I was born in 1975, and for years I thought this pointed to me being a rabbit. Never quite comfortable with the designation, I wondered why my personality was in such opposition with the Eastern zodiac.
Zoologically speaking, I don’t really resemble a rabbit. I’m small and quick, but that’s where the similarities end. Bunnies are sweet, soft, gentle, harmless (except perhaps in the eyes of the farmer). Scroll through the traits of the hare in the Eastern zodiac designation and the contradictions to my fundamental personality continue: soft-spoken? Reserved? Not so much. Tendency to be stubborn – ok, I’ll give ‘em that one, but tendency towards superficiality? I’ve been accused of many things, but superficiality is definitely not one of them.
And then, at some point in my late 20s, a Chinese friend pointed out the error of my zodiacal ways: My birthday is January 6. Chinese New Year in 1975 was February 4. I’m not actually a rabbit.
I’m a tiger.
Daring. Passionate. Restless. Affectionate. Obstinate. Sincere. Moody. Generous. Quick-tempered. Colourful.
Now this makes sense to me and the people that know me. My husband’s reaction to my revised totem animal was a dry, ‘Of course.’ I feel much more at home with jungle cats than meadow bunnies. I feel like whatever stock I put in such things is restored, which is comforting.
I am a tiger friend, a tiger daughter, a tiger sister, a tiger wife, and for the past almost 6 years, a tiger mama.
And tiger mamas have been getting a bad rap lately. So I’m here to reclaim the title.
This tiger mama keeps her babies close, and makes her den a place of safety, security and love.
This tiger mama is not afraid to take risks and once her littlest cub no longer has to go down the stairs on her bum, will encourage them to do the same.
This tiger mama knows that being caged, forced to perform or berated for failing will not make her offspring thank her later.
This tiger mama works hard to retain realistic expectations of her cubs as they grow, and keeps her paws stretched wide open.
This tiger mama offers love and affection as a constant, not as a reward.
This tiger mama expresses her feelings openly, and knows how to roar. And so do her cubs, and this tiger mama loves the sound of their powerful voices.
This tiger mama is a leader, not a dictator.
This tiger mama parents by instinct, not fear or statistic.
Amy Chua makes perhaps a few reasonable claims for parenting the way she does, but make no mistake, she is not a tiger mama.
A tiger mama – a real tiger mama – would eat Amy Chua alive.