They’re never impressed, constantly disappointed in others and sets unattainable expectations.⁣

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Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

Nothing is good enough

I am guilty of being overly critical. It’s an unfortunate behaviour of recovering perfectionists.

I’ve been that toxic asshole who was constantly ragging on others, pointing out their weaknesses and offering “solutions” to non-existent problems.

I was always comparing…apples to oranges to bananas to kiwis.

I looked for flaws before beauty.⁣ …

I don’t depend on a man but I’m learning to let him support me

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Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

“I can’t do it all even if I wanted to”

Who makes more money in your household?

You or your partner?

Does it matter? Do you care? Does your partner care?

Why do you care? Why do they care?

Is it because you are a woman? Is it because you are a man?

Is it because he’s a man? Is it because she’s a woman?

My mom wanted the best for us

It’s the mid-90’s and I’m storming out of my piano lesson like a disgruntled employee who just received her last warning. …

It’s okay I can’t achieve enough every day…

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I had so many high hopes and expectations

When I was pregnant with my son last year, I made a vow that when the time came for my maternity leave*, I would go guns blazing, writing, recording, and creating, while he napped. I learned with my daughter that newborns sleep A LOT and they don’t need me to stare at them while they’re safely bundled in their crib. I can sneak away and do things for myself.

During my last leave, I can’t remember how many Netflix shows I binge-watched or how many times I ran errands that didn’t need to be done by foot just so that it gave me a reason to go for a walk with her. I had to find ways to kill time, slowly burning through the days of loneliness and silence. However, the boredom was what gave my mind the time and space to rediscover my passion for writing, serving as a catalyst to start my blog Sum (heart) On Sleeve over 3 years ago. …

Responding late to texts is merely the tip of the iceberg

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Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

Does a good conversation lead to friendship?

When I was 7, I went to Zellers* with my mom to pick up some new sandals. Muzak was playing as we sauntered into the store. As a kid, I always loved going on short trips with my mom, away from my sisters, getting the undivided attention that I craved as the youngest.

*Sigh…I have so many childhood memories at that classic Canadian retailer

We get to the shoe section. My mom gives me a choice between two pairs on sale: one had pink elastic straps with plastic daisies and the other were medium brown Mexican huaraches. …

It’s not about finishing your plate.

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Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

A couple of months ago, our family went out to dinner for the first time since restaurants opened up. We were excited to finally have some good old greasy fried Canadian potatoes.

For us, it’s always a treat to go out because we eat 90% of our meals at home and I cook like a stereotypical Asian mom; however, this time was a special treat because of COVID. We had been at home for so long that going out to eat felt like our first meal after finishing a prison sentence.

We settle down at our table. The hostess brings us our menus. The adventure begins as we peruse the appetizers, entrees and desserts. I love looking at the kids' menu because it’s typically good value for the amount of food you get; we impose the parent tax of half a chicken finger for mom and 2 French fries for dad. …

The East and West battle inside me.

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Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

The other day, I was leaving the grocery store when I saw a white man in his late 60’s carrying a bunch of bags also head towards the exit.

I politely asked him,

“Sir, would you like some help?”

He sneered,

“No thanks. I can do just fine. I’m not as old as you think I look.”

I’m shocked at his response so I don’t say anything. He walked on but I stopped to ponder,

“What just happened?”

I thought he would have been pleased to have me help him, that it showed a sign of respect and he would appreciate the gesture. However, instead, it appeared as though I offended him, doing the opposite of what I had intended. …

And how that made me look even better

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I’ve written about my past eating disorder, ongoing recovery and how it’s affected me as a mom. So this is about how I’ve changed my mindset around exercise, instead of abusing it, using it to heal from my abuse.

I’ve been a fairly active person my whole life.

It started in grade school when I took all the swimming lessons and passed with flying colours. I had dreams that I would one day swim competitively at the Olympics. I was relatively fast. I had the broad shoulders that gave me a slight edge on the butterfly stroke.

Then, after completing my lifeguard training, my instructor at the time thought I had potential and I was on my way to the local competitive swimming team. …

Hopefully, one that doesn’t deserve a punch in the face.

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Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

I have a daughter and a son. They’re both under 5 but assuming they’re both heterosexual and get happily married, I will have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law. And I get to have the title of a mother-in-law.

Maybe it’s the old traditional mindset that girls will always come back to their parents whereas boys tend to stray away but I only started thinking about this relationship a little more in-depth when I had my son.

Why is it more common for the relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law to be strained than with her son-in-law?

1. Let’s first blame our genetics and the evolution of the human species.

If we look at the survival of the human species, there is a clear difference in the mating strategies between males and females. …

How I made it work without blowing a fit at my parents.

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Photo by Yasmin Dangor on Unsplash

Asian grandparents often care for their grandchildren. The tradition is as old as time. As a Millennial Asian mom, how did I make this work without pulling my hair out?

A year from now, my daughter will start Kindergarten. That means, no more getting spoiled for days at Gong Gong Por Por’s (Grandpa and Grandma’s) house. My maternity leave will be over and my son will be taking her place, 3 days a week, every week, rain or shine until he starts school.

It’s been like that for the past 3 years. And during this experience, it’s spurred many tough, anxiety-inducing conversations, frustrations, ah-ha moments and revelations, enough for me to write an entire book titled, “How to Deal With Asian Parents.”

It’s me and my husband’s day, not anyone else’s.

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Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

So before I rant about the Asian family drama that happens whenever someone gets engaged and the things you can do to prevent that, let me share with you a few factors that I had absolutely no control over that helped me avoid a lot of that stuff.

Being the youngest

Both my husband and I are the youngest in the family and we have sisters. He has one and I have two. And as the youngest, there’s definitely a lot less pressure to meet family and social expectations. Both sides had already been through a wedding and got their needs met, itches scratched, anxieties dampened, traditions fulfilled. …


Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP

Sum (心, ♡) on Sleeve | Author. Speaker. Wife. Mom of 2 | Embrace Culture. Love Yourself. Improve Relationships |

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