Saluting All Kinds Of Mothers on Mother’s Day

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The Single Mum:

Queen of Cosplaying Balances Passion with Single Parenting

Many Malaysians are ardent followers and fans of our very own homegrown makeup artist, Saraswati Suharto. She has gained international stardom for smashing boundaries of makeup cosplaying by using the hijab as part of her outstanding looks.

The talented artist whose famous works include transforming herself to Disney characters like Ariel from the Little Mermaid and Cinderella, takes a lot of effort and goes to great lengths to create her looks.

To unsuspecting onlookers, she may look like someone who has plenty of time to spare because of her detailed work.

Terrified kids

Many, however, do not know that Saraswati, who proudly showcases her skills to the world as the ‘Queen of Luna’ on Instagram, is a single mother. She goes through the same struggles of motherhood just like any other mother out there.

The mother of two boys, Isfahan, 8, and Israfeel, 6, said despite creating her time-consuming cosplay looks, her children remain her number one priority.

“It was very difficult at first. I was the one doing the cooking, feeding and cleaning.

“The only time that I get to create my looks are when both my boys are away at school. When they are at home, I just spend time with them, doing mother-son stuff. I also have to help them with their homework at night,” she said.

Saraswati said her children’s initial reaction to her makeup looks was so crazy because they were frightened by some of them, especially her scarier roles.

“I usually do comic book villain makeup looks a lot. That requires me to wear contact lenses of various colours including red and pink. When my kids were slightly younger, they would get terrified with the looks and start crying.

“I guess they were confused as to why their mum looked so scary with different coloured eyes. It was tough for them to watch my looks. But it’s all good now.

“They understood that it is all just makeup and props, and after the makeup is washed away, they get their mummy back,” she said.

Uphill task of single parenting

Saraswati said life as a single mother is that much more challenging.

“Taking care of myself and two young kids who weren’t able to express their needs yet was a tough experience.

“As a single parent, I tried my best to impart the right values at home. I also learnt not to complain much because I am grateful for them. Being a mother is so worth all that difficulty. It has made me more mature and strong,” said the 36-year-old.

Saraswati said her role model when it comes to parenting is a cartoon character called ‘Nicole Watterson’.

“Even though she is just a cartoon character, she is very motherly. When I see her as a mother, I secretly want to be like her. Fierce, loving and badass!” she said.

Saraswati said the biggest lesson from motherhood was learning to appreciate every single thing in her life because she believes everything happens for a reason.

“Motherhood simply taught me to express gratitude for the small and simple things, as well as the bigger things.”

Breastfeeding and co-sleeping

To Saraswati, the sweetest thing throughout her motherhood journey was the chance to experience breastfeeding.

“I bonded more with my children when breastfeeding them. I also loved co-sleeping with my children when they were younger. The mother-child bond was so strong during the years when they were younger. They grew up so fast,” she added.

Saraswati has a message for all single mothers this Mother’s Day.

“Some of you may think that being a single mother is very difficult, but once you look at it as a blessing in disguise, you will begin to realise your true inner strength.

“Never ever give up. Instead, be strong for your kids. Our children are the most precious gifts to us and they can never be replaced. Cherish the time with them,” she said.

All pictures courtesy of queenofluna

Story by: TK Letchumy

Special Needs Motherhood

Mothering children who have special needs

Pleasance Chong is a 41-year-old mother of 2 who works from home. She miscarried her first born, and her two kids, Elyse and Darius are both kids under the autism spectrum. Here she talks about being a mother with her 2 wonderful children.

With your first diagnosis, how did you know? Gut instinct?

When my daughter was 18 months old, she become very withdrawn and stopped making eye contact with me. From a bubbly, babbling, friendly little toddler to complete silence, It was incredibly puzzling and heartbreaking for me. She wouldn’t even respond to her own name. I knew then something was wrong and pointed it out to our paediatrician, and we went in for evaluations.

Over the years, we’ve seen the special needs community grow tremendously and I’m really thankful for the awareness and support from society.

Do you worry about their future and how do you plan for that?

Not knowing what the future brings has brought me a ton of anxiety over the years. But I made a resolution to embrace the fact that my job is to prepare my children for a future without me. My role everyday, aside from normal mum roles, is to be a mind-reader, therapist and trainer, to prepare them with the necessary life skills in order for them to gain independence as they grow. It took me 3 years to teach my daughter how to shower herself. At 6, my son is still not able to fully use the toilet because of sensory difficulties.

I have to take a step back whenever I feel like ‘rescuing’ them from a difficult task or situation, as every experience is a teachable moment. I try to let them pay for items at the shop, so they know that you have to trade money for food. My daughter is mostly non-verbal so it has been a rather difficult task for us, especially since she wants to be independent now. Safety is another challenge, and that takes a lot of years to get the message through to them. However, we try to expose both our children toget them used to crowds, and let them explore slowly at their own pace.

My husband and I are working on a financial plan for our kids. We’ve attended a number of talks and spoken to experts in the field in regards to trusts, and setting money aside for them safely.

Your best Mother’s Day celebration with your kids.

We don’t usually have big celebrations, but my favourite one was in May 2007, a month after my rainbow baby, Elyse, was born. It was an incredible dream come true, and I felt so humbled and loved that I was given such a huge blessing.

What is the biggest lesson that motherhood (or a motherhood role) has given you?

Motherhood has taught me that I have to grow up, to take on responsibilities that would otherwise terrify me. When my daughter was a newborn, I struggled for a little while as I was far away from home with no support. But it taught me to grow up and into my role as a mother. But being a mom to two very spirited and unique children have taught me to manage my expectations. Every small victory is a reason for celebration. My children have taught me to love unconditionally, and to always be grateful for everything we’ve been blessed with.

Describe the memory that comes to your mind when you think of the best day or the sweetest day in your motherhood journey.

There have been so many, but one in particular stands out. And that was when my kids called me ‘mummy’ for the very first time, Elyse when she was 9 years old, and Darius, at 4. The first time, I was so stunned that I couldn’t speak and then tears of joy just spilled down my face.

Until today, I will drop everything when they call for me.

What is your wish or advice for other mothers out there for this Mother’s Day.

My biggest wish for all mothers out there, for this Mother’s Day and always, is that they take care of themselves first and foremost. Too many mothers give so much to their children, their husbands and families, that they deplete themselves of everything. I was one of them, but the loss of my first baby Cordelia changed that.

Take time out for yourselves, even if it is just two hours away to enjoy a cup of coffee and a book. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Remember to care for your body – workout to build your energy and strength so you can tackle mummy roles better and be mentally stronger to deal with challenges.

Lastly, nourish and cherish your relationship with your husbands and partners. Protect your marriage as it is the foundation in which your whole family is built on.

Pictures courtesy of Pleasance Chong

Story by: Nadia Nizamudin 

The Foster Mother:

Mak Linda takes care of 93 kids, just like her own

Mothers around the world know how challenging motherhood can be. Raising a child, or even two, usually drains the energy out of them and leaves them exhausted by the end of the day.

Now, imagine raising (or chasing after) 93 kids. That is what Haslinda Dol Hamid, 46, has been doing for the past 14 years.

Mak Linda, as she is fondly called, has been the warden of Rumah Titian Kaseh from 2004.

‘Mother’ to 93 kids

For the 93 kids in the house, she is the only ’mother’ they have known all their lives.

Mak Linda’s presence in the house was not a coincidence. After the sudden death of her husband when she was just 30-years-old, Mak Linda had nobody to depend on. With three kids in tow, life was very difficult for her.

“I was brought to this home by a kind soul who understood my struggles. When I came here, I made friends with the other single mothers and started spending time with the orphans and abandoned kids,” she said.

Soon after, she began taking charge of tasks at the home, beginning with cooking.

“I was in a group tasked to manage the kitchen. We cook the kids’ meals every day and make sure they eat on time.

“At the same time, we started taking in catering orders especially during the fasting month. We sold Malay tradisional Kuehs and cendol. With what little income that we received, combined with the contribution of sponsors, we managed to run the home,” she said.

However, Mak Linda shared that things took a difficult turn when the home was ordered to close in 2010.

“The landlord obtained a court order to evict us. He actually had buyers for the house and gave us about six months notice. If we were to stay we had to pay RM2.7 million and we didn’t have that kind of money.

“Thankfully, we found another premise with the help of kind souls,” she said.

Mak Linda said after they moved to the new premise, the shelter’s founder, Sharifah Adlan requested that she take care of the administrative side of the home.

Mak Linda dealt with paperwork and got more hands on with the kids after that.

She wakes them up in the morning, gets them ready for school, makes sure they are well fed, sees them off to school, ensures they pray in a timely manner and even watches over them when they are being coached in tuition classes.

In turn, the kids love her to bits, turning to her for each of their needs.

Another chapter of life

In year 2011, fate found her another love. Mak Linda remarried and moved out of Rumah Titian Kaseh.

“It was a very difficult decision to move out because the home provided me with a roof above my head when I was in need. But being remarried also means I have a husband to take care of me,” she said.

The decision did not sit too well with the kids in the home because they constantly pined for their ‘mother’.

Mak Linda was called back to the home, after Sharifah saw the kids’ distress.

“Actually I was happy to be called back. I love to be around the kids. So, I went back as the warden,” she said.

Even though Mak Linda went on to have three more kids, her dedication to the shelter home cannot be mistaken.

She will be at the home at 8am sharp and will stay on until 10.30pm until all the kids are tucked in bed.

“Sometimes, I feel that my own kids do not receive as much attention as the kids at this home. But I love my job here,” she said.

Mak Linda said the biggest lesson from motherhood, is learning that every child is different and that difference makes each of them special.

“Motherhood itself has been the sweetest journey for me. My best days are always whenever I get to spend time with my kids and all the kids at the shelter.”

This Mother’s Day, Mak Linda only has one advice to all the mothers out there.

“Spend time with your kids. Mothers are so busy with work commitments nowadays until they do not have time for their own kids. Please spend time with them because before you know it, they will be all grown up and you will regret not spending time with them sooner,” she said.

All pictures courtesy of Haslinda Dol Hamid

Story by: TK Letchumy

Motherhood without Mum

Being a Mother Without Your Own Mum Around

Tg Nor Liyana, 33, lost her mother just after she got married. Now a mother herself, she grieves for the loss of guidance on her motherhood journey and the companionship of a doting grandmother for her son.

What was your best memory with your mother?

 When things don’t go the way I plan, be it breaking up with boyfriend, poor exam results, fight with girlfriends, she was always there to tell me that things would be ok in the end. And that if things are meant to be, it will be.

When I was 14, I found out that my then boyfriend had cheated on me with another girl and at the age of 14, I thought it was the end of the world and cried my eyeballs out. My mother would come to me every night and would let me know that things were going to be ok and I would get another better guy. She slept  with me every night and made  sure I was over the guy.

Do you feel there is a difference between mothering when you have a mother, and when you don’t?

It felt like paralysis of half the body. It is like not having your own legs to walk. Yes, there are other medical tools that can assist you to walk, but it is not your leg and your motor skills helping you walk.

Being a first time mother, there were a lot of things that I did not know. Like how to bathe a baby, how to burp a baby, what is colic? Thank god for Google and YouTube! But those were the little things during the first few weeks that made me wish my mother was still around.

What are the similarities or differences between you and your mum as mothers?

I think we are both similar in terms of letting a child explore and be herself/himself in their own way. Isa is now turning 9 months and he is curious in exploring things around him. I allow him to explore everything – from taking things on the floor and putting it his mouth, or falling down and crying. I think it is the best way they learn to survive.

I would possibly not set too high expectations on school grades. My mother was really strict with grades and education. To her 99% was not good enough as I needed to get 100% for all subjects and all the time.  I would tell Isa to just study hard and grades only matter in getting you to a good school. But it does not define you as a good person. Still a long way to go though, who knows? I might just end up being like my mother.

What is the biggest lesson that motherhood (or a motherhood role) has given you?

Motherhood is a one way street and there is no turning back from becoming a mother. No book or advice can ever prepare me to be a mother and every child is different is her/his own way. It’s not one shoe fits all solutions.

Describe the memory that comes to your mind when you think of the best day or the sweetest day in your motherhood journey.

The best day in my motherhood journey was when Isa’s doctor told us that he can be discharged from NICU after 7 days under observation. Isa was born at healthy at 2.6kg but because of insufficient amniotic fluid and calcification of my placenta, this resulted in meconium aspiration syndrome. He was on oxygen support and was injected with a lot of other chemicals and medication. I could only pray that he would survive, and we would be able to see him grow up. When the doctor told us that he was doing well and ready to go back home with us, it was the best day in my motherhood journey.

What is your wish or advice for other mothers out there for this Mother’s Day?

It’s ok to make mistakes. I think as mothers we doubt our ability and blame ourselves if anything goes wrong. I think mothers are human too and it is ok to make mistakes.

Picture courtesy of Tg Nor Liyana

Story by: Nadia Nizamudin 

Much More Than Just The Help

Helpers With Children, Helping To Bring Up Other Kids

Nani Suryani,  42, has been a helper/bibik with one family in Malaysia for over a decade. She has raised their kids like her own, and is now living with the eldest to help her raise her own 2 kids.

How long have you been a helper/bibik? How old was your kids when you first became a helper/bibik?

This is my 11th year. My daughter was 10 years old when I left Jakarta to become a helper in KL.

What do you miss the most when away from your kids?

I really missed celebrating Hari Raya with my family – especially with my young daughter – in my first two years in KL. I was unable to reach out to her as I did not have a handphone back then. It got really nostalgic and I found myself yearning to be back home.

How do you cope when you have to say goodbye? And when you miss them/they miss you?

Owning a smart phone really helps. Nowadays, I can easily connect with my daughter in Jakarta anytime, anywhere.

What is the biggest lesson that motherhood (or a motherhood role) has given you?

Being away from my daughter has taught me about sacrifice and the value of working hard with sincerity. I barely had enough to live on and what more to support my growing daughter back then. I decided to leave my daughter behind in Jakarta to pursue higher pay in KL and now Alhamdulillah I am able to put her through college. I believe if one sincerely works hard enough, one will be rewarded in one way or another and your fortunes (rezeki) will increase, insyaAllah. I am blessed with a very kind, generous and supportive employer who treats me as part of their family.

Describe the memory that comes to your mind when you think of the best day or the sweetest day in your motherhood journey.

The day when I gave birth to my daughter, Hani, was the most beautiful day of my life. That day always reminds me of Allah’s rahmah to me.

What is your wish or advice for other mothers out there for this Mother’s Day.

I raised Hani as a single mother for most of her life and it has been a very challenging (and yet rewarding) experience for me. If you are a single mother and desire a bright future for your children, you must have a strong will, be determined to work hard, and be prepared to make the sacrifices. And above all, always seek God’s help and blessing. I did all that for Hani and it have been very fulfilling to see all the sacrifices and hard work have paid off.

Picture courtesy of Nani Suryani

Story by: Nadia Nizamudin 

The Stepmother

Stepmothering is A Special Kind of Love

Emily Lim became a stepmother to Wei Yi (15), Wei Shuang (12), Wei Ren (10) three years ago when she married their father. She had three years to get to know them before that point, and now she thinks of them as her own children.

What were your fears and anxieties going into this motherhood?

Was I not good enough to be a mother? How do I be a mother? But then I realised it was not about me, it was about the kids. When you put the kids first, everything falls into place. I also realised that after talking to other mothers – there’s a certain insecurity too. I think in this case the support of the dad/husnad plays a critical role. Desmond has been super amazing and patient! He makes me a better mother.

What was the start like? Were there some things you were awkward about?

First awkward moment was when I realised I didn’t know how to talk to them! Like, how do you talk to a kid? Desmond was like: ‘Honey, she is not a baby, she is 8 years old.’  Also what is awkward, even till today, is how to establish a loving environment. It was hard because it’s about how to instil in them that love knows no boundaries (and parents make mistakes), and to love who you love, whether it is your mum, me or nai nai (grandmother).

Also what is important is that we do not judge what happened in the past. I always encourage them to be open and express what they think and talk about. It does hurt when they compare or say ‘You’re not my mother, why should I listen to you?’, but it is not about you. It’s about the kids. And that fixes things.

How did the dynamic with their biological mother unfold for you?

It is very important to recognise the biological mother, and not to pass judgement – always keep an open mind. Kids have to come to their own conclusions too, form their own beliefs. She was perhaps a little distant at first, but it was all good when we were more adult about things – not to confront, but to say hi, thanks and please – that worked over time. It was hard for me to take the first step in communication, but she is a lot more open now too.

What made you think motherhood was really hard?

Wow, when you have only two hands and three kids – I wish I had a third hand, I want to hold them all at once. It’s about being fair and having no favourites. And being consistent, as they will test your value system!

Describe the memory that comes to your mind when you think of the best day or the sweetest day in your motherhood journey.

The best memory was how they called me Mum on their own. It was Wei Ren first, then Wei Yi, and then Wei Shuang. Tears!

Also my favourite moments have been cracking jokes with them, reading bedtime stories and going to the park and playing bad badminton with them – they are awful at badminton.

What is your wish or advice for other mothers out there for this Mother’s Day.

Be brave when you love. And when you love, love fiercely. You’ve got this!

Pictures courtesy of Emily Lim

Story by: Laych Koh


To all and every kind of mother out there, we see you and salute you.

Happy Mother’s Day from us here at makchic!


From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at [email protected]

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