A paediatric emergency specialist by day and a mother of six by night, Dr Jade Kua manages to balance a stellar career with family life and is stylish to boot. In this interview she shares more about her life and adventures with her legendary 6Ms (Martin 16, Mariesa 15, Mariena 13, Mark 5, Marion 3 and three-month old Marcel).
MELISSA LWEE-RAMSAY: You’re a doctor specialising in pediatric emergency medicine and a mother of SIX what an inspiration! Which is the more difficult role?
DR JADE KUA: Paediatric Emergency is definitely more difficult because I treat every patient I see with extra caution (even those who appear to present with ‘just’ a cold) in case I miss anything serious lurking beneath. However with my own kids, I often allow them to be a rough-and-tumble lot, and hopefully, thrive organically.
How do you balance your career with motherhood and what are some management tips you can share with our readers?
At work, I often have to make decisions on which tasks are urgent and important that need to be done first; and yet have an eye on the other less urgent or less important tasks because situations change. I employ this same technique with my family and in my personal life. It frees me to balance more balls in the air. Conversely, if I try to do everything at once, I tend to feel more stressed and ironically, accomplish even less.
I also reach out for support from my teams at work and at home, and I’m blessed to have wonderful colleagues, family and friends.
You’re the programme director of DARE, can you share with us more about the initiative and why you have taken such an active role in it?
DARE stands for Dispatcher Assisted first REsponder. It is a community project that aims to educate the general public on how to save the lives of cardiac arrest victims by teaching them basic resuscitation. The messages are simple: Call the emergency number and stay on the line; start chest compressions; use a defibrillator (this is a life-saving machine that can be found in many public places).
The reason a bystander (who is the first responder) should help instead of waiting for a paramedic to arrive (the second responder ) is because every minute wasted decreases the victim’s survival by ten per cent. If that heart is not restarted in ten minutes, no oxygen can get to the victim’s brain or the rest of his body. This victim will likely die or survive in a vegetative state. The program teaches not just skills but also encourages bystanders to have civic responsibility and dare to do their part.
As a mother, how important do you think it is that kids learn emergency skills such as CPR.
I think it is imperative that children learn CPR and first aid, but more importantly, that they learn how important it is to help someone in need, rather than withholding help for fear of getting into trouble or worse, being apathetic.
You’re known for your style and I love how you support local labels. What are your go-to style tips for mums on the go like yourself?
I often have to dash to multiple locations in a day so I tend to prefer clothing that have been thoughtfully designed and appeal to me in both form and function. Singapore labels that I’ve worn for a long time include Lai Chan, Ong Shunmugam, Stolen and Raoul.
What are some of your favourite activities that you share with the kids and why?
My teenagers and I enjoy reading with the younger kids because we feel inspired by the beauty of language and art that can only be found in well-illustrated children’s books. We love Eric Carle, Beatrix Potter, Dr Seuss and Oliver Jeffers. There is a certain magic in these books that we never tire of.
If you had to give some words of wisdom with a new mother what would that be?
I think the tip I often give to new scuba divers works well for motherhood: Don’t panic and don’t forget to breathe.