In the trying yet refining journey of motherhood, Kristen Kiong has discovered that she is learning a lot too. All photos courtesy of Focus on the Family Singapore and interviewees.

Due to her battle with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, having children did not come easy for Kristen Kiong. 

Now a mother of two girls aged 2 and 4, she shares that watching her daughters grow fills her with joy.

“In many ways, my children are miracles and it’s almost amazing that they are here with us in the flesh,” said the 35-year-old.

However, just as motherhood comes with much delight, each season brings its share of difficulties as well.

“As I go through each stage with my daughters, I find myself thinking ‘this age is hard’, only to realise that the next year is harder,” admitted Kristen.

“From dealing with tantrums and learning, to exercise patience with the kids to figuring out how best to meet their ever-changing needs, I can’t help but think about how parenting feels like a struggle cycle.”

Her struggles are familiar, as many mothers would attest to.

“In the early days of motherhood, I used to impatiently seek the next milestone, looking for the momentary relief between sleep regressions and leaps, trying to avoid discomfort where possible,” said Joey Ong, 30.

“While things did get better, it would get worse again. It left me disappointed and defeated.”

Now a mum of three children aged 1, 3 and 5, she recounted: “When I only had one kid, I didn’t realise how harsh I was to myself every day. I was becoming my own worst enemy! 

“I was turbulent and easily triggered by the smallest setback; a mistake or bad day would send me spiralling back into a negative headspace.” 

Over time, Joey has learnt to be kinder to herself and to recognise that just like her kids, she, too, is growing.

Recognising that these feelings of discouragement are more common than one would imagine, Focus on the Family Singapore’s Mother’s Day campaign encourages mums that their efforts of sowing into their children will bring growth “All in Good Time”. 

Just like a garden requires time and care to flourish, motherhood takes patience and perseverance to grow into something beautiful. 

Launched on May 3, heartfelt stories like Kristen’s and Joey’s can be found on to remind mothers that they are not alone.

Explaining the heart behind this year’s campaign, Vicky Ho, COO of Focus on the Family Singapore, assured mothers that God is doing a good work in their lives and their families – even if they cannot see it yet. 

“He makes all things beautiful in its time.”

“As with all aspects of life, God has a time and season for everything in motherhood,” she said.

“There will be long seasons of hard work with barely any visible growth, moments of joy and relief upon witnessing glimpses of change and progress, and painful yet needful seasons of being refined.”

Mums can take refuge in knowing that “He makes all things beautiful in its time”, added Vicky.

As part of the campaign, Focus on the Family has prepared uplifting digital content for mothers to discover the ways they can trust the process in motherhood.

Husbands, children or anyone who wants to encourage a mum can also send a Timeless Bouquet to them, which will be filled with affirming statements that are customisable.

Finally, if you are on Instagram, Focus on the Family has also created a special filter that allows you to share a photo with a mum so that you can celebrate the ways you have seen her grow.

Learning through mothering

Indeed, sometimes fruit takes years to come. But even in the waiting, Kristen and Joey opened up about the ways they have seen themselves growing through the process of motherhood.

“I’m constantly learning to relinquish control adequately over my children because they are humans, not robots,” said Kristen.

“When it comes to parenting them, it’s not about following a manual or formula to ‘get things to work’. They are human beings with unique personalities and emotions.”

Motherhood is a journey of constant learning – about your children, yourself and what works for your family – and then adapting, Kristen pointed out.

Kristen shared that through the journey of motherhood, she has learnt to live with margins instead of filling up her day to the brim.

“For example, I’m someone who likes doing things fast and I’m used to having a packed schedule. I’ve come to realise that kids don’t do well on packed schedules, so I started going out with them without an agenda, and just following them around wherever they would like to go.

“That has turned out to be something enjoyable for me too!” 

Revealing that being a mother has also compelled her to deepen her reliance on God, she said: “There were nights when (my daughters) would scream, and I didn’t know what to do and would just pray over them in helplessness.

“I don’t know what is ‘right’ in parenting – am I raising my kids right? And maybe the answer is really to trust that God will take care of that.”

Affirming that God’s timing is perfect in motherhood, Kristen said that while waiting to see growth, she would continue to commit to “kingdom habits”, such as faithfully bringing the kids to church from young.

“I’m merely seeing the beginnings of fruit when they pray for each other or dance to worship songs.

“But I’ve heard from other more experienced parents about watching their children go up for altar calls and see them take their own steps of faith. That’s exciting too!”

Growth takes time

Joey, too, shared the valuable lessons she has picked up along the way as a mum of three young ones.

For instance, she has learnt to be kinder and gentler to herself, while keeping her inner voice in check.

“While weathering the many storms of parenting, the last thing we need is a spirit of discouragement and defeat. I’m learning to trust and enjoy the process, even when things aren’t ‘better’ yet,” mused Joey.

Discomfort is a good teacher — instead of avoiding it, turn it into a learning moment. What is my discomfort teaching me?”

Joey with her first two children and her mum, whom she also credits as showing her what it means to persevere through the storms of life. 

While motherhood has been humbling, Joey takes joy in knowing that there is more that God wants to teach her and show her through this parenting journey.

“We are all works in progress, and God is not done with us!” she said.

“Only in the tough times, can our test become a testimony, and in the pruning that God is doing, we eventually bear fruit.”

Discomfort is a good teacher.

Her conviction that God never means to harm us but is always working things out for our good has also helped her to put on spiritual lenses during trying situations.

“Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?”, I change my question to “How is God trying to change me?” she suggested.

Believing that she can learn to grow while waiting, she added: “That way, besides having better days, I also become a better version of myself.

“These storms will always pass. No matter how terrible things may look or feel, we have an opportunity to reset every day.

“Learn to shrug off your discouragement and take on each new day with renewed hope, knowing that you are also growing into motherhood!”


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About the author

Gracia Chiang

Gracia used to chase bad news — now she shares Good News. Gracia's different paths in life have led her from diverse newsrooms to Living Room by Salt&Light, but her most difficult and divine calling to date is still parenting.