As a mother of 5, Tracey Or often gets asked how she manages. Well, she does some of her parenting sometimes unconventionally and always with generous servings of love and large dashes of style. And with considerable success as an education blogger. Most recently, Tracey was invited to be on the Straits Times Roundtable discussions on whether the PSLE is necessary, along with other well-respected education advocates and corporate bigwigs.
Tracey has been on Flying Cape’s Parent Expert Panel since its inception and she is all about raising children holistically. Flying Cape’s High Flier Series takes a behind-the-scenes peak at what an average day is for her.
Describe your lovely family and what excites you about them.
We are a family of seven, with five awesome children aged 6 months, 4 years, 7 years, 10 years and 12 years. We homeschool our older two children and the younger two currently attend public school and kindergarten. Our educational choices for our children have been different. You could term it slightly eclectic and it’s been an interesting journey so far. The family is big, usually with many of us talking at the same time. Many times we are asked “how we do it” but it’s not so much WHAT we do, but how we really enjoy our life together; the ups and downs of parenting and growing in step and character with our kids.
Was this family something you envisaged growing up?
I really never thought much about being a mom. Let alone, have 5 children. I would say I grew up with typical notions of family life; get married, have two kids, get a stable job and work hard. Some of these notions have changed, some haven’t. Life is full of surprises.
If I ask your kids, what does Mummy do, what would they say?
The younger ones would say Mummy is a “cooker”, that’s what two of my younger kids said before they learnt the word “chef”! We like to spend a lot of time together as a family in the kitchen bonding over our food. Eating and creating food. They love to help in the kitchen and often jostle to have the best vantage point. Of course, they always look forward to the final product!
If someone asks you, so what do you do, what are you most likely to say?
I would say I am whatever the occasion calls me to be as a stay-home-mom! I stayed home full-time after my third child was born. Tutor, crafter, storyteller, counsellor, listener, peacekeeper, home manager and perhaps juggler (if I have too many things on hand to do). Having said that, I definitely don’t do it all. The kids help with the chores, are independent and a great help at home!
Where is your favourite place in Singapore to hang out as a family? Why?
Mostly places where there are less crowds or at children’s festivals. In fact, we actually don’t mind staying at home and spending unhurried time together. We’re careful not to over-schedule ourselves. When we go out, we love to do regular things as a family. Have a simple lunch at the food court, grocery shopping, visit the library and playgrounds whenever we can. I guess it doesn’t have to be very exciting. There’s a lot of value in having family routines.
What is your family’s favourite holiday destination and why?
We spent a year-long sabbatical as a family in Melbourne Australia in 2014, so that place holds a special place in our heart. We have made friends there and we miss our rented home and the surrounding neighbourhood. The kids too would love to go back and visit their friends and teachers from their public school!
What are some of the most memorable moments with your family?
Perhaps one of the most dramatic times we remember was when we were about to haul four kids onto the plane to relocate to Melbourne, when the doctor at my then one-year old’s follow-up check deemed her unfit for flying, TWO hours before the flight. It was a mad scramble to the A&E to get the little one treated while determining who should fly and who should stay behind and then re-packing the suitcases accordingly. It was a few intense hours of decision making for such a big move but fortunately we pulled through and reunited two weeks later. The older kids helped their father transport furniture and set up house while I took care of the two younger ones at home!
What’s one parenting secret you would like to share which can make another parent’s journey easier?
Always parent from your heart. Good parenting doesn’t come from the head. It emanates from the heart and your instincts. Never use other people’s codes or tested formulas or parent by how society expects you to parent. The only motivation from which you parent must come from only one source- love.
What’s the best piece of parenting advice you ever received?
Don’t be afraid to let your child figure it out even if he has to make mistakes. It might be painful to watch, but the sooner he makes the mistake, the faster he realizes its natural consequences and the better the lesson. As parents, we must also learn to seek forgiveness when we hurt our children and model humility and truth with our actions.
Who/what inspires you?
My belief in God, my Christian faith, continually challenges me to be a better wife, mother and daughter.
How do you re-invent yourself?
I read a lot, mostly off the internet and tag useful reads and videos for self-learning. It’s really an avalanche of information we can have access to in this time and age and we can pretty much learn as rapidly and as widely as we wish if we choose to.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
“God is perfect not because he has perfect children but because he loves imperfect children, perfectly,” – Dr Freddy Boey, NTU Provost
If you could turn back the clock, what would you do differently as a parent or child?
I would definitely learn to lose more of my inhibitions in the way I parent and not sweat over the small things.
Every parent should read this book:
Keep a Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot. A good friend lent me her copy and it’s been such a source of strength, wisdom and comfort in all issues with regards to life. Elizabeth Elliot went through some of the most unspeakable life challenges and has a lot of wisdom with regards to how we should live life, gave faith and parent our children.
I would like my children to grow up to be:
Contributing and useful citizens who are kind and compassionate individuals, that will have a heart for the downtrodden in society. An education doesn’t define or make a person. True success is giving off yourself and touching lives around you.
Tell us more about your blog and how can people connect with you.
You can connect with Tracey at:
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