Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

I recently found out my mom never got the news about superbugs and antibacterial cleaners. She looked at me suspiciously when I suggested to her that buying antibacterial soap was probably not a good idea. She called my sister for a second opinion who confirmed this. Why she didn’t believe me I don’t know. I am the oldest after all. Maybe it’s because I never believed the things she told me?

When we were growing up, my mom always had bits of health and beauty advice that were ahead of their time. Sometimes she said it was just something everyone knew or sometimes she said she read it in the Chinese newspaper. My sisters and I were always skeptical. We saw these tips as Chinese superstitions or old wives’ tales. It wasn’t until we saw these same suggestions in an American or European news source that we believed my mom’s words. Why didn’t we believe her in the first place? After all, she found out about Jen and Brad’s break up from the Chinese newspaper days before we heard about it from The Enquirer. I think in our attempt to fit into dominant American culture we didn’t want to be seen as the kind of people who followed “ancient Chinese secrets.” It could also be we were just like most children who don’t appreciate their parents’ wisdom until they become older and wiser themselves. Time and time again though, we were proven wrong, because the science behind her words would eventually show up in what we considered a credible source.

Here are a few of the tips I learned from my mother:
• use watermelon rind to make your skin glow
• drink tea when eating dim sum to cut the fat
• drink bone broth for overall good health
• eat seaweed to make your hair more black (Okay, this one turns out not to be true.)

The moral of the story is you really should listen to your mother. But you already knew that.

We probably should’ve believed her because look how GOOD she looks!
  1. arjeha says:

    I just think it is natural for children not to believe their parents until we get older and wiser and figure out they were right most of the times.

  2. Ramona says:

    I love the pic!
    Curious about the drinking tea when eating dim sum to cut the fat? Tell me more. I’m always interested in cutting the fat. Will it work with other foods too? I drink herbal tea. May have to start bringing my own tea to dim sum outings.

  3. I have one teenager and two pre-teens. I spend about 75% of my day staring at them with the “I just told you that” face. This gives me hope that one day they will pay attention before I have to break out the “I just told you that” stare.

  4. Thank you for letting me walk in the shoes of a Chinese American. I found out, or it was confirmed, that mother daughter conflicts are universal. I also had a flashback to a terrible tv commercial from the past that said “ancient Chinese secret.” By the way, really enjoy reading your writing.

  5. Sharon G. says:

    You are so right. I tell my son and daughter this all the time! LOL

  6. amyilene says:

    The communication and ultimate understanding of what a parent has been trying to convey is truly a universal concept. I see it with my parents and with my own children. And I love the picture!!

  7. Lainie Levin says:

    Mothers. They can’t ever catch a break, can they? We’d argue the sky is green just to spite them. And yes, you’re right that there’s a certain level of that dynamic that’s felt keenly in immigrant or first/second generation families. Still, there’s something universal about the way kids discount parental wisdom. Just wait ’til it’s their turn! And…your family photo? You all are BEAUTIFUL.

  8. >The moral of the story is you really should listen to your mother.<

    As our daughters grow older, they realize just how smart their mother really is. I've found this to be true with my own mother as well.

    Sage advice we could all read again and again! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!



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