When Mum wears many hats

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On Mother’s Day,  HomeTeamNS volunteer LTC (NS) Simon Foo tells us why his wife, Adena, is the wise one in the family. 

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTO: ADENA LIM

You may have spotted LTC (NS) Simon Foo and Adena Lim at the various HomeTeamNS clubhouses, which they visit once or twice a month on the weekends. “We usually have lunch at one of the restaurants at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier,” says LTC (NS) Foo. “We love the chill ambience there.” As a family, they’ve also created fond memories at the clubhouse, such as last year’s World Cup which saw the family of five — LTC (NS) Foo, Adena, their two daughters (aged 15 and 13) and their 10-year-old son — snacking their way through several qualifier matches as well as the thrilling final between Argentina and France.

LTC (NS) Foo, who works in his family’s ship repair business, is a volunteer with the Executive Committee at HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier. Together with his fellow National Servicemen from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), he assists the Committee by offering support and providing ideas regarding operational matters, events and activities, and financial goals.

He says that Ms Lim’s support is crucial in bolstering his ability to volunteer: “I have the comfort of knowing the children’s emotional needs are met,” he shares. “Adena is my pillar of strength, she is wise and nurturing. Our children look up to her, especially the girls. She speaks to their emotional needs better than me.”

A ROLE MODEL, AND MORE

Like many mothers, Adena, who works in the public service sector, has found that being a parent requires her to take on numerous roles, of which emotional support is only one. “Being a mother, I am looked up to as a role model by my children,” she says. “They watch how I talk, what I eat, what I wear, what I do on a daily basis — it’s like being under CCTV all the time! So, I have to be responsible for my behaviour and actions as these may influence them. They also regard me as a walking encyclopaedia, asking me questions ranging from history to mathematics to biology.”

All this is on top of her daily duties as a working mum who divvies up the responsibilities of ferrying the kids to and from school, co-curricular activities and tuition classes with her husband. “There are days when I am back late from work or have teleconferences in the evenings. My husband will help to supervise the children’s schoolwork, oversee their assignments and ensure their needs are met,” she says. “Similarly, whenever Simon is out for an overnight exercise during his reservist stints, I will take care of the children.” In addition to making sure the children’s physical needs are met, Adena carves out time to chat with her daughters about what happened in school during the day as well as coach her son in his schoolwork.

FINDING JOY AND MEANING IN MOTHERHOOD

Despite the lack of rest and personal time — “sleep is usually the first to be foregone,” admits Adena — motherhood has been a deeply fulfilling experience for her. “Motherhood has helped me to appreciate that life is not about oneself, but the giving of oneself to build the lives of my children,” she reflects. “It has given me a fresh perspective on what is selfless love and giving. I find joy and meaning in being a mother — it is worth it!”

As a mother, she tries her best to impart the values she would want her children to live by: “I always tell them that between being a successful person and being a person of good character, it is more important to be the latter. Being honest, generous, gracious, kind, having integrity and courage to do what is right — these values will take them very far in life, and differentiate them from the crowd.”

In helping her children navigate their childhood and adolescent years, Adena has also learnt some lessons of her own. “All three of my children are unique,” she explains. “The eldest is street smart, the second is very driven and hardworking, the youngest is the baby who is charming in his own way. I’ve learnt to embrace their strengths and weaknesses. This has also helped me to approach people I encounter in life in the same way, and to respect each person for their own individuality.”

She adds that she has also learnt how to be patient and gracious. “More often than not, children may disobey us, say things that are hurtful or discouraging, or fight with one another,” she says. “We learn to forgive them and also find teaching moments to inculcate the correct values in them. So yes, being a mother is also being a teacher in their lives!”

A FAMILY BUILT ON LOVE AND SUPPORT

Despite her hectic schedule and the multiple roles that constitute the job of being Mum to three kids, Adena is happy to support LTC (NS) Foo volunteering at HomeTeamNS, which he has been doing for the past two years: “I am proud that he is doing his part to serve the nation,” she shares. “He is passionate about his volunteer work at HomeTeamNS and often comes home to share with us what he does, and about the people he works with. It gives him motivation and fresh perspective on life.” In return, LTC (NS) Foo has some heartfelt words for his wife and mother of their children this Mother’s Day: 

“Adena, thank you for journeying through life together with me. You make me want to be the best version of myself.”

The sacrifices of mothers like Ms Lim and many more at our clubhouses are an inspiration to us all. To celebrate the unwavering contributions of the ladies behind our Home Team National Servicemen, HomeTeamNS launched Everyday HERoes, a new Family Membership with expanded female-centric perks. At only a nominal fee of $10, members are entitled to 1,000 +HPoints (worth $10), access to exclusive perks and benefits, and more!

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