Mothers know best. It’s an old but true saying. Call it the maternal bond from spending nine months growing in our mother’s bellies. Somehow mothers always know what to say, what to do and especially how to love us the way we need. This Mother’s Day , we asked some women what their mums taught them best. Here’s what they said…
Iman Fandi Ahmad, 19, Model
Wendy Jacobs, 44, Model/Presenter/Homemaker
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is... that nothing is impossible if we have the strength of mind. When my mum was unwell, it was a trying period for all of us. But her determination to get better and stronger proved that our will directs our actions. My mum is a very strong and determined woman and she has taught me that nothing is impossible if we go about it with all our heart."
"I'm most like my mother when... I am engaged at work, she has always guided me through my jobs and has instilled in me to be professional at work. She stresses the importance of being respectful and punctual for photo shoots and any appointments. "
"My mother is my… rock , she is the glue the holds the family together. Even though we are old enough to fend for ourselves, she never fails to check in on us to make sure we are happy and healthy. Her presence is always reassuring and I truly appreciate her for that."
Amanda Chong, 29, Lawyer, poet and co-founder of ReadAble
Alison Chong, 58, homemaker
"The most important lesson I’ve learnt from my mum is… there is no love without a cost to yourself. My mum gave up a career in banking to raise four children. She is also a woman of faith and compassion, who has walked alongside many families in our community through seasons of terminal illness and befriended migrant women with HIV for more than a decade. There is no task too menial for her to do in service of others – from driving people to medical appointments to teaching a boy who has suffered brain injury how to read again.
"I’m most like my mother when… I quietly put others’ needs above my own, without expecting anything at all in return."
"My mother is my… daily source of wisdom and sassiness. I’ve compiled an entire Instagram stories highlight reel of her hilarious texts to me which many consider to be my best literary work yet."
Pat Law, Late 30s, Founder
Jenny Ang, 61, Housewife
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is... I have learned a lot from my mum, and I’ve actually written about it here. There are many lessons I have learnt from my mum but the one that stuck with me was the trishaw incident."
"Once upon a time, trishaws weren’t a tourist attraction but a mode of public transport. I was about 5 years of age when mum took me on a trishaw ride to visit my nanny. A bus driver had accidentally knocked the poor trishaw uncle off his seat and was planning to drive away. In an instant, my mum sprinted in front of the bus to stop the bus driver from driving away. She called the cops thereafter, took over the trishaw, cycling the trishaw uncle to the hospital. She paid for his medical bill too because 'Uncle doesn’t earn that much'."
"My mum doesn’t condone bullying, and she believes that everyone needs to bear the consequences of their actions. She taught me to always protect the little guy, even if that person’s a stranger. I’m no Mother Theresa for sure, but I do get triggered when I see someone bullied."
"Growing up, I was given a very long leash, but mum always made me pay for my own actions. Over time, it brainwashed me to believing that in whatever I do, I must be able to afford the consequences. Pretty smart of her, because god knows how short-tempered I am."
"I'm most like my mother when... it comes to doing what’s right, rather than what’s easy or popular. My skin is as thick as my mum’s. My mum’s pillar of righteousness is of a different level though. She won’t even let her friend cut queue! My mum rubs people off the wrong way but her honesty is precious."
"My mother is my… moral compass. She’s going to gloat hearing this, but I hear her voice in my head ALL THE TIME."
Noor Mastura, 29, Founder of two NPOs (Interfaith Youth Circle and Back2Basics)
Maimuna Majeed, 55, Realtor
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is… To keep faith, believe in your strength and be a person of integrity. In a society that still looks down on divorced women, my mother broke through those chains, took 4 daughters with her who were not even 20 yet, struggled through five years of hardship, pain and suffering – to give us the life we have today. Despite having everything now, she has never forgotten those days and continues to remind us to not just give thanks but to give back to the society and help those in similar situations."
"I'm most like my mother when... I am stubborn! Hahaha, she hates this about me especially when it is not in her favour! But really,I am just taking after her! Once we put our mind to something, it's done. No one and nothing can convince us otherwise."
"My mother is my... pride and joy. If I can become half of how she was as a mother to me, my children will be the luckiest kids in the world."
Anita Kapoor, Multi Disciplinary Presenter, 48
Ann Kumar, she would have been 75 this year
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is... never give up."
"My mum had had two strokes, diabetes and heart failure in a 20 year period; they had huge impact on her life, but she never gave up, even when she hated feeling weak and miserable. Even when she felt lonely. Even when we disagreed about her care – I was over zealous often – from fear. We loved and understood each other deeply, yet as a caregiver I often had to make tough decisions. My mum not giving up taught me to respect her ideas, choices and needs, to ask her what she wanted, and to curb my own attempts at trying to make everything perfect."
"I'm most like my mother when... I'm helping others; when I'm cooking or dancing; or being a kid."
"My mother is my... eternal guardian."
Jemimah Wei, Host, 26
Wendy Wei, Teacher, 54
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is... To commit to whatever I do, and do it to the best of my ability. It's actually derived from a bible verse in Colossians, and my whole childhood I was always taught to work not to other people's standards, but to do the best I could do with what I had. I think this had a lot to do with why I didn't grow up comparing myself to others. This meant that even though we didn't have a lot growing up, I had a very happy childhood nonetheless!"
"I'm most like my mother when... We are trying to get stuff in order! We are both planners, and like to know what's going on. Sometimes when I'm planning for a trip, or mapping out details for a passion project, I catch myself obsessing over small things and I'm like whoa – feels like something mum would do. It's good because I'm not naturally a detail-oriented person, so she was a really good influence on me especially in this aspect!"
"My mother is my... Mother. There's just no other word that fits our relationship. To call her a guardian, friend, or sister would be to miss the point. She's my mum, and she's a good mum too."
Photo: Jessica Yahn Photography
Cheryl Miles Nixon, 43, Radio DJ on ONE FM 91.3 (SPH Radio)
Joan De Souza, 63, homemaker
"The most important lesson I've learnt from my mum is... self-worth. My mum married so young and had me when she was just 20 years old. My two younger brothers soon followed, so she never got a chance to explore her potential and find her independance. And so she instilled in me the importance of knowing who I am, where I came from, what I stand for and what I believe in. Unlike most parents eager to see their child married off, she made sure I was self-sufficient, had a sense of my own identity and most importantly had experienced life. It has given me the courage and resilience to weather many storms, to chase my dreams and to persevere until I reach my goals."
"Things were not always easy for us as a family. But because of this solid foundation, grounded in belief in self and in God, I have always felt confident that I could handle anything. She gave me everything she could and made sure I was bold enough to take advantage of every opportunity I could to succeed in life. Thanks mothership!"
"I'm most like my mother when... it comes to cooking and cleaning the house. My mum was very house proud. She was meticulous and organised and hated things being left lying around so she'd put them away immediately. This meant, I could never find my things because I would look at the place I last left it instead of where it should be. Now that I'm married, and have the same pet peeve of things being left lying around, my husband now echoes what I once said as a teenager... "Mum!!!! Where did you put my favourite pair of shoes??" (except it's "honey" in his case!). I am now the official finder of lost things in our household like my mother was when we were growing up."
"She also passed on to me her love for cooking. She did everything with so much love, even the simplest of meals were served with flair. Cooking is the way I show my love and appreciation for the special people in my life and I realise it was the same way for my mum too."
"My mother is my... biggest fan and cheerleader. She has always encouraged every dream I've had and supported me as much as she could to make sure I fulfill it. She has attended every show and competition I've taken part in from every stage of my life - when I was a fitness instructor, dancer, singer and actress. She was there when my girl group Cherry Chocolate Candy won Talentime in 2001. Now, she tunes in to my radio show online when she can. She now lives in the US to be closer to my younger brother and niece who live in California and I miss her terribly."