SINGAPORE: Giving Our Children Roots and Wings

SINGAPORE: Giving Our Children Roots and Wings

As parents, we desire to raise successful kids. But often the measurement of success can be so vastly different depending on our backgrounds, experiences and expectations. In Singapore, academic success is one of the top measures.  Parents will sign up their kids for every enrichment and tuition centre in a heart beat, if it promises to improve their child’s grade.

For some, it could be developing their kids’ full potential in the area of music, art, or sports, and sending them to take every class to discover their talents from a young age. For others, it might be simply equipping their kids with the life skills to get them through whatever life throws at them, the kind of smart I prefer, “street smarts.”

Over the years, Singapore’s education system is slowly steering it’s direction from just developing book smart students to being more holistic, realising that there is more than one way to recognise our kids’ abilities.

I’m really glad about these changes as my daughter will enter formal education next year, and to be honest I wasn’t an ace student. Many times I felt that I was judged by how well I scored on my exams and if I disappointed my parents and myself when I didn’t achieve fantastic results. But over the years, I discovered that I have other talents and gifts that are just not related to how book smart I am.

Though I think my daughter’s pretty smart (okay, I’m a biased mom ), I know these changes to the education system gives me greater assurance that she will thrive when she starts school. But as a parent, I also have an responsibility in shaping who she is and my role is to give her roots and wings.

Roots and Wings

Just like a tree, in order for it to reach it’s fullest potential and stand strong to withstand the different elements, its’ roots must go deep and be firmly planted. These are the qualities I wish most for and I try to instill in her:

1. To be rooted in her identity
I want my daughter to be deeply rooted in the knowledge of her own identity. I want her to love herself for who she is and not strive to be someone else. I want her to recognize that she’s uniquely her, complete with her vivacious and vibrant personality, her sense of humour, and heart of gold.

2. To be rooted in character and values

Peer pressure will be a very real issue in school and that’s when our kids’ character and values are put to the test. As a parent, we have to ingrain values of honesty, compassion, integrity, kindness, responsibility, perseverance, and the list goes on. The best way to teach these to our kids? To model them ourselves.

3. To soar on wings of exploration
Besides having deep roots, I hope that my girl will develop wings to seek out the world. To be filled with curiosity and awe with a hunger to know more. I want to be the parent that says, ” That’s an interesting question, let’s find the answer.” and never to stop her from asking questions.

4. To have wings of independence

Our kids will grow up no matter how much we wish for them to remain cute and small. And the key is to ensure that they are equipped with life skills to see them through their days. As a young toddler, I’ve roped my girl to help around the house from picking up after herself, clearing her plate when she’s finished her meals, or loading the laundry.

As she gets older, she knows she has to be responsible for her belongings and pack her own bags. We’ve taught her what to do if she ever gets lost, and now she’s learning how to count money, an essential skill needed at the school canteen soon.

I also intend to teach how to manage her time wisely, budget and save,  and maybe even cook. We can start from frying an egg!

As parents, it won’t be easy for us to let go of our kids when they eventually grow up, have their own ideas, friends and all. But when that day comes, we’ll be glad that our children are ready to soar high with their wings, knowing we’ve provided them with the skills to navigate the skies!

How do you help your child(ren) develop roots of responsibility and wings of independence?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor, Susan Koh from A Juggling Mom in Singapore. 

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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World Moms Blog 2013 & Interesting Global Reads for Blogcation!

World Moms Blog 2013 & Interesting Global Reads for Blogcation!


Last year at this time, I admit, I was burnt to the ground in exhaustion, and I thought about shutting World Moms Blog down.

It is a really tough thing for me to admit.

With a one-year old at the time home all day, who was down to one nap, and a 5-year old in only half-day kindergarten, I felt like I couldn’t keep on top of anything else.  I couldn’t.  Only by burning the midnight oil and hiring a babysitter here and there. Things got really busy, and the website was, at the time, plagued with technical difficulties that I was treading water to keep up with.  

I was a mom first. And I felt like a failure when it came to managing the website.  I felt like I couldn’t be the leader that the site needed and the stay-at-home mother of my children. My instinct was to shut the whole thing down. Really.

Friends asked me “how I did it all”, and to be honest, I cringed when they said that because I didn’t feel like I could squeeze in just enough time to keep things running. It only made me think of all of the things that I hadn’t done yet. Or the ideas to make World Moms Blog better or to bring in a cash flow that I didn’t have the time to work on.

Even my proclaimed-by-me-work-a-holic husband had found the time for us to spend together, and he was now asking me to find the time for us. Last year at this time was the roughest of rough spots when it came to being a mom, wife and leading World Moms Blog. I felt like we were a Forbes Best Website for Women that was beginning to unravel from lack of good leadership by me. 

World Moms Blog editors and contributors gave me the encouragement it took to keep us going. They loved the site and our community, and they pitched in and weren’t letting go, when I was falling.

In early 2013, Purnima won a BlogHer International Activists scholarship that would fly her to the USA. This was the motivation to keep us going until August when we would meet in Chicago at the BlogHer conference. But long before then, we were well back on track. Then the NY Times Motherlode called us a “must read”.  I cried.  We can do this.

Then, Forbes Woman listed World Moms Blog as a Best Website for Women for the second year in a row. Our contributors and I were on cloud 9.  We worked together and they helped me bring World Moms Blog into 2013! 

The blog was founded by me, but exists today because of the World Moms editors and contributors who nudged me on, knowingly and unknowingly, to get through the tough time and continue to volunteer their best work.  And to the organizations who told us in their own way that our work is valuable to society. 

The paragraphs above were not the paragraphs I set out to write. They were written after I decided that the year in review post was finished.  They are the words inside that I wasn’t sharing with my blogging community, peers and readers.  I don’t just get by easily. I have no secret to doing it all.  Some things will fall through the cracks. I stayed up very late for many nights in 2013. But, we made it. 

We hired technical help and made more volunteer editing positions available to our contributors. We also reorganized our editing and scheduling system, which empowered our regional editors. These moves also helped relieve the pressure and free up my time for my life and for leading the blog. And then October came, and both my daughters were at school, and I had office hours. 

This year was my toughest, time-wise.  I got through it, we all got through it, and we’re headed enthusiastically into the future. I can assure you, we’ve come along way, and World Moms Blog is here to stay! If I had a magic ball last year to tell me where World Moms Blog would be today, when I really needed it most, the paragraphs to follow are what it would have told me. So glad everyone helped me through the tough time and our year turned out more than incredible…thank you, everyone.   

This year World Moms Blog made it onto Forbes Woman’s “Best Websites for Women” list for the second year in a row,  and we were called a “must read” by the NY Times Motherload.  Did that really all happen??!!  But oh wait, there’s more…our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, won a BlogHer International Activist Scholarship to come to the US and speak, and Mama B.’s post from Saudi Arabia on women’s rights won a BlogHer Voice of the Year award!

Also, as our founder, I received a scholarship as a “Global Influencer” to the Social Good Summit this year, where some of our moms were onstage for Shot@Life, and for the first time EVER, we were invited to the UN by the ONE Campaign and the GAVI Alliance. The UN!!! A dream come true!!!

Here in 2013, famous sex therapist, Dr. Ruth posed with our Lady World Moms Blog logo and World Moms Blog’s Middle East & Africa editor, Susie Newday, while Susie was reporting from the Israeli Presidential Conference in Tel Aviv.

susie and dr. ruth

And there were too many global contributor meet ups to mention — Jakarta, NYC, Walt Disney World, Toronto, Dar es Salaam and more! Our World Moms are truly, beyond grateful for this catapulting momentum!!!

Here we are with a new addition to our writing team and the former Miss World Africa, Nancy Sumari of Tanzania and Carolyn Miles, the CEO of Save the Children!

#Moms4MDGs -- Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. September 23, 2013 in NYC.

#Moms4MDGs — Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. September 23, 2013 in NYC.


Here’s when Purnima from India was in Chicago, USA for the BlogHer Conference, and we met with Sheryl Sanberg of Facebook!

World Moms Blog Sheryl Sandberg

We attended the Disney Social Media Moms weekend in May at Walt Disney World in Florida.  Guess who also happened to be in the park? One of our editors from Africa, Kim from Mama Mzungu! It would be awesome if all of you could have been there! Here’s a photo of World Moms Blog editor, Nicole Morgan of Sisters from Another Mister, me and Kim at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!


There are too many World Moms Blog contributor meet ups to mention, so here’s a compilation of some that happened in 2013! We should make a whole page for these, shouldn’t we?! My heart sings looking at this collage:

WMB Meetups 2013

Also, the World Moms Blog community helped provide over 100 birth kits this year for to help better maternal health in Laos. We attended many conferences including Moms+Social in NYC, where I was honored to present a panel. A group of our moms also attended and helped lead advocacy training at the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Summit in Washington, DC, USA, where we lobbied the United States Congress for aid for global health. World Moms Blog was also a finalist for the Bloganthropy award, which led us to the Champions for Kids conference in Arkansas, US this year, too.

Our #Moms4MDGs campaign on the web and on Twitter has been amazing.  We have been working with non profit organizations to raise awareness on how to help end world poverty and support global health initiatives. And we’ve brought many new people into the conversation through social media.  There are still 3 months of the 8 month #Moms4MDGs campaign to help the UN raise awareness about their Millennium Development Goals. We’ve made our promise to keep the conversation going after Moms + Social! We hope you will join us!

2013 has been a great year for us in so many ways. Thank YOU to our readers for being along for the ride.  You are our inspiration!

As we take a much needed “blogcation” break to recharge for 2014, check out some fantastic great reads on World Moms Blog that you may have missed!

Did you catch this story from Nihad on her motherhood experiences since the coup in Egypt?

Or when Melanie in Japan posted about trying to protect her children from pornographic images in Tokyo?

Can an Ave Maria played at 6pm on the radio in Brazil help a mother get through the toughest part of her day?

Do you approach danger the same way Karyn in New Zealand approaches danger with her kids?

What would it be like having been raised in a communist state and now raising your daughter in a non-communist state? Read Olga Mecking of Poland’s motherhood experience!

Does what Mama B. in Saudi Arabia thinks is appropriate and inappropropriate for girls the same as what you think is appropriate?

Despite cultural Asian norms, should Ruth in Singapore find a nursing home to help her care for her mom with dementia?

What values do you think bond Hispanics from many different countries together? Read what Eva Fannon in the USA has come up with!

Does your child’s dad play a part in helping you out?  Tina in the Phillipines sent a shout-out to all the World Dads this year!

Need to cry and just let it out? Our editor Susie Newday in Israel interviewed her good friend Neta on the realities of living with metastatic breast cancer.

More in the mood to change the world with World Voice, our social good and human rights column edited by Elizabeth Atalay? Check out these things you can do with your child to celebrate world human rights by Jennifer Prestholdt in the USA!

And, check out the latest dates for our moms’ campaign, #Moms4MDGs,  to help raise awareness for the UN’s goals on world poverty and global health!

Wondering what our contributors are up to behind the scenes?  Here’s a look into World Moms Blog at the UN this year!

Last, but not least, need a motherhood pick me up?  Then search no further from this self-examining, truthful motherhood post by Polish Mom Photographer — you’ll be glad you did!

We’ll be sharing more great posts from 2013 on our World Moms Blog Facebook Page and Twitter, too, this week chosen by our Social Media editors! And there are way too many great posts from 2013 to mention — so have a poke around our site!

Meet us back here on Monday, January 6th to kick off 2014 running with our moms’ resolutions on World Moms Blog!  See you then!


World Moms Blog’s Reenergized and Now Fearless Leader Going into 2014 with the Always Awesome WMB Editing & Contributing Team, Jennifer Burden 🙂

P.S. I really can’t wait to see what the mothers at World Moms Blog will accomplish in 2014!


Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Is It Just Luck?

SOUTH AFRICA: Is It Just Luck?

I often get told how “lucky” I am to have such a great relationship with my 19 year old son and my 16 year old daughter. I usually smile and agree that I am, indeed, lucky to be blessed with such a great husband and kids.

Is it just luck, though? Gary Player (the golfer) famously said; “The more I practice, the luckier I get!” With that in mind, I decided to think about what my husband and I did which (I believe) made us “lucky”! Who knows, maybe some of these tips will improve your luck too!

1. Discipline: Before I conceived our first child, my husband and I talked a lot about our families of origin. We discussed how we were disciplined and how we felt growing up. I come from a broken home – a home which was fragmented even before my parents finally divorced – and I remember feeling very insecure because rules and punishments were very inconsistent. (more…)

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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Saturday Sidebar: “Momma, why does that person [fill in the blank] like THAT?”

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Multitasking Mumma.  She asked our writers,

“How do you explain disabilities and mental illness to your children?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Meredith of Nigeria writes:
“I tell my children (ages 4 and 6) that God makes everyone differently with their own special gifts. They see lots of disabilities on the streets of Lagos. I tell them that not everyone can be made the same because the world would be SO boring. In that respect, they accept the people they see. So far, that has worked out pretty well. :)” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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Saturday Sidebar: I have a dream…

This week we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States.  He would have turned 83 this year.  In his “I have a dream…” speech, Dr. King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

This week Eva Fannon, the Saturday Sidebar Editor, asked our World Moms,

“What dream do you have for your child(ren)?”

Check out what some of our moms want for their child(ren)…

Mannahattamamma of United Arab Emirates writes:
“I can’t say anything more eloquent than Dr. King, that’s for sure. Sadly, I think his dream–Barack Obama aside–is still a long way from being reality, which means that my dreams for my kids are the same: that they will be judged by their character and not by their skin or hair or eyes.

Arab Spring suggests that others around the world share King’s dream–and the responses to Arab Spring suggest that as in the U.S., many people are terrified at the idea of change. That’s the big dream.

The small, very local dream? That my kids would stop fighting over whose Lego pieces belong to whom. I mean, we only have about 85 gazillion pieces. Is it impossible to share? Sigh.” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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