There was a phrase my little brother always said when we were about to embark on a rebellious act, “Mommy say!” He said this often growing up because I dragged us into mischievous things as every big sister does.
And of course, we would get caught and our mom would scold us.
I remember at fifteen, I wanted to get my workers’ permit so I can work at this cool boba shop on the other side of town. Mommy said, “You have your whole life to work, why are you so in a rush?” In that moment, all I can think about how ridiculous she was. She didn’t want me to learn customer service skills and keep me home from interacting with the world.
I’m being a little dramatic aren’t I? Well, I was at this age.
I wanted to work because I was your typical teenager, who wanted to do things like go to the mall with her friends and buy what I thought was cool clothes. Plus, in my upbringing, there was no such thing as an allowance.
The favorite things my Mommy says were about love and relationships; I wish I can keep a running list of it because it range from something extremely farfetched to that's on point! For starters, like any Asian parent, it was embedded in my siblings and I that dating is forbidden until we graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. Yeah, they were for real. And because Mommy said, “Focus on yourself and your education. These matter more than boys!” I would say, being a tiger mom did work to our advantage.
I have only been in love twice in my lifetime, and for some, this is considered fortunate. But sometime last year after my break up, I felt a little lost - because I invested so much of myself into that relationship and at the same time, my work life was not that great. Two worlds crumbling down at the same time. The words my mother shared with us at a young age about focusing on ourselves seem to be prevalent.
Sidebar to that story, I was entering my late-twenties, so naturally, I freaked out about being single as if it was a disease - I know it’s not, but I cried to my mom about it. I was sobbing at the West Fourth stop about the break-up and how I feel unwanted. She laughed first, and then said, “It’s not your time, Koun.” Koun means child in Cambodian.
I was upset that she laughed at me because she was being insensitive, but deep down, I knew she was right. It is simply not my time.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us didn’t listen to our mothers and when they share their wisdom earlier on. Now when I think about all the phrases she says, it’s as if they are traffic warning signs on packages or any item. The signs tell you what can happen, but you really don’t know until you try. So I live my life the way I do, and I continue to learn - and realized my mom was right. About every single damn thing.
Why was I in a rush to work when I was younger? Because now on Mondays, I die a little bit every time and I'm already burnt out in my late-twenties! When it came to relationships and love, I vowed to myself that I would not be consumed and compromise myself. And it was only a matter of time that things will fall into place in life.
So yeah, thanks Mom for always saying the right things. I love you!
PS: Shout out to all the amazing women out there raising wonderful women. Happy Mother's Day!
Written by Chary