With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we are celebrating all the amazing moms in our lives! We recently connected with Jane Park Kang, a former newscaster who became a TikTok sensation this past year with her viral videos sharing life as a mom of two beautiful kids. Along with many adorable family moments, Jane also gives Korean lessons and resources to help parents navigate difficult conversations with their children. We spoke with Jane about her journey, check out her profile feature below!
Q: What has becoming a mother taught you about yourself? What does motherhood mean to you?
Jane: "It's fascinating that I will always remember the moment I became a mom - the birth of my son, the arduous recovery, the sweetness and bitterness of those first postpartum months - but I don't think I'll ever feel like I've fully arrived in motherhood. I hope that I am constantly maturing and evolving as my children grow. Motherhood has revealed to me so many of my own shortcomings, but also my immense capacity to love another person. I have days where I feel triumphant, and other days where I feel like an imposter or utter failure. But then I see that my kids are always so quick to forgive me and love me, and I think, you know what, I'm doing OK."
Q: We love your videos about your life as a mom, especially the Korean lessons you share with your children. Why do you believe it's important to teach your kids about their Korean culture?
Jane: "My parents provided me with so many opportunities to appreciate my Korean American identity, and I want to pass that on to my children. Growing up, I went to Korean language school every Saturday. During my early years, my mom spent 1-2 hours with me nightly teaching me Korean. She put in so much more effort than I do making short Korean lesson videos with my kids! My mom immigrated to Los Angeles with her parents and siblings when she was 10, and I remember her stories about struggling to learn English and assimilate to the American culture. While she had to blend in as an "American" in public spaces, I was afforded the privilege of embracing my dual identity. My kids' Korean heritage is a part of their American story, and I want to provide them with all the opportunity to love that part of them."
Q: You've created your platform to be a great resource for parents to learn how to have conversations with their children about race and hate crimes. How did you learn to navigate these conversations with your own kids?
Jane: "I'm so appreciative of everyone who told me that our Stop Asian Hate video helped them navigate discussions with their own children. I'm still learning to have more of these conversations in my own family. I try to take cues from my kids and use their curiosity, questions, and observations as opportunities to talk about things that we may have previously shied away from. The pandemic has blurred the boundaries between school and home this year, and it's created an environment where we can carry conversations from the dinner table to the classroom. So it has felt like more of a team effort between educators and parents to talk about racism. I've been more vocal in asking my child's teacher and school counselor to address anti-Asian racism, and I'm thankful they have been receptive to the feedback."
Q: You've grown an amazing community on TikTok, with over 3 million followers! What has been your favorite part about creating content on social media? And most challenging?
Jane: "My favorite part about my TikTok journey has been finding and creating a community of mothers in all walks of life. When I see my own daily parenting woes reflected in funny video content, I feel seen and a little less isolated. It's also been so fun recreating my own real life moments into content that resonates with other parents. The most challenging part is going through creative droughts before that next moment of inspiration."
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Jane: "I would tell my younger self to care less about what others think of me, and also to doubt myself less. That's also probably what my older self would advise my current self."
Q: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
Jane: "I've never been great at answering that question, not in high school or college, and even now as a mom of two. I'll be in the throes of parenting teenagers by then, and I hope my kids still like me at the end of the day. As a family, I hope we're engaged community members, wherever we are. I'm going to go out on a limb and say maybe I'll be creating content on whatever the "in" platform is by then!"
Q: What do you root your identity in?
Jane: "Just as I'd say I'm a mom in process, I'm a follower of Jesus in process. During this last year, against the backdrop of a pandemic, political turmoil, and witnessing systemic racism at play, I've beeing asking myself how I, as a cisgender, heterosexual Korean American Christian woman, can show up in ways where I'm living out my purpose and truly loving my neighbors. I think it's about being open to unlearning some things, to listen and acknowledge the experiences of people who both look like me and don't, and ultimately accepting that I am still fully coming into who I am."
Photography by Jane Park Kang