It’s been a while since I have gotten that close to local celebrities. About an arm’s length, to be precise. The last time I was this close to any celebrity I was working for a fashion house and a few of them were invited to a fashion event the company was hosting. Lo and behold, some of these gorgeous superstar have morphed into the beautiful moms that they are now— Still gorgeous, still youthful (like how do they look so radiant and thin forever? Amazing!) and definitely fearless.
Supporting Friso Gold’s call to “Be a G.U.T. Mom”, which abbreviates ‘Growing Up Together’, Sazzy Falak, Belinda Chee, Putri Azalea Ramli and Low Ngai Yuen; have come together joining a group of like-minded Malaysian mothers who strongly believe in the importance of experiencing the growing up journey with their children.
That brought back memory of a well-intentioned lesson I learned from a cousin when Cheeky Koko was only four years old. We were invited to a home-cooked dinner by Daddy Joe’s uncle at 7.30pm one Wednesday night. I was an extremely busy working mama attached to a fashion house with an awful load of work and unpredictable meetings that often piled up last minute. On that night, I knew I was not going to be able to make it on time because a conference call with a US principal was scheduled at 8pm. Even if the call was to last only for 20 minutes, there was still the KL traffic jams to beat. There was also the email to draft to update my boss on what key issues were discussed with the principal right after the call.
I finally settled work and stepped off the office as one of the last few busy bees and sped on my way to his uncle’s suburb home in PJ and must have looked like my mind was scattered everywhere except for the dining room as I reached there 9.15pm looking every bit disconcerted and exhausted. After a lonely dinner (since everyone had finished theirs and were enjoying their coffee and desserts already), Daddy Joe’s cousin (a paediatrician) who was visiting from the UK asked if I’d always worked until that late that my kids went to bed way past bed time because in the UK, children went to bed at 8pm!
8pm!!!! Seriously??? At 8pm I would still be stuck in the office working on the press release for the next seasonal launch! Cheeky Koko and Pumpkin Mei-Mei only went to bed at 10pm because this mama who had missed them dearly the entire day being at work wanted to catch up and play with them when she reached home around 9pm every night!
I couldn’t possibly forget what came next through the mail box a few days later: A handwritten letter from the concerned cousin straight off the plane as she was flying back to the UK where she shared how it was medically proven that a child’s characters were pretty much shaped and moulded in the first five years of his life. In other words, I had only a small window of the first formative five years to influence my child’s character before his personality, moral values and character are influenced by the outside world. Not sure if it was because of the rain that night but I was drenched with parenting guilt so deep.
I snapped out of that old, workaholic self and quickly put into place the change I wanted for my kids. I didn’t quit my job because we still had all the bills to pay, but I did the next best thing I could: I changed my work arrangement from full time to part time with the same company. Working only three work days a week, I then had more time to spend with the two little happiest people for a good two years. I seized the day and made everyday count.
Looking back, as a family, it was a much-welcomed and timely change as we learned to slow down and prioritised what mattered most and as a result of this change, we had the time to smell the flowers together along the way!
Anja Henze, Marketing Director of Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad which markets Friso Gold said, “at Friso Gold, we believe that the journey of growing up is one of life’s most unique experiences; as such, we encourage both parents and children to embrace these experiences and share the precious moments of growing up together. In a world
where human contact and interaction is gradually being replaced by technology, it is important for mother and child to share a bond that can only be strengthened by creating memorable experiences together”.
“Friso Gold helps strengthen children from the inside to support their growth and development, so that they are able to explore, play and learn, allowing them to experience the priceless journey of growing up together with mommy,” she continued. As an act of support to Friso Gold’s movement, all mothers at the launch event including the celebrity moms, donned on the “Be a G.U.T. Mom” badge, pledging their commitment and support. Moms who are interested to pledge your commitment and support to “Be a G.U.T. Mom” movement can go to Friso Gold Malaysia Facebook at here to download this profile badge.
Studies have shown that a child develops best through experiences and discoveries. A mother’s role is to encourage her children by joining them to explore and discover the world together. There will be times when children may stumble and fall, but allowing them to learn while holding their hands and cheering them on is the best support a mother can provide along the way.
Striking the balance between work and family is never an easy task. However I believe that choice is always in our hand. Looking back, I am so glad that I seized the day to prioritise motherhood for the kiddos during their tender growing up years. I have never regretted the choice I made then because looking at the bond between the kids and myself now, I know I did good in that compartment. Most importantly I was with them together through the journey.
Carpe Diem, fellow moms!