11 things we love to hate about Singaporean mothers

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we look back at all the things we love to hate about our uniquely Singaporean mums.

Photos: ING Image
Photos: ING Image
18 Nov 2015

Photos: ING Image

What would we do without our them? They’re probably the only few in the world who has seen all our nonsense and ugly behaviour, yet still chose to put up with us. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we look back at all the things we love to hate about our uniquely Singaporean mums.

How she compares you to your neighbour’s brother’s cousin’s insurance agent’s kids
How she compares you to your neighbour’s brother’s cousin’s insurance agent’s kids
18 Nov 2015

How she compares you to your neighbour’s brother’s cousin’s insurance agent’s kids

From distant cousins to total strangers on the street, it seemed like everyone but you was going through life the right way. At least, that’s what you gathered from your mum’s constant comparisons. We reckon it’s some sort of reverse psychology at work: mum thinks this will help ‘motivate’ you to your maximum potential.

How she signs you up for class after class after class
How she signs you up for class after class after class
18 Nov 2015

How she signs you up for class after class after class

Like every good parent, Singaporean mothers want to help their offspring find their niche early in life. And so begins the onslaught of extra classes before school, after school and even on precious weekends when the good cartoons are showing – abacus, ballet, piano, swimming, speech and drama classes – you name it. She just doesn’t want you to lose out in an overly competitive world.

The way she feeds you propaganda about being a doctor when you grow up
The way she feeds you propaganda about being a doctor when you grow up
18 Nov 2015

The way she feeds you propaganda about being a doctor when you grow up

Apart from the proud looks she can give her friends and the free medical consultations, your mother probably meant well when she bought you all those doctor’s kit toys as a tot. Mums all want the best for their children and even if those toys went to waste and you didn’t turn out to be a highly paid brain surgeon, we’re sure she’s proud of you all the same.

The way she (over) feeds you…. and then say you’re putting on weight
The way she (over) feeds you…. and then say you’re putting on weight
18 Nov 2015

The way she (over) feeds you…. and then say you’re putting on weight

Her favourite question is “Have you eaten?” If you said no, she gets to work cooking up enough food to feed an army. “Eat more,” she will say, “You’re so skinny.” And so you eat. The next thing you know she’s observing you disapprovingly from the corner of her eye and asking your boyfriend if your clothes are getting tighter. Showering you with love (AKA food) and then worrying about whether you’ll be left on the shelf? We don’t really get it either.

How she makes up stories just so you’ll do things, no questions asked
How she makes up stories just so you’ll do things, no questions asked
18 Nov 2015

How she makes up stories just so you’ll do things, no questions asked

Apparently creativity is an inherent part of a Singaporean mother’s make-up. After all, they were innovative enough to come up with some of these tall tales we grew up with, just to make us behave. Every grain of unfinished rice is a pimple on your future husband’s face. If you keep running around, policemen will arrest you for being naughty. Behave, or mummy will sell you to the karung guni man.

The way she questions your dress sense
The way she questions your dress sense
18 Nov 2015

The way she questions your dress sense

Some of the biggest nit-picking sessions can happen just before you head out the door. Well-meaning mums double up as the fashion police, critiquing sartorial trends with a ‘back in my days’ monologue. Some of these gripes might even be all too familiar: “Why is your skirt so short? How come got so many holes in your jeans? Girl ah, cover up with a jacket!”

How she makes sure you always have Essence of Chicken before exams
How she makes sure you always have Essence of Chicken before exams
18 Nov 2015

How she makes sure you always have Essence of Chicken before exams

Every Singaporean mother attests to this wonder drink ¬– before any major examination you would open your kitchen cupboard to find it well stocked, boxes upon boxes. Whether you dismissed its brainpower-boosting claims as authentic or merely a clever marketing ploy, each bottle is a warm, nourishing reminder of mum having your best interests at heart.

How she secretly takes leave from work during your major examinations
How she secretly takes leave from work during your major examinations
18 Nov 2015

How she secretly takes leave from work during your major examinations

Though she wasn’t able to help you academically, mum always hung around for a good part of your major exams. Out of the blue you’ll find her poking into your room and asking if you needed a drink, or casually asking about your studies. Just think of her as your silent cheerleader, giving emotional support when you needed it the most.

The way she shows concern… by scolding you
The way she shows concern… by scolding you
18 Nov 2015

The way she shows concern… by scolding you

Have you noticed how Singaporean mothers tell their children off when they hurt themselves? “See la, who asked you to run…” she’ll rant as you sit on the floor whimpering in pain and nursing your skinned knees. Well, the truth is her heart is breaking to see you cry, but she puts up a strong front and probably won’t let you know how she’s feeling. Which brings us to the next point…

The way she can never say “I love you” directly
The way she can never say “I love you” directly
18 Nov 2015

The way she can never say “I love you” directly

It might be an Asian thing but showing emotion was never mum’s strong suit, especially when you’re older. Perhaps it’s the way feelings are generally linked to weakness, or that she doesn’t want to appear like an over concerned parent. It’s also probably the same reason why you can say: “I love you” to your cat, your girl friends and your other half, but just can’t say it to your mother.

All in all, the way she juggles being a super mum and an awesome career woman
All in all, the way she juggles being a super mum and an awesome career woman
18 Nov 2015

All in all, the way she juggles being a super mum and an awesome career woman

Just to be clear, being a housewife is also a full time job – and not an easy one at that! It’s always a delicate balancing act to juggle family and career. Mum probably had to make some unseen sacrifices here and there, but it was all worth it for you. Have you told her lately (or at least tried your best to tell her) that you love her, and wished her a “Happy Mother’s Day” yet?

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