Diana Ser, Serena Adsit, Tan Li Yi: How motherhood has changed them

Diana Ser, with her mother, Annie, and daughter, Christy.
PHOTO: Calibre Studios

This Mother’s Day, we visited three generations of a loving family – grandmother, mother and daughter – and discuss motherhood lessons, and explore the bonds that tie them. 

Diana Ser, 48, media personality, with her mother, Annie, and daughter, Christy

PHOTO: Calibre Studios

No one really likes being described as turning into their mum, but Diana Ser takes the comparison in her stride.

“I am resigned to the fact that I am more like her than I would like to admit. This awareness, however, makes me want to be better for my kids,” confesses the mother of three.

“Together with my husband James [Lye], we form a different family unit, so the children get the best of us and our families.”

She adds that she has picked up some great parenting lessons from her mum, the 48-year-old says she has inherited her mother’s strong work ethic, among other things.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even though I have more resources, more access to technology, and more importantly, more education, the values that are passed on to me from my mum drive the way I nurture and guide my kids,” says Diana.

“I may be guilty of parenting them all the same, but it is starting to get more challenging with one teenager, and a blossoming 12-year-old, but I guess I just have to roll with the punches.

“Motherhood has definitely helped me gain more empathy. It is the great equaliser.

“Whether you are rich or poor, tall or thin, all mothers love their children. It has enabled me to connect better with other women, too.”

Serena Adsit, 41, founder of Mint Singapore with her mother, Rosalind, and daughter, Avalon

PHOTO: Veronica Tay

A vivid memory Serena has, growing up, was watching her mum get all dressed up for events.

“My mother was very stylish. In my eyes, she was the most beautiful thing. When I was younger, she was my world. She still is,” says the model-entrepreneur.

“She always treated me like a friend; although I probably needed to be raised with a bit more routine and discipline! So, in turn, I try to be kinder and more understanding when parenting my children.”

Grateful for how her mum has shaped how she is as a parent today, Serena says there’s nothing she loves more than being a mother.

“It has taught me what true love is. I can’t adequately describe that feeling of pure joy and connection when it comes to my children.

"From the time I was pregnant with them, delivering them at home, breastfeeding and raising them, I have felt love like no other in this world,” Serena admits.

“My children are born almost nine years apart, so there was lots of time for me to grow, assess my parenting style and change the mistakes I felt I made with my son, Evan. I know now to definitely garner as much help as possible and take comfort in understanding that it takes a village to raise a child!”

Tan Li Yi, 44, senior producer-presenter at 96.3 Hao FM with her mother, Madam How and daughter, Eun Jin

PHOTO: Darren Chang

As a child, Li Yi was often sick, and she will never forget the sacrifice her mother made to nurture her back to health.

“The greatest parenting lesson I’ve picked up from my mum is being selfless and sacrificing for the family,” says the SPH radio deejay.

“My mum quit her job after I was born. My dad worked overseas most of the time, so my mum basically took care of my sister and me by herself when we were younger. It wasn’t easy for her, especially due to me being sick. 

“I remember my mum made me wear long sleeves and long pants every day, so I will not catch a cold. She also made sure I took my medication on time – I hated medicine, so I made it very hard for her.”

She believes that as children, we model our parents, and she often catches herself thinking about what her parents have done for her during her childhood years. 

“I think I’m very blessed to have loving and responsible parents and I hope I can be like them. I am learning new things about parenting every day as I grow with my own kids,” confesses Li Yi.

“Motherhood is a lifelong journey. There’s a lot less of ‘me-time’, and things, more or less, revolve around what is best for the children.

"I often have to remind myself not to feel guilty when I have to focus on my work instead of the kids.

"At the end of the day, spending quality time with them is most important. I let them know I love them through my words and actions.”

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.