Thursday, 2 April 2015

Embracing Motherhood at 21

Embracing Motherhood at 21

8 years ago, on this very day - 2 April, I became a mom to my daughter. We named her Natalie, which means ‘Gift of God’ because she came unexpected, changed our lives and our entire worldview. The world became so much more beautiful that very day. 

In the Beginning

The story started when I was in NUS year 1, I dated the man of my dreams- 9 years older than me, very mature, responsible and totally opposite of the wild me at that time. We share many interests together. As he was financially stable and had a ready house for us, by year 2, I am married to him. Very soon after, I became a mother. So, to many of my peers, I was on the "fast track" - studying and starting a family at the same time. At that point in time, many of my friends ask if I was ready to start a family and if I was ready to be a mother. My reply was “Yes, I am” but very soon, I found out that" No one can ever be ready to be a mom. You just do, and learn along the way." So this is how I started my journey into motherhood at age 21. 

My Struggle

“Being a mother is not easy and it is especially difficult for me as a young mother”. 

Even though I had a very strong family support from both my family and my in-laws, I still struggled a lot on my own to becoming a mom. To me, motherhood started the moment I found out I was pregnant. 

As all my friends are studying in university, emotionally, I felt alone at the start of my journey to motherhood. Although they were always there with me to talk to me, they could never understand my worries as a mum to be. They did shop with me for "baby things" but none of them exactly have the experience. So unlike most of you who have friends that could "guide and mentor" you into motherhood, I only had my mother - whom I am so thankful of. Well, even for my mother, although she was of great help, there were "things" that didn't belong to her time and that she didn't know of (e.g. breast pumps). So, at age 21, I was groping in the dark of Motherhood, lost and scared because I wasn’t sure what to expect. 

The “nightmare” started after giving birth and when I started breastfeeding. To me, giving birth was the easiest part of motherhood. To cut the long story short, my water bag burst at 7am, reached the hospital at 8 and by 10am, a baby girl was born. It was a natural birth, the joy of being a mother overwhelmed the pain I went through. But breastfeeding was really a nightmare for me – at that time, I didn’t even know that breastfeeding bras existed. I was breastfeeding on my bed, latching on one side and spraying all over with the other side. Totally disastrous….But I survived… I did it. Somehow…some what..  I guess, motherhood is the same for all, we just have to learn along the way.

While my other peers are studying or enjoying their life, I'm struggling with a child. But my child became an important part of our friendship. 
My JC friends.

Natalie being the flower girl at one of my best friend's wedding (from sec sch). 

I am so thankful, my first niece, Kate came very quickly after Natalie. So, I finally found someone (my cousin, Wendy) to journey on Motherhood together with me. And this ended my lone journey. We went for baby classes together, shared tips with each other, learnt to cook together. It was so much more reassuring. 

5 Important Lessons that I learnt about being a Mom.

1)     Trusting my Motherly Sense and Instinct.
One of the first lessons I learnt is to trust my own motherly sense and instinct. There is so much debate, pros and cons about almost everything about motherhood.

“Natural birth vs caesarean”
“Epidural or not”
“Breastfeeding vs formula”
“Do you give water or not when you are breastfeeding”
“Pacifier or not”
“Use baby walkers or not”

Probably for every single thing, there are two camps, two theories for and against it. There are so much literature about motherhood available online. So I learnt: trust my own instinct. Every child is unique, every situation is different. What works for others, may not work for me. When my friends come to me for advice (finally, my peers are starting to have kids.) I always tell them “do what you are comfortable with and what makes you and your baby happy. Trust your motherly sense and instinct because it will direct you to do what’s best for your child and yourself.”

2)     “I am a Mother, but I am also MYSELF.”

Many a times, we are so consumed by our role as a mother that we forget to be ourselves.

  • My precious “me-time”: Being Myself.

It’s important for me to have my “me-time” where I go hang out with our friends, go partying and do what I like to do or used to do. My hubby and I have an understanding that it is important for us to develop individually while still being the spouse or parent we are to be. We believe that our individual identity, happiness and satisfaction will lead to a more fulfilling family life. These regular “me-time” breaks, away from the children, away from my role as a mother and be myself makes me a better mom as it helps me bring back new experiences and a livelier me.

  • Being well-groomed is important. Afterall, a Mom is a professional job. 

I always remind myself that I do not want to be “huang lian po”. So I make an effort to dress up when I go out. Yes, even when I’m sending my son to school everyday for that 20-30 mins. You will be surprised that the kids actually notice and I am happy to get compliments from my kids all the time. Well, but I dress up not because I want anyone’s compliment but more because I respect myself as a mom.

  •    “Couple Time”: Being his Wife, the woman he desires.

When I go out on dates with my hubby, I dare to dress up attractively. I make myself attractive and desirable. Sometimes, I am secretly happy when I steal a few glances from other men. It makes my hubby jealous and jealous is good. So that he do not take me for granted and more importantly, this reminds my hubby that I am not just a mother of his kids, but am also his wife, the woman that he desires. Also, when we go out on dates, we talk about anything under the sun (like we used to when we were dating in the past) and do not talk about kids. On some normal days, after all the kids are asleep, we will stay up till 2am to just talk (about anything under the sun).

3)     Sacrifices or Privileges, it’s a mindset.  

A mom is a mom. All other labels that people give us- “SAHM, FTWM, etc..” are meaningless. It’s all in the mind, a mindset.

As a mom myself, I believe that many issues or problems lies within our own mindset. 

Just for example, when people heard that I became a SAHM, people’s first response will be “wah..such a big sacrifices. So wasted that you are doing well in your career then you give up your career to stay at home”. Even some SAHM will think that they made a huge sacrifice for the good of their kids. But to me, it’s a privilege to stay at home- you get quality time with the kids and you get to plan your own schedule. I’m not saying that staying at home is an easy job, but it’s definitely a privilege as it means that your hubby is taking up all the financial burden and not all families can afford to have their mummies stay at home. 

Don’t’ be judgmental, don’t compare. At the end of the day, all moms are good moms regardless of whether you are SAHM or FTWM. It doesn’t matter. It’s a choice and the choice you've made is probably the best for the family.

 4)     Pay now, Play later vs Play now, pay later. 

“When I am ready…...”
“ I need a degree first, house first, a career first and lots of money first.”

These are words I often hear my peers say when it comes to marriage or having kids. But I’m a real life example that “you can have it all. You can study, start a family, have kids and a career concurrently.”

At my graduation at NUS.

In fact, I don’t feel that I lost out at all. Other than the fact that I have to defer for half a year during my University because my EDD was right in the middle of the exam period and I had to suspend my Teaching Scholarship during my deferment, I thought my life is a lot more meaningful and fulfilling. But family support is key. In addition, having a family with 3 kids at a young age gave me a huge advantage at work. I was entrusted with more responsibility as compared to othesr of my age because having a family gives people an impression that “I am more mature and more responsible”. So yes, starting a family at a young age has its benefits.

Of course, sometimes, I envy my friends who are single or without kids. But I always tell myself “Pay now, Play later or Play now, pay later”. It’s just a personal choice. So for me, I rather pay now when I am young and I am willing to play later when all my kids are grown up. Anyway, having children broaden my perspective and seeing the world through their eyes, is just amazing.

 5)“Letting go” is the most important lesson I learnt about motherhood.

My house looks like a battle ground every single day.
My house is messy all the time.
Some times, we eat out and I do not cook.
I always have a load of unwashed clothes in the laundry baskets.
There are some dirty clothes lying around the house.
I have little time to blog and edit them.

But, I learnt to let go.
So what if my house is messy all the time and looks like a battleground? 
I have 3 kids.
Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed. But once I learnt to “let go”, everything seems so much better.

On days, where the kids are cranky or when I feel overwhelmed, I simply dump my “cook dinner” plan and instantly, all my frustration is gone. So learning to “let go” is one secret of being a happy mom. Luckily for me, my hubby is totally supportive and understanding. In fact, he was the one who taught me to let go. His exact words were “we have 3 kids and I don’t expect everything to be perfect. As long as they are happy and you are happy, I am happy.” I thank God every day for him.

However, there are some things I insist. For instance, I insist that my children are polite. I insist that they are gentle and play nice. I insist they are happy doing what they are supposed to do.

Like what my hubby says:
“When I had no kids, I have theories about raising kids. Now I have 3 kids and no theory.”

My Do, Re, Mi and 1, 2, 3…

Sometimes, I still can’t believe I am a mother of 3 at age 29. Amazing! 

Having 3 children is the best decision I have made. Seeing them grow up everyday, playing happily together, laughing and looking after one and another gives me great satisfaction. Having 1 child is nice, but tiring because she needs all the attention from us. Having number 2 is fun and I can sit and relax while they keep each other company. But to me, 3 is the magic number. Number 3 totally changed the dynamics. Suddenly, they learn to negotiate differently and forming alliance (by persuasion or bribery) becomes an important skill. It's just exceptional. Thus, I blog to document the childhood of my children and to share with others about my journey on Motherhood.

Every day, I thank God for Natalie, the most precious gift of God. 
With Emmanuel, we know that "God (is) with us" 
and may we always have Faith in him.

If you like my sharing, follow me on Facebook for more updates.

This is part of a blog train - Embracing Motherhood, by

The next mom on the blog train is Beverly who blogs over at Hello Little Sunshine. Unlike most of her peers who are pursuing their degrees or working their way up the corporate ladder, Beverly has chosen to be a SAHM to her toddler girl. It wasn't an easy decision and parenting life ain't a bed of roses but at the end of the day Beverly can't imagine missing out on the early years of her child. Read on tomorrow to see what embracing motherhood means to her.


  1. Whao.. you became a mother at a really young age. Great that you have so much support from your family and in-laws. Great reading about your motherhood journey here on the Blog Train.

    1. yeah, thanks Dominique for starting this blog train. I have learnt alot from the others on their motherhood journey as well. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! Love your mindset, it is not just a privilege, you are blessed to stay at home and witness the kids' everyday. And indeed, having children broaden one's perspective and seeing the world through their eyes, is just amazing!

    1. Yes, having children really changes my whole world and seeing the world through their eye is really priceless. That's why I'm constantly encouraging people around me to have kids or have more. The joy and happiness a child can bring, is really limitless.