Every year, when this particular day draws near, we see a plethora of special offers. A day so overrated and commercialised, it has just become yet another calculated retail opportunity.
But behind all this fancy-schmancy, the true essence of this day goes back to celebrating and honouring this one person – our mother. A time for love and gratitude, acknowledging the sacrifices she makes for her children and family.
Strong yet delicate, the glue that binds and keeps the family together. Firm yet gentle, in setting rules and boundaries. The shaper of minds and behaviour, carver of perspectives and personalities.
Today is Mother’s Day, and GoodNews spoke to 3 mothers on the joys and challenges of motherhood.
Growing up, seeing the struggles of her own mother, Candy Lau, in her late 40s, understood motherhood as noble and giving. Her mother taught her the act of selflessness. After having children of her own though, Candy realized that motherhood was not only about always giving, but also the ‘receiving’ of unconditional love from her children in return, manifested through many priceless moments.
Candy was adopted as an infant and was solely raised by her single mother. This former Admin and HR Executive of a construction and management firm, is now a mother of five to Theodore, Ian, Liam, Anna and Ryan, living in Sabah.
“Motherhood has kept me grounded and given me a sense of being and purpose in life. My joy of being a mother is simply beyond words; with a sense of love, content and belonging.”
For Candy, financial security and childcare support are her biggest struggles. Taking care of two children with special needs, she sometimes is overwhelmed and consumed by financial and emotional stress.
Theo, Candy’s eldest son, had been diagnosed with ADHD and autism. A talented artist, he is amid setting up his own online business, Theo’s Artburst, to sell his artworks. 8-year-old Liam, her third son, is autistic, partially blind and speech impaired. Candy described him as a “fighter and the apple of her eyes.”
When asked what her wishes for the children were, she replied,
“I wish Theo and Liam will be able to achieve efficient self-care, eventually finding the means to self-sustain, and not rely on society. For that, we are doing all we can to help them through this. For the rest of my children, my hope for them is to be confident, loved, and skillful in life. Just be a good person.”
Zurini binti Hasbullah, fondly known as Ninie, 41, is a single mother of 3 kids – Mohammad Alief Iskandar, 12, Mohammad Arief Eskandarian, 9, and Mikayla Syawaluna, 6. Both her boys are autistic.
“We are a family of 4 that relies on each other to be happy and strong, as we are aware that we only have each other.”
Ninie, who resides in Kuching, Sarawak, is a home–based businesswoman, who bakes, tailors and crochets for a living.
Ninie’s childhood was not a happy one, and because of this, she was against the idea of marriage, but she found a man to settle down with. As things did not turn out as planned, they parted ways.
“I did not want to have kids, considering the past I had.”
Ninie explained how being a mother has changed her. When she was younger, Ninie was a carefree and reckless person. When she embraced motherhood, she had to change her lifestyle. She connected to her inner being and listened to her heart. Despite her shortcomings and the circumstances, Ninie still ensured the best for her children.
When her first son was born, Ninie found it hard to accept and understand the person he was. She was angry and resented life. But deep down inside, she knew that this boy had only her, and that is when she made a firm and conscious decision to switch methods and most importantly, her mindset.
“The joy of being a mother is endless. From pregnancy to labour, and the duty of raising the child into someone. Just their smiles, giggles, and the hope you see in their eyes are enough to keep you going. I was too hopeful in finding love from other people. Not anymore. I have my kids. I’m content. They will be there through thick and thin, and I will surely fight tooth and nail to get them what they deserve in life.”
Ninie explained that her sons are not physically challenged. They are just special in their own way of thinking, but are late bloomers when it comes to socialising. Her boys are intelligent in many ways, and all 3 children are good in their studies.
This mother’s hope for her children is,
“I just want them to be able to look after themselves, to be independent, and learn to look after one another. I want them to not just excel in studies, but to be a kind and reasonable human being. As long as they do not burden anyone, that will be my greatest achievement as a mom.”
Ally Rani Sevanthinathan, 55, is a mother of two boys, Vigneshwaran 28 and Sivaneshwaran 26. Her husband, a retiree, she quips, is her strongest pillar of support.
Harboring thoughts of becoming a corporate lawyer, Ally had to put her dreams on hold when her family struggled financially.
“I went to work immediately after my Form 5. I became a homemaker after my first-born. When the children were older, I went back to work as a pre-school teacher, and this has now become my passion, after having experienced teaching the Montessori method. I am now privately managing a small daycare for young children aged 2 years and above.”
During her younger years, Ally always thought motherhood to be just cooking and cleaning. When she became a mother herself, she had to restructure her whole thought process, accepting responsibilities for decisions made and actions taken. Worry began to settle in. But with support and encouragement from those around her, she gracefully embraced her role as a mother.
“The moment I became a mom, my heart has been filled with a lot of questions. How can the children survive in this world full of competition, negativity, and drama? As a mother, my heart is filled with such intense love. Joy, fear, pride, guilt, extreme love, and sadness are part of this journey. But motherhood has made me stronger and empathetic towards others.”
In 1992, Ally’s world came crashing down when her eldest son was diagnosed as differently abled.
“I did not have any clue as to what that meant. My heart ached. I was always in denial. I was worried, not knowing how to raise him in a normal way. My husband was there to advice and teach me to accept our son for what and who he is.”
When Vignesh was 10, he was identified as having Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder. Although lacking social communication skills, both Ally and husband are proud that their son is pursuing a Degree in Business Administration. This young man also has his own YouTube channel, Vignesh’s Adventures.
Their second son, Sivanesh, graduated from Duke University, North Carolina in 2017, and has been working for Amazon Web Services since then as a Software Engineer, based in Seattle.
“Both my sons are my pride, joy and love till I leave this earth, and my hope for them is to lead a healthy, meaningful and happy life.”
Ally told us,
“Though motherhood is amazing in many ways, it can sometimes be overwhelming, creating anxiety to always think and care about the children’s safety and wellbeing. I am very anxious and fearful if anything untoward happens to my children.”
Candy, Ninie and Ally are the epitome of perfect imperfections, the embodiment of a nurturing mother. There are many mothers out there who deserve the mention and appreciation for simply being who they are, and today we remember them dearly.
We at GoodNews would like to wish all mothers and mom-like figures a ‘Blessed Mother’s Day.’ Today, we celebrate the beautiful and strong person you truly are.