Since 2008, Ang Qiu Ting, perhaps better known Clicknetwork’s Budget Barbie, or lifestyle influencer Bong Qiu Qiu, has been regaling the internet with humorous snippets of daily life, winning audiences around the country over by her candid take on issues ranging from plastic surgery to finance.
Scrolling through the working mum’s Instagram and YouTube pages today, you’ll find heartwarming anecdotes about her loved ones and snapshots of conversations they had—with the most common theme revolving around motherhood and her three children, Meredith, Amelia and Oliver, who are aged seven, five and three respectively.
However, picture perfect stories aside, Qiu Ting is quick to admit that the parenting journey has not been all rainbows and unicorns, but one of constant learning and refining. Here are her top three lessons:
#1 You can’t have everything under control
As a new mum, Qiu Ting’s life revolved around her daughter’s routine, and she was set on what she thought would be the best way to do things.
“I’d make plans to meet my friends at 12pm for lunch, but then Meredith would miss her nap and because I believe she needs to nap well to have a good day, so my whole day would be put on hold until she did,” Qiu Ting explains. “I’d have to wait for her to nap, and then to wake up naturally before going out—by then it might be 2pm!”
She shares that it was only after her second and third child that she learned to trust other caregivers to help, and began to find balance between work, family and her social life.
Although she can relate to the anxieties one feels when separated from their children, she points out that it is only a matter of time before children will need to go to school and spend most of the day under the care of someone else. They will eventually develop their own lives—so the sooner one can learn to let go of having that control, the easier it will be for both parent and child.
“It’s silly to hang on to so much control when life is full of uncertainties. You need to accept that nobody is perfect and your kids won’t be perfect just because you want them to be,” she reiterates.
#2 Your children can be trusted
That said, parenting has also taught Qiu Ting that children deserve more credit than parents are willing to give them.
For example, knowing her son, Oliver, is a playful and energetic boy, she opted to give him a safer battery-powered lantern, instead of a traditional candle-lit one during the family’s lantern festival outing. Oliver’s disappointment was palpable, but watching him swing his lantern “literally everywhere”, she initially felt justified in her decision.
So when she finally relented and let him hold a candle-lit lantern like the “big kids”, she was shocked by the amount of care he took to make sure it wouldn’t topple.
“I realised that children can be trusted. It’s easy to say ‘my way is the best way’, but if we trust them and guide them, they often prove us wrong,” she muses.
#3 Parenting is a partnership
And one of her biggest learnings to date? To prioritise her husband. “Our husbands are our loved ones too and not suddenly third-class citizens when the kids come along,” she declares. “When your kids grow up and have their own lives, the person who will remain is your husband!”
Drawing back to her point on being able to relinquish control, she notes that being overly particular about how and what should be done can be extremely discouraging for a partner who is trying to help. This can create tension at home, which in turn affects the way children learn to communicate and express themselves.
A good partnership is therefore one where one can let go—not to give up, but to create space for compromise, communication, respect and trust. Her parting advice is this: “Ask yourself what matters more, your own petty fights, or to create a safe and stable environment for your kids?”