In Sim­ply Her’s re­cent an­nual Cha­t­room, read­ers picked up strate­gies to deal with mummy guilt, dis­ci­pline and school pres­sure.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Bookends Event - BY CH­ERYL LEONG

CYNTHEA LAM, 36, stay-at-home mum, with two chil­dren, five and two

WHO The for­mer mar­ket­ing man­ager used to work 12-hour days, and felt guilty about be­ing away from her kids. Two years ago, she quit her job to spend more time with them. SHE SAYS “Now, I see my chil­dren all the time – I cook for them daily and can vol­un­teer at their school events. I feel proud to be able to do that. My chil­dren have also ben­e­fited – Jonas, my younger child, is con­fi­dent and out­spo­ken. Kate, from fall­ing sick ev­ery few weeks, is now hardly ever sick, since I can cook her healthy, or­ganic meals.” HER STRATE­GIES “At times, I feel iso­lated and de­pressed. So I started see­ing a coun­sel­lor and open­ing up to my friends. I’m now also us­ing my free time to pre­pare and de­liver or­ganic lunch packs to busy work­ing mums and their kids. It’s my way of go­ing back to work with­out re­turn­ing to the cor­po­rate world.”

MARIE KOH, 42, part-time preschool teacher, with two daugh­ters, 12 and eight

WHO When she isn’t teach­ing, Marie takes care of her two daugh­ters. Her el­dest, Me­gan, will take her PSLE this year, but Marie isn’t go­ing down the tu­ition route at all. SHE SAYS “Me­gan’s maths grades were, for a time, at the bot­tom of her class. I had to bite my tongue not to scold her. When she was in Pri­mary 4, she asked for maths tu­ition. But af­ter six months, her grades didn’t im­prove so we stopped. I told her that the best tu­tors were her school teach­ers, and if she didn’t un­der­stand some­thing, she had to ask. That's what I tell her sis­ter, Matilda, too.” HER STRATE­GIES “Help your kids to be self-suf­fi­cient. When my girls have prob­lems with school­work and are afraid to ask, I help them over­come their fear of speak­ing up by role-play­ing a fierce teacher, and they’ll prac­tise say­ing, ‘Teacher, I’m sorry but I re­ally don’t un­der­stand. May I look for you when you’re free?’ Now, Me­gan’s teach­ers say that she al­ways clar­i­fies things with them."

BETH YAP, 39, sales di­rec­tor, with two sons, seven and five

WHO Beth shares par­ent­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for her two boys, Tyler and Keenan, with her hus­band, her fa­ther and her mother-in-law. SHE SAYS “Shar­ing par­ent­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties comes with chal­lenges, es­pe­cially if there are con­flict­ing styles. But it has won­der­ful ef­fects too. My boys have be­come closer to their grand­par­ents, while I have peace of mind to con­cen­trate on my job. My mother-in-law goes through their school­work, plays games and sings with them. Dad’s more fo­cused on child-mind­ing and speaks to them in di­alect. My kids are ex­posed to both worlds.” HER STRATE­GIES “This ar­range­ment has helped me be a bet­ter mum. The time I spend at work al­lows me to feel more pro­duc­tive – I can en­joy my me-time, so­cialise with col­leagues and run my er­rands. When I get home, I’m hap­pier to be with my kids and I’m more fun to be with.”

HE­LEN MAR­JAN, 47, joint man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and di­rec­tor of stud­ies at Lorna Whis­ton Schools, with three chil­dren, 21, 19 and 16

WHO A Bri­tish Chris­tian woman mar­ried to a Malay Mus­lim, He­len is no stranger to cross-cul­tural par­ent­ing. SHE SAYS “I’ve lived here for al­most 24 years, so I con­sider my­self quite Sin­ga­porean. My hus­band and I share sim­i­lar val­ues, de­spite our dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds. When it comes to par­ent­ing, there’s no la­belling of race or cul­ture – we both want the same things for our kids – to do well in school, to be kind and to live good lives.” HER STRATE­GIES “Fo­cus on the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween you and your hus­band, not the dif­fer­ences. For ex­am­ple, my hus­band and I have al­ways asked our girls not to wear shorts when their Malay grand­par­ents are around. Over the years, this has helped build a healthy re­spect for other cul­tures too.”

Four mums and our ex­pert shared their ex­pe­ri­ences in rais­ing their kids.

Our host, Tan Kheng Hua.

The panel dis­cus­sion fo­cused on par­ent­ing hot but­ton is­sues.

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