Mother's Day 2021: Esports moms talk balancing passion with motherhood

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  • Esports
  • Gaming
(Graphic: Yahoo Esports SEA, Photos: Kaisaya, Mitch, Aki, Ai)
(Graphic: Yahoo Esports SEA, Photos: Kaisaya, Mitch, Aki, Ai)

Being a mother is a huge responsibility, even more so for those who are also role models for their communities in a young industry like the growing esports scene in Southeast Asia.

This Mother's Day, Yahoo Esports SEA talked to four moms in esports about their careers how they balance being a mom with their professional life and their passion for gaming.

Treasure your moms

"Growing up, I looked up to my mom because I believed that she could do anything for us. She cooked us food, took us to school, washed the dishes, did the laundry, and she still had time for the simplest of demands, like a trip to the mall or a story time," said Clarisse Michelle "Mitch" Liwanag, who is Aura Philippines' Country Manager and manages the MLBB team and talents. 

Mitch with her daughter (Photo: Mitch)
Mitch with her daughter (Photo: Mitch)

She and her husband, Aura PH player Jaypee Dela Cruz, have a daughter, Cailee, who will be turning one in May.

Mitch said the biggest lesson she's learn from being both a mom and a personality in esports is that our moms "are indeed the best heroes we could ever have in our life".

"While this is true, I was only able to tell when it was my turn to be a mom. Balancing time for work and being a mom is something I did not find easy to do, but I kept doing because it's for my family," Mitch said.

"So, treasure your mothers because no matter how easy they make things look, it only seems like that because they want to keep their family comfortable, safe, and happy at all costs."

"I’m also only able to realise how far a mother will go to protect her child. The same goes for me and my players. I am willing to go through great lengths to protect/help them in whatever way I can," Mitch added.

Time management is key

As for those who want to be moms but also want to be in esports, Mitch has this advice. "If your passion is gaming and you feel like you belong to esports, do not let being a mom hinder you from what you want to do. It's easy to get lost in being a mom, especially when it's your first time." 

"But no matter how occupied you are, you have to make time for your passion. Always remember that it's never too late to work for what you really want in life."

Wild Rift shoutcaster Em
Wild Rift shoutcaster Em "Kaisaya" Dangla (Photo: Kaisaya)

Wild Rift shoutcaster Em "Kaisaya" Dangla shared similar thoughts, telling Yahoo Esports SEA that "there is nothing to be scared about being both a gamer and a mom".

"While there will be a priority in your responsibilities as a mom, everything else can be handled with time management," Kaisaya said. "If being a mom already makes you a strong person, a superwoman, being a gamer mom is even more admirable, someone even more super than a superwoman."

"Being a mom doesn't mean it's the end for other things that you love," Kaisaya said.

Time management was also an important lesson to learn for Erika Mei "Aki" Ilar, Dota 2 talent for LuponWXC.

"I have to balance my time from being a mom to being a talent effectively because gaming takes up too much of my time," said the mother of a two-year-old son, adding that she needed to be flexible with her schedule as a caster because of the tournament broadcasts from different regions.

"But I also make sure that I still have time for my child," Aki said. "As for now, I am really thankful for my parents for helping me with my son and letting me continue my passion with esports."

Erika Mei
Erika Mei "Aki" Ilar, Dota 2 talent for LuponWXC (Photo: Aki)

Family focus

For variety esports streamer Vivy 'Ai' Evynse Majengen, being a mom means being prepared to leave her profession to focus on her family and herself.

"Being a mom is hard. Looking at our moms taking care of her kids seemed so easy. But when we become a mom ourselves, you might find it so hard especially if you not getting help from anyone," said Ai, who has a daughter turning two this year. 

"It is very important to have strong finances also. As streamers and esports pros, if you are planning on starting a family, be ready to leave your profession or take a hiatus because focusing on family and self healing is more important in life," she said.

Variety esports streamer Vivy 'Ai' Evynse Majengen (Photo: Ai)
Variety esports streamer Vivy 'Ai' Evynse Majengen (Photo: Ai)

Being a mom also had its lessons. Ai shared that she used to get angry and triggered easily when training to get good in the games she played, but being a mom taught her to manage her emotions and be more loving.

"Being a streamer and influencer in gaming specifically has taught me to be strong. It's a process of learning and it's the same with being a mother. Both are fun things to do and there always something new to learn everyday," Ai said.

Aura PH's Mitch also credited esports teaching her how to be more patient and understanding. 

"Being a country manager means I have to watch over my players and the people that make up the entire organisation, and it is different compared to being a mom, where I only have to watch over my daughter," she shared. 

"Having so much patience about everything really pays off in this field, and I get to practice that in being a mom. 

"You can’t rush results, you can't solve problems with anger, and you definitely have to manage your expectations a lot. That helps in the household and raising my daughter, too."

Looking ahead

Mitch said she would be happy to share what she and Jaypee have gone through if her daughter showed an interest in esports, and that she would be supportive of her gaming career if she wanted to have one. 

"Kids shine the best when parents support them in their passion," Mitch said.

Similarly, Aki said she was looking forward to bonding with her son playing Dota and being the person to introduce gaming to him.

"When my son grows up, I'll tell him that I'm one of those voices he'll hear when he watches tournament games," she said. "I won't be that strict mom who won't let you play games, haha (with proper discipline and limitations, of course)."

"Being a mom is a tough job but I am having fun and happy at the same time because my son gives me the reason to give my best everyday and to be better," Aki said.

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