Thailand Tatler Talks To 5 Mother & Son Duos
1/5 Juthatham & Davyn Chirathivat
Married to Vasu Virajsilp, Juthatham Chirathivat is mother to son Davyn, who is almost two years old, and three-month-old daughter Dia. Despite the challenges her youngsters present, she says she is discovering the joys that nurturing can bring. “Nothing prepares you for the emotional side of becoming a mother. It might sound clichéd but I never knew I could love someone this much.”
One of the best things about motherhood, according to Juthatham, is that it constantly pushes her to try to be the best version of herself. In her role as vice president at Central Pattana, she is kept busy and her often rigid working hours mean less time with her children. “That’s one of the toughest parts for me,” she says.
Davyn has started nursery school and his parents are already seeing the difference in him. “The ‘terrible twos’ are upon us,” laughs Juthatham. “He’s very demanding now. It is the hardest thing not to give in but I know I must stand my ground and show him discipline.” Looking ahead, Juthatham admits there’s a big chance she will be a strict mother. “That’s just my nature but I do want to be the kind of parent my kids can talk to about anything.” She is also adamant that Davyn should grow up showing kindness, humility, compassion and the capacity to be happy with what he has and not take things for granted.
Having attended school in the United States from a young age, boarding school abroad for her own children is definitely a possibility but for now, Juthatham is more than happy to watch them grow. “I get to live life and a second childhood again through Davyn’s and Dia’s eyes.”
2/5 Orawan, Oscar & Finnfin Setabandhu
Orawan Setabandhu, more commonly known as Yui, is the owner and designer of Olivia Diamonds. A successful entrepreneur, she is also the mother of five-year-old Oscar and eight-year-old Finnfin. It is a role she has taken on whole-heartedly. Raising children, particularly two young boys, can sometimes be strenuous but Yui tells us it has been nothing but pure joy for her. “When I am with my boys I am happy,” she smiles. “Before my kids were born 90 per cent of my time was dedicated to work. Now that has changed and I can’t wait to get away to pick them up from school. I love spending time at home with them, playing games, drawing, watching cartoons.” Being a travel-loving person, one of her favourite indulgences is globetrotting with her children and her husband Sirot.
A super-chilled mum is how Yui describes herself. She has a laid-back and fun personality and this is very much reflected in the way she chooses to raise the boys, who are given the freedom to make their own mistakes and learn from them. “I don’t like to coddle them,” she says. “I want them to be able to learn for themselves. Later in life, they will realise that making your way in the world comes with its own set of challenges.” But behind the free-spirited mother figure is a woman who is adamant on instilling values such as kindness and respect for others in her children. Looking ahead Yui says she wants Oscar and Fin to be whatever they want to be. “I just want them to be happy. Truth be told, right now I kind of wish they would stay this age forever,” she laughs.
3/5 Molchaya Techapaibul & James Kitticha Edwards
Many believe the best relationship that can exist between a child and a parent is that of best friends and single mum Molchaya Techapaibul and her 18-year-old son James Kitticha Edwards, are a testament to this. “I have been very lucky because he has been very easy to raise,” says Molchaya. “There were no ‘terrible twos’ and there has been no teenage angst.” James is quick to call her his best friend and is grateful for their very open relationship. “We are extremely close and I can tell her anything,” he says, adding with a laugh, “No secrets!”
Despite being a late teen who likes to go out with his friends, James still makes quality time for mum. Molchaya is the holder of a PhD in industrial engineering and her son, who is about to pursue a degree in computer science at the University of Washington, seems to share her academic bent. In fact, the pair enjoy solving maths and physics problems together. “I have been very lucky,” says Molchaya. “James has always been a well-behaved boy and even during his early teens there were very few problems.”
If there’s something his mother has taught him that has stuck, it is to always be kind and polite to others. “Please and thank you are simple words that can make someone’s day or job a little easier, that is what she always taught me,” says the young man. But what about pet peeves? “I am 18 and she still makes me go to bed by 10pm,” he laughs. As for Molchaya, the one thing she will never get used to is the mountain of worn clothes her son leaves scattered about his bedroom. “The most important thing for me is that James is happy,” she says. “And I want him to be able to live in the real world with or without me. He is still my number one priority.”
4/5 Siriporn & Aditip Panupong
Siriporn Panupong, more commonly known as Khun Mae Boom and her husband Adisak, who was a member of the National Reform Council and a former ambassador to Austria, are the parents of three young men. Achieving balance between being a mother, a friend, a confidant and a source of guidance is essential for Boom. “It wasn’t easy raising three boys who together formed a very mischievous tag team when they were young,” she explains.
With their dad in the diplomatic service representing Thailand overseas, good manners and good behaviour were always very important for Boom and these she has instilled in her children. “She’s strict but at the same time very loving and caring and she has taught us a great deal,” says Aditip, the middle of the three sons. The family moved around a lot and raising children abroad meant it was also important for Boom to remind them of their roots. “I brought them up in a very Thai way,” she says.
No matter how old your children get, a mother never really stops being a mother. “I am 32 and she still fusses over my hair, my tie, my table manners and so on,” says a smiling Aditip. Boom admits she never stops worrying about her boys, particularly Aditip. “He loves cars and big bikes and is quite a fast driver, so yes, I am often concerned for him,” she says. However, it is driving that evokes some of Aditip’s fondest childhood memories of his mother, as it is she who taught him how to drive in the first place.
Though the industry manager at Google no longer lives at home, Aditip makes sure to have at least one meal a week with his parents. “I can do anything with the boys,” says Boom. “Their company alone makes me happy.”
5/5 Lee & Pattharapol Puengboonpra
Lee Puengboonpra and her youngest son Pattharapol, or Peepy, are pretty much inseparable. Peepy still lives at home with Lee, who admits she misses her 40-something son terribly when he travels. Merit making, attending events and particularly shopping expeditions, the flamboyant duo does almost everything together. “I am in charge of picking the clothes and fashion items we wear,” says Peepy, who adds with a laugh, “Shopping for us is an investment because we need to get two of everything.”
For Lee parenting is about being a mother and friend at the same time. And rather than constantly giving lessons in life, she prefers to lead by example through her actions and the way in which she carries herself. “I think one of the most important things she has taught my brothers Piti, Pipon and I is not to take advantage of others,” says Peepy. “She always reminds us that if we are in a position to help then we should always try to give back to society.”
“I am just grateful my children turned out to be good people and good citizens,” says the matriarch. That said, kids will be kids and when Peepy was younger he gave her the occasional hard time. “Peepy was such a rascal when he was little,” she laughs. “Whenever he wanted something, he would ask for it in a handwritten letter.” Peepy cites his mother as being everything in his life—confidant, role model and a best friend in one. “She’s the best mum,” he says. “When we were young she never failed to take us to school and pick us up and she was always there for us. I think that is one of my fondest childhood memories.”
It may come as a surprise but despite their shared sense of fashion and the fact they do so much together, they do have their differences. “We don’t like the same kinds of food,” laughs Peepy. “I love pizza and pasta while mum would rather go for shabu or suki.”
Related: 5 Thailand Tatler Mother-Daughter Duos