Celeb mum Kate Pang: I'm the stricter parent

Mediacorp artiste Kate Pang shares insights as to how she and hubby Andie Chen juggle their kids and work.

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When Kate Pang discovered she was pregnant with Avery, her rainbow baby — a child born after a miscarriage — the 33-year-old was initially apprehensive. “I was surprised, happy and apprehensive [all at the same time]. Apprehensive because I didn’t know how this pregnancy will pan out and [if] I’d be able to tell others about the pregnancy.”

While she isn’t coy about sharing the pregnancy good news, her miscarriage in early 2015 gave her pause to make the news public. Kate says, “I’m feel that being pregnant is one of life’s greatest joys and thus I would like to share it with everyone. So, after my miscarriage, I became a little more careful [about announcing my rainbow baby news].”

Indeed, after the grief of the lost baby, Avery’s smooth arrival in June is especially meaningful for Kate and husband/fellow actor, Andie Chen, 31. Notes the mum to son, Aden, 2, “I feel that we are very lucky people to have a daughter and a son ― I’m grateful that my life is complete. Now, when we experience some difficulty at work, we will remind ourselves that our family is complete and that, in itself, is a blessing.”

“I feel that we are very lucky people to have a daughter and a son ― I’m grateful that my life is complete.”

SmartParents caught up with the second-time mum to find out how she prepped for Avery’s arrival.

Congratulations on Avery’s birth your thoughts on this pregnancy?
I felt that the second pregnancy was a lot more tiring than the first because I felt more out of shape. I didn’t eat a lot but it was worse this time round, I don’t feel that I have regained the same physique as I did in the past. I’m wondering if it is because of my age [and that’s why my] muscles aren’t as taut as before.

Has Andie said anything about your figure?
Andie likes that I’m a little fleshier than before ― he’s said meatier is better. He mentioned that when we have a little more time on our hands in the future, we should exercise together. We used to exercise together when we had the time in the past. He just wishes that kids can grow up quickly, so that we will have more time to ourselves!

Did you do anything special during this pregnancy?
No, but when it comes to the process of pregnancy, I’m always very careful to look after myself. Even when I was pregnant, I would still do exercises like yoga, or get a massage. I made sure that I remained upbeat throughout the pregnancy because I know that the mother’s mentality will affect the health of her baby. So, I was really focused on keeping a positive attitude and mindset, which is extremely important. I also observed a better diet and did not eat “garbage”.

Were you worried that since you’d had a miscarriage, you might encounter problems while carrying Avery?
Yes, I was really, really scared. When I was pregnant with Aden the first time, everything went smoothly, so it never dawned on me that I could experience any problems with my second pregnancy. I’ve always thought that I am very healthy, nor do I know what caused [the miscarriage]. Neither can the doctor pinpoint what the problem was, too. I was worried that if I’ve experienced it before, does it mean that it can happen again?

Compared to your first pregnancy with Aden, were you better prepared for Avery’s birth?
For the second pregnancy, I felt that I wasn’t as nervous. And now I have a better understanding of the threshold of pain, like how painful birth can be. I was still quite relaxed, actually.

Find out how the Chens parent their kids...


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How different are your parenting styles?

I think we are mostly on the same page when it comes to dealing with the kids ― we’ll both research and discuss whatever we read in parenting books. We don’t practise the “good cop, bad cop” style of parenting. We are always on the same page, so I feel more relaxed as there are fewer chances that our opinions will clash.

But there must be a parent who is stricter with the kids. Is that you or Andie?
I’m the stricter one ― I’ll usually discipline them more readily and I think it’s because I am with them every day. So, there will be occasions when I am stricter with them or use a more [authoritative] tone. Andie, on the other hand, has a lot more patience. He will reason with them. Whenever he does that, in my heart, I am already rolling my eyes but I do let him parent the way he knows how. His style isn’t bad. We will also try to device ways to handle Aden, who is 2 now. You know what they say about the Terrible Twos, right? We constantly need to put up a fight with him. We also need to find different ways to handle and control him. We are still trying.

“In whatever she [Avery] does, if she cares or loves herself enough, she will be more careful not let herself get hurt in the process especially since she is a girl.”

What advice will you give Avery in the future once she starts dating, what will you tell her?
I have discussed this with Andie before and we have decided that we will teach her to remember to love herself. In whatever she does, if she cares or loves herself enough, she will be more careful not let herself get hurt in the process, especially since she is a girl. That way, we will be at greater ease when she starts dating.

How about Aden, what will you tell him about dating?
I will leave this to Andie because I’m sure he is pretty experienced in this area. So, I’m not too worried (laughs)!

Do you wish that Aden and Avery become actors like daddy and mummy?
I don’t have any special wishes for them to follow in our footsteps. In fact, I think it will be best if they don’t become actors. But if they really want to, I won’t talk them out of it. I will not [encourage them to enter show business] only because I think this job is very tiring and can get rather challenging. And there has to be a lot of give and take between couples, like Andie and I, to make our careers work with kids ― I think a lot of people won’t be able to understand or appreciate our careers. I doubt many people can find advantages to doing this job. And I think it will become more and more challenging in the years ahead and now that the Web is becoming more and more advanced. And I’m unsure how it will be like in the future [for my kids].

Click to discover what Kate’s future ambition in life is (hint, it’s not to win a Golden Horse!)…

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What is your biggest wish for your kids?

My biggest wish is for them to be healthy until Andie and I grow old. The thing is that I will be devastated if my kids go before I do and I have seen that happen quite a bit. So, I wish that they grow up to be happy and healthy kids and I wish that in the future I will be able to rely on them in old age.

“I wouldn’t want to be a recluse for too long because I found that I have become more aunty.”

What will your reaction be if Andie wants more children?
Okay! That’s very good! I love children but [Andie’s] a bit more reserved about it. He is a bit afraid of having too many kids, but I’m more open to it. I think that although the process of pregnancy and birth might be challenging, babies are just too adorable! I have told him before that if I have time on my hands and our financial situation allows us some leeway, I won’t mind more kids.

So, what are your career and future plans?
I look forward to becoming a tai tai (Chinese for a rich stay-at-home mum) when I’m older ― that’s my goal in life (laughs)! I would definitely go back to acting if the project’s terms are something I can manage. And I wouldn’t want to be a recluse for too long because I found that I have become more aunty. I feel like my brains isn’t as sharp as before, and my thoughts have become a little more mundane and boring. But if the work does not allow me to spend time with the kids, I will give up the project. Time [that I spend with my family] is the most important consideration. In fact, the kind of competiveness that I once felt in my work is not as strong as before.

Photos: Kate Pang

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