Celeb mum Jaime Teo: Like other mummies, I'm figuring things out along the way

We catch up with former beauty queen and actress Jaime Teo about her current pursuits and challenges when it comes to co-parenting.

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Jaime Teo claimed the headlines in 2001 when she was crowned Miss Singapore Universe, but at age 40, she has certainly become quite the multi-hyphenate.

Winning the beauty pageant and a Mediacorp contract opened doors for her ― she’s since acted in a number of movies and TV shows, including I Not Stupid 2 and Mr Kiasu.

From being a business woman (she co-owned cupcake chain Twelve Cupcakes with ex-husband Daniel Ong), to singing with a Singapore-Taiwanese girl band, One-Fifth, in 2003, Jaime wears many hats.

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These days, the Fly Entertainment artiste garners a respectable following (some 85k followers) on Instagram (@jmeteo), posting snippets of her life with her daughter, 8-year-old Renee.

She also posts regularly about her fitness pursuits, artworks and singing ― you’ll find lots of videos of her singing along while strumming her guitar. In fact, a recent interest of hers is painting and you can even purchase her works here.

Any job that requires me to be away from her would take a lot of thought!

SmartParents caught up with Teo to find out how life’s been treating her.

Hi Jaime, how have you been these days and what projects are you busy with?
You are welcome! I have been very well! I think having gotten on the fitness wagon a few years back has helped tremendously with my energy levels, as well as my general well-being. I will be travelling to Cambodia to film a travelogue soon, plus, I have been drawing a lot lately. And of course, Project Renee keeps me busy the rest of the time!

How involved with showbiz are you nowadays?
It’s great that Fly [Entertainment] knows that I'm very selective about the jobs I take on. Those that are on weekday nights are usually a no-go, because it’s a school night. I would very much prefer to put Renee to bed every night and wake up with her. Any job that requires me to be away from her would take a lot of thought!

 

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Tell us about your mummy-daughter relationship with Renee how has your relationship changed, or developed over the years?
Well, Renee is 8 years old now. She’s still very young, but I really like that we can have more meaningful conversations and that she sometimes throws me questions that I have problems answering. It shows me that she is thinking through things and is unafraid to speak her mind with me.

What are some things you enjoy doing together?
We like making music together, drawing, eating shabu shabu and reading together. On most days, we are now reading our own books, but she still likes me to read to her. As she grows older, I like that we can do our own things in the same space.

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What is it like co-parenting with Daniel? What are some of the biggest challenges? Do your parenting views ever differ and how do you manage that?

Well, the good thing is that he does the things with her that I don’t like, like swimming, cycling and searching for creepy crawlies. The biggest challenge would be ensuring that we both are up to date with her schoolwork.

We try as much as possible to be on the same page for major things, but I guess there are always areas where we have to agree to disagree. In those times, I hope Renee will be able to discern the difference and know how to adapt when she’s in different homes.

We try as much as possible to be on the same page for major things, but I guess there are always areas where we have to agree to disagree.

Who helps Renee with the school work and who disciplines?

Dan and I get equal time after school with her actually, and we have agreed that she will get her homework done after school before play-time. Renee definitely thinks that Mummy is the disciplinarian because it is Mummy’s job to nag isn’t it? *rolls eyes*

How would you describe yourself as a mum?
I’m a hug-a-lot mummy! I think I try to make things fun (as much as my patience allows), and sometimes I’m quite critical and not as present as I should be when with her. Y’know, I’m just like most other mummies ― trying to figure things out along the way.

 

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Have you started dating again?
Well, I am meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. It’s great to go out and have adult chats.

How do you balance work and family?
I can work mostly at home, and ad hoc assignments mean that I have all this time with Renee outside of it. I feel very blessed about that.

I now feel fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been!

If there was one thing that you would have changed in your parenting journey, what would it have been?
I probably wish I didn’t stress myself over perceived problem behaviours or ailments, because children often grow out of them and maybe our lesson as parents is to learn to go with the flow and not rush everything.

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We notice that you’re a real fitness enthusiast and you upload lots of home fitness videos! What motivates you, and has fitness always been a passion of yours?

Yes, I am! It has transformed my life because I now feel fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been! My passion has always been “fun”, so it would be whatever is fun for me for the moment and it’s easy to keep doing something I enjoy.

My current fun thing is dancing and squash ― but I do the HIIT [High-Intensity Interval Training] workouts because they make me strong enough to do the fun stuff without injuring myself. I hope that by posting my workouts, I remind other people to keep fit because it really is the best thing you can do for yourself.

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We see that you’ve also set up a mini- art showcase! How did you start painting, and what inspires you?
It really started two plus years ago when my friends insisted that we try something different ― like an afternoon of tea and art. I always thought I couldn’t draw, but I got hooked after that first session.

The first year, I had 16 canvases and did a charity Instagram auction. The second year, I realised I had almost 50 pieces and thought that a mini-showcase would be a good idea. It is also a practical concern, having space to keep my works! So, I love knowing that my art is in someone’s home. I’m inspired by beautiful landscapes, sometimes a real destination, other times imagined in my head.

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You’re also a keen musician! Tell us about that, and what drives these interests?
Making music is something that I’ve always enjoyed, so I’m always learning new songs because it’s the best way to improve on my musical skills! I also like that it’s something I can do with Renee and I hope that I impart to her a love for making music because it’s so therapeutic. Like art. I’m sounding like I need a lot of therapy. Haha!

What is the most important value that you want to impart to Renee?
I think children need different lessons at different ages. But loving herself and continually learning would be something I hope she always remembers throughout her life.

Photos: Instagram@jmeTeo

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