KATE PANG: “I DIDN’T RE­ALISE KIDS WOULD CRE­ATE PROB­LEMS IN MY MAR­RIAGE”

The ac­tress-host shares more in our #mum­goals se­ries.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

When celebrity mum Kate Pang an­nounced her de­par­ture from Me­di­a­corp in Oc­to­ber last year, it came as no sur­prise.

Af­ter all, the 35-year-old is one de­voted mum who put her promis­ing fu­ture in show­biz on hold when her lit­tle ones came along – Aden is now four; and Avery, two.

She and ac­tor-hubby Andie Chen, 33, are now fo­cus­ing on their Youtube chan­nel, Kandie Fam­ily, where they cover par­ent­ing top­ics such as child-rear­ing, health and nu­tri­tion, and preg­nancy. Their aim: To show young adults that “hav­ing a fam­ily can be fruit­ful and ridicu­lously fun”.

But the road lead­ing to this was not an easy one. The bub­bly mum opens up to Young Par­ents over cof­fee at Park Ho­tel Clarke Quay about her par­ent­hood jour­ney, and how hav­ing chil­dren al­most ru­ined her lov­ing re­la­tion­ship with Andie.

You shared an In­sta­gram post about how your mar­riage hit the rocks af­ter the kids came along. What re­ally hap­pened?

Be­fore we got mar­ried, peo­ple around me were con­stantly

telling me that there will be many mar­i­tal prob­lems af­ter the kids come along. At that point in time, I didn’t know what it would be like, and I al­ways be­lieved that we should pri­ori­tise our hus­bands be­cause they are the ones who will walk with you for the rest of your life.

But it was only af­ter giv­ing birth that I re­alised what ev­ery­one was telling me was true. Hav­ing kids was a huge turn­ing point for Andie and I – we never thought that it would bring prob­lems to our mar­riage.

The kids’ ex­is­tence did af­fect the love be­tween us. te loved the kids more, and the love and af­fec­tion we had for each other tran­si­tioned to­wards them.

At the start, Andie’s fo­cus wasn’t en­tirely on the kids. He has al­ways been some­one who loves his wife more – it was only last year that I felt he loves the kids more – and he (was al­ways of the be­lief that we) shouldn’t forgo our re­la­tion­ship just be­cause of chil­dren.

ln the other hand, I’ve al­ways given all my at­ten­tion to look­ing af­ter the chil­dren. As a re­sult, we ar­gued over this is­sue count­less times.

But thank­fully, Andie is very ac­com­mo­dat­ing and he un­der­stands that I can’t please ev­ery­one, so he’ll ad­just him­self ac­cord­ingly. And, I’ll try to put my­self in his shoes as well.

Plus, the kids are a lit­tle older now, so when they go to school in the morn­ing, we’ll have some alone time to­gether. te also have a rule where we’ll go on dates ev­ery week – whether it’s watch­ing a movie or hav­ing a meal. A happy mar­riage equals to happy kids.

At the end of the day, we both agree that the joy the kids give us helps to bal­ance the dif­fer­ences in our mar­riage as well.

Both of you left Me­di­a­corp to start your own com­pany. Why?

te were pon­der­ing this for quite some time. The tra­di­tional TV in­dus­try is in de­cline and we’re con­cerned that this will af­fect our ca­reers, which will then af­fect the kids’ fu­tures. te knew we needed a con­crete long-term plan.

At the same time, we started our com­pany and man­aged it to a point where we needed more time and space. I wasn’t 100-per-cent com­mit­ted to Me­di­a­corp and it was un­fair to them as they’d want to fully man­age an artiste.

That said, I’m still work­ing with them on projects and host­ing gigs. But since I’m not un­der them, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be picked for im­por­tant roles.

But that’s some­thing I never wanted be­cause the hec­tic sched­ules make it very dif­fi­cult for me to look af­ter the kids.

How are things like for your fam­ily now?

gob-wise, some things have changed. then I was an ac­tress, my only re­spon­si­bil­ity was to mem­o­rise my scripts and act.

Now that I’m my own boss, I’ve to do most things by my­self – from writ­ing my own script to pro­duc­ing it. te are not a very big com­pany, so we don’t have the lux­ury of em­ploy­ing peo­ple to do ev­ery­thing for us.

Fam­ily-wise, my time with the kids has mul­ti­plied. lur con­tent is al­ways re­lated to par­ent-child re­la­tion­ships, and this is also one of the rea­sons we are strik­ing out on our own.

Not only do we have bet­ter man­age­ment of our time, but we can also plan all our videos to in­clude the chil­dren – this al­lows us to spend more time with them while we are work­ing.

What’s a typ­i­cal day like?

then the kids don’t have school, I make break­fast for them. The kids are very in­quis­i­tive, so they will come over and take a look and ask lots of ques­tions. te’ll then have break­fast to­gether, chit-chat, play and read some books – that will be our read­ing and ac­tiv­ity time.

Af­ter which, I’ll prep for lunch, and Aden will some­times help me out – ei­ther by wash­ing the rice, mush­rooms or veg­eta­bles – and when I start cook­ing, my helper will take care of the kids.

I’d say the long­est pe­riod we spend with our kids is dur­ing meal times. te com­mu­ni­cate

a lot, and our con­ver­sa­tion usu­ally re­volves around the dishes – what I’ve cooked, or where I bought the in­gre­di­ents from.

Some­times, the kids are a lit­tle picky – there are cer­tain things they don’t like eat­ing. For ex­am­ple, Avery doesn’t like fish and Aden doesn’t like toma­toes. So, I’ll try var­i­ous cook­ing meth­ods to en­cour­age them to try dif­fer­ent foods.

I want them to try ev­ery­thing, and if they still don’t like it, they can spit it out. And when they try and en­joy it, I’ll feel a sense of ac­com­plish­ment.

Some­times Andie and I have to work dur­ing the week­ends and we can’t take the kids out to play the en­tire day, which is why meal times are re­ally im­por­tant to us.

You post lots of Aden and Avery’s pictures on In­sta­gram. What are your thoughts about putting them in the lime­light?

I’m more wor­ried about strangers call­ing their names, and they’ll think it’s some­one they know. lnce, some­one came to Aden and pinched his cheeks – we didn’t even know who the guy was. And we told Aden to run if some­one does this to him again.

I’m also afraid that the pictures may cause his peers to poke fun at him when he starts for­mal school­ing. I don’t know if this will hap­pen, but we are pre­pared to delete (all pub­lic) footage and pictures of our kids when they reach a cer­tain age, out of re­spect for their pri­vacy. te’re also al­ways ob­serv­ing Aden to see if he likes be­ing in front of the cam­era. But he’s still very young, so I don’t think he knows how to dif­fer­en­ti­ate act­ing from ev­ery­day life.

He just finds film­ing fun and en­joy­able. Maybe when he’s older, and peer pres­sure is a fac­tor, then he’ll have a dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity.

What are some par­ent­ing prob­lems you have faced?

I think it’s sim­i­lar to what other par­ents face. lne ex­am­ple is school re­fusal – and this was a huge headache for us. Aden doesn’t like go­ing to school and ev­ery time we send him to school, he’ll cry.

then Aden is with me, he’s very happy be­cause he has lots of free­dom, whereas in school, there are lots of rules and he has to learn to be in­de­pen­dent. I feel that I didn’t pre­pare him for school well enough, which is why he finds it so painful.

But I’m some­one who al­ways think of all the pos­si­ble ways to solve a prob­lem. So each time he brings home his draw­ings, I’ll praise him in a very se­ri­ous tone: “You prob­a­bly didn’t draw this. You bought it from the depart­ment store, right? Since you’re so good at it, you don’t have to go to school any­more.”

Andie is very co­op­er­a­tive, too. Maybe it’s be­cause we are ac­tors, so we don’t over-re­act – kids can tell when you do that. That’s when they re­alise some­thing is amiss. This way, it helps our kids un­der­stand that go­ing to school makes them smarter.

How does your par­ent­ing style dif­fer from Andie’s?

There aren’t any dif­fer­ences, and we don’t play good or bad cop. te came to an agree­ment that if the kids have done some­thing wrong, it’ll not make

any dif­fer­ence if they look for ei­ther of us.

te don’t raise our voices, but we’ll ask the kids nicely if they think such be­hav­iour is cor­rect. rsu­ally, Aden will sob and say no. He’s not one to throw a tantrum when he’s un­happy. I’ll ex­plain it to him and he’s quick to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion.

Since we are on the topic of dis­ci­pline, which meth­ods work for you?

It re­ally de­pends on what they’ve done wrong. For ex­am­ple, Aden tends to con­trol his blad­der when he’s play­ing with toys or watch­ing TV. It comes to a point when he can’t con­trol it any fur­ther, and uri­nates on the floor.

Then, I’ll ask him if he thinks this is cor­rect be­hav­iour, be­fore get­ting him to clean it up. I’ll let him bear the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

lf­ten­times, when the lit­tle one does some­thing wrong, most par­ents will scold and set­tle the prob­lem for them. But kids need to learn that cer­tain ac­tions lead to cer­tain con­se­quences. It doesn’t feel good, but they need to deal with the dis­com­fort.

And in sit­u­a­tions where he is fuss­ing over a candy, I’ll ex­plain to him nicely and firmly why he can only have it af­ter din­ner, and I’ll keep re­peat­ing my­self. Af­ter a while, he thinks Mum is a bro­ken recorder (laughs), and he’ll walk away. He is still un­happy about it, but he’s not able to do any­thing be­cause I won’t give in to his re­quests.

Do you be­lieve in the phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child”?

I be­lieve that in the past, par­ents scolded and hit their chil­dren be­cause they love them. But in this age, if we con­tinue to use such meth­ods, it’ll cause them to dis­tance them­selves, which might re­sult in them mix­ing with bad com­pany.

Tech­nol­ogy is so ad­vanced now, and there are lots of ways to make friends. They might think peo­ple out there care for them more, and they will never think that their par­ents love them the most.

So I’ve al­ways try to move away from such meth­ods of teach­ing my kids.

It’s not easy jug­gling a busi­ness and fam­ily. How do you achieve work-life bal­ance?

My kids are my top pri­or­ity and they are the most im­por­tant peo­ple in my life. If I have to sac­ri­fice one, work will defi­nitely go. But I’m very grate­ful for the peo­ple around me – my hus­band, friends and co-work­ers – they’ve helped to shoul­der a lot of my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Andie al­ways says I’m some­one who messes things up very eas­ily, but there’re lots of peo­ple around me that will fill up the holes.

Achiev­ing work-life bal­ance can be very chal­leng­ing for lots of work­ing mums as kids and work are a sep­a­rate is­sue – they can’t bring the lit­tle ones to work. Thank­fully, my work has a fam­ily-friendly cul­ture, so there aren’t re­ally any sac­ri­fices to be made.

How has Andie sup­ported you?

My hus­band has been very sup­port­ive in ev­ery­thing that

I do – and I mean, ev­ery­thing. Start­ing the com­pany was his idea. I’m some­one who is afraid of in­con­ve­nience and I don’t want to as­sume lots of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. I don’t have lots of dreams, but my goal was al­ways to be a house­wife.

That aside, I still need to work hard, earn money and sup­port the fam­ily – be­fore

I can do noth­ing at home. I’ve also made it clear to him that my dream is to not do any­thing (laughs), and he is very sup­port­ive of it.

He dotes on me and loves me very much. bven when I sug­gest the most ridicu­lous ideas, he won’t stop me, but he’ll gen­tly re­mind me about the un­der­ly­ing prob­lems and is­sues it would bring.

But dreams aside, we have to work hard first.

Are there any plans to have more kids in the fu­ture?

I don’t mind hav­ing lots of kids – three is the per­fect num­ber for me. But there are some con­cerns. Firstly, once I’m preg­nant, I’ll stop work for one to two years, and there won’t be any in­come dur­ing this pe­riod of time.

Also, I’m not that young any­more, so hav­ing more kids will not be that easy. But that said, we’ll let na­ture take its course.

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