150px-Mother Galanda
Mother Galanda (Wikipedia)

You’ve heard the expression – or used it yourself.

“Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”

“Where is your mother?”

“What was his mother thinking?”

Whether good or bad – mostly in the bad instances – we call questions down on people’s upbringings. And that usually leads to questions about parenting. Which are directed most often at mothers.

The worst types of insults involve mothers: motherf*cker or son of a b*tch.

I can’t figure out if this pervasive reference to motherhood and by default women, means we are all powerful or if we are the bane of humanity. I ruminated on the toll mothering takes on a woman in my momoir for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me.

In either case, until scientists really get that cloning thing going, you’re stuck with us.

Hope today you get a chance to shower some attention on a positive female figure in your life. After all, doesn’t she deserve some praise to go with all that blame?


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I Prefer Girls

My momior, free to download until May 15th.

When I found out I was pregnant, my mind immediately began preparing for a girl. My sister has three girls; my cousins are a dozen or so girls with my brother and one other male thrown in, and so I never thought about the other 50%.

The 50% that people all over Asia aspire to have because they will grow up and take care of their parents (meanwhile as children the girls drop out of school to help parents take care of young siblings).

The 50% that are so favored many Asian countries have stopped allowing sex tests or sonograms because of the rate of abortions of female babies.

Imagine my shock – my husband said I went white – when the doctor said, not only once, but twice, I was having boys. That’s right: me, the mother of two boys. I did the right thing and paid lip service to the fact I hoped the babies were healthy. Deep inside, I tried to manage the shock.

What would I do with a boy? How would I avoid the Asian tendency to favor and indoctrinate them with male privilege?

This Mother’s Day, I’m happy to say my boys are a delight. And I’m back at work with a second newborn and toddler at home.

Why? Because, as I explained to my colleagues, my mother sacrificed her entire life, not finishing high school, in order to get married and raise us. She’s now finishing a university degree, one course at a time, in her 50s. If that taught me anything, it’s that children need strong role models. And strength comes in different forms. Her sacrifice will not be wasted.

A friend also offered this great perspective:

I know you wanted a girl the first time, and you probably wanted a
little girl the second time too.  You say you wanted to empower her, to
strengthen women.

But you know, you've been blessed with a way to empower women in a
greater way.

On my mother's side of the family, women were to be seen and not heard.
It's the hillbilly way. But on my father's side, as you already know,
women are the leaders.

So my father taught my mother how to be strong, to think for herself,
and to lead.  And that value was then passed to all of us kids, even the

I've seen it where a daughter marries a male dominated household, and
the sons grow up with the male dominated view. Sometimes the girls are
lucky to be empowered at all. And sometimes the households fall into a
lot of conflict, especially if the boys are not taught to respect women.
In my own life, my son does not respect me. He never did and that's why
I lost him. His father is and always will be a poor example. I should
have chosen very carefully and researched his father's family well. I
did not, to my regret.

So maybe this is the powers helping you in your mission, with a very
strong weapon indeed.



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