Prominent businesswoman and mother, Fiti Leung Wai, believes Mothers Day is an opportunity not just to honour the mothers of Samoa; it is also a chance to appreciate them for what they do.
Speaking to the Sunday Samoan, she said Mother's Day is a time to celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.
The Managing Director of Samoa Stationery and Books is among thousands of mothers honoured across Samoa today as the country pauses to acknowledge the vital role they play.
The special day will be followed by a national holiday tomorrow.
Mrs. Leung Wai, who is a lawyer by profession, is an example of a modern day mother.
She has a tough juggling act between motherhood and developing one of the fastest growing businesses in Samoa.
On days like today, she says it’s important to pause, reflect and look to the future with optimism.
“Whilst mothers are special every day, Mother’s Day is the one day of the year where mothers should be afforded extra special treatment by their children and their husbands,” the mother of four said.
“There are many ways to express such extra special treatment. For example, breakfast in bed, a card especially made for your mother, meal at a nice restaurant, or a nice gift.
“[But] we also have to be careful about commercialising Mother’s Day as that can trivialise the true meaning and purpose of Mother’s Day as it ends up being a contest of providing the most expensive gift when Mother’s Day is much more than that.”
Reflecting on her experience as a mother, Mrs. Leung Wai, who is married to another lawyer and former Attorney General, Aumua Ming, said they have had had to overcome a lot of struggles to be where they are today.
“I recall in the early days of our marriage, we didn’t have much money,” she said. “My husband could not afford an expensive gift for me then but he would write for me these love poems that I cherished because I know that he took the time and effort to write them.
“One time when we were still going out whilst at university, he gave me a little teddy bear holding a heart called “Ziggy.”
“I guess the point that I want to make is that Mother’s Day should not be defined or determined by the monetary cost if the gift you give your mother but by the effort and the thought behind the gift and gesture.
“For us mothers, we play a vital part to ensure that we don’t put pressure on our kids or husbands to provide us with expensive monetary gifts in Mothers Day.”
Mrs. Leung Wai went on to say how her twin boys made her Mother’s Day cards.
“On Friday afternoon whilst I was being interviewed by a reporter of the Samoa Observer my twin boys who are 3 years old came into my office with their Mother’s Day cards for me,” she said.
“They really made my day and made me the happiest mother in the world and I don’t need a diamond to make me happy.
“[But] I am not saying that we shouldn’t buy our mothers expensive gifts, but if we can afford them, then by all means buy them as our mothers deserve the best.
“However I just don’t want us to be under financial pressure to provide expensive gifts if we cannot afford them when there are other ways to express our love for our mothers on their special day.”
Asked how she does it running a business and being a mother to her children at the same time, Mrs. Leung Wai said there are sacrifices that have to be made from time to time but she still tries her very best.
“Running a business and raising four boys is a real delicate balancing act,” she said.
“On the one hand I have four boys to raise and on the other is my business that employs over 100 people.
“Sadly, sacrifices have to be made from time to time but I still try my best to spend time with them after work, particularly my twins as they are the youngest.
“I also don’t do any work on Sundays that is another precious time with my boys. My husband and I agreed many years ago to keep Sunday holy by not doing any work on that day as per the Lord’s commandment.
“It’s amazing when you obey the Lord because keeping Sunday holy has really blessed our family and enabled us to rest and be fully recharged before the start of the next working week.
“I am also fortunate to have a husband who is very supportive and helps out with the raising of our boys.”
So what are her plans for Mother’s day?
“I will try not to do any work but to spend quality time with my boys and husband and most especially I am going to get some well deserved rest,” she said.
Mrs. Leung Wai went on to wish mothers a very special day today.
“Mother’s are the backbone of any family,” she said. “They give advice to their husbands and are strong intercessors.
“My own mother, Nino Stanley Vito is my role model who is so humble and spends most of her time on her knees praying for our well-being and blessings.
“She brings her prayer partners to our Megastore that is open to the public any time during working hours and I invite anyone who wants to fellowship with the Lord to come and pray in our prayer room.
“I would also like to acknowledge my other mother, Epenesa Saifoloi from Moataa who is always praying for me and my family and the business.
“Lastly, I want to wish all the mothers of Samoa a blessed Mother’s Day and I hope you are all being spoiled and treasured not just on Mother’s Day but every day.”