02 Mar 2011

The only kind of “Tiger Mother” I aspire to be

There are tiger mothers who don’t write books or end up on best seller’s lists.

There are tiger mothers who ferociously protect rather than (figuratively) eat their young.

There are tiger mothers who rear up on hind legs and wrestle the world, its demons, and themselves for the children they are entrusted with.

They are the mothers who monitor health rather than the violin. The mothers who learn another language, drive dark nights through slums looking for run-aways, and enter into negotiations with social workers, schools and pediatricians.

The mothers who pound the pages of Scripture in their frustration, who lose sleep and weight and their sense of direction. The mothers who bleed second chances and still find the energy to forgive way past the 70 times 7 threshold.

They are the mothers who wrangle joy out of the darkest shebeens and rescue love that has been utterly lost in translation.

They pour themselves out like so much sweet syrup over piles of pancake happiness and the whole house is gut full. Full of goodness, full of hope, full of learning curves within curves that encircle a family and make them one.

This is my family and this is the mother my father married after my own mom died. She is ferocious in her commitment to every child that passes under their roof. I watch and wonder from afar – a whole ocean blue as her eyes between us. I would learn her parenting by osmosis if I could find my way back to the Southern hemisphere more than once every few years. I would sit in her shadow and talk parenting and learn the art and the discipline it requires of the mother.

Of the mother.

How she must sacrifice and offer her raw heart up to the God who gave her the children she is trying to tame, to shepherd, to lead. And how He gives it back to her more broken and more beautiful than any artwork we could aspire to. It is the way of the tiger mother who wants to lie down with The Lamb.

And it is the only kind of Tiger Mother I aspire to be.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    Amen! What a beautiful challenge and encouragement this is to me. Your 2nd mom is an inspiration, as are you.

  2. 2


  3. 3

    So sweet and oh, so true! Wonderfully said.

  4. 4

    beautiful post.
    me too sweet friend, me too.

  5. 5

    Beautiful truth. Thank you.

  6. 6

    I loved this post. Loved the words and the photos of an amazing mom on a couch. So normal, so beautiful. And I LOVED your last line about the “tiger mother laying down with the Lamb.” Powerful stuff.

    May you find joy in your own new season of mothering a daughter, to be here sooner than later. :)

  7. 7

    That really was both beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing

  8. 8


    that means I love you in tiger-friend language :)

  9. 9


    And you are totally that kind of Tiger Mama.

  10. 10

    How wonderful! :)


  11. 11


  12. 12

    Fiercely beautiful! Yes, it is work! Yes, it is sacrifice! Yes, it is service! Thank you for such an inspiring picture of her. Wow!

  13. 13

    If only it were more understood that we each parent with our own exquisitely imperfect perfection.


  14. 14

    That is a very special woman that I would like to aspire to as well.

    I’m thinking of you often as you’re nearing the finish line of your pregnancy! :)

  15. 15

    Precious tribute!
    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

  16. 16

    Oh Lisa Jo! How truly sweet your words and your aspirations. Sometimes I feel more like a grizzly bear than a tiger mama, but we all have room to grow. Thanks for sharing your heart and your love for your stepmom.

  17. 17

    Love this.
    And those photos….wow.
    A yes. This.

  18. 18

    Wow. This brings me to tears. I don’t think I could ever live up to her example, but I am inspired by it in my own little corner of mothering. Thanks for sharing.

  19. 19


  20. 20

    A friend sent this to me, and I take it as a high compliment that she thought I would relate.
    With 6 adopted children, all teens now, and 5 biological – I especially liked this:

    “The mothers who pound the pages of Scripture in their frustration, who lose sleep and weight and their sense of direction. The mothers who bleed second chances and still find the energy to forgive way past the 70 times 7 threshold.”

    Except the lose weight part! How did I miss out on that?!

  21. 21

    What a great tribute to your second mom! Indeed, that is the kind of mother that I want to be.

  22. 22

    what a beautiful post!! so inspiring to any Mother!

  23. 23

    Oh, that just touched me so much. It gave me goose bumps and inspired me.
    I’ve gotten sick of reading mothers defining their parenting styles (styles which as a fellow mother I think “Wow, really? THAT’s your style?”) and glorifying them and praising them and the whole time sounding like they hold themselves high only and forget the kids. I just read the “Hiroshima Mother” article elsewhere yesterday.
    THIS was the therapy I needed after reading that. Thank you. I’m off to hug my own kids now…

  24. 24

    Brilliant. :)

  25. 25

    Beautiful…Oh that I would be that kind of mother!


  1. […] The Only Kind Of “Tiger Mother” I Aspire To Be @ The Gypsy Mama {Amazing, amazing.  I want to be like her when I grow up!} […]

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