Celeb mum Lin Peifen: Caning is a no-no, it scars more than gets the message across

The YES 933 producer-presenter reveals how she deals with mummy guilt and her parenting challenges thus far…

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YES 933 producer-presenter Lin Peifen thinks her star sign is responsible for giving her a lot of stress and unhappiness as a parent.

Indeed, as a Virgo — often associated with a relentless drive for perfection ― she says, “I’ve since learnt to relax a little, but now I am facing a new set of challenges.”

The “Ah Jie of local radio” — a term she’s earned after chalking up 17 years on the airwaves — is married to business manager Lie Weixiang, 37. The couple welcomed son Luke in July 2015.

The 37-year-old admits that her mini-me has learnt how to push the boundaries and challenge authority — not unlike other threenagers.

“I’ve already lost my cool a number of times, and felt really bad after that. But I always apologise to him, remind myself not to lose my temper again, and move on.”

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Although Peifen is the disciplinarian at home, she frowns on caning. “It’s a definite no-no for me. It scars more than gets a message across.”

With such clear-cut parenting views, her parenting style does clash with that of her husband’s on occasion. The couple come to a compromise after reminding themselves that their goal is what’s best for their son. Understanding each other’s views and reaching an agreement, is vital in order to avoid confusing your child, Peifen adds.

“…I feel childhood is short enough and kids tend to grow up at a much younger age than before. So, I really want him to have good, pure kiddie fun

“It helps that [Weixiang] is not at home a lot on weekdays, so I can have my way most of the time,” Peifen says, laughing.

The bubbly mummy spills secrets to getting up at the crack of dawn for her early radio shift, fuss-free travel with her little one, and if she has plans to expand her family…

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Hello, Peifen! What’s your secret to hopping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning?
Become a parent. [Laughs] It’s true. I’ve always had trouble waking up early in the morning, even with a loud alarm. But ever since I became a mother and started co-sleeping with Luke, my morning alarm is just a vibrating phone and I have no trouble waking up. Also, I try my best to sleep early.

Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?
I wake up at 5.45 in the morning and do my radio show from 7 to 10am. The few hours after that are usually spent either doing more work or running errands, and I will pick Luke up from school at about 4pm. The rest of the day is spent with him, playing, reading, bathing and dinner. His bedtime ritual starts at around 9pm, I read him some bedtime stories and we usually end the day by about 10pm.

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What are your childcare arrangements like?
Luke goes to childcare on weekdays. If I have assignments that last longer than his school hours, I have help from my husband or my parents. We also have a helper at home.

What is Luke’s personality like?
He is upfront, impatient and affectionate. When he’s happy, he laughs out loud. When he is upset, he cries out loud. When he loves someone or something, he is very generous with his expressions of love.

 

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In terms of his personality, who do you think Luke takes after?
Me.

How about his appearance?
I think he has my eyes. The rest is all Daddy. Our friends and family have differing views and there is no majority. It really depends on what you focus on.

Are you helping Luke discover his passions?
I think he is very much influenced by me. I am not doing much to discover any talent at the moment, because I feel childhood is short enough and kids tend to grow up at a much younger age than before. So, I really want him to have good, pure kiddie fun. I do take note of what he enjoys more, so as to have a reference when planning activities. For now, he is pretty happy drawing, listening to stories and music, and banging on my piano.

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We heard that you have a couple of furkids ― Mr Snuggie, Night and Mono. Do your cats get along with Luke?
Yes! Though sometimes my cats try to avoid Luke when he gets loud or rowdy.

Have you always had pets when you were growing up?
I remember having fishes and terrapins at home in my Secondary school days. I also smuggled two hamsters home, and eventually was allowed to keep them as pets. I feel that having animals at home is a clear and simple message to children that different forms of life are worth respect and care.

“I feel that having animals at home is a clear and simple message to children that different forms of life are worth respect and care.”

Were you concerned that your furkids may give Luke allergies?
Yes, I was. It was a constant worry during pregnancy. But I took heart in the fact that neither I nor my husband are allergic to cats, so the chances of Luke being allergic were not high.

What is your secret to being bilingual?
There isn’t really a secret. I’m blessed to have been brought up in a bilingual environment. My mother only speaks Mandarin and Chinese dialects, so as far as I can remember, I’ve been comfortable and familiar with the Chinese language. English, being the most commonly used language in schools and basically everywhere, was not difficult to pick up as I could learn from my father, elder sister and friends.

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Are you planning to do anything to encourage Luke to be bilingual?
I am his main Chinese language influence, like my mother was for me. I speak Mandarin to him most of the time. I guess the trick to mastering a language is igniting the desire to learn. And to spark interest, I feel it’s important to first make him comfortable with the language. Using it in everyday life, such as conversations, songs and stories, helps to create a fun and comfortable learning environment.

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Have you and your hubby travelled with Luke?
We went to Hong Kong when Luke was about 8 months old. It was actually better than expected.

Any challenges?
We brought Luke to Hong Kong again when he was 1½ years old. That was tough because he was at a stage where he could make demands, yet he was not ready to be understanding. I remember him wailing on the flight back for a long time because he was so tired, it was a night flight and it got so bad that a fellow passenger came to check on us.

Care to share your travel tips with other parents?
Don’t be too ambitious. Take it easy, one step at a time. Unless you really enjoy a good challenge, or you are super-confident that your kids will cooperate.

As a celeb mum with 51.9k followers on Instagram, do you have any rules on how you decide between what to and not to share?
My most basic rule is never share something purely negative. Sharing sadness or down moments are okay, but I feel it has to be encouraging. There is always room for more love and less hate.

 

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How do you spend time as a family?
We play and eat together as much as we can. Weekends are the best for family time, we love going outdoors, either to the park or playground or beach.

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Do you and your hubby spend any one-on-one time with Luke? Yes, we do and I feel it is very important. We get to know each other so much better in a short time. For me, I’ll usually take Luke on a walk around the neighbourhood. My hubby will take him swimming.

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Do you set aside time in the week to spend time with your husband?
We try to, usually on Fridays for dinner.

What is your proudest moment as a mother to date?
I don’t think there is any one “wow” moment. But every time I look at Luke and notice how he has grown, my heart is full.

What do you miss most about life before becoming a mother?
Time with friends.

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How do you cope with mummy guilt?
Convert guilt into willpower. When I cannot be with Luke, I make sure my time is put to good use and I do whatever I have to do as best as I can.

Who do you turn to for parenting advice?
I consult my mother, or friends who are mothers, and I sometimes just Google. But every child is different and there are times when advice is not helpful, and I need to learn to help myself.

What do you do to destress?
I’ll have good food, listen to music, or catch a funny movie.

How about when the going gets tough — what keeps you going?Me-time. Simply just walking away, taking a sip of water and breathing helps. Hiding in the toilet helps, too. Otherwise, I make time to really enjoy myself, be it lunch with friends, watching my favourite shows, a quick shopping spree, or engaging in hobbies like baking.

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Care to share any interesting fan interactions?
Once, someone recognised my son on an escalator and called out his name, without noticing me at all. I think he is more popular and well-known than I am!

Are there plans for more kids?
Yes!

Finally, complete these sentences:

* The one superpower I wish I had as a parent is… Not needing sleep to function well.

* One thing I always tell Luke is… Be kind.

* The biggest piece of advice I’ve received is… Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none ― I think it’s from Shakespeare.

Catch Peifen and her co-hosts Chen Ning and Jeff on Mediacorp Radio, YES 933, on weekdays between 6 and 10 AM.

Photos: Instagram/Lin Peifen (@limpeifen)

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