City Parents interviews Shirley Yeo, 75, mother of three beautiful daughters and grandmother to four gorgeous grandsons. Affectionately known to City Harvest members as Aunty Shirley, she can be seen in the church’s Nursery areas, tending to mothers and babies. Aunty Shirley shares her godly wisdom on Motherhood.
1. What should be every mother’s top three priorities in her role as Mom?
Firstly, like my daughter Sandy once said: “Mummy , you are like an anchor in our family.” Whenever there is a storm in my family—some argument/disagreement arises—I will have to step in and settle everything until there’s a calm. Just like a ship facing a stormy sea, the captain of the ship will find a safe place to drop the anchor. Then there will be a calmness and peace; and everyone will feel safe and secure. That’s when grace and mercy will abound.
Secondly, I will be a comfort to my child in whatever situation she needs me to be of a comfort to her. I will lend her my shoulder to cry on—in good or bad times, lend them a listening ear—to empathize and show love.
Thirdly, I will inculcate fundamental values to them, such as, teaching them about God, about loving His Word, being humble, having faith, trusting in Him, attending church, the law of sowing and reaping, standing up for what is right, and fearing God, not men.
2. If you could go back and change one thing in your journey as a mother, what would it be?
I don’t think I would want to change anything. I thank God for giving me wisdom along the way on how to bring up my girls. Today they are mothers themselves and I fully trust that they know how to bring up their own children in God’s ways.
3. Was there something that you gave up when you became a mother? Now that your children are big, are you able to pick it up again?
Yes, I did have to forgo time spent with my teaching colleagues and some very good and close friends. I sacrificed a lot for the love of my three daughters, but I have no regrets for all the time I spent loving them. But now that my three daughters are married and have their own family, I can go back and spend time with my close colleagues. So these days, I travel overseas with friends and meet up with some others for high tea, dinner and even the movies. Sometimes I even join my husband and his friends for mahjong/bowling games. It’s like going back to my old days before the kids came.
4. Was there something that you struggled with as a mother, but through God’s grace, managed to overcome?
It wasn’t really a struggle, but I had to juggle my career as a teacher, serving in church as a volunteer and being a mother. I would drive them to their various classes on weekdays, send them to church on weekends and bringing them home. But I drove, so it’s alright with me. At times, my husband would drive them if I was busy in school. With God’s grace and mercy, I bonded very closely with my girls. I enjoyed the times when I took them overseas during the school holidays. From a time when they were young, I’ve prayed with them and released them to serve in the music ministry in church and go on mission trips. I had a peace in my heart that God would look after them as they served Him.
5. What would your advice be to all the mothers in our church?
My advice to all the mothers in our church is to know that when God gives us children, He will be there to guide us along the way. It’s a learning journey—we learn through trial and error. Inculcate Christian values to your children; it is a conscious effort but it will benefit them in the long run. Pray for your children daily. Gather Christian groups and support groups to exchange values and advice to help one another. Whatever you need that doesn’t come naturally, you will pick it up along the way. Eventually you learn to trust your inner knowing, combine it with knowledge gained from experience, and utilize these tools in every aspect of your life!