Married to photographer Joshua Tan, 45, Chiew Ting welcomed her second daughter, Amelia, in May this year.
While Chiew Ting, 30, admits that she can’t blog as regularly now because parenting duties now take up most of her time, she admits that it’s still “something I enjoy a lot and I’d have to get back to because it made me so happy, just posting monthly updates about my daughters”.
The usually chirpy social media star gets serious when she talks about the darkest moments of her life ― she was recently embroiled in a lawsuit with social media advertising network ChurpChurp.
Chiew Ting was sued by ChurpChurp for allegedly undertaking commercial deals with brands without the network’s approval, and therefore breaching her contract with them.
She counter-sued, refuting their claims and stating that she was no longer under contract with the network. “Even now when I look back, it makes me feel slightly nauseous,” she admits.
In July this year, both parties finally agreed to settle the case by dropping all the legal proceedings made against one another.
She’s glad to put this stressful episode behind her now, as she focusses on the most important role of her life, as mum to her two sweeties.
Hi Chiew Ting! What’s life like now, as a mum of two?
It’s a whole new level of realisation that I can only try my best and do so much! Especially during the month where Meredith couldn’t go to school because she had stomach flu and vomited 12 times, then passed it to my husband and then me, and I had to take care of her, take care of myself and also take care of little Amelia. I had to do all this, and still had to work! Thank God for the help we’ve gotten from people around us. I didn’t think I’d survive but I did. LOL.
So, what are Meredith and Amelia like now? What are their personalities like?
Meredith is a very sweet and loving big sister! She would go near Amelia, pass her the rattle or teether toys and then sayang her wispy hair… Haha. And if we give Amelia a too much attention, Meredith won’t protest in an aggressive way. Instead, she will pretend to find something to show us, or find some random questions to ask us about, to get the attention back. She’s very diplomatic like that. Amelia is the little boss of the house now because when she wants something, she wants it NOW. And there’s no bargaining with her. Honestly, I’m still a little scared of her, so I thank God for Josh, who is very hands on.
I constantly felt very emotional that my first precious bao bei will have to share my love with someone else.
How was your pregnancy with Amelia different from when you were pregnant with Meredith?
Pregnancy with Meredith was a breeze. I simply ate and slept, then repeat. On the other hand, during my pregnancy with Amelia, I was facing two lawsuits and it was quite a nightmare. I was working twice as hard to pay off the legal fees.
I think it all finally took a toll on my body and on the pregnancy. I was spotting a lot the first four months. It was very dramatic, and we had to cancel work flights a few hours before flying off, after my doctor told me I was not fit to fly because of the spotting. I was ordered to go on bed rest. With Meredith, everything was good and everything that was supposed to happen, happened. With Amelia everything that was not supposed to happen, happened.
Was it challenging being pregnant and having to manage a toddler?
Yes! Other than physically (I still played with Meredith a lot, I showered her myself, all the way until doctor told me to please, seriously, stop! Haha!), it was mentally very hard to balance. I constantly felt very emotional that my first precious bao bei will have to share my love with someone else. And every time I looked at her, I remember feeling so guilty. She’s just a baby, why did I have to make her a big sister so fast?
Well, now that you’ve got two girls, would you want a boy?
Actually, I would have loved my second baby to be a boy! Just to see how differently I could dress him up! Haha! And there’d be no direct competition of love, I feel. But now that it’s a girl, I still love it because they can both dress up together. And imagine all the heart-to-heart talks they’d have with each other… About friends, about boys, about school, about makeup and dressing up!
So, we take it there’s no sibling rivalry yet?
Meredith has never been aggressive, mean, rough, or done anything negative towards mei mei so far. I’m very impressed with her…and myself because I think I taught her well… Haha! In fact, if anyone said they want to take her mei mei away, she’d get very upset and even cry!
Meredith is now 2… any signs of the Terrible Twos? How do you handle tantrums?
I let her let it out, for a maximum of 10 seconds, while I ask her to calm down. And I make it very clear to her that crying and screaming will not get her anything she wants. If she think it can, she can forget about it. She understands it fully and she might scream and cry for a while ― like for 10 seconds ― before I give a little spank on her thigh or palm if she doesn’t stop.
Some parents maybe don’t agree with spanking but I feel it lets them understand it’s wrong. I always tell Meredith she can cry if she’s in pain, she can sob if she’s very sad, but she cannot scream for no reason. And she understands that. And if she crosses the line, she will calm down after a maximum of 5 minutes, and then she’ll come and apologise to me. Sometimes she’s very paggro [passive-aggressive] and will ask me “Are you still angry, mummy? We best friends again? Now you happy? I love you so much!” So, honestly I think I’m very, very blessed with a sensitive and sensible little girl.
How hands-on is Josh as a dad? How do you split baby duties?
He is very, very hands-on. In fact, he handles Amelia mostly, together with our helper. I’m resigned to fact that I will probably have to wait until Amelia is slightly bigger before I can play with her, like how I play with Meredith. Now, Meredith is the one who is constantly seeking my attention and needing me to give her a shower, eat, and chit-chat with her, squeeze poo poo out with her on the toilet bowl while I hold her hands, wipe her down before bedtime and sleep with her, and so on. So, now we split the duties, Amelia is Daddy’s girl while Meredith is my mini-me. Josh takes Amelia at night, while I take Meredith.
What roles do you and Josh play as parents? Who is the disciplinarian? Who spoils the children?
Surprisingly, I am the disciplinarian! I never thought I’d be because I was so relaxed as a child, haha. And I always thought I was gonna be the “cool mum” kind. But OMG Josh is hopeless when it comes to his daughters. Meredith can get ANYTHING out of him ― candy, chocolate, gummy bears and so on. If Meredith doesn’t want to shower, doesn’t want to eat now, Josh will just allow it. But with me, Meredith won’t even try her luck. Even if she tries her luck, she most likely won’t get it, unless she does something I want her to do first.
“If Meredith doesn’t want to shower, doesn’t want to eat now, Josh will just allow it. But with me, Meredith won’t even try her luck.”
What do you think you excel at when it comes to parenting?
I think I’m very good with nagging, hahaha! You’d think nagging is a bad thing, but it really is not. Meredith remembers A LOT of things from my nagging, okay? Nagging about how she should behave, how she should treat others, how she should share, how she cannot cry when she needs to go to school. I nag until she sometimes closes her eyes and shakes her head and says “OOOHKAY MUMMY….” Two and a half years old, okay, talk to me like this!
How has life changed for you and Josh as a couple? How do you spend couple time?
We don’t get date nights because we need to put the kids to bed and we co-sleep. BUT, we get date afternoons when Meredith goes to school, haha! But it’s been five months, so far, and Josh brought me out for a movie only once. We also try our best to eat together and chit-chat over meals every day. That’s the only time we actually have, maybe 15 to 20 minutes of quiet time, while Meredith plays with her own toys. Most of the time she eats with us, so... Overall, we have very little couple time.
What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve had as a mum?
I remember the little things. Like when Meredith hugged me out of nowhere and said, “I love you so much, mama. I really like you a lot.” Nobody taught her all these things, so I think it’s from her heart. I also remember the worst things, like when the whole family had stomach flu and we vomited upside down, haha. Plus, we had to keep Amelia safe, so I literately sprayed the whole house with sanitiser.
Now with your hands full, how do you balance work and family? Do you still blog, or post on social media as often as you like?
I’m very, very, very sad to say, I can’t find time to really sit down and blog anymore. But I still actively post on social media where I can put down quickly what my kids do, to remember them for as long as the Internet goes, haha.
I am still finding it very hard to balance work and family. I don’t know how other mummies do it. I personally feel on somedays, I win, because I still have the love from my kids and I am already trying my best to give them my everything.
But you know, every day, I try my best and tell myself I’m good enough. And truthfully, I think I can say I’m quite a good mum without feeling paiseh about it. It’s just natural to want to be a better mum, if not the best mum. You know what I mean?
Absolutely. So, do you think you’ve changed since becoming a mum?
I’ve learnt how to deal with facts. Facts like, I only have one brain, two arms and two legs. And that I am but just human. Really. Last time, you’d think you can do this and that lah, run the world lah. Eh sorry, now I just want to run my life with two kids, and work with my husband hand in hand, to save enough for them to go to school, and to buy milk powder. LOL. Simple.
“All of those times I was crying and stressing about contractual problems, I could have given my child my 100 per cent.”
You were involved in the lawsuit with social media advertising network ChurpChurp ― what were some of the most challenging aspects of the whole episode?
Financially, it was hard. Very hard. But emotionally, it was the worst. As much as I tried not to acknowledge it, I was going through depression. It was such a dark place that I’d never knew I could get to in my life.
Most of my life, I’ve been quite an optimistic person. So, it really shook me to realise that I could feel so dark and see so much darkness. It was a very hopeless phase in my life ― challenging to be a mum to Meredith, and carrying Amelia to full term at the same time. I think no mum or mum-to-be deserves to go through something like that.
Are you finally putting things behind you? How are you coping?
I’m slowly picking things up now. The good news is, I finally settled all my legal fees. It was a total of around $170k. Now, I just need to clear $55k of debt and then I’d be free to be me again, hahaha. More shopping and travelling? =X
My family and friends supported me the most but I couldn’t have done it without the support of people who helped out during the crowdfunding. Honestly, if crowdfunding didn’t happen, I don’t think I would ever see the end of the lawsuit.
In your few years of being a mum, do you have any regrets?
My only regret was something beyond my control. I would have done anything to avoid the lawsuit. The conflict started when Meredith was just 4 months old, and it got the most intense when Meredith was 7 months old. The lawsuit happened when she was around a year and a half. All of those times I was crying and stressing about contractual problems, I could have given my child my 100 per cent.
And then, my pregnancy with Amelia could have been smoother without all the stress from the lawsuits. I just feel it was a lot of time wasted, when I should have been focusing on things that are more important. But it wasn’t within my control.
As a mum, what scares you, or what do you fear the most when it comes to your children?
(Are you) kidding me, of course it’s when they fall sick! It’s the most heartbreaking, helpless feeling in the world. I am also scared that they will get bullied, or have their hearts broken. But’s that’s later in life, when they go to school.
What hopes and dreams do you have for them?
I hope they will both grow up to have kind hearts, helpful hands and a peaceful soul. And that they grow to be human beings who are comfortable in their own conscience. And to always be healthy and happy. That’s all. It’s very hard, okay, but that’s my best wishes for both my little girls.
Photos: @bongqiuqiu and Bong Qiu Qiu's Facebook page
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