A Vietnamese-American Mother


2006-03-21
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"My name is Bachlien Tran-Batdorf, 41 years old, mother of three children—5, 19, and 21. I am a Vietnamese-American married to a white man. Currently, I live with my family in Yorkville city of Illinois, USA. Every day, my main job is to take care of my five-year old daughter and husband, and look after a home-based business on Internet."

My average day

"My other two young adult children have already moved out, and now live in California. Every morning about 7 a.m., I prepare breakfast for my family before my husband goes to work. After he is gone, I need to clean up the house and give my daughter a bath and help her get dressed."

"After her bath, it’s my turn take a shower and dress… After that I can sit down and read newspapers for 30 minutes, and then I get online to check out my home-based business for a few hours while my daughter is watching her cartoons on TV. At 11 a.m. I need to make lunch for my daughter and get ready for her to go to school."

What makes me happy?

"After she is gone, I go online again… for a few more hours while listening to Radio Free Asia on the Internet, or to the local Chicago and Naperville radio news and talk shows. At 4 p.m. I need to prepare dinner for my family."

"After dinner, I help my daughter with her homework. After homework, I watch TV with my whole family for about 1-2 hours. At 9 p.m. I help my daughter get ready for bed and read her a story before she goes to sleep. At 10 p.m. I prepare my schedule for tomorrow and get ready for bed."

"Taking care of my family and knowing that my family is well taken care of financially, physically, and emotionally, is my happiness. Being able to help my loved ones in Vietnam with their financial needs would make me happy too."

"Improving living conditions for women, seeing progress in human rights and freedom of religion for Vietnam would also make me happy."

"I hope my children will be successful in their education and careers, and that they will make wise decisions regarding their future family lives. My hopes for Vietnam are that it will soon enjoy democracy, the freedom of religion, and basic human rights, like ordinary people throughout the free world do."

"Being a divorced parent, remarrying, and trying to forget my past is the hardest thing I have ever done—such as taking care of my children while I was divorced and working fulltime, and starting a second marriage while making compromises with older children and my new husband, who has a different culture and language from mine."

"What would I change in the world if I could? I would promote greater awareness of family planning responsibility and the challenge of raising children. I would create more home-based jobs for women to stay home to take care of their young children and family."

"I would create more educational and career programs for mothers to go back to work after they are done raising their children. I would make health care free for all people regardless of social class. I would bring freedom and democracy to Vietnam without Communist rule."

Written in English by Bachlien Tran-Batdorf. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han and Luisetta Mudie. Please continue to send contributions to RFA's Women in Their Own Words project to this address: women@rfa.org.

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