Celeb mum Jaymee Ong: No such thing as a superwoman

Actress-model Jaymee Ong opens up on her preferred approach to bringing up her two children ― no entitled kids there!

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Having battled postpartum depression with both pregnancies, actress Jaymee Ong, 37, reckons that pregnancy is the easier part of motherhood.

“It’s the parenting part that you can’t prepare for. You can read every book, you can get advice from 50 different people and it just never adequately prepares you for what it’s like.”

Mothers also seem the bear the brunt of the stresses of being a parent. Notes Jaymee, mum to Harrison, 15 months, and Juliet, 7, with husband Matthew Heath, 37, “I think mothers like to show that we have it all together. We should do the laundry at 5am in the morning and we should whip up this gourmet meal and we should look good. And we should do it all with just two hours of sleep!”

She points out that mothers can free themselves of their parenting stress, just by being open to asking for and accepting help. “It’s okay to not be okay. It’s totally fine. Of course, being a mother is so incredible and amazing and babies are gorgeous and all of that. But there’s another side to motherhood: You cry, you feel helpless and useless and drained ― and that’s okay!”

“But there’s another side to motherhood: You cry, you feel helpless and useless and drained ― and that’s okay!”

Indeed, Jaymee urges all mothers ― new or not ― to accept help from friends and family when you need it. “[When someone offers you help,] there’s no point in thinking: No, no, no, I’ve got it all under control. Say yes, please take my child for an hour… There is no such thing as a superwoman. There’s no medal for [not getting the help you need]. Accept the help when it’s there!”

Jaymee talks to SmartParents about her philosophy on raising her kids...

As a model and mum, are you concerned about Juliet feeling the pressure to look good?
The pressure [to look good] exists for every young girl now unfortunately. I mean I have always stressed to my daughter that I’m exercising to look healthy and to have energy and I have never ever, ever, placed an emphasis on weight or looking good. It's really not something that’s spoken about in our house ― it’s really to be healthy and to be strong and have energy ― that’s why mummy exercises. Not to fit into skinny jeans. Young women and teenagers everywhere face this unrealistic pressure and I don't think it's ever going away. And I think the only thing [parents] can do is teach [their children] to be strong and not be swayed by images or people. And I don't want to say it’s strictly for girls. It does exist for man and young boys as well.

Has Juliet ever shown an interest in modelling?
No, she says she wants to be an artist ― she's definitely a very creative person. She does all the dressing up and play acting at home like most little kids [do]. I mean she has been with me at work and seen the things that I do but she’s never been like “Mum, this is what I really want to do.” I would never propose it to her, either, I won’t try to get her into it. I mean, if she comes to me later in her life and says this is something she wants to do then yes, I would but I’ll still be wary.

So, what’s your advice to Juliet and Harrison on loving how they look?
When I was younger, I really felt the pressure [to look good]. There were certain times when I was pressured to look a certain way or lose a little bit more weight and you get the compliments like, “You look really great and you look really thin.” Was I happy? Not really. I mean living that way day-to-day is stressful and it’s not fun. You can’t go out to eat with your friends, it’s a lot of undue pressure and it’s exhausting and very meaningless, it's not why we are here. It should not be what drives us. Being happy and healthy, being a good person and being loving is so much more important. Those are the things that matter not whether you’ve ran on the treadmill for an hour or not... 

Next, who’s the disciplinarian at home: Jaymee or her hubby?