In this week leading up to Mother\u2019s Day, we would like to honour the wonder women in our country \u2013 ordinary women living extraordinary lives. Ashley Pang was always an active person, she could juggle a lot and still look for more tasks to complete. So when she found out that her baby boy, Alex, had Down's Syndrome she took it on strong and determined. But the road ahead was much more difficult than she could have ever expected. Ashley Pang has taken on every challenge and nailed it! \u201cOf course, it came as a shock to us when Alex (now 11) was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. It was an uphill road from there. During the first year, he contracted Pneumonia twice. To make the situation more complicated, he was a heart patient and premature baby. We were literally home bound during the first year, except for essential trips. Something like a self-imposed MCO, probably. He was born with low muscle tone and neuro vision challenges. This impacted his movement, feeding, speech, coordination, response and reaction to his surroundings. The real challenge was the first five years, as Alex was nonverbal, rejecting solid food, very sensitive to loud noise, having abnormal sleeping patterns and was facing motor and coordination challenges. \u201cWe tried everything we could and trained him daily. We started to see results after the age of five. We are very grateful to Kiwanis Down Syndrome Foundation National Centre, to all his therapists, doctors, friends and schools that accepted him for who he is, and provided him with the opportunity to grow and develop in an inclusive environment which is very helpful for his development," said the 45-year-old. Enjoying Chinese New Year, happy and healthy. When most women would have thought this was about all they could handle, Ashley started looking for answers instead of merely griping about problems.\u00a0While Alex was developing as best as expected physically, Ashley realised that there was a lack of communication and social skills\u2019 classes for him to be inclusive in society. \u201cChildren were too academically-driven, there were a lot of gaps when it came to social skills. So, I contacted American Molly Hayes in 2015 to learn more about their programme \u2018Molly Manners\u2019. It is a fun, interactive children's enrichment programme that teaches good manners, etiquette, and social skills to girls and boys aged three to 16. \u201cSince there was no such programme in Malaysia, I took on the challenge to be the founder of 'Molly Manners Malaysia' in 2018. I decided to bring this wonderful character-building programme here to help Alex and others around that age." Today, the programme has received overwhelming success and changed the lives of so many children and parents in Malaysia. However, when the pandemic hit, Ashley\u2019s life changed dramatically \u2013 for better and worse. While she used to work a lot more pre -COVID, during MCO she had to slow down. \u201cThe priority has always been my son. Both my husband and I agreed that he would look after the business fully, with the help of our team, while I would be in charge of family matters. \u201cDuring this period, I still conducted my 'Molly Manners' classes online and we had students from all over Malaysia, as far as from Sarawak joining us. As a mother and wife, I have taken a step back from other things to focus all my attention on my family, especially during these trying times. \u201cMy goal is to be the sunshine of my family and my surroundings. I'm a very hands-on person. We do not have a live-in helper nor family nearby; however, we do have an hourly part-ime lady that helps with domestic house chores so I can focus on my son, family and work. This helps a lot and my son is taught not to rely on others too much.\u201d Covid has been a blessing in disguise for our family; we use this home-bound time for family bonding each evening from five to 8pm, she proudly confesses. "We have family fitness, family games, teaching my son home economics skills, and family parties with grandparents and extended family members, via facetime and WhatsApp video calls. \u201cIn that short period, I noticed my son\u2019s speech and cognitive ability has improved tremendously. His relationships with extended family also improved due to frequent teleconferences.\u201d Besides 'Molly Manners Malaysia', this wonder woman is also co-founder of E-Health2u and Wipa Tec, provider of Smart Lockers for Fitness Clubs and Corporate Offices. \u201cOverall, the pandemic is actually not that bad for us. I use my stay-at-home time to sharpen my culinary skills. I even learnt to bake bread from YouTube and have never cooked so much soup in my 14 years of married life! "Alex has even started baking and selling loaves of bread to raise funds for a non-profit school, we call it 'Alex's Bakery'.\u00a0Overall, I turned 'poison' into 'medicine'. Making the best out of the MCO stay-at-home experience. Alex baking bread for a good cause. \u201cI can\u2019t do this alone; I am grateful for having a very supportive and loving husband. This helps a lot.\u201d For all the women who are constantly comparing themselves to other super-mums out there, Ashley Pang has some advice for them. \u201cOur situation is different and so are our challenges. A rose is a rose and a sunflower is a sunflower. Both are beautiful flowers. They bloom differently and maybe at different seasons too. The most important thing is to be grateful for who we are and remember this, as a mum and a wife, we are the sunshine and pillar of our family. In order to have a happy family, we as a mum and wife must first be happy. \u201cOnly a bright radiant sun could warm up its surroundings. This is something I remind myself again and again. I hope all the wonderful mums out there will remember that you are unique and special in your very own way.\u201d What Would She Tell Her Younger Self? If there is one thing, she could tell her younger self, what would it be? Have children at a younger age! \u201cFreeze some eggs, too, for future use. It\u2019s true. If I could turn back the clock, I would do it. So, for young ladies who are reading this, please consider this suggestion if you do not plan to have children early.\u201d For her to have everyone healthy and happy, including her extended family, is her biggest wish for Mother\u2019s Day 2021. Ashley Pang reminds all women and mums to be the pillar of their family. \u201cA few years back, I went through a really difficult time and was on the verge of a panic attack. I was told I might have suffered a burn-out. Since then, I\u2019ve learnt to slow down and start to spend more time for myself, such as weekly walks in the park. \u201cThere is nothing more to ask for than happiness and good health. Let\u2019s see if my son and husband will prepare a breakfast in bed for me this Mother\u2019s Day. I like to be pampered too, every mum does,\u201d she hinted.