Monday, 29 July 2013

What is success?

If I were to describe myself as a mom it would be ill-tempered, impatient, irritable, prone to outburst, mean and demanding. Does that surprise you? I won't be surprise if some readers (I hope there is none) hold the opinion that I am patient & nurturing. There, I hope I've debunk any wrong ideas about me.
This side of me stems from juggling everything on my own & especially when things don't go my way. But I also realised I am most impatient & demanding whenever i Think Sonshine does not conform to as the society expects him to, I'll get stress, worried and therefore push & (angrily) demand him to measure up. If you don't, you'll be labelled as abnormal or even a weirdo, stupid and doom for failure. Like any parent, I fear that Sonshine will be out casted if I don't push him. I notice that the more I worry, the harder I push him. And this would result in the worst treatment he will get from me.
But that's so typical isn't it? We are all racing to get our children to be society's definition of a successful child. A child, the society says, is successful only if he scores well in school. An adult is considered successful when he owns private properties & flashy cars. And so, we are pushing our children to get those full marks and ourselves to get those costly materials under our belt. But, we all know that these are but shallow measurement of success. It is not necessarily true that a child with poor grades would never succeed. Neither does it mean a man with no properties and expensive cars is not successful. As long as he is healthy, happy & does not tie his joy with money, who's to say he's not successful?

While pursuing these definitions of success, we (well, at least I) lose sight of what is more important: our relationship with our children. It is very apparent to me that when i drop the pursuit, i drop the angsty nagging & I begin to enjoy my relationship with Sonshine. What is most odd is, during which, I will see more of his strengths than his weaknesses. Suddenly, he doesn't seem to be that bad after all. The thing is whenever we use yardstick set by the society, we will immediately see the shortfalls in our children. That's when we panic and start to push our kids to be and do beyond what they can. Oh, and how we fail to understand that whenever we use one-size-fits-it-all yardstick, there will surely be children who will fall short just 'cause every child is different. But once we throw away this yardstick and start to measure our child's success by his own abilities, we will instantly see that there will be a place in this earth for him & he will succeed in his own right. That takes alot off our shoulders and we begin to chill which results in better performance in our children since the pressure's off.

If you think this applies to the rat race in getting good grades, well it is not just that. How about those times when we push our kids out of their shells? When they are introverts, we hanker them to be extroverts because society says introverts are oddballs. When they prefer to play to learn, we push them to sit down in a rigid classroom instead because otherwise they are labelled as one with poor attention span. Oh! Isn't it tough to be our kids these days? Or even us women who strive to be thin & beautiful because, well society says they are more 'acceptable' and maybe even 'better'?

Yet, it is SO hard not to be suck into this rat race. Everyday, we are told either through television, commercials, newspapers,  Facebook and even friends & relatives of what the society's measurement of success is. It takes a conscious effort to step out of this mindset and make a point to think & believe otherwise.

I then think it is important, we sit down and think about our own definitions of what success means to us. A friends asked me once, 'What is my measurement of success for my children'. Wow, that was a tough question that needed weeks to ponder over! I couldn't find my answer so I turn to myself. At this point, I think I am successful. Yes, I do not bring in the money, but I still feel that I am as successful, or even more, than that female CEO in that multinational company. Because, I get to change my kids' diapers, pick & send them from & to school, be the one to teach them the ABC & 123s- because I get to be hands on with my kids. That to me is success but another woman may deffer- but that's okay. God made us differently & gave each of us different dreams & talents. Which then, brings me back to my definition of success for my children. I think it would be that they live according to their own measurement of success, according to the gifts & desires that God has planted in them. Yes, even if it is a lowly executive, a cashier but if that makes them feel like a million dollars- then that is success.

What is your measurement of success for your children? Take time to think about it. And when you find yourself suck into the rat race, pushing your kids to measure up to the society, point yourself back to your own definition of success for your kids. Hopefully that helps you to get out the rat race, relax and have a more successful and meaningful relationship with your children. That reminder is also, if not, mostly for me. :)
Linking up


  1. Ha... I'm also very quick-tempered especially when the kids disturb my sleep. Let's all improve a bit day by day! :)

  2. I think it's the SAHM-with-multiple-kids-&-no-help syndrome. Let's Jiayou babe!

  3. I think the pressure will mount as they enter pri school age. At this age, the stakes are still relatively low, regardless of the environment and yardsticks employed.

    Personally, I believe it also helps to surround oneself with like-minded people, not to be insular or in denial, but it really helps to have people to fight the good fight along with, to swim against the flow of society's norms.

  4. Contrary to what lots of people say, it got easier for me when my girl got into primary school this year. My homelearning with her were a MESS. There was no system whatsoever and she didn't learn half of what I had hoped she would before she got into P1.

    I will reply this post and your post 'How' together.

    Here's what I observed. The stuff I made her do which she had little or no interest in (e.g learning new chinese words), she forgot in a jiffy. Stuff that she learnt in school, she remembers.(and did not remember I taught her before!) So to me, it's unnecessary to teach them ahead of the curriculum. In fact, I now feel it was a waste of time. More important to inculcate good learning habits though.

    P1 work is quite demanding yes and it's very fast. She didn't even know what HYPY was before she learnt about it in school but she's quite good in it now. I think you just need to be on the ball for weekly revision. What is really helping her though is her free time. She has quite a bit of free time everyday because she doesn't go for any enrichment classes, except music. She uses all her freetime to read, write stories or pretend play with her brother. It really de-stresses her and her reading and writing improved so much faster than when I made her write or read out to me every night.

    So it is easier because I realise I just have to follow the school's pace and not waste time + give the girl more stress and me more frustration + take up precious time that could be used for exercise/play/reading/writing/daydreaming/family fun etc.

    Just how I see it. Hope it helps. P1 is not that bad really. (though the people who wrote the curriculum really should be sacked!)

    1. Hi K!

      Thanks for sharing!

      Hahahha, you are really blessed that your girl learns better at school- relief you from alot of home teaching yah? :) From your point of view, it does seem unnecessary to reinforce learning with her at home since she learns more effectively at school. I guess, different child learns differently & better at different environments.

      Similarly or not, I home teach NOT with the aim to make him ahead of the curriculum. I do it so that I can save him from going to extra classes (whether privately or at school). Like you, I want my child to come home and still have time to spare for play and nap. I don't want him to be stress and get bugged down by schoolwork. I don't want him to return home only to dive right into school work and we spend our noons coaching him. My aim is to have him know enough to breeze through schoolwork. I spoke to many parents out there and I recently realised, we all have our own ways to acheive this which was very interesting to me. Anyway, I think the real truth to my home teaching is because, well I thoroughly enjoy it (ya, I think I am doing it almost for myself O_0). Hee Hee.

      Yup, I am not expecting anything hectic from P1-2. I am fully aware that it would be a breeze till P3.... :(

  5. Actually, I realise through this post I may have left the impression that I'm pushing sonshine academically. But I was referring more to his behaviour. Nothing to do with his academic learning. :)