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Carolyne and Aarika: On the evolving relationship of mother and child - Esse

Carolyne and Aarika: On the evolving relationship of mother and child

At its core, Esse has always been about celebrating women – the bustling, messy, beautiful lives that live in Esse. The connection to motherhood exists in many forms, but ultimately it shines brightest in those everyday moments of care, nurturing and love. This Mother’s Day we shine the spotlight on that special, unbreakable bond between mother and child with perspectives, experiences and stories of what makes this relationship extra special.

The bond between mother and child continuously evolves and blossoms, transcending generations of women. When a mother becomes a grandmother, and when a woman becomes a mother, new bonds are forged and a deeper understanding forms between mother and child. In our three-generational photoshoot, with Carolyne and Aarika we learn more about how their relationship has evolved over the years, what it means to be a grandmother; and mother.


Aarika and Oscar


Hi Aarika, Happy Mother’s Day! Tell us how your perspective of motherhood has changed over the years, especially now, with 3 kids in tow.

Aarika: Before I became a mother, I always imagined that life would be about guiding my children and imparting what I’ve learned from my experiences to them. While a portion of parenthood is about that, it’s really only a part of it. I’ve realised how much my kids teach me about slowing down, being in the moment and seeing things from a different perspective. We’re so used to rushing to things and having the best laid plan but sometimes plans are for throwing out the window. After 3 kids, I’ve definitely learnt not to sweat the small stuff and manage my expectations (which are honestly unnecessary most times) much better.


Aarika and Carolyne family portrait
From left to right: Carolyne in the Cocoon Shirt in Warm Clay and Elongate Pants and Aarika in the Twist and Turn Toga Dress in Nautical Blue.
Carolyne in the Lumen Shirt Dress, Aarika in the Twist and Turn Toga Top and Elongate Pants in Ice Blue and Oscar in the For Pepi Boxy Tee and Drawstring Capri.


How would you sum up your relationship with each other?

Carolyne: It is constantly growing in love and respect for each other and supporting each other in love.


Aarika: I would say it’s a close one that has always been open and communicative, even when we disagree.


How has your relationship evolved over the years?

Carolyne: We share a special bond — first as mother and daughter and then ‘sisters’ and now the joy of motherhood; seeing what a wonderful mother she is. My mom would have been so proud of her.


Aarika: I’ve actually always felt very close to my mom, even when we’ve gone through the tougher more “rebellious” years. I think what I understand a lot better now, as a mother myself, is her fierce protection over us, all the reasons why she said yes or no to things growing up (we used to think she was so strict or unfair. haha!). I think I also appreciate everything she’s done for us because being a good mom really takes a lot of selflessness and I know she always prioritised us over everything else.


Carolyne and Oscar
From left to right: Carolyne in the Cocoon Shirt in Warm Clay and Elongate Pants. Oscar in the For Pepi Boxy Tee and Drawstring Capri.


What are some of the best/ most memorable mother-daughter moments you have shared together?

Carolyne: As a child, her singing would always bring joy and laughter to every family member. My most memorable moments with Aarika is actually seeing her help others who are in need and how I have felt overflowing love for her and her selflessness. Each person that she reached out to was a special memory for me.



Oscar, Carolyne and Aarika


What are some of the best takeaways/ lessons that your mum has gifted you with?

Aarika: That it’s ok to be different, to ask questions, and to challenge the norm if it was something we felt strongly about. She’s shown me how important it is to be independent, especially financially. And she’s shown me that setbacks in life do not define me, but refine me.


You share a tight bond with your mum – what are you most grateful to her for?

Aarika: For her unconditional love and always allowing us to just be exactly who we are.


How do you continue to build on your relationship/ bond?

Carolyne: We talk a lot and share what’s happening in our lives. We spend time together and we also have just “us time”.


Aarika: Mommy’s and my relationship has definitely grown and gotten deeper over the years, especially since becoming a mother myself. We have many heart to hearts that I treasure and I honestly just like to sit and listen to her muse or rant and give her my two cents or advice when she asks me for my thoughts. These conversations can sometimes seem like nothing, but they really mean everything to me.


Carolyne and Aarika 2
Carolyne in the Lumen Shirt Dress, Aarika in the Twist and Turn Toga Top and Elongate Pants in Ice Blue and Oscar in the For Pepi Boxy Tee and Drawstring Capri.


What is a term of endearment that the both of your share?

Aarika: She’s saved as Mothergoose in my contacts and I am Baby Piggy. Don’t ask why.


Carolyne: Baby Piggy - Aarika was born in the year of the Pig and as a baby and a teenager before motherhood, Aarik loved sleeping and so her father called her a baby piggy!


Please leave a short message for each other this Mother’s Day.

Carolyne: What I feel can’t really be put into words, you are a blessing in my life and all around you are blessed because of who you are. When I thought I just couldn’t love another human being after loving you, you’ve given me three beautiful grandchildren and I have found that I have so much more love still to give.


Aarika: Thank you for everything that you do for us, mommy! For loving and looking after the babies the way you do and spoiling them with your endless treats. They are so lucky to have a Nanny like you. Thank you for being such an amazing mom to all of us and showing me what that looks like too. I hope the babies will grow up close - just like how you raised us, and I can only hope to be as patient as you were as they enter their teenage years. I also hope that I will always magically have that tissue they need for their runny nose in my pocket, or a stain remover for when they spill food/drink on their clothes, or the extra Dorayaki Pancake when they’re hungry. You just always have everything we need, whenever we need it. Thank you for being our home, our safe space and our rock. We love you with all our hearts. <3


Special thanks to Carolyne and Aarika for being a part of this interview, and our photographer for the feature, Tan Xinning.


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