How 2 mums juggle demanding careers and family – without stressing out

By Stephanie Yeo   — October 10, 2016
  • Dr Jade Kua, 37, consultant at the Department of Emergency Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
    1 / 8 Dr Jade Kua, 37, consultant at the Department of Emergency Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

    Not only is she a doctor who does weekend and night shifts, Dr Kua is also a mother of six, programme director of the Dispatcher Assisted First Responder (Dare) Programme, president of the Association of Women Doctors Singapore and managing committee member of Henderson Senior Citizens’ Home (HSCH).

    Even though it means she perpetually has her hands full, she’s just “thankful that the stress of her job translates into something meaningful for someone”.

    Click on arrows in photos to read more. 

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  • Jade's de-stress tip 1: Appreciate the arts
    2 / 8 Jade's de-stress tip 1: Appreciate the arts

    She enjoys cultural pursuits, and loves visiting the National Gallery and attending the Singapore Arts Festival.

    When Dr Kua travels to London and New York City, she makes it a point to stop by art galleries like the Tate Modern and Museum of Modern Art.

    “I enjoy exploring this world, where so much love is poured into creating beauty, or to make a statement beyond language barriers,” she says. She also browses Christie’s and Bonhams auctions, explaining that she appreciates the stories behind art, jewellery and antiques. At home, she practises calligraphy and takes modern calligraphy classes at Bynd Artisan

    Related: My life as a work-at-home mum

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  • Jade's de-stress tip 2: Volunteer
    3 / 8 Jade's de-stress tip 2: Volunteer

    Dr Kua is actively involved in many organisations related to her field of work. At Dare, she educates the community on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which she believes is important in reducing fatalities from heart attacks.

    As part of the managing committee of the HSCH, she helps in the areas of activity planning, finances and logistics, in addition to spending time with the elderly residents. “Volunteering here is something I’ve been doing with my parents since I was a child, so it’s part of my normal life, not something I feel burdened by,” she reveals.

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  • Jade's de-stress tip 3: Spend time with family
    4 / 8 Jade's de-stress tip 3: Spend time with family

    As a mother of six children aged one to 18 years, she tries to spend as much time as possible with them (“it’s important for bonding”) and with other family members.

    “If I’m not working on Sundays, I have lunch with my family,” she says. She also takes the kids with her as volunteers at her community service events and to serve lunch at the HSCH. Sometimes, they even tag along on weekend duty at Dare’s CPR events. “We just seize the moment and do stuff that we enjoy together whenever the opportunity arises.”

    Related: Work-life balance tips from mumpreneurs: this is how they do it



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  • Valerie Madon, 41, head of Creative Shop for South-east Asia at Facebook
    5 / 8 Valerie Madon, 41, head of Creative Shop for South-east Asia at Facebook

    Singapore’s most influential creative directors in advertising (she was most recently J. Walter Thompson Singapore’s chief creative officer), Valerie (pictured) is no stranger to intense pressure and high expectations.

    In her current role, she is responsible for the marketing initiatives for South-east Asia on Facebook, and various creative projects for its clients. 

    “The long hours in my previous advertising jobs taught me how to strike a balance. It’s important to draw a line between work and relaxation, and to focus on one’s personal well-being and happiness [outside of the office].”

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  • Valerie's de-stress tip 1: Cook at home
    6 / 8 Valerie's de-stress tip 1: Cook at home

    “I really enjoy cooking. I was raised in a Peranakan family, so I try to cook Peranakan dishes on special occasions. On days when I’m busy, I whip up easy Italian meals using fresh ingredients,” she says.

    A family favourite: pasta with lemon juice, basil and mozzarella cheese. 

    She’s also started dabbling in ice-cream making.

    “You have the luxury of splurging on ingredients to create a flavour that’s really rich. I once spent close to $50 on strawberries to make strawberry ice cream [that turned out to be] really flavourful – it’s something you won’t be able to find in stores as it’s too costly to serve!”

    Related: Parents balancing work and family: How these 2 families do it


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  • Valerie's de-stress tip 2: Discover new food places
    7 / 8 Valerie's de-stress tip 2: Discover new food places

    “My family and I try to have a good mix between cheap local food and something more lavish,” she says. Her go-to comfort food on weekend mornings: prawn noodles from Ghim Moh Hawker Centre.

    To date, her most memorable dining experience has been at the three-Michelin-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa. “It was very expensive, but it’s one of those places that makes you realise what value is. The experience and the food were just amazing.”

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  • Valerie's de-stress tip 3: Connect with nature
    8 / 8 Valerie's de-stress tip 3: Connect with nature

    As a nature lover, Valerie prefers to visit countries with beautiful landscapes, to get away from hectic city life.

    “Last year, my husband and I took the kids to Sri Lanka, where they got to see a different side of the world – Singapore is not exactly the most accurate representation of reality. Besides, the beaches there (pictured) are stunning!”

    She and her husband are also fans of visiting isolated boutique resorts, the most memorable of which was the Nihiwatu resort at Sumba Island, Indonesia. “It’s the only resort on the island, and the surroundings are completely untouched. I felt completely at ease there.”

    Related: Super mums: these 5 Singapore mothers have it all 


    A version of this article first appeared in Her World

    (Photography: Tan Wei Te
    Art direction: Shan
    Styling: Grace Lim
    Hair: Sharon/Athens Salon
    Makeup: Aaron/Decorum
    Both women’s outfits: Tangs at Tang Plaza
    Dr Kua’s photo shoot location: Bynd Artisan
    Valerie’s photo shoot location: CulinaryOn
    Other photos: 



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