Yusnizan builds a new home through Mums for Life programme

Meet Yusnizan Md Taib, an ordinary mom to an 18-year-old daughter, and a 10-year-old son. As we uncover her story, Yusnizan turns out to be a super mom. She works full-time in the IT Logistics industry, while volunteering with COMPASS (Community of Parents in Support of Schools), and acting as a Parent Support Group mentor for schools in her school zone in the West. All these while wearing many other hats and being mother to her two children.

Yet Yusnizan says, “The period (from 2013-2017) when my daughter was in secondary school coincided with a time when I was at my most toxic. At the time I was working as an assistant warehouse manager in a toxic environment and I was carrying this home and talking down a lot to my daughter.

My daughter being an introvert just takes whatever verbal abuse that I give her. We could be having dinner and I might ask her “How’s your day?” and something in her story that I didn’t agree with would spark a scolding from me, even in front of my son or my helper. That carried on every day for a good number of years. In my heart, I felt like I needed to correct her.”

Yusnizan relates this impulse for correction to her line of work in logistics, where her role in a warehouse distribution centre was constantly to identify and rectify mistakes.


A couple of years later, Yusnizan could see that her teen daughter was not confident. “Because I’m always talking down to her, and not making her feel worthy about herself. And that was the environment that I was in, and I knew it’s wrong but I did not know how to get out of it.”

By 2018, she joined a new company in a new position. It was then that she settled into becoming calmer, even as she took on a job that presented a steep learning curve. She also decided to work on herself and her family relationships.

“I did a lot of soul searching, but not wanting to spend money on a coach, I was looking out for programmes. First I signed up with SG Families.” Eventually, she was connected to Carol Loi from Mums for Life who told Yusnizan  about the Heart Of a Mother Experience (HOME) – a 7-week programme, for mothers to seek healing and wholeness and fulfilment.

“The first few modules helped me to explore how I was parented. This reflective process was gradual.” Suffice to say, Yusnizan discovered that much of the way she was parenting stemmed from not being healed from how she herself was parented as a child. Nevertheless, she stresses that her own mother was a good mum. It was just that family dynamics and comparisons with her “better” siblings left her with unresolved pain, especially of “not being good enough”.

Wiping the slate clean

Yusnizan shares a key milestone in her restoring her relationship with her daughter (last year when she was 17), “One part of the HOME Programme is the “homework” portion, where I had to recognise and acknowledge pain. Then I had a one-hour heart to heart talk with my daughter and I shared about my relationship with my own mom in detail that I had not done before.

At the end of it, I apologised to my daughter for projecting, making her feel “not enough”, for my looks of disapproval, and other disapproving signals.” This homework helped her to begin repairing their strained relationship. The result was that Yusnizan and her daughter now have a clean slate to work from.

Working the other way, Yusnizan was also able to talk to her own mother and deepen their bond.

Today, she works hard to hold her tongue when her daughter confides in her. Yusnizan says, “When I go out with her for makan* (she likes to eat), and when we are out walking, she will talk and I will listen. I make it a conscious effort to do this every week. I never did this before, and I realise that it helps. She shares with me her perspectives, her world, her concerns. Then I DON’T talk. This is a conscious effort to NOT SAY ANYTHING.

Turning to a real HOME again

Yusnizan is thankful for the HOME programme, but it comes with a caveat, she says, “You need to be present. If you’re distracted, it will not work. In a sense, that’s what Mums for Life is all about – being present. That way, you achieve the full benefit of whole relationships with your family, your children.”

Over the months, as Yusnizan practiced holding her tongue with her daughter, and giving the latter space to share and speak her mind, she eventually recognised her mother’s effort, telling Yusnizan, “Thanks for listening to me, I realised that you have changed.”

*Makan – Malay for “food” or “a meal”.