“What’s a ‘Tiger Mom’?” asked a friend who recently moved back to the US from London. While my friends caught her up on the recent tiger mom (Amy Chua) versus dragon mom (Emily Rapp) debate in the press, I wondered what type of mom I would be and felt pressured to place myself in one of these boxes. Will I be authoritarian or indulgent? I’ve seen the literature about how the parenting style I practice could have effects on his risk taking behaviors in adolescence and his likelihood of obesity, among other things, and I counsel families about their parenting behaviors on a regular basis. So why is it so hard to label myself?
As we celebrate the Lunar New Year and this being the year of the dragon, I think about what other zodiac animal might represent my parenting style. I was born in the year of the rooster, an animal representing loyalty, confidence, and honesty. The rooster can be boastful though and I am anything but arrogant about my parenting prowess. Looking elsewhere, N’s sign is the rabbit, an animal associated with serenity, sensitivity and style. At 10 months old, you can already see some of these traits. I have never felt a sense of calm like the one he brings when he snuggles into my neck for a Sunday afternoon nap. He can sense when I need a good laugh and knows just which crooked grin, love bite, or giggle will work. His sense of style comes across as soon as you bring out a camera and he strikes a pose! Despite not being one to follow horoscopes regularly, I think I like the idea of a Rabbit mom– one who is creative, wise, compassionate, and above all else, puts friends and family first.