Ever since I made the big move (from corporate slave to stay-at-home-mommy), the realities of the new Asian mentality hit me like a thousand bricks. I call this situation the the new Asian response simply because I've shared this with friends, and many of us face the same challenge.
The new Asian response is the negative reaction from hopeful mothers of new mothers, who feel that it is a big disgrace to have a daughter quitting her job to focus on taking care of the kids. Usually, these older generation of mothers are classic Tiger Moms, many who spent their children's entire lives making sure all the needful conditions existed optimally, ensuring their children excelled in whatever they pursued in life.
My own mom is a Tiger Mom, in her own right. No, really. I had my piano lessons all the way to Grade A. To make sure I scored distinctions in all my ABRSM papers, I had an alarm clock placed on the piano, and everyday, one of the things I must complete is 2 complete hours practicing the keyboards. Never mind that I never quite acquired an ear for music – what mattered was I was able to play my scales and examination pieces fluently and flawlessly, enough for me to bring home all my certificates in flying colors.
That was just for piano. I went to art classes, math classes, BM classes, Chinese classes, swimming lessons. My television hours were rationed – I was only allowed 1 hour of TV a day, and during examination season, it was reduced to just 1 hour a week! We didn't have ASTRO until I graduated from high school! Every term examination, I would fear the results announcement the most. If I did well, she would remark with a singular 'good' and then, 'who did the best in your class?' If I did badly, and I always did quite badly, she would be ready with a laundry list of punishments for her to pick from at random.
But I've digressed during my walk down the past up there. The truth is, where I am now, isn't exactly ideal – not in my mom's eyes that is. It took me a very long time to convince my own mother that I would eventually take a break from growing my career, to focus on bringing up Paul and his siblings as they come along. I knew from the start she would disapprove – citing the fact, undisputed, that she had spent most of my childhood making sure that I was properly brought up to succeed in life. That I now have a university education and am putting it to waste 'by staying at home to be a MOTHER!' is even more appalling. 'Or else why should I have even bothered earlier, I should have just let you be, and then you can be who you are now anyway.'
I know many of my peers who go through this same struggle with their equally dismayed parents, mom and dads who reflexively, vehemently protest against their daughter's decision to become 'stay at home mothers'. Most are Chinese (for some reason, Tiger Moms, and Dads, are usually Chinese!) And so, many, choose to continue to be the obedient and filial good daughter, unwilling to disappoint our parents, and remain in their professional positions, juggling the impossibilities of juggling work and being guilty about 'not spending enough time' with their children.
I am fortunate because my mom is well read, and is well acquainted with the 'lifestyles' of the moment. In recent months, there have been more stories and articles about mothers like me, who give up a flourishing career to pursue the 'unthinkable' job to being a full time mom, and these stories often include how such mothers, unable to distract themselves from work anyway, chose to take up side businesses, and do additional work from home. So when my mom finally conceded with my decision to quit the day job completely and work from home, she had properly 'educated' herself with all the necessary information.
If you asked me, honestly, I'm not sure if this situation of freelancing from home is going to last me forever. I miss the orderly structure of the office administration, and I miss the comfort of knowing that at the end of every month, I will receive a salary anyway. I miss the politics (can't believe I am saying this), and I miss the friends you have from work, and oh the gossip, yes! I do miss that quite a lot.
Yet at this very moment of my life, I am thankful, for all that I have, and am enjoying right now. This 'condition' should last a while, I guess, at least until the kids are of school going age, and I think it's time for me to get back to work in the office environment again.