This Valentine’s Day, TNAP put two mummies in the spotlight on how they keep their love strong and going with their Mr.

#Mummy 1: Dorothea Chow, Stay-at-home-mum / Freelance writer
Husband: Melvyn
Occupation: Project Architect
No. of years married together: 6.5 years
No. of kids: 2 boys

Dorothea and her husband Melvyn

1. Where and when did you meet?

Dotz: We met at his church just before Christmas in 2004. I was part of a band that was invited to play at his church event, and he was the cool and calm musician who joined the band because we were missing a guitarist, and gallantly sent a few of us home after late night practices.

Mel: After the concert, we linked up on MSN (yes, those were the days) and kept in touch. I felt like I could be myself with her, and she with me. We shared about a lot of our dreams and goals, and even our growing up experiences. Many late night chats later, we went on our first date – to McDonald’s for ice cream!

2. Who’s the one who wears the pants in the relationship?

Dotz: We take turns! Well, since I’m a stay-at-home mum and manage the boys for most of the day, I do have a lot of say in making the many decisions that pertain to looking after them and the household. I guess you could say that he is the big boss who manages our major decisions (car model, big purchases, holidays) while I “micro-manage” the nitty gritty details of everyday life. But I will always discuss stuff with him, and normally, we come to a consensus on things.

3. Who is the more romantic one and why?

Dotz: Me! But it’s true, gifts are my “thing”. That’s not to say my hubby isn’t romantic though. He shows his love in acts of kindness – like hanging up the laundry, washing the toilets and taking out the trash. He does computer back-ups for me because he knows I don’t remember these things. I love that he remembers to message me while he’s at work, just to find out if the boys have been good today. Or buys fresh bread from the traditional shop near his workplace because he knows the boys and I like it. These are his ways of showing love.

Mel: She is definitely the more romantic one. Her love language is gifts (from the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman), so she loves to give gifts as well as to receive them. When it comes to birthdays, Valentines’ Day, Christmas, anniversaries, she will definitely remember and plan something special. She will often give me surprises, like the most recent one where she went with the boys to get me 3 boxes of Lego Star Wars mini troopers.

Dorothea and her family

4. How has having children changed married life for the both of you?

Dotz: We don’t have as much couple time now – that’s for sure. Once or twice a month, we leave the boys with my in-laws and go out on a date! I do miss having a leisurely meal without having to make sure the kids are eating well and not playing with their food. But… these kids are just so lovable. They make all the tough times so worthwhile. There is so much joy, so much we are thankful for as parents.

Mel: Kids do change your married life. They occupy most of our time and energy and somehow, family events are planned around them, we have to plan our couple alone time as one of the family events too. Both our boys don’t sleep through the night, and the frequent night wakings are tough, especially when I have late night calls.

5. How do you keep the flame burning? Any tip to share?

Dotz: Carve out pockets of couple time. If you don’t have parents who can help to babysit for a few hours, try a close friend. These times of just us two have been so timely and precious to us. Say “I love you” at least once every day – and mean it!

Mel: Understand what each other’s emotional needs are and do all you can to fill your partner’s “love tank” up constantly. This will keep the flame burning bright.

6. What’s your secret to a successful and happy marriage?

Dotz: Marriage is a lifelong journey of learning to love. Many times, I’ve felt disappointed or frustrated with myself or Mel when we had a disagreement or handled a situation poorly. It’s important to recognize that we are all imperfect humans. We all make mistakes, and we all have our down days. The main thing is to pick ourselves up, extend and receive grace, and move on together. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

Mel: I think communication is key. We need to honestly share what we are feeling with each other with an attitude of not putting the blame on the other, but out of love for our mate and commitment to this relationship. This way, we can understand each other without the guesswork and know how to support each other.

#Mummy 2: Eileen Yeo, Executive Director, Da Little Preschool and Da Little Arts School
Husband: Kelvin Lim
Occupation: Banker
No. of years married together: 10 years
No. of kids: 2 plus 1 more on the way!

Eileen Yeo, Kids Gallery Singapore1. Where and when did you meet?

We were Primary School classmates but we were not childhood sweethearts. We met again after a gathering organised by one of our classmate during Uni days.

2. Who’s the one who wears the pants in the relationship?

Depending on which matters. All decisions are made in consultation and agreement with both.

3. Who is the more romantic one and why (could you share some examples)?

We both learn to be romantic over the years. I guess that’s how we could keep our relationship strong.

4. How has having children changed married life for the both of you?

Our married life after having children became much more exciting. We had more fun and laughter at home as we sometimes become children ourselves. We had our first daughter 2 years after we got married and watching TV programmes was never the same since. We now know all cartoon characters and all the popular kids programmes. Planning for holiday had also evolved to include kiddy destinations.

5. How do you keep the flame burning? Any tip to share?

Must have some common interests, so that you are able to enjoy doing stuff together.
Go on dates or if possible, short holiday without the children.
Hold each other’s hands, not just your children’s hand while walking.

6. What’s your secret to a successful and happy marriage?

1) Communication is key 2) Understanding each other’s needs 3) Adapting or getting used to your spouse’s quirky habits 4) Respect your spouse’s parents, siblings and friends.

Hear two daddies share about their Valentine in My Valentine, My Mrs.