Every Mother’s Day, I am somewhat surprised to realize that I am part of the holiday. My first instinct as the day approaches is usually to think of a restaurant that I know my mom will enjoy, and to make sure we order flowers for Sunday.
Then it hits me: It’s my day as well! I guess no matter how old we get, we will always be our mother’s daughters, more so once we become moms ourselves.
I am not alone in this line of thinking. After talking to some friends, I realized that how we are as mothers today is almost always a reflection of our relationships with our own mothers, whether it was happy and positive or more complex and challenging. I tried to know the difference between our parenting style today and that of the previous generation.
My mom showered me with more love and support than I could ever ask for. But she was also firm and did not tolerate disobedience or dishonesty.
She was a career woman, but she was always present in my life and made it a point to get as involved as possible in raising me.
But no matter how close we were, no child, and especially no teenager, ever fully understands the rules parents have for their children. It was only when I started my own family that I began to see things through my mom’s eyes. I now realize that behind every rule was only concern for my safety and well-being. Behind every “No,” there was only love and a mother’s determination to help me become a better person.
Now, many times, I find myself telling my kids the same things that I grew up hearing from my mother. When I find myself confused or at a loss what to do, I try to remember what my mom used to do. I would like to think that I am showing my children as much love and attention as my own mom did.
Despite the new parenting books I have read, I am far from being the “cool” new-generation mom, and am closer instead to how my own mom was. Fortunately, I think she was way cooler than I gave her credit for, and I would be happy if I could be even just half as good a mother to my children, as she was to me.
As today’s young mothers reminisced about their moms and how they were raised, it became clear that though details and methods may have changed, most of the messages we convey to our children and the values we try to impart are no different, because at the end of the day, everything we do is rooted in the one universal truth all mothers live by—love.
Jen Jurilla Aquino
Before I gave birth to Ava, I made the effort to read books and attend seminars on baby care. When I brought her home from the hospital, all that I read flew out the window as “mother’s instinct” took over. The scared, unsure, first-time mom was no longer there. I surprised myself at how seamlessly I adjusted into our mother-daughter routines.
Although the yaya is there to lend a hand, I prefer to do things myself when I’m with Ava.
In the case of my mom, despite her being a busy career woman, she was always present at parent-teacher conferences, sports events and school plays. She was involved in our lives without being too intrusive and authoritative. She (and my dad) encouraged us to spread our wings, guided by certain values and boundaries.
My goal is to raise Ava and her future siblings with similar values. Honestly, turning into my mother isn’t such a bad thing!
Leslie Halili Dy Sun
Ideally, I want to raise my children the way mama (and tatay) brought us up. But this is no easy task.
I grew up in a traditional family. There were a lot of rules. We were never allowed to join adult conversations. We were never allowed to disagree. We never dared to raise our voices. We were expected to behave at all times.
But mama was never the “spanking” type, (though) she had this “magical” stern look that made me understand that whatever I was doing was wrong and had to be stopped right that moment. Whenever I did something bad, she would explain why it was wrong, and tell me the possible consequences.
Mama was not the affectionate type, but I felt loved. I believe I am my mom’s favorite among the three of us, maybe because I am her only girl. She was also generous with her time. She was, and still is, always there to listen.
Mama instilled in us the importance of God in our lives. She would always bring us to Church even if it was not a Sunday.
As much as I would want to be like mama to my children, I know that this is impossible with all the distractions nowadays. I cannot be as rigid, for children nowadays are different. They are more brusque and impatient, both in words and actions. That magical stare of mama will not work on my children.
I believe in leniency, but to a certain degree. I let my children join in adult conversations, as long as it’s done in a respectful manner. I allow them to disagree, but in the right tone and behavior.
Unlike mama, I do spank. I have this spanking rod that is put to use (not so often, though) when the situation calls for it.
I am not that expressive, but I tell my children that I love them and lavish them with hugs and kisses. This was lacking in my family, so my own children are showered with physical affection.
I give my children rules. Just like mama, I try to be calm and explain why these rules need to be followed. However, there are moments when these rules are forgotten or misconstrued.
As punishment, I deprive them of things they are crazy about, such as the TV and iPad. On the other hand, I praise them for worthy deeds.
I try my best to mold my children into devout Catholics. I might not be as pious as my mother, but I try to my kids understand how important faith is in life.
There may be differences in the way mama and I raise children. But we both know that leading by example is the best way. We have one goal for them, and that is for our children to become good, compassionate and responsible human beings.
Mel Martinez Francisco
My parenting style is similar to my mom’s—she was always there for me. She was involved in all my activities, and there was an endless supply of hugs and kisses. She was the epitome of a hands-on mom. Her presence gave me a strong sense of security and self-esteem.
I make it a point to be there for my kids—to be involved in all their activities, to talk to them at the end of each day, and to simply spend time with them. I want them to know that family is the top priority, always!
To be honest, I have yet to form my own distinct parenting style, as I consider myself a work in progress. When a challenge arises, like when my 2-year-old has a tantrum, I catch myself thinking, “How would mom handle this?” Or when my little girls argue over which one gets to be Elsa from “Frozen,” I surprise myself by thinking, “What would mom tell them?” I try to instill in them the same values mom bombarded me with.
Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez
My parenting style is different from my mom’s generation in the way that I have become a bit more disciplined in terms of overall wellness and health. I would like my daughter to understand at a young age that having a cheeseburger with fries is “oh-so-good,” but that it is also a special treat and not an everyday habit. I hope that she would eventually appreciate drinking green juice on occasion, though that can be a work in progress!
In terms of similarity, I have learned from my mom’s generation to just go with the flow and not sweat the small stuff, as being a working mom can be stressful. My mother managed to do it flawlessly by just being herself and laughing things off. I just want to work on balancing things out, and being the best mom I can be for my little girl.
Nicole Schulze Lopez
There are two distinct parenting practices my mom implemented—at least half of which I hope to employ as well as she did. The first is the concept of natural consequences.
My mom has always been quite the disciplinarian. While she made it very clear that she loves us unconditionally, we always knew we ultimately had to face the consequences of our choices.
Although she always held my hand through difficult times, she never rescued me from the consequences of my mistakes. I had to learn to stand up on my own. I remember resenting her at times for this.
However, now that I am a mother, I am incredibly grateful that she was strong enough to allow me to fall. There are times I am tempted to prevent my children from making bad choices. It takes everything in me to stand back and allow them to stumble and learn to get back up on their own.
The second practice is emphasizing truth and integrity at home. Growing up, I always knew that being deceitful doubled my punishment. I hope to be able to instill in my children the value of honor.
My mother is definitely a tough act to follow. While I admire how she raised us, I find that our styles differ. I make it a point to spend individual time with each of my children.
My mom had five of us. It was difficult to get time with her alone. I remember longing for that when I was little. So, I now make it a point to take each of my children on weekly one-on-one dates. I treasure getting to know them as individuals.
Bea Lucero Lhuillier
I am not really sure how my mom’s generation raised kids, but I can speak for how my mom raised her three children. She showed us a lot of love and discipline. It was the best combination, because we felt the compassion as well as the firm authority.
I am trying to raise my children with the same values she raised my siblings and me on. Hopefully, I will be as successful as she was.
Kathryn Elizabeth Nelson
I don’t think there is a big difference between my parenting style and that of my mother’s generation. I am very involved in my children’s daily lives to ensure that they feel special, supported, loved and happy. I try to provide them with opportunities to learn and engage in the world around them, and to develop into well-adjusted people, life-long learners and empathetic global citizens.
The difference in our parenting styles seems to be less a matter of personal approach and more a function of the times, driven by shifting cultural mores with regard to gender roles, societal expectations, and work-life balance issues in a technologically driven world.
The titles of the latest parenting books and the mommy blogger manifestos underscore the paradox of modern-day parenting, especially for mothers. It’s no surprise that while we strive to make time for “core motherhood,” we end up becoming “helicopter parents” to overscheduled kids, which ultimately leaves us overwhelmed. In jest, I told a mommy friend: “If busy is the new black, please let me be out of style.”
Mothers today feel pressured to make every second of their children’s lives magical, throwing over-the-top theme birthday parties for 2-year-olds.
One key difference between the way I was raised and the way we are raising our children has been driven by our unique life circumstances. My parents met and married as American expats working in Japan. Shortly thereafter, my twin sister and I were born, and we moved back to the US where they assumed traditional roles—my mother was at home with us and my father went to work.
Conversely, a week after my husband and I were married, we moved from the US to the Philippines; two children and a decade later we are still in Manila, raising “third-culture kids” in a foreign country.
While my husband’s work brought us to Manila, before our children were born, we both worked.
After our children were born, I shifted from full-time consulting work to consulting on a short-term or part-time basis. Like my mother and many of her peers, I put my career on hold for the good of the family, rationalizing that “I could have it all, just not all at the same time.”
However, as live-in child care is more affordable here than in the US, I have been able to achieve a more equitable work-life balance than my mother did. Though I live far from home, I have a wide support network to draw from, as the ties that bind transient expats, social media circles and the “mommy blogosphere” help bridge the gap.
I still don’t have it all figured out. I am flabbergasted by the fact that, even with live-in household help, I often feel overwhelmed by the demands of daily life—which in turn makes me feel like a complete failure.
Nevertheless, most days I feel extremely grateful for my many blessings. While she wasn’t the first to say it, Hillary Clinton was right: “It takes a village,” and I am thankful for mine. I often think of the sacrifices my mother made for our family, discontinuing work to raise five active children with no live-in help. I am forever indebted to her.
Every day I strive to channel her energy, enthusiasm, and positive attitude to raise my children in a way that would make her proud. Happy Mother’s Day, mom! I love you.
Anna M. Chua-Norbert
By the time my mom was 24, she already had all three of us. Instead of the normal carefree life women her age had, she spent it raising us. My mom ultimately sacrificed having a career, financial independence, social life and everything else to be with us.
She is a constant source of comfort and to this day, she is the same to her seven grandkids, who adore their Banshee.
Mom is a wonderful storyteller; she is a freelance writer, but accepts projects only as long as they are not in conflict with family plans. She is strong in faith, gracious, loving and grateful, and though there were moments you would see the loneliness in her eyes, she would brush it aside, count her blessings, thank the Lord and move on.
I grew up learning to embrace all the qualities I have—my big legs, strong arms, broad shoulders and a quirky sense of humor. I was allowed to voice my opinion, which landed me in the principal’s office multiple times, but mom continued to support me, nurture my individualism and tell me I am wonderful even if others didn’t think so.
I spent my early 20s finding myself, making a lot of mistakes, living and studying overseas, traveling and enjoying my youth, experiencing life with no regrets. I had a lot of fun. I also met someone really special, who felt the same way about me. I’m now 34.
My husband Eric and I have three adorable children: Alexandra, 5; Beatrice, 3; and Edward, 18 months old.
My mom was hands-on but allowed us to think for ourselves. She taught me that in life, you always have a choice, and once you’ve made that decision, you choose to make it work. My husband and I work very hard because it is important for our kids to value hard work.
We are first to volunteer and involve our kids in packing relief goods, lending a hand and donating, because we have a responsibility to society. My husband and I are praying that we are not raising children who think the world owes them something. We teach them not to waste water, and to throw rubbish in the proper receptacles. But at the end of the day, they will need to find their own purpose in life.
I believe God gave us our children because we are the best mothers for them. No matter what our parenting style is, I believe we all want the best for them.
What is essential is for our kids to feel they are loved and supported, and that their life has value. Equally important is for our kids to be kids, because they won’t ever have this moment again.
So, what is the difference between her parenting style and mine? She’s better at this than I am, for sure! There is a reason they are called grandmothers, after all.
Melissa Balinghasay Paterno
I find myself more involved in my children’s school activities than my mom did. As my husband says, the only time our parents visited us in school was during graduation!
Maybe it’s because we attended traditional schools while my children are in a progressive school, and because my mom had four children, while I have only two. It’s a particular challenge for working mothers such as myself, and it helps if you can take turns with your husband in attending school activities. I think striking a balance is important, without becoming a helicopter parent. I don’t think I’d ever be a helicopter parent, though. My mom wasn’t one, either.
Ginny Lopez Proximo
Compared to that of my mom’s generation, I think the communication line is more “two-way” now. I encourage my daughter Lana to express how she feels, and I allow her to reason with me (much to my chagrin). This is because I feel that kids should be heard and allowed to speak up so they won’t feel like they are always being told what to do, and that they are part of the decision-making process.
Laura Lim Rodrigo
I remember when I was young, my mom would spank my hand or I’d have to stand in the corner if I did something naughty. Gone are those days of fear. It’s now the age of reason. I make a conscious effort to discipline my kids through reason and empowerment instead of autocratic parenting. I aim to be democratic, setting limits but also respecting their choices and teaching them to negotiate. I hope these will make them responsible and confident adults.
For example, sleeping early is always a battle with my daughter, so I try to tell her, “You have ballet class tomorrow morning, how much time do you think you still need to play so you can wake up early?” Of course, my patience is often tested and I just remind myself that kids are being kids, and I just try to cherish every moment because they grow up so fast.
Anna Palabyab Rufino
I think that my parenting style is very much similar to my mom’s in that our relationship with our children is based on mutual love and respect. I may sometimes be very strict and firm, but I also never fail to shower them with affection.
The challenges they faced then may be a lot different from what we are experiencing, but the core values I want to impart to my children are the same. I just think that I should be more vigilant in monitoring what my kids are exposed to, because technology and the Internet have made both good and bad things more easily accessible.
Trisha Baraan Verzosa
Nowadays we’re always juggling what approach we should be taking to raise our kids. Though I try to be the cooler and more lenient version of my mom, most of the time I find myself subconsciously doing things the way my mother did.
From the smallest things, such as wearing pajamas to protect my son’s skin from mosquito bites, not being so keen in allowing sleepovers, and making sure Mass is the first thing he does on a Sunday, to not giving in to all his requests or buying him the latest gadgets—that’s exactly how my mom raised me.
It somehow pressures you to modify your parenting style, but you realize you want your child to have the same values and practices you grew up with. And then again, why fix something that isn’t broken?