The ultimate reward of parenting
Elisa Ng, mother of three
3 minutes
Elisa Ng, mother of three

Photos taken in collaboration with Kerry Cheah, featuring one of our ParentWise families

We need to enjoy our children at every stage of their lives because each phase of life has an "expiration date" of sorts.

The baby stage will pass. The toddler stage will pass. Even the long years of their schooling stage will pass.

The seemingly never-ending feeding and sleeping cycles; the late nights sponging their feverish heads and cleaning up the mess of stomach flu; worrying they aren't crawling, walking, talking yet; the incessant questions and their intense desire for our presence as their parents. It will all come to an end one day.

I wish I knew that kids require and desire unconditional and, oftentimes, indulgent love throughout their lives.

My husband and I used to be the sole providers of my children's physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs, and they were happy to be with us 24/7. Not anymore.


I've learnt to live in the moment and to give without expecting to receive.

The same way I used to run to my babies when they woke up at 2 a.m. for milk, I continue to listen intently to my teenager who pours his heart out to me late into the night. And as I did when my toddlers fell down while trying to walk for the 10th time in a day, I smiled and encouraged my 10-year-old who failed his maths test.

The hugs and kisses have become running errands and cooking for my kids, but I see it as simply new ways they prefer to be loved.

But the only thing is, this was not always the mindset I had in the earlier years, at least not all the time.

If only someone had taught me then, when I was a young mum struggling to be the best parent I could be to children who perplexed, hurt and disappointed me.

I wish I knew that kids require and desire unconditional and, oftentimes, indulgent love throughout their lives – just because we are their mothers and fathers, and they are our children.


I once read that when a mother carries a baby in her womb, her body changes according to the needs of the baby.

A mother’s metabolism changes to give the baby sufficient glucose to grow, and her immune system changes so that her body does not reject the baby (who is a foreign object to the body!).

Without my body doing what it did, my babies would not have survived. But like pregnancy, the day to release them will one day come, when their dependence on us isn't as high as before.

Our children naturally desire independence and autonomy – a time where they do not need us anymore will come quickly enough. I am experiencing a glimpse of that now. But this is also when they can choose to be with us anyway, just because they want to be.

To me, that is the ultimate reward of parenthood – when our children choose us as their friends, and we go from being their playmates to their confidantes.

Elisa is a full-time working mother to three teenage boys. She is happiest with a good book and a cup of hot milo. When with her children, she enjoys playing board games and watching videos. Check out her blog, where she occasionally writes about family and parenting.

Have a similar story to share? Send it to us here.

Related Tags