friend a little more)

I’m the opposite of a Tiger Mom, or some would say, a really, really lazy Tiger Mom.

I stressed out more over my first born’s black belt test than I’ve ever stressed over any of his school exams, except when he came home with anything below an 80, high 70’s was acceptable depending on the circumstances.

My philosophy on all this study stuff is this:  book smart is important but so is everything else, especially the social aspect of society.  How many times have we seen really smart Asian kids do all the right “Asian” things only to end up stuck under the bamboo ceiling because they don’t know how to socially navigate the system.

In law school, we would say, “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.”  And this was true, the people who had connections got a job regardless of their grades or standing.  We also said, “those with A’s, became law professors, those with B’s, worked at law firms and those with C’s became rich.”  Money and grades don’t always correlate.

[BTW, I am not a law professor nor worked at a big law firm nor am I rich.]

That’s not to say that I don’t want my kids to do well in school.  I want them to do their best and not be lazy.  I want them to be self motivated and a leader.  There’s a small part of me that would love it if my kid went to Harvard, but we already told him that we won’t pay for it if he’s an English major.  The main objective here is to make money because that is what you need to live on.  You will not be living in my basement and if you do, it will be at market rent.

Right now, my first born is not going to a specialized high school ( a failure by Tiger Mom standards).  He is going to a school that emphasizes going to college and obtaining job skills.  His major is Humanities and Non-Profit Organizations, where he’ll learn grant writing, social entrepreneurship and obtain the skills of a CEO.  I like his Project Management course where he’s learning how to work with people in a group and how to manage a team on a project.  He told me I was a bad project manager because I do not define tasks in a clear precise manner.  I guess I need to work on defining their chores in a clearer, more precise manner.


Cheating Up vs. Down – Part II

I realized I should provide some context to the previous post of Cheating Up vs. Down.

A few years ago, my husband had a dream about my family going to a wedding.  At the wedding, I found my soul mate and told him that I was going upstairs with this soul mate.  Husband was angry and went around the wedding with his friends looking for beer.  When he could no longer take it, he went upstairs looking for this soul mate of mine and tried to beat the living crap out of him.  At some point, he realized he couldn’t beat the crap out of this guy.  It turns out soul mate is a shape shifter and had transferred himself into another person just before hubby was about to kill him.  For a twist, the soul mate dies because he transferred into an elderly man who had a pace maker and the pace maker interfered with his ability to shape shift into another person.

Needless to say, the group listening to this dream was silent with that WTF look on their faces.  We tried to figure out what his dream could mean, so of course we googled it.  Apparently, if you dream that your spouse is cheating on you, you feel neglected.  If you dream that you are cheating on your spouse, then you feel guilty about something.

So what did hubby feel neglected about?  We concluded, my husband felt neglected because I did not have beer in the house for two weeks.  After this dream, I made sure to always buy four cases of beer.  I would be carrying all four cases to the van and wonder if this was considered men’s porn, a woman carrying four cases of beer.  Do you see it?  People in the cash line would ask me if I was having a party to which I would reply, “no, this is how I stay married.”

I later asked what my soul mate looked like.  He was a balding white guy with a ponytail wearing a green t-shirt with a white blazer.  He drew the picture for me (which I will upload when I figure out how to).  I asked, “did he at least have a fabulous personality and lots of money?”  Not my picture of what my soul mate would look like.

I thought about the difference between his idea of my soul mate and my idea of his soul mates.  We’ve discussed that if he were to ever cheat, he has to cheat up, meaning the woman has to be prettier, smarter and nicer than me.  The mistress has to be an upgrade from me to warrant the cheating.  Angelina Jolie would be fine.  It would be adding insult to injury if he downgraded from me.  Think about it.   I realized the two women in my dream meant it would take two women for him to upgrade from me.

We continued the previous texts with the following:

Him:     Does this mean I’m neglecting you somehow?

Me:     Probably.  Two times over.


My youngest son has an issue with bringing home his notebooks, especially the ones he needs for a test. Every time he forgets to bring home a notebook, he’ll come home with a 60 on the test. 60 is failing to me. It’s no better than a zero.

So in order to avoid him failing second grade because he can’t remember to bring home his notebooks, I’ve been gently reminding him to bring home his social studies notebook. He “forgot” for two weeks. Two days before the test, he “forgot” again.

After being patient for over two weeks and taking away his Ipad, I lost it.  I unleased what I like to call a “cursefest.” Yes, a cursefest, because it just came out. I didn’t know what else to do to get this thing to bring something home. How hard can it be to remember to bring home a notebook? He is going to fail second grade because he can’t remember to bring home his notebook? Really?

I spoke with his teacher and she basically said I needed to wait for him to mature. What? Mature? I don’t know what I expected to hear from her, but this was not it. You know how you’re just not going to get any where with certain people, well, I knew while speaking with her that I was going to have to do something myself.

I was so angry. I was besides myself. And then, somewhere from deep down inside my Asian genes, I came up with making him write “I will bring home my social studies notebook tomorrow” 100 times. For some unfathomable reason, it felt good. I could finally calm down, because he was going to suffer the way I was suffering.

No matter how much I want to think I’m really a Panda Mom, I guess I’m also part Tiger. Some kids need Tiger mom. When he came home with a 60 on his science test because he forgot to bring his science notebook home, I felt I failed him. I was too lenient. I texted my teacher friend about his score and the conversation went like this:

Me:    Baby got a 60 on his science test.

Teacher:    Is he sad?

Me:    No, but I’m going to make it sad for him.

Teacher:    LMAO.

Me:    I’m going to Tiger Mom his a$$.

Teacher:    I’m wondering how many mothers are going to go Tiger Mom on their kids after they get my reports.

Back to the social studies test, everyone in the family made notes and stuck them all over his book bag. No matter where he opened his book bag, he would see a sign reminding him to bring home the notebook. My daughter made a note to remind her to remind me to check his book bag before leaving school.

This reminds me of what my daughter once told me.  My eldest was having a chorus concert. If you’ve ever been to a middle school chorus concert, then you know what torture is. Of course I had to go, I’m the mom after all. I asked my daughter if she wanted to go, because she had a choice. She turned to me and said, “we’re a family, we suffer together.” So we went, without dad of course. He works so he can get out of this torture. Then the chorus had the nerve to sing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” I wish I had a wrecking ball to knock them all down. If you are going to perform, then give it your all or don’t bother. You’re wasting everyone’s time.

Anyways…back to the social studies. After the family effort, it worked. He brought home the notebook with a study sheet, bonus there. We studied and he came home today with a 110. I can take a breather until next week when we have to start all this again.

White Mom vs. Asian Mom

During my annual ski trip to Mount Snow, Vermont, we had the kids do their homework the first two days of the trip because we don’t ski on those days. There were five kids studying with a teacher friend.

I sent a photo of them studying to two girlfriends. My white friend felt sorry for them and told me to close the books and let them play on their vacation. My Asian friend texted me “count me in for next year.”

And there you have it, the difference between two cultures.

For the record, I did not make them do homework everyday. They did get to ski.

Cheating Up versus Down

I had a dream my husband took $1,000 cash from me to take two polished looking women out. I texted this to him this afternoon.

Here’s how the conversation went:

Me:    I dreamt you took a $1,000 to go out with two women together.
Nice polished Asian women.
Better than your balding, ponytail guy for me.

Him:    Did it pay off?

Me:    I woke up.

Him:    I didn’t even get any?

Me:    It was probably the $1,000 I was upset about.

Him:    Wench!
In my dreams you have bad taste.
In your dreams I have good taste.

Me:    Remember I told you that if you were to cheat, you better cheat up, not down.