PHOTOGRAPHY: Frenchescar Lim, assisted by Angela Guo
STYLING: Dolphin Yeo HAIR: Christian Goh, using Kevin Murphy MAKEUP: Clarence Lee, using Esprique by Kose Outfit Chisato Tsumori
Model-actress Kate Pang is looking radiant and svelte, her baby bump barely visible under the loose t-shirt dress she’s wearing – she’s the epitome of a yummy mummy.
“I tire much more easily now,” the 33-year-old admits. “I wonder if it’s because I got bigger much faster with this pregnancy, or it’s that I now have Aden, my 19-month-old son to take care of at the same time.
“But I feel much more relaxed because I’ve been through it once, so I kind of know what to expect,” adds the TV host, revealing that she’s expecting a girl.
It takes a mum to know a mum
Kate says she’s become more compassionate and empathetic since becoming a mother, getting emotional at news related to kids and family, and being more understanding towards parents struggling with a tantrum-throwing toddler in public. She can now put herself in their shoes, she says.
But the most significant change, perhaps, is that of her relationship with her own mother. Kate, whose parents divorced when she was very young, was raised by her paternal grandmother. “Growing up, I always wondered if my parents didn’t love me enough, and if that’s why they left me with my paternal grandmother,” she says.
“But after becoming a mum myself, I realised that a mother’s love is irreplaceable – it must have been a really difficult decision for my mum to make at that point in time. We’re now on much better terms.”
Kate’s Instagram page reveals just how much she enjoys being a mum and wife. Her social media diary is peppered with shots of her everyday exploits with Aden, who has his own account at @aden_kandie, and Andie Chen, her actor-husband.
“I love being a mother. And my aspiration is to become a stay-at-home mum,” she says with a laugh. “Being a mum gives me such a sense of achievement. It helps that I love interacting with kids too. Every moment I’ve spent with Aden is a happy one.”
But being a housewife may not be on the cards for Kate yet. She began taking on less work after Aden was born and the arrangement is likely to continue after she gives birth.
Her parenting style
Kate, who did a lot of research into various parenting methods, says she usually has the final, if not majority, say in how her son is brought up.
“Sometimes, Aden’s grandparents spoil him. When that happens, I discuss it with Andie, and together, we agree on a course of action,” she explains.
And because she feels pity for children who are left to mobile devices for entertainment, she doesn’t allow Aden to watch cartoons or use infotainment apps.
“I show him the photos or videos we’ve taken of him on the phone, but that’s all,” she explains. “The relationship between a child and parent is one that I highly value. And I find that electronic gadgets tend to create an emotional rift.” She and Andie walk the talk by putting away their own handheld devices at mealtimes, to set a good example for Aden.
But she’s not always that strict, she insists. “When it comes to Aden’s personal safety, like biting electrical wires and going onto balconies, I’m very firm. But when it comes to other less hazardous things, like falling down, knocking into table edges, I’m not that unyielding.”
Her parenting network
Kate and Andie recently started Kandie Network (a combination of both their names) as a platform to share parenting and pregnancy information. It features enactments of situations like why pregnant women experience hot flushes, or what to do when your child has a fever, followed by an interview with an expert.
It also covers topics like when to stop breastfeeding and what foods you can feed your little one at the different ages, all underlined by Kate and Andie’s sense of humour.
“I wanted a platform to share parenting information on such frequently asked questions. And as Andie used to study filmmaking, and is very interested in behind-the-scenes production work, the Kandie Network combines both our interests,” she says.
Kate’s top three tips on parenting
1 Set boundaries
“Kids are very smart – they understand boundaries if you set them down clearly. It also makes it easier for us to ‘parent’ them once these are in place.”
2 Fake it till they make it
“If you want to instil a habit in your child, you have to do it yourself. Even if you dislike something, say reading, you have to act as though you love it. This way, your kids will develop the same enthusiasm for reading too.”
3 Treat your child as your mirror
“Conversely, kids also imitate you if you display negative emotions like shouting or throwing tantrums in front of them, and may become bad-tempered in turn.”