The role of mothers evolve as society changes. But some things remain constant. STORM talks to four women who have applied their own methods to raise their children. When we were young, we believed our mothers were perfect, bastions of comfort and safety. But as individuals in their own right, they are saddled with their own worries and hardships, and who must endure trials and tribulations both inside and outside of her home. By Basia Chow
Finding That Balance
Suguna Madhavan is a global business and brand architect, acting as a Strategic Partner of Design Studio Nuovo, the Founder/Director of innovation and new business incubator and management consultancy, Firesong Initiatives Pte Ltd.
“There was an article someone was circulating the other day, making a point that anybody who says you can find a perfect balance between work, and life, is not looking at the real picture. When you’re running a start-up, it takes place on a global basis, which requires international travel, and up to 18-hour working days. The balance of your life during the first years of a start-up is sometimes 70 % work and 30% life.
At the end of the day, time is limited. We have only 24 hours. But in life, there is motherhood, there is health, and there is yourself. You are a daughter, a wife, and a friend. So something along the continuum has to give, and what I’ve done over the years is find a balance.
I pick and choose from family and friends, spending time on the people who are really important. And I put a backseat to my fitness regime. Within the available time I have, I focus on work and family. I plan things in advance. I work out very carefully with my husband to make sure that at any point in time, one of us is always around for the day-to-day things.”
Height Doesn’t Matter
Violet Lim is a modern matchmaker and founder of Lunch Actually, Asia’s first lunch dating site. (www.lunchactually.com).
“I wasn’t the maternal type. Even when I was younger, with kids, I was always, ’don’t pass to me, don’t pass to me’. But once you have your own kids your maternal instincts will kick in. If you were to ask me, What is the biggest accomplishment of my life, I would say, being a mother. It’s just so fulfilling, nurturing them and being there through the various milestones they grow through. I love it.
But the hardest thing about being a mother, being a parent, is that you just never stop worrying about your children. I travel a lot as part of my work. But one thing that changed after I became a mother, was that I was really very worried that something would happen to me, especially if the plane was experiencing turbulence. I really worry what would happen to them (if I wasn’t around), whether they would be fine.
My advice to new mothers: Ignore what everybody is trying to tell you. Take everything they say with a pinch of salt. The most important thing is to relax, and do what is right for you. Have courage, to make your own decisions and don’t feel forced into doing something you’re not comfortable with.”
Humility Is Queen
Jeannie Tien and her late husband, Alex A.B. Tien were the founders of Atlas Sound in 1963. Today the business is helmed by their son Michael Tien, and is a distributor of high-end audio-visual equipment like Bose and Loewe.
“I’m so proud of my sons. What makes me most proud of them is their attitude towards life, their confidence, and most importantly, their humility. We incalculated in our children virtues: filial piety, love for God, people, family. If we are not teaching children proper values, then they will not know how to appreciate morals.
Love is King, Humility is Queen. I do not want my children to be proud, I do not give them luxury goods. Instead, everything they have and want, they must earn.
I treat my children the way I treat my friends. I never beat them. Instead of telling them what to do, I give them guidance. If they do something wrong, just consider it a learning experience. If they do something right, then I know that I have taught them how to decide for themselves what ought to be the right way.”
Roslinah Wilson works as a part-time customer service manager with Jetstar Asia. A flexible flying roster allows her to spend more time on her private life than she did previously.
“The amount of time I had for myself and my friends altered after I had my son, as did my priorities. Aside from my flying duties, I also work part-time as a property agent. From being a mother alone, I’ve learnt to be more organised and to manage my time. It is no longer just about me, it is about my family, and what I need to do to make them happy. Sometimes I’m too hard on myself, but you learn from your mistakes.
Your perspective on life changes as well. There’s no more throwing caution to the wind because you’re ‘happy go lucky’. You’re responsible for another life, you have to plan for the future because this little life knows nothing and you have to be there to nurture him, guide him and bring him up. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s been a thrilling adventure for the past 16 years and the joy it brings you is indescribable.”
Read the full interviews with the four mothers on STORM V26, available at Allscript, MPH, and Kinokuniya.