Four celebrity mums share what motherhood means to them

Family first: Rozita with her youngest child, five-month-old daughter Aaisyah.

They say a mother’s heart is always with her children. You will never know the feeling unless you become one. This is especially true for actress/TV host and former beauty queen Rozita Che Wan.

For Rozita, becoming a mother after a lapse of 17 years was something she never envisaged. She had her youngest child, five-month-old Aaisyah Dhia Rana at 42.

Fortunately for her, the whole experience was a breeze. Aaisyah not only looks like a doll, she also behaves like one and is adorable and easy to handle.

Aaisyah, appointed Mothercare ambassador at three months old, sleeps through the night, does not throw tantrums and only cries when she needs to be fed.

Rozita is also mother to sons, Ammar Effendy, 20 and Aniq Ezra, 17. She married actor Zain Saidin in late 2013 in what was billed as the “Wedding of the Year.” .

The thought of becoming a mother in her 40s was a little overwhelming at first.

“I’m so lucky, I got into a routine with the new baby without a problem. I was prepared for a whole new experience when I got pregnant with Aaisyah Dhia Rana.

“Since I don’t have a maid, I take turns with my husband, sister and mum-in-law to look after Aaishah. She only cries when she is hungry and doesn’t need cradling or a lullaby to go to sleep.

“At times, I even take her along for my shoots,” said Rozita, who just launched her new perfume, ‘Precious’ last month.

Most mothers set high standards for their children when it comes to formal education and Rozita is no exception.

“Education is most important on my priority list. I do not compromise on good grades and I am one of those mothers who feel a child should do their level best to come up in life.

“Only after they have achieved good grades, do I reward them. My kids know my likes and dislikes so they never push their luck. They know they can’t get their way with me because I will not give in no matter what,” said the former Miss Malaysia Intercontinental 1992.

According to Rozita, she knows how it feels to be deprived and tries to accommodate her children.

“When I was young, there wasn’t much money to spend. I do not want my children to go through hardship.

“I worked really hard to give them the best. I try to pamper them without spoiling them. Family obligations are more important than my career. I try not to miss any important family events,” said the former MAS flight attendant.

Rozita also keeps a diary to jot down the special moments in her children’s lives.

“If I need to reprimand them, I will. I normally have a heart-to-heart talk with them before taking any action and I will do this during dinner or on holiday,” said the glamorous mother who is also the spokesman of several beauty products.

When she is away, her mother and sisters will keep an eye on her children while she monitors them through Skype and social media.

“When I am home, I will try to spend quality time with them. These days, they are constantly asking me about everything. I try to respond as best as I can even though I don’t really have all the answers.

“I’m also quite watchful of their friends and the time they spend with their gadgets. I’m glad my sons never fail to observe my curfew time which is before midnight,” said Rozita.

“At times, I wonder what type of mother I have become and how my sons perceive me. I know I’m strict but that’s because I’ve been a single mum for so long. I don’t mind if people say I have a strong hold on my grown-up sons,” said Rozita.

For actress/model Pushpa Narayan Robless, her biggest challenge as a young mother is keeping an eye on her children all day.

The mother of Rhea Rosa Robless, three years, six months and one-and-a-half year-old Robert Richard, regards her new role as “a full-time job.”

“I am a bit paranoid and I always worry about my children. Since I was the youngest in the family, I didn’t have the experience of looking after younger siblings. But I try to learn everything about raising a kid from my mum and mother-in-law. Everything was a new experience for me and I was under tremendous stress,” said Pushpa.

The most terrifying experience was when Rhea fell off the bed in the middle of the night at 10 months.

“I panicked and didn’t know what to do at first. Thank God my husband was cool and took charge. I was a nervous wreck at that time. Even after the doctor told me she was going to be okay, I was still not okay,” said the 36-year-old who says that being a mother is a huge responsibility.

“I feel overwhelmed and stressed. My main priority is the welfare of my family. I have put my career on hold for two years. That way I can focus on the kids,” said the former “Dewi Remaja” contestant who tries to spend quality time with her children.

“I take my role seriously like getting them to clean their teeth properly, understand why they throw tantrums, getting them to eat the right food, potty training, teaching them manners, the whole works,” said the Jerantut-born beauty who is married to business consultant Richard Frederick Robless.

Another area that Pushpa is getting good at is managing household chores like cooking, washing, dusting, and folding clothes.

“I am more domesticated now because it’s not easy to find help. I want to get the right person to look after my kids but it has been a real challenge.

“I don’t like leaving my baby with ‘strangers’ like babysitters or maids. I am lucky my mother-in-law lives nearby so it’s a great help. I am also not at peace when my child falls sick. I just feel like getting home the soonest possible,” said Pushpa, who thinks she will always experience these anxiety attacks as a mother.

“I will always be paranoid and have that worried feeling hanging over my head. But I like the feeling of being a mother even though I am always slogging now and hardly have time for myself,” said Pushpa.

Before she became a mum, she tended to take things like meeting her friends, exercising and reading for granted.

Mrs Universe 2013, Malaysia’s very own Carol Lee with husband Kenneth Lee Yew Loon and 12 year old daughter Klarissa
Mrs Universe 2013, Malaysia’s very own Carol Lee with husband Kenneth Lee Yew Loon and 12 year old daughter Klarissa. 

“But now I don’t have that luxury of time anymore. My husband tells me to chill and relax. Even though I am sick or busy, I can’t get my kids off my mind. And there is no MC for a mother!” exclaimed Pushpa.

Balancing work and a family is no easy feat but former Mrs Universe 2013, Carol Lee has managed to do this with ease and lots of love.

Slim and tall at 173cm, this mother of 12- year-old daughter, Klarissa is bent on pursuing her passions — her family and her career.

Lee owns a child care centre in Sogo, Kuala Lumpur, managing the administrative work and lends a hand whenever they are short- handed at the centre.

She also emcees at events, choreographs fashion shows, champions several charity organisations and sits on the joint management body of her condominium.

Yet she still finds time to keep fit, play squash and tennis with her neighbours in the morning.

“Time management allows me to do all my work and still spend quality hours with my little girl. I think I am a perfectionist and I give 100% to whatever I do,” she said with a smile.

Lee attributes her successful time management to her smartphone that helps her keep track of her appointments and activities.

She says she slots all work-related events and meetings on weekdays so she is able to dedicate weekends for her family as her husband, Kenneth Lee Yew Loon is also off then.

For Lee, bonding means doing things together and since Klarissa loves playing board games, the family spends considerable time on Malaysian Monopoly and Scrabble.

“Even if a child is playing with an iPad, parents can engage with them instead of each being engrossed in their own gadget while sitting at the dining table. That is not bonding,” she said.

Calling her husband a better cook, Lee said most of the meals are made by her capable maid while she and Klarissa prefer to bake.

When asked if she encourages her daughter to join fashion shows and pageants, Lee said she was leaving the decision to Klarissa.

“I like to see her building confidence through these assignments but the choice is hers. I prefer cultivating good values in her and making a difference in people’s lives,” said Lee, citing her father as her inspiration to be a better person and mother.

Harith Iskander, Zander Xayre Iskander,3 Dr Jezamine Lim Iskander and 18 month old Alessandrea Jayne Iskander
Harith Iskander, Zander Xayre Iskander,3 Dr Jezamine Lim Iskander and 18 month old Alessandrea Jayne Iskander.

Another noted personality and mother Dr Jezamine Lim Iskander, 31, believes in schedules to keep her hectic lifestyle in check.

Wife of comedian Harith Iskander, Dr Lim Iskander, a medical officer, is currently pursuing her PhD in stem cell and tissue engineering.

She is also Harith’s manager and helps him run their production house, Harith Iskander V Day Productions.

The mother of two adorable young children, Zander Xayre Iskander, three, and Alessandrea Jayne,18 months, plans her days a week in advance on Sundays.

“I have a schedule for work, the children’s activities, all our meals and even the workout sessions.

“Weekends is when I cook for the family, making meals four days in advance and storing them,” she said.

Calling Harith her support system, she says they find time to do things together especially reading, piecing together puzzles with Zander and watching movies.

Movie nights at their house are never boring. It is when Dr Lim Iskander engages the children, asking them questions and teaching them along the way.

She said she would slot meetings between lunchtime and if there was an evening appointment the entire family simply tagged along.

When she steps into the house, ‘mum’ mode comes on while her work is left for later in the night after the children are asleep or early in the morning before they are awake.

Looking at her dedication to her family, it is hard to imagine Dr Lim Iskander as a career-oriented woman.

“After medical school I thought I would be working round the clock and I definitely did not think of becoming a mother,” she said, adding that the change was natural after Zander’s birth.

In fact, she said, his arrival strengthened the bond between husband and wife, an essential part of having, happy and healthy children in her opinion.

Parenting, she said, was not as hard as it seemed and even though many people offered advice and insight into the world of motherhood, she took it positively and promised herself she would not allow the negativity to dictate her life.


Across The Star Online