Up until I graduated from university, I was under the genuine impression that everyone hates their moms. Well, at least strongly dislike. Or aim to spend as little time as possible. Because I avoided mine like a plague.
Growing up, there was never a doubt in my mind that as soon as I graduated from high school, I was getting out of the house, and as far away as possible. I thought this was the norm. I thought it was only natural that kids want to get away from their parents – who needs curfews? Who wants parents to keep tabs on them? Who can have fun while living with their parents? You see, this was my skewed and messed up view of the world.
A girlfriend at that time told me that as an undergrad graduation present, she was going on a Euro-trip with her mom. With grave concern, I asked her how devastating and awkward that was going to be: being stuck with one’s mother for weeks on end, in different countries, sharing a hotel room, having to deal with awkward silence, having one’s mother nag your ears off. That sounds like a death sentence rather than a vacation!
I guess it is usually when “kids” get into their early twenties that they truly start to appreciate their parents – all the sacrifices made, the money spent, the difficulties of raising teenagers… So I simply thought this friend was growing up, but I was pretty certain she would have a shitty time on this graduation trip. Well, she made it home alive and told me that she had so much fun, how much she loved and appreciated her mom, how they grew closer, how her mom was like her best friend. *Alarm. Bells. Went. Off.*
You mean, it’s not just in movies that daughters actually like their moms? That they can actually be best friends?? Jebus, I hardly wanted to think of my mother as an acquaintance. She was (is) mean-spirited, evil, conniving, manipulative, fake, two-faced, thought of me as “cheaper than dirt” (a Chinese saying) and never had anything nice to say yet never kept her mouth shut.
That was the first time I realized perhaps I needed to bust some myths of my general negative overview of mothers or Chinese parents in general. Below are the stereotypical core values of Chinese parents which make me wish I was of a different race (ha!):
1. Money = love. (despite all the beatings and put-downs, I spent all this money on you. Can’t you see how much I love you??)
2. Money = happiness. However, love does not necessarily = happiness.
3. I gave you life, I raised you. You owe me for life monetarily (see #1, 2).
4. Respect me because you have to.
5. Love me because you have to.
6. Every career other than being a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant is unworthy.
7. Success is making a shit load of money. Everything else is irrelevant (see #2).
8. I am your parent, I know what is best for you. I lay down your path so you will succeed (see #7).
9. Without a university (community college does not make the cut) education, one will never succeed (see #7).
10. Choose a program in school which will land you a job, your interest in it is secondary.
11. If you love me, you will obey and follow my advice (see #8-10).
Maybe I should rename this: “MythBusters – Lucy’s Edition.” Although, if you have a Chinese parent, it is more likely than not that he/she will at least agree with one of the points listed above…. Right?? Myth? or Myth Busted? Please enlighten me and correct my (mis-)interpretations of my own race.
To be continued….