Up Close and Personal:
An Interview with Geraldine Gigi Guo
Geraldine is a mommy blogger and a stay-at-home mom to 5-year-old boy Jaden and a pair of 2-year-old twin boys Jordan and Jonas.
Join her on her parenting journey raising her 3 boys in Singapore, blogging about the perfect and not-so-perfect moments of motherhood at www.mommychuck.com
1. With Mother’s Day coming up, we’ve been looking at all the ways our own mums inspire us. How would you describe your mum and the upbringing she gave you, and how does that translate into how you bring up your own children?
My mum is a wonderful woman. She was a stay-home mum during the early years of my life and I remember she always wanted the best for me. My parents came from poor backgrounds, but they scrimped and saved to get my brother and I a good education and a life better than theirs. If I expressed interest in drawing, she will send me to art lessons. She also got me enrolled into piano lessons - so I could use my music education as an alternative source of income when I grow up. I was never allowed in the kitchen or to do any house chores because she felt that I should be spending my time holding a pen instead. I felt like my future was already being paved.
It is now my turn to be a stay-home mum. But times have changed and I am determined to raise my kids with a different set of beliefs - I hope to raise my kids to be resilient people and teach them how to navigate around challenges and become problem solvers. As parents, we are always trying to stay one step ahead of everything our kids are going to run into, but life doesn't work that way. I give my kids age-appropriate freedom which helps them learn their own limits. I give them the opportunity, over and over, "to figure out what works and what doesn't".
If they can't reach the top of the slides in the playground, I won't carry them up and place them there. If they have forgotten about a piece of homework, they will have to answer to the teacher on their own.
2. How has motherhood changed you as a person?
Motherhood has changed me in profound ways. After 3 kids, it has stretched me until I thought I might break at times. But I kept on holding every time, and it made me stronger every time. If I just do my best to face the challenges of each day with courage and faith, even though things rarely go as I planned, I've learned things will always work out somehow.
I am far more tolerant of imperfection in myself and others. I never judge the mess in another mum's house. I know, I've been in the trenches. I know the exhaustion that sometimes takes you straight to bed, regardless of how many dishes are in the sink that night. I understand the baby who won't leave your side, the crazy days that leave no time for housework, and the homework sessions that suck the life out of you. And I know how aggravating the experience of trying to teach your kids to help clean the house can be. A house filled with kids will never be perfectly clean and that is perfectly fine.
3. What is your greatest joy as a mother?
My greatest joy as a mother is to experience the absolute unconditional love I share with my kids. They don't care if my hair is in a mess or if I put on weight. It also brings great joy to watch them grow into fine young men, knowing that I was part of the process.
4. A lot of who we are, come from our own mums for the things they teach and instill in us, and inspire us. What advice would you give to both mums and daughters?
Every mum was a daughter at some point - and perhaps that is why the relationship between mums and daughters is so interesting. I would advise both to "Put yourself into each other's shoes". If you're a mum, acknowledge the fact that you'll never agree on some topics with your daughter and that is fine. She is allowed to have different interests, goals and ways of handling things. A daughter doesn’t have to change her choices to please her mum and vice versa. If you’re a daughter, think of your mum as a woman with her “own wounds and hurts”, who was born and raised in a different generation with different values and difficult family relationships and issues.