This was a question posed by the coolest parenting mag around, Brain, Child (certainly the brainiest) last issue and some of the responses received were nothing short of hilarious – and so true.

For example, one parent responded that she believed that children are preprogrammed with a certain question quota, and ask questions every day even if they already know the answers. Another talked about the Potential Sibling Alarm or PSA, that alerts children whenever parents are engaged in activity that might result in the production of a sibling, one that could compete with them for food, territory and attention.

Yet another wrote about her mother-in-law insisting colds come from cold weather and not germs because she’s a nurse and knows these things.

“And of course, throughout the winter, there are days when those germs happen to coincide with those cold days, which just reinforces her idea that sicknesses are caused by the weather…”

Well, here are some of the unproven beliefs my family has about parenting that have afflicted me, beliefs so ridiculous and unfounded, and yet so strong as they have survived generations, myth and superstition passed from mother to son/daughter, that they manage to manifest themselves in the real world, and thus, reinforcing themselves in the 21st century as truths:

Chinese pregnancy pantang (superstitions).

I swear, they collectively are the best examples in the world that mere belief can transform myth to fact. And the more ridiculous they are, the more seriously you have to take them. I believe the gravity of the pantang is directly related to the pure idiocy of it.

When I was pregnant with Raeven, I was not allowed to do needlepoint in bed. I could do it on a chair, with my poor swollen legs ON the bed, but no, not with my whole pregnant body ON it. The reason? The Chinese (or maybe it’s just my mother-in-law) believe that whatever embroidery or cross-stitch pattern you sew, will appear as a birthmark on your baby.

So yes, if you embroider “Mariners Rule!” on your shirt, chances are your baby will be a Mariners fan – whether he likes it or not.

This applies to things like hammering a nail (will puncture your uterus) or painting (Skyler has what my MIL insists is a brush-stroke-shaped birthmark on her left leg because I painted Rae’s room when I was pregnant) or even taking a driving test (I took mine when I was seven months pregnant with Skyler and that is why I had her prematurely at 30 weeks).

Eating ‘cool’ fruits like watermelon or drinking cold or iced drinks will also result in a miscarriage or a premature birth. I did drink a lot of cold drinks and eat a lot of ‘cool’ fruits because IT’S A HUNDRED DEGREES IN MALAYSIA FOR PETE’S SAKE. And the fact that two other women I knew, who had very obediently abstained from such irresponsible, dangerous vices, also had premature babies, only shows that they had been LYING.

“I’m sure they went and had SOME fruit,” insisted a particularly superstitious friend of mine. Oh, brother.

And don’t even get me started on all the confinement pantangs. I’ll leave those to you guys.

I have a theory, which is another unfounded belief I have about these pantangs BUT IT IS TRUE:

They were made up by old wives to torture their daughters or daughters-in-law which they believe must be passed on because hey, I suffered – now it’s YOUR turn. That’s tradition for you: A thousand-year legacy of unnecessary suffering.

I’m sure there are a million pantangs out there I’m not aware of – and thus violated – which is why I deserved to have premature, birthmark-ridden, cakap manyak children. But as I said, I’ll leave those to you guys. So let me begin this tag to the following moms to share their unfounded, idiotic unproven parenting beliefs:

Remember to pass this lovely tag to five more moms or dads so we can all revel in our ridiculousness!

ps. You don’t have to do a podcast. You can, if you want to!


Click play to listen to The I’mPerfectMom Podcast, an original audio production featuring No More Lies by Cosmic Taxi. Enjoy new music by independent musicians at, available for use under the Creative Commons licence.