'Tiring but very fulfilling': Gen Z mum shows unfiltered reality of being a young mother through her TikTok videos

'Tiring but very fulfilling': Gen Z mum shows unfiltered reality of being a young mother through her TikTok videos
PHOTO: TikTok/Tiredgenzmum

After putting her kids to bed at around 9pm every night, Cynthia Ong Xin Yi would spend her time scrolling through social media to unwind, like many of us do. 

But something else she does is edit videos documenting her life on TikTok as a mother of two. 

In a good-humoured way, the 26-year-old calls herself a "tired Gen Z mom", per her username, and some of you may even have come across her content on your feed. 

In these short but raw clips, she shows herself doing pretty mundane day-to-day things like waking her kids up for school, feeding them and getting ready for her full-time job. 

@tiredgenzmom Day in my life as a working mom in SG 🤍#momsoftiktok #sgmom #sgworkingmummy #parents #sgfamily #sglife #tiredmom #genzmom #lifeinsg #momof2 #boymom #huijisingapore #CapCut ♬ Emo Piano Relax Stylish Chill(1492502) - Yu Yaguchi

But despite these captured moments being somewhat monotonous or routine, viewers love them and can't get enough. 

In fact, even though she only created her account in August last year, as of the time of writing, Cynthia already has a whopping 35,400 followers on TikTok and more than 600,000 likes. 

She herself finds the overwhelming response to her content on TikTok surprising. 

"I really think it's a stroke of luck. I didn't do anything special," Cynthia told AsiaOne during an interview. 

"But I think there are views because many people find my videos relatable. And some of them just find them very 'peaceful' to watch." 

Wanting to show the realistic side of being a mother 

Cynthia became a mother at the young age of 22 and had her second child when she was 23.

She and her husband got married at 21 and had also bought a Built-To-Order HDB flat. 

"I have always wanted to have kids and I've always wanted to be a young mum. So everything was part of my plan," she shared. 

It was her dream to become a mother, but she admitted that it is not an easy role to take on. 

She also felt that other parents on social media were not portraying motherhood or parenthood accurately. 

"When I first started out, I really wanted to show the reality of being a parent in Singapore," she said. 

"From my perspective, everything that you see on social media is always very perfect, like these parents have got it all together and they have so much time to do other things other than taking care of their kids."

So, Cynthia wanted to show a more "realistic day-to-day life" of parents. 

But the start was not easy. 

Cynthia revealed that when she tried to make her first few TikTok videos, she struggled because she did not know how to do so and also had no experience with video-making tools like CapCut.

In fact, she initially took three to five hours to edit just one video. 

"I really didn't know how to do it and I was just very slow!" she told us with a laugh. 

She doesn't have the luxury of time to edit videos either so she usually does so while she's in the midst of putting the children to bed, or after they've fallen asleep. 

"It's always after all of my chores and all of my time with the kids." 

But after months of doing so, she's gotten used to this routine and can edit videos fast. 

While her growth as a TikTok creator is impressive, Cynthia remains humble. 

"I am honestly super grateful. And till this day, I'm still shocked at the amount of growth. 

"I always expect that when I post a new video, nobody's going to watch it and I cannot have expectations. But the views are always beyond expectations." 

For example, in one of her videos on TikTok that has more than 2.3 million views, Cynthia showed what a typical Friday night with the kids looks like. 

This included her washing them up after school, feeding them, bringing them for a quick grocery run and entertaining them during their playtime. 

@tiredgenzmom How was your Friday friends? 🥹 #sgmom #sgworkingmummy #lifeinsg #sgparents #tiredmom #genzmom #sglife #momof2 #boymom #eveningroutine #CapCut ♬ Modern city pop, fashion, Vlog(1430789) - Loquat Music

After putting them to bed, she did some chores before winding down for the night.

It's these simple, routine moments in the video that have captured her viewers' attention and resonated with them, many of whom left friendly and supportive comments.

Some had conversations with her, while others exchanged tips on doing housework.

There were also a few mums who told Cynthia that they could relate to her ordering in food for the family. 

"[Being a] working mom is truly tiring and it's understandable if they're ordering food. Salute mommys!" one said. 

Another said: "I thought I was the only one who doesn’t have the time to cook. I have to choose between cooking or spending time with my baby after work." 

Remarks about her parenting style

Like every other content creator, Cynthia gets critical comments about the way she parents her children once in a while. 

"It's pretty normal, I would say, because everybody's parenting style will be different," she told us. 

One remark she gets quite often is that she does not cook enough for her children. 

"People say that I should cook for the kids because it's nutritional and more healthy that way. And I shouldn't always let them eat outside food," Cynthia revealed. 

This left her conflicted because she wanted to be as realistic as possible on her platform and show how she rarely has time to cook, especially since she works a full-time job. 

"By the time I finish cooking, it will probably be near the kids' bedtime," she pointed out. 

@tiredgenzmom Surviving with 5 hours of sleep is no joke 🥹 HAPPY WEEKEND FRIENDS! 🤍 #tiredmom #genzmom #momof2 #momsoftiktok #sgmom #sgworkingmummy #sgparents #sgfamily #lifeinsg #parents #boymom #CapCut ♬ vlog. Youtube shorts.(1236979) - table_1

The remarks did bother Cynthia and made her overthink. 

"When I first started my TikTok account, I let these comments affect me a lot. 

"So, when I filmed content and knew that I would not be cooking that day, I would try not to film those parts," Cynthia admitted. 

However, she eventually learned to not let these remarks affect her emotions and content. 

"Over time, I just thought that there's no point. This is what my life is truly like, so I don't want to change it just because of the mean comments. And I have my reasons why I would usually eat outside food or order takeaway." 

Apart from drawing flak for apparently not cooking enough, she also receives the occasional bitter remark from parents comparing their lives with hers. 

Once, a mother commented that Cynthia's life is "already considered very good" and started telling her how other parents have it worse than her. 

"She said that some mums have to wake up at 5am and I only have to wake up at 7am. And that I can end work on time." 

But at the same time, Cynthia has met other like-minded mothers like herself through social media and they would exchange tips and relatable stories. 

"I like how it feels like a community, a safe space for mothers," she said with a smile. 

They've also been very supportive of Cynthia's new side hustle, which involves selling capsule keychains on livestream. 

"Everything was sold out in one livestream. All the mothers gathered and the vibes were very positive," she shared. 

Being a Gen Z mum 

Being a Gen Z mum has made Cynthia realise that there are differences between her generation of parents and other generations. 

For instance, she's noticed that most mothers her age are still holding jobs and contributing to a dual income household. 

"But back in my mum's era, no matter the circumstances of the household, usually the mum will be at home," said Cynthia. 

"I'm not saying that mums in the past don't have a lot more responsibility. However, I feel like mothers now have to learn how to find a balance between their career and taking care of their kids." 

In her social circle, she's the only one who is a mother. 

And because of this, she's drifted apart from some friends over the years. 

"They would ask me to hang out and I would have to reject them and say that I can't because I've got to take care of my kids," she shared.  

"But of course, there are still some close friends that understand my position." 

Despite this, Cynthia doesn't regret becoming a young mum. 

"I'm very happy where I am right now," she told us. 

"I've always wanted to be a mother. It's a tiring job but it's very fulfilling. It gives me another purpose in life. My children are the reason I wake up every day and just keep working. Seeing them happy makes me happy." 

Are you considering motherhood but are afraid? Or are you also a tired mum? Cynthia wants to remind you that you're not alone. 

She also urges those who are struggling to open up about their feelings. 

"If you need help, you really have to sound out because motherhood can get really lonely, even if your kids and husband are around. Sometimes, it feels like you're just doing this by yourself," she said. 

"Know that you're not alone and if you really need help, if you need a break, you should take that break." 

Cynthia shared that by taking this break, you can come back stronger for yourself and your kids. 

"A break or time-off is super necessary for mums. If not, you'll burn out." 

ALSO READ: Woman texts late mum on Mother's Day, receives reply from someone who also lost their mum

melissateo@asiaone.com 

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