24 August 2007

Top 10 Pinoy Parenting Techniques Used By Our Moms

Magandang umaga, Filipina Moms readers! Karmela Johnson in the hizzouse! 'Tis my debut blog here on FM and I'm so happy to have been invited to participate as a regular contributor. A bit about myself: I'm a 35 year-old marketing exec, novelist, dance and martial arts instructor and Northern Virginia resident. I immigrated to the U.S. with my family in 1986 right after the People Power revolution. I married Moonshine Lad right out of college and five years later, out popped Science Boy followed two years later by Mini-me. Science Boy is now 6 years old and Mini-me is a 4-year old little girl going on 14.

Another thing about me: I love lists. I'm a list maker. So for my debut post, I thought I'd make a list of the:

Top 10 Pinoy Parenting Techniques Used By Our Moms

  1. I love you is for suckers. Don't know about you, but my mom never told me she loved me. Ever. When I asked her one time after I was all grown up, she looked at me like I'd grown horns and said, "Didn't I feed you? Buy you clothes? Send you to a good school? If that doesn't show love, I don't know what does."
  2. Hit that baby one more time. Did you ma palo you? What was her instrument of choice? Mine was the tsinelas, preferably with a rubber sole. Yep, corporal punishment was the order of the day. My friends and I all got hit when we did something bad. Some of us were luckier than others and only got a palm. My cousins got a belt. Ouch!
  3. Playing is for kids; grown-ups work. Do you ever feel guilty for not spending time just playing around with your kids? Don't. Know why? My ma never did it with me. Not a game of checkers, not hide-and-seek, not patintero. She worked. That's what grown-ups did, according to her. They don't (gasp!) play. Playing is for kids and for the unemployed.
  4. Math and science is where it’s at. Any other career is for losers. Were you on the receiving end of this bit of wisdom too? My parents the engineers thought I'd die of starvation if I pursued my career of choice (writing). It was a small consolation for them when I picked journalism. They would have had a heart attack if I'd gone ahead and pursued, right out of college, my dream job of becoming a novelist.
  5. Extra-curricular activities? What’s that? Time-wasters, that's what! Lock yourself in your room! Study!
  6. What’s the name of your parents’ friends again? What about your friends? Unlike here in the U.S. where parents schedule play dates before their kids can even crawl, moms in the Philippines have built-in networks of cousins, aunts, sisters and classmates from parochial school. My ma never felt the need to get to know the mothers of my friends, that's for sure. Besides, she was too busy working.
  7. It’s okay for other people to take care of your kids. Actually, why wouldn’t they? Filipino moms have no reservations at all about daycare. It's normal and natural and everyone and their sisters had yayas. Even stay-at-home moms had yayas. Nothing at all wrong with getting help in raising your kids. Filipina moms are the pioneer in the "It takes a village" ethos of child-rearing. Not only did they know that you can't do it alone, but they knew that it benefits the kids to have a wide circle of adults looking out for them.
  8. You’re going out where? With whom? To do what? And you want to stay out HOW LATE? Yep, this was my ma when I entered my precocious high school years. She didn't understand at all why I wanted to hang out with my friends.
  9. After asking the questions from #8, the answer is: Hell no. You just went out last weekend.
  10. You want to do WHAT?!? (Bellowed after being asked if one could go out on a date with a boy.) Can't wait until Mini-me asks me this question. NOT.

Voila. Anyone else have any old school tips from their own mothers to add? Have a great weekend, folks!


Irene said...

oooh - the flashbacks. i was exempt from number 7 because lolo and lola lived with us and my ma was really good with number 3. when we lived in an apartment the landlord who lived in the building would always come up and pound on the door telling my brother, ma, and i that we were making too much noise running around.

mom2amara said...

What a great list. Every single one of them is a trademark of my own mom. And I think I inherited many of the traits myself.

I never gave #1 much thought until I saw how sensitive-and-touchy feely-and-open-with-their-feelings my in laws were. My mom rarely said "I love you" to us...we never doubted her love. Just unlike Dad2Amara, we didn't hear it as often.

mamazilla said...

ok. anyone else feel like they got tsinela slapped? ;) all the pinoy parenting techniques were used by mom except for 7 - my lola lived with us so, she took care of me and everyone else - including the indian, korean and latino kids. and luckily, my mom was the exception to #1. she was ALWAYS telling me she loved me... but i think that was a response to my almost dying at birth. that can scar a mom for life, i hear... ;)

great first post, karmela! looking forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

what about the guilt? We were endlessly reminded of the sacrifices that were made to put food and clothes and opportunity for us kids. I remember running around with my hands covering my bottom when I picked a fight with my sister. Then there was the time my mom was fed up and said, "here! here's a knife! do you want to hurt your sister? go ahead!"

Yeah, maybe that why we're here "together" on this blog. We're trying find a different way; we don't have modern role models to emulate?