Wednesday, 7 May 2014 | MYT 8:40 AM

Juggling a career in the beauty industry and being a mother

Group marketing manager of Sothys Joanne Teo and her children.

Group marketing manager of Sothys Joanne Teo and her children.

It’s always a learning curve: Three women share lessons they’ve learnt in motherhood.

Looking at the women who work in the beauty industry, it appears as if they look immaculately flawless all the time, and they lead a lifestyle that’s brimming with glamour, beautiful people and luxury.

Truth is, when you look beneath the make-up and skincare veneer, it’s actually a lot of hard work. On top of trying to juggle deadlines (yes, they’ve got deadlines too!), meeting targets, customer demands, budget constraints, dealing with technlogical changes, delivering PR spiel and handling principals, they are wives and mothers too! All of it, while still maintaining a gorgeous demeanour!

It’s tough enough when you have bosses or husbands to answer to, but children are probably the most difficult as they don’t succumb to adult logic or timelines, and the way they operate are not always within reason.

Perhaps, the hardest lesson for mothers to accept is that we’re not perfect and our children don’t expect us to be. Sometimes, we are own worst critics as we have such high expectations of ourselves!

Clarance Boo, public relations manager for L’Occitane, came across this quote: While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. She feels it’s absolutely true as children are a lot more mature than we give them credit for.

This Mother’s Day, Star2 took three women aside to ask about the takeaway lessons they’ve learnt as mothers.

Sharyn Wong, general manager of Clinique.
Sharyn Wong, 45, general manager of Clinique, is a mother of two, a girl aged 17 and a boy aged 14.

Lesson 1: I’ve learnt to treat both of them like friends and talk to them with respect. They both clearly enjoy this sort of “new” relationship with my husband and I. It makes it easier for them to share their daily experiences with us so and we can keep abreast of what’s happening to them.

Lesson 2: I’ve learnt to not be too upset if the outcome (at school) is not as expected. We always tell the kids that as long as they try their best, we’re fine with it. We don’t believe in having a kiasu mentality as we want them to be able to understand failure and learn from the experiences.

Life is not centred on winning, but rather, it’s the journey that matters.

Lesson 3: I’ve learnt to rationalise with them and clarify when we disagree on issues, instead of forcing our opinions on the children as kids these days are very opinionated and have a mind of their own.

We encourage them to make their own decisions and be responsible for the outcome as empowerment comes with responsibility.

Joanne Teo, group marketing manager, Sothys Malaysi, together with kids Natalie and Nicholas.

Thirty-something group marketing manager of Sothys, Joanne Teo, has two children: Natalie, nine and Nicholas, six.

Lesson 1: I’ve learnt to listen and try to understand my children. Gone are the days when they will do whatever we tell them to. My kids ask me “why” all the time, and I have to explain and rationalise with them.

As a mother, I realise I must understand them in order to be understood. It is a real challenge and sometimes, I just want to say “just do it!” but I feel it’s good to communicate my feelings so that they know where I’m coming from.

Lesson 2: When bringing up a girl and a boy, it’s important to have individual time with them. As a working mum, it’s a real challenge to spend time with them. Often,

it’s a case of “killing many birds with one stone”, for example, when I’m out doing groceries with them!

I do try to make time for mother-daughter outings (doing to the salon, shopping, etc) and mother-son days too. I feel that with the little time I get to spend with them, I get to build our relationship.

During these precious times, I ask them personal questions about how they feel or what their views are, just so that they will feel more comfortable sharing information and their feelings with me.

Lesson 3: I noticed that as mothers, we try very hard to be the best. Motherhood is not a competition and we shouldn’t compare with other mothers out there. It’s a journey based on a foundation of love.

As such, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for the things we aren’t able to do or provide, because at the end of the day, it should be a journey where we can look back without regrets, because we’ve tried our very best.

Clarance Boo, PR manager, L'Occitane with Gabby, 3.

Clarance Boo, 31, of L’Occitane, has a three-year-old daughter, Gabby.

Lesson 1: I’ve learned that it’s OK to speak up. Kids are not afraid to ask for what they want. Whenever Gabby wants something, she’ll try her best to get it. Sometimes it involves doing adorable things, and sometimes it involves a bit of crying on her part.

As adults, we’re often so scared of being labelled – self-centred, selfish, foolish – and we usually end up not realising what we really want. Gabby has taught me that with a little courage, sometimes it’s OK to ask for the things you want in life.

Lesson 2: There’s no harm in taking things one step at a time. Some days, everything seems to be happening at the same time and it makes me crazy sometimes because I never seem to have enough time on my hands. Because of Gabby, I’ve learnt to be more patient.

In her own little way, she’s showed me that it’s alright to admit that I’m can be wrong sometimes.

Lesson 3: As a young mother, I do what’s best for my child. Sometimes, people feel entitled to give me advice on how to raise my child. Over the years, I have learnt not to take all the advice to heart. At the end of the day, what matters is that Gabby grows up well under my care, be it the “right” way or not. Her happiness is above everything else.

Lesson 4: It’s perfectly alright not to be the “perfect mother”. I picked up cooking when I became a mum. My food is not super delicous, but I cook with all my heart and my daughter eats it with gusto, which makes me feel really contented.

Every feedlng time is an enjoyable experiece as Gabby makes me feel that I don’t need to be an award-winning chef to cook for her. It’s the effort which I have put in that counts.

Related story:

Win Sothys stuff for your best gal aka your mum

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Family Community , Family , Mother s , lessons , takeaway


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