March 10 , 2013
A Parent Perspective
“I’m a firm believer that you can only bring
happiness to others when you are content yourself”
– Michele Reis, Artist
Your son Jayden just turned two in February. How would you sum up the first two years of motherhood?
It has been a fascinating journey with mixed emotions. At the beginning there were times when I felt a sense of helplessness trying to interpret the needs and wants of a newborn baby. You want to be sure you’re doing the right thing but without the ability to communicate, you just never know. I found those moments of uncertainty stressful.
As with many things in life, experience counts a lot. While sometimes I still feel overwhelmed with responsibility, two years on I’m far more relaxed, enjoying every moment of motherhood particularly now that Jayden talks and listens to me.
Which aspect do you find most challenging at the moment?
Fostering independence. Wanting the best for him but at the same time, just letting him be.
How have you approached balancing work life with family life?
Managing time carefully is the key to keeping both worlds in check. My priority will always be with my family but work remains an important part of my life. I have the privilege to enjoy what I am doing now; it makes me happy and keeps me grounded. I’m a firm believer that you can only bring happiness to others when you are content yourself.
What would your advice to be to other first-time mothers?
- Believe in your own maternal instincts and don’t succumb to peer pressure.
- The best gift to your child is your love and time.
Are there any ‘cardinal rules’ you apply when it comes to the development and well-being of your child?
Developing a good sense of balance and co-ordination is crucial at his age and so I make sure he’s exposed to a broad range of physical activities. I also like to encourage learning from a real world context wherever possible; to experience things rather than just seeing them on paper. The question of ‘screen time’ invariably comes up quite often, and while I don’t completely ban it altogether, I’ve set a limit of 30 minutes per day for age appropriate shows. Other than that, I try to ensure he maintains a healthy diet.
Where do you draw inspiration and ideas from on child rearing / parenting?
Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne was an interesting read. I also look forward to exchanging ideas with SPRING’s panel of child specialists in the near future.
Tell us about the JMJ Foundation that you’ve setup.
The primary purpose of the JMJ Foundation is to assist in the creation of educational establishments for children throughout China. Working together with the Caring For Children Foundation, we have been involved with the development of over 200 schools throughout Yunnan province to date.
I have been truly blessed with Jayden’s arrival into my life and this Foundation is a small way for me to give back to other children in need. I donate a percentage of my earnings to the charity and encourage all friends and family to donate to the Foundation in lieu of gifts to Jayden. My goal is for Jayden to take an active role with the charity himself someday, and to learn the joys of helping and sharing with others that are in a less fortunate position.
To find out more or to make a donation to the JMJ Foundation, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org