Monday, April 23, 2012

Ballad of a Jaguar mom

The jaguar was revered as a symbol of power and strength in several pre-Columbian cultures including the great Maya and Aztec civilizations. It is a solitary opportunistic creature at the top of the food chain. In 2011, when the book, Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother was published, I asked myself what animal could best describe Mexican mothers? The more research I did on the panthera onca, the more similarities I found between it and the women in my own family. As Mother’s Day fast approaches, not only do I find myself racking my brain for the perfect gift, I also find myself reflecting on what makes Latina moms so unique and so majestic like the mythical jaguar.
The jaguar’s present territory includes the Southern United States and Mexico all the way to Central America, Paraguay and parts of Argentina. Jaguar moms can be found all over the world and aren’t always Latina, but they almost always share one important characteristic, tough love. Unlike the Chinese Tiger mom, a Jaguar mom may not force her kids to play hours of chess, but she uses every opportunity to teach her children how to strategize in the game of life. In this era of instant gratification, it seems more and more difficult to raise niƱos agradecidos, appreciative children. Think you have what it takes to be a Jaguar mom? Take this short three question quiz and find out for yourself.

1. Your teenage daughter sneaks out when she is supposed to be grounded. You,
a. Call the cops
b. Sit at home feeling sorry for yourself and pop some Xanax
c. The only person who is about to have a panic attack is your daughter when she finds out how pissed off you are

2. Your daughter puts on a few pounds her first year of college. You,
a. Ignore it because it happens to everyone and you can afford to shed a few pounds yourself
b. Buy her Hydroxycut and hope she gets the point
c. Tell her point blank, your clothes don’t fit and you need to lose a few pounds followed by a hug and a kiss

3. Your son hands you his book report and anxiously awaits your approval but you spot a million grammatical errors. You,
a. Don’t have time right now and tell him to leave it on the counter.
b. Give him a hug and kiss but ignore the mistakes.
c. Grab a red pen, correct all the spelling and grammatical errors and hand it back with a smile.

If you answered mostly C then you might just be a Jaguar mom, relentless in your pursuit of perfection, but never wavering in your love and admiration for your child. This Mother’s Day whether you have a Jaguar mom, a Tiger mom or a mom whose species is yet to be identified, celebrate her because all God’s creatures are special, even the mythical ones.

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