Celeb mum Genevieve Woo: I’m glad I became a mum later in life

The Channel NewsAsia presenter reveals that she appreciates her daughter even more because she became a mother in her 40s.

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While Genevieve Woo still gets butterflies whenever she goes on air after 12 years, she’s pretty chill about raising her 6-year-old daughter Katherine Isabelle Kern.

In fact, you could even say that the 48-year-old presenter of Insightan hour-long weekly Channel NewsAsia current affairs programme ― is pretty composed eventhough she is a first-time mum.

Sometimes, she may even be accused of being a little too lax, she confesses. Genevieve recalls how her American film-producer hubby, Tony Kern, 48, has caught her with their daughter still up well past their little one’s bedtime.

“As kids do, they will come up with some funny excuses or try to push the envelope and ask for another five minutes, another five minutes. Before you know it, the five minutes turn into an hour past her bedtime and my husband will come into the room and ask us: What are you still doing awake?!”

The presenter’s more relaxed parenting style could be the result of becoming a mum at the age of 41. Genevieve says that becoming a mother later in life has helped her value her daughter all the more. “Because I don’t feel so harassed in terms of my time and in my career, I’ve also achieved some form of stability.”

Indeed, while many may know her as an anchor person, Genevieve actually wore many hats before she became a presenter some 12 years ago. She not only headed the group corporate communications department at Mediacorp, in 2008, the film buff even produced a feature-length movie, A Month of Hungry Ghosts, which received a Best Film nomination at the Singapore International Film Festival.

“But not with my daughter, she didn’t cry a single day! She can’t wait to go to school the next day. I was thinking to myself: okay, this was easy…”

Genevieve reckons if she had become a mum at a younger age, things would have been a lot different, especially since she’d probably would have had more to prove. “At [a younger] age, it may have come at the expense of spending time with Katherine because I suppose the priorities are a bit different. So, if anyone’s thinking of starting parenthood late, barring the biological [challenges], I’m all for it.”

SmartParents sits down with the presenter to find out how she juggles her hectic schedules with motherhood and her daughter’s upcoming transition to Primary 1.

 

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Hi Genevieve! How’s Katherine doing in preschool so far?
Oh, she loves school! When she first started, you’ll hear stories where preschoolers take anywhere between a week to six months to get used to preschool or they can go through school crying every single day. But not with my daughter, she didn’t cry a single day! She can’t wait to go to school the next day. I was thinking to myself: Okay, this was easy… [laughs] So, it’s a joy for us because we didn’t have to look forward to her bawling every day [laughs].

So, no separation anxiety at all?

No. Not at all. In fact, I get the feeling that she seems quite happy to say, “Bye, mama!” [laughs] Not sure whether I should feel, err, insulted by that [laughs]! So, that was a pleasant surprise.  

What is Katherine’s personality like?
Hmm, where do I begin [laughs]? It’s like they have so much personality cramped inside that small body of theirs. Well, she’s an extrovert ― she loves creative things like most other children do. She loves to sing, to dance and she likes to draw. She is particularly good at sports, I’ve noticed ― her hand-eye coordination is spot-on. Based on the sports that we have introduced her to, I’ve noticed she has pretty good ball sense. She catches everything very easily — it’s almost instinctive.

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So, whom does she take after in terms of her sporting abilities — you or your husband?
I think we both are, we’ve both been quite active and both of us also play tennis. But like most kids, Katherine also loves the water — you could say that she took to swimming like a fish to water, literally. [Laughs] She really enjoyed that. Tennis was more of a decision made by me and my hubby because we can both play and we also want to be able to play with her, too. But she likes it. She’s taking classes at the Singapore Tennis Association ― they have a junior class, so she goes once a week.

Does Katherine have her own social media account?
At 6 years old? [guffaws] You mean there are toddlers who have their own Instagram accounts? [Laughs] I must imagine it’s managed by their parents, of course? But that’s new to me, I have to say I haven’t thought about it. My first instinct will be resist it.