If you’re not up to date on the latest parenting drama, the big buzz word is the new Tiger Mom book and following. I’ll admit I’m intrigued, especially since I grew up with the products of these highly regulated Asian mothers who went on to Harvard and other prestigious universities before becoming doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs.
But then, I’m always intrigued by parenting philosophies and success and failure stories. After a long think, though, I’ve realized that I can’t be a Tiger mom. I can’t be a soft, gentle Sheep Mom either. I’m going to have to settle for a Camel Mom. Not glorious, but highly efficient. The odd lump and bump help, too.
Camel Moms: The Power of Endurance
I think it’s hard for any full-time working mother to be a Tiger Mom. There are frankly not enough hours in my day to have my five-year-old practice piano for three hours. We only have three hours between the time we get home and the time they are in bed as it is. Dinner, bath and bedtime routines all get in the way of my child’s future Carnegie Hall experiences. Oh, well.
What I do give to my children though, is a daily lesson in how to effectively balance life and achievements for the long-haul. I think every successful working parent does this. Working parents who are able to work in front of their children, as work-at-home parents do, are giving children a close-up view of how to dedicate yourself to something meaningful and find success. Sure, my kids might not head off to Harvard or play piano in Carnegie Hall someday. This is fine with me – I’d have a hard time getting to Harvard to help them move in.
Lessons Learned from the Camel Mom
But what I want my children to experience on a daily basis is how gratifying and full life can and should be. Just like the camel can go steadily for huge stretches of time without water and rest – so can I, although I prefer to fuel up more frequently. My kids see me up in the early morning hours. They watch me make lunches, get clothes ready, get everyone out the door and then do it in reverse order in the afternoons when we all come home again. Mom is always there and is always busy being productive and finding satisfaction in a career she made and enjoys.
My kids know the power of work and the benefits of having an independent career as well as how important it is to be on time, be ready, work first and play second and how satisfying rest is when you’ve truly earned it. Best of all, they are learning early on just how much they are capable of and will hopefully rise to those limits though observation, practice and patience, not shouting and threats. Rock on, my fellow Camel moms.