Diana Ser is most famous for being a former news presenter and TV actress which may be where the mum-of-three gets some of her hands-on, articulate and no-nonsense parenting style. She has three children with former actor-turned-banker James Lye: Jake, 9, Christy, 7, and Jaymee, 5. Besides filming TV documentaries and hosting gigs, Diana also runs an online portal, Crazy About Chinese, launched last November where she shares her own experience to help parents teach their children the Chinese language through daily activities.
How have your priorities changed since becoming a mother?
“I think about myself less. In my household, the best parts of a chicken or fish go to my kids, followed by my husband, and my helper; then I’ll eat whatever’s left.”
How do you approach raising your daughters?
“I raise my kids like I was raised. I’d nag at Christy and Jaymee the way my teachers used to, like, ‘Girls, sit with your legs shut tight. I can see the colour of your underwear!’.”
How do you feel about parenthood?
“I feel like I’m reliving my childhood again. James and I love to tell stories to our kids. These could be events that happened in our youth, silly things we did. One of their favourite stories is hearing about me peeing in the sink of a budget motel room in Rome because I was too scared to go out and use the communal toilet.”
What kind of mum do you think you are?
“I think I’m a tiger-ish sort of mummy. Not in terms of academic achievements, but rather with their attitudes. For example, I believe children are the most energetic in the morning so I make it a rule to complete their homework before doing anything else. Christy is the most disciplined among the three. She does her homework the first thing she wakes up, even before brushing her teeth!”
TV news presenter, Cheryl Fox, gets all wide-eyed and excited, and even squeals, when she’s around her two kids, Sophia, 6, and Eli, 2, whom she shares with her French husband.
“The love you experience as a mother, for your children and from them, is magical. Hearing them say ‘I love you’ and getting all those hugs and kisses every day, it’s hard to imagine a life without these,” she says.
Who resembles you more?
“I believe kids are made up of the best parts of their parents. I see so much of me in Sophia: The way she talks and expresses herself. She watches my news bulletins and repeats my lines with the exact same intonation – it really cracks me up!”
What’s a day in the life of cheryl fox like?
“I’d be interviewing a president of a country, or spending the evening speaking to a crowd of thousands, or reporting on an event that would rewrite history. But a few hours prior to all that happening, I’m answering questions like ‘How tall is God?’, building the tallest LEGO skyscraper or kissing an ‘ouchie’.”
On payback time
“Right now, the kids get an hour of bedtime stories every night – I’m keeping a log book of all the hours we’re clocking and am looking forward to the day they’d read to me in bed!”
What kind of mum do you think you are?
“My husband calls me ‘Super Maman’, French for ‘Super Mum’, because being a mother has definitely tested the full extent of my strength. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been really sick and just shrugged it off because it just got in the way of my day with the kids.”
The birth story of the current cutest Insta-twins on the planet (@leialauren) is nothing short of a miracle. Amber Yong’s 1-year-old twins, Leia and Lauren, aka the “Momo Twins”, beat the odds and survived an incredible rare condition. Leia and Lauren are monoamniotic twins, meaning they shared the same water bag and space, drastically multiplying the risks of being entangled by two umbilical cords in utero.
“We had to prepare ourselves for the worst,” recalls Amber, who works full-time as a marcom specialist in a multi-national company. The twins were born via C-section at 32 weeks, weighing just 1.5 kg and 1.6 kg. “They’re God’s best gifts to me,” Amber says.
On losing her former self
“I’ve stopped fretting over little things. Ask my husband and he’ll tell you that he hasn’t heard me ask ‘What heel should go with this dress?’ in a long while. These days it’s mostly about ‘Where are we bringing the kids today?’.”
On shifting priorities
“My work used to take centrestage, but now it’s all about finding work-life balance. I’ve also learned to tolerate imperfection. When you’re a parent, especially of two babies at a go, you learn to deal with some kind of mess and chaos in the household. It drives me nuts sometimes, but I’m coping.”
On being judged
“My parenting style is always being scrutinised. I’d get criticisms like, ‘You’re overfeeding your child’, or unfounded accusations that I had to learn to deal with in the past months.”
I think I’m the “where’s daddy” type of mummy
“I’m a firm believer that both parents are responsible in raising their kids. I enjoy learning new things and sharing them with my husband Peter. I’m glad that Peter and I have an open communication that
helps us iron out any differences and develop a synergised style in the way we parent our kids.”
Text: Sylvia Ong
Photos: Joel Lim @ Calibre Pictures