Women We Know #22 - Evie Quah
Evie Quah, a Financial Planner and a PE teacher, also a lover of sports and healthy living, how she juggle her work,family and health is admirable. She completed Spartan Race in 2015 and 100KM Multistage Ultra Marathon in 2016, these are two of the many races she have completed after giving birth to her two sons. We're delighted to have Evie as one of our K.BLU Women We Know of the month, to share with us her struggle as a mother and how her positivity helps her jump through life hurdles.
What’s the hardest part about juggling family and career?
Managing the guilt that I have for not being there for my kids when they need me. There are so many teachable moments which shape a child's life when you spend time with them. I feel bad that i can't be there all the time, yet I know it's impractical to spend 24/7 with them.
What is your biggest challenge in life?
I believe in seasons of life and my priorities have changed in the last 2 years to focus more on the development of my children and at the same time, living life to the fullest.
I used to work as a full time teacher, being one of the most dedicated staff in the school. My husband teaches too so he understood my work commitments. We come home daily at 6+/7 most days, with 80% of our energy spent. We leave the remaining 20% for our 2 sons and each other. We try our best to summon the energy to play, talk and nurture them. I didn't feel so guilty for not spending time with them as both of them were thriving (Aden was 3 then and Evan was 1.5yo) My sons are fortunate to have 2 active healthy grandmas to care for them. Aden was placed in Child care when he turned 2.5yo and my mum would pick him up after lunch to spend time with him. Evan was under the care of my mother-in-law.
The situation changed when i realised that at 20 months, Evan wasn't speaking much he also stopped giving us eye contact and wouldn't respond to his name when we called. Previously, at 18 months he would greet us with an exuberant "Daddy!" or "mummy!" when we walk through the doorway. His vocabularies dwindled from 20+ words to merely 3-4. After much reading up, expert advice, doctor's visits and assessments, and immeasurable heartaches and tears, we realised that Evan is on the Spectrum. His last diagnosis when he turned 3, was mild to moderate autism.
After much deliberation, I quit my full time job as a teacher so that i could spend more time with him, bonding and also sending him for his therapy sessions. Given the cost of therapy, we couldn't afford for me to not work, hence I studied and obtained certification to practice as a financial adviser in an Independent Agency. I enjoyed giving financial advice but I needed a more stable income. So a year later, I returned to part time teaching.
My biggest challenge now, would be to optimise both my sons' potential. Aden at 5, is proving to be very bright, exceeding his peers in his thought processes and literacy capabilities. I would like to hone that, yet striking a balance such that he wouldn't feel stressed. For Evan at 4, to optimise his potential such that he is able to join the mainstream cohort when he turns 7. I have not yet accepted the fact that he might not be able to do so, though the reality is clearer with each passing month. And we are exploring all types of therapies, interventions and options for him to pick up as much social and language skills as possible these few years.
What is the country you most want to visit?
Currently high on my list, South of France and Machu Picchu.
What is your definition of success?
I define success as fulfilling one's roles in life to the best of one's ability. Hence, as an employee, if your boss is happy with your performance, you have done well. As a mother, if your child respects you, you have succeeded. As a wife, if your husband looks forward to coming home to spend time with you, it's an accomplishment on the home-front.
This may be flawed and open for debate but that's how I personally define success. It's difficult to reconcile within myself when others let me down. Because then i feel that I've failed, and not the other way round. It's something that I still need to learn to overcome, at the grand age of 37.
If you were not working in the job you are in now, what would you be doing instead?
I was a Flight Stewardess with Singapore Airlines for 6 yrs. I joined at 21 year old fresh from Uni. I loved the opportunity to be in foreign lands and be exposed to new experiences and people. I would be flying, preferably together with my husband. We love travelling and still do it 2-3 times yearly with the kids or just us both.
What 3 values are most important to you?
Respect, loyalty and compassion
What is on your bucket list and what have you completed?
I have completed Half marathon (2009), Milford Sound Trek (2010), Spartan Race (2015) and just last October I completed 100 km Multi Stage Ultra Marathon. I'd love to partake a Duathalon, 42 Km Marathon and 6 Stage Ultra Marathon by 2018. I'd also love to go Nepal trekking and do a caravan tour in Australia with my family.
Is there a song lyric or a quote you live by?
'Dont judge each day by the harvest that you reap. But by the seeds that you sow." -RLS