“I AM an Asian Tiger Mum, for whom education is the only way to success for my children, and excellence in music, sport and ballet is a prerequisite to living any sort of life at all.”

This was me, in a vivid dream I had during the summer of 2004, before child number one started school. As the child of immigrant parents, I had been brainwashed with the ‘education is everything’ mantra since I was wee. My mother had pretty much mapped out my educational future as she ‘enjoyed’ (her words, not mine) the two weeks in hospital after my birth. Now, on the verge of my own children starting school, it suddenly hit me that being an Asian Tiger Mum was going to take drive, time and commitment and, worryingly, I was low on all three.

I lacked the drive. As a second-generation British/Scottish Asian I didn't have the same hunger to see my children succeed that my parents had. I lacked the time. As a TV producer, I worked fairly long, and sometimes irregular, hours which meant I would often just appear at bedtime. And, as for commitment – I was that invisible parent whose nanny was presumed to be mummy, even though the skin tones were definitely a puzzle. So, the Asian Tiger Mum of my dream was replaced by a half-arsed, Asian Tabby Mum. (I would use the word ‘pussy’, but that might disappoint some dodgier internet searches). I was also surrounded by laissez-faire, non-Asian, friends who urged me to: “Relax, chill, let them do their own thing,” which seeped into my psyche like a dose of Valium.

Last weekend, fast-gulping tears as I dropped my younger son at university, I reflected on where it had all gone wrong for Asian Tiger Mum. Sure enough, both boys are at university but neither had achieved what Asian Tiger Mum had hoped. With a mix of As and Bs in their Highers they struggled to get into universities of their choice. In fact, the younger son had had five rejections from universities to study law. This marked the final, humiliating demise of Asian Tiger Mum, as I phoned round universities begging them for any space they might have available in any subject.

His last few weeks at home were marred by arguments, sulks and door slamming…and not just by him. Dinner times were fractured by heated discussions – mainly about politics or what he was going to do with his life – that descended into full-blown rammies. I began to resent his youthful, mental agility – being able to pull facts from thin air to prove points and his steely determination to be heard and strike the winning riposte at the crucial moment. Asian Tiger Mum would never have countenanced this.

So, what happened? Alongside my half-arsedness, there were other factors in the slaying of Asian Tiger Mum. Number one son was diagnosed with a rare condition called Chronic Repetitive Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO), which caused painful lesions. There was stiffness in his joints, and awkwardness in his gait. His handwriting was truly shocking, and I worried that examiners might not be able to read it, but I attributed that to the stiffness. His Higher results were acceptable, but I could tell by his reaction that he was deflated. Tiger Mum was disappointed too, but priorities had shifted, and I was simply relieved that the CRMO was easing. On his 18th birthday after watching him struggle to cut his birthday cake, I took him to an Occupational Therapist who told us he had Dyspraxia too. Dyspraxia, characterised by a lack of coordination, clumsiness and poor fine motor skills (hence the shocking handwriting), helped him understand why it had all been a bit of a struggle, and it explained to me why he had refused to take part in sports, play any sort of instrument and struggled at PE.

As for the wee one, Asian Tiger Mum was slayed by the sheer force of his personality. A non-compliant child from a young age, this child gleefully worked his way through a whole address book of childminders, until I finally had to leave my job and run a business from home to look after him. A child who, when I confiscated his phone when he was 11, wilfully gathered 20 of my mum’s old Encyclopaedia Britannicas so he could ‘read about stuff’ because he couldn't get his fix of Wikipedia. This child was not going to let me sit alongside him as he studied, get a tutor or attend any clubs or activities.

So, yes, life got in the way of me being the parent I wanted to be, and every once in a while, that irritates me, but then I think ‘actually it’s all relative’. And whilst Asian Tiger Mum has been neutralised, shambolic Asian Tabby Mum looks around the empty nest and feels pretty chuffed.