She not only swam in four successive Olympics, including Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, her incredible accomplishments include 40 Southeast Asian Games gold medals. She was also a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2011.
Today, Joscelin prefers striving for a different type of personal best ― raising four young ’uns.
Besides caring for her littlest, 5-month-old Sarah, she is mum to three older boys, Michael, 3, David, 5, and Sean, 7.
Married to church pastor Joseph Christopher Purcell, 34, Joscelin now works as a part-time church counsellor. She also continues to serve in the Singapore Swimming Association, overseeing the sport of swimming.
“The rest of the time, I get to nurture and be part of my kids’ development,” she smiles.
We caught up with Joscelin to find out how she is handling motherhood.
Hi Joscelin, thanks for talking to us, and congrats on your new baby! Tell us a bit more about her and what your pregnancy was like.
Sarah is now 5 months old and yes, the pregnancy and birth was smooth. I didn't have any pregnancy symptoms, though she had to be induced to come out. It was the same for the previous three!
It’s incredible – you’re now a mum of 4! What are your older boys like?
Sean is 7 this year. He's a sweet and understanding boy and is very much the older brother ―he looks after his younger siblings, and has a very nurturing personality. David is 5 – he’s very athletic, very active, cheeky and garang! Michael is 3 and he’s the joker of the family. He’s very adorable and always says things that’ll make you laugh out loud.
How are the boys taking to their little sister?
They absolutely adore her and are so gentle with her! They want to hug and kiss her anytime they get the chance to and are very sweet with her. Family dynamics have changed because I am still breastfeeding her, so the boys have had to make adjustments in terms of the time I have to spend with her, and time away from them while I'm doing that. But I've also seen a different side to my second one, David ― the gentle, kind, sweet, protective side of him, which has really warmed my heart.
Do you still manage to find time to go to the pool ― with the kids perhaps?
It depends on the weather, but if weather is good, we can be in the pool three or four times a week. If it's raining, then we don't get in.
How hands-on is daddy and how do you divvy up the parenting duties?
We don't have a fixed split ― both Joseph and I are parents to the kids, meaning, we both parent the kids when we are around. I have more contact time with my kids because I've chosen to work part-time to spend time with them. But when he is around, he will be involved.
What’s the most challenging part of parenting?
When all the kids and I are unwell at the same time, and my husband is out of town!
Do you get any down time at all?
Well, when I’m at work, I have a domestic helper that helps with my baby. And when I have down time, it’s usually spent going to the gym, watching a show with my husband or reading.
Would you encourage your kids to be competitive in sports?
Yes, I believe in sports and my kids will be involved in some kind of sport. However, I won't push them to be in swimming. It will be whatever they gravitate towards. Boys being boys, they are very active, and we do a lot of outdoor play. But I will sign them up for formal classes when there is a consistent interest in an area, or if it is really their bent.
What advice do you have for parents raising kids who are playing a sport competitively?
If you have the ability to, let them enjoy as many different things or different sports as possible. Competition for a kid should not just be about winning, but the values of the sport, such as discipline, learning how to fail, perseverance, and being teachable. These are things that they should also walk away with, all while enjoying what they are doing.
What have been the high and low points of your parenting journey so far?
Children are a blessing. There are days that the kids are behaving and everything seems to be going smoothly, and there are days where the kids are fighting and not listening to instructions and it is chaotic. But I wouldn’t classify one as a high, or the other as a low. This is all part of parenting. When there is correction ― there is an opportunity to redirect your child towards the right path. There is fulfilment in that.
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