MOTHERHOOD doesn't seem to be a bad word in the Malay entertainment scene.
And celebrity mums, both here and across the Causeway, haven't faded from the limelight.
Like popular Malaysian singer and actress Ziana Zain.
The 39-year-old mother of two boys recently finished her latest movie Qabil Khusry Qabil Igam and is working on her seventh album.
Speaking to The New Paper from Kuala Lumpur, she said she doesn't see why celebrity mums can't have it all.
"I put my family and career on equal footing - both come first for me."
Even the transition from sexy singer to staid mum doesn't bother her.
She said: "What you gain in return is respect and credibility as a working celebrity mum. Fans and the entertainment industry start taking you more eriously. All the limelight in the world can't give you that."
When Ziana had her children, Muhammad Aiman, 7, and Muhammad Ammar, 4, she took several months off.
BACK IN SHAPE
But during that hiatus, she whipped herself back into shape. She now runs her own recording label, Zig Zag Beat.
Similarly, Singaporean presenter and businesswoman, Rilla Melati Bahari, feels that the industry welcomes married women and mothers.
The 34-year-old single mother of a 6-year-old boy runs her own media and education company, Stagehandz.
She said: "There are always shows that I or the other mothers on Suria can do. I did a parenting show and producers here help you stay relevant with
shows like that."
For Malaysian jazz chanteuse Sheila Majid, 42, leaving show business, which she has been a part of for the last 20 years, didn't enter her mind.
Sheila had her fourth child, Khalefa Laila Murshim, three months ago.
She has seven events lined up for this month alone and she has a full schedule from after Hari Raya in October until January.
In a phone interview with The New Paper from Kuala Lumpur, she said: "Priority, of course, is always my family.
"Being Asian and living in this part of the world, we are very fortunate that we can have maids and our mothers to help us."
New mother Rima Melati Adams, 27, who gave birth to her son Edga Ian Cook two months ago, said there was no question of quitting show business as well.
Rima starred in local opera Cinta Q and unlike other Suria artistes, holds a full-time sales job at a local hotel.
Mr Alex Zulkifli Mohammed Salleh, manager of Television 12 Artiste Management Unit, pointed out that celebrities-turned-mothers like Indonesia's Kris Dayanti and Singapore-born Norish Karmen continue to maintain a successful career.
He told The New Paper: "Staying in this trade as a married woman and a mother means they have to try harder and work harder. There is a new level of respect for them."
But not all celebs want it all.
Malaysia's top female singer Siti Nurhaliza seems to be bucking the trend.
Last year, when the 28-year-old married divorcee Datuk Khalid Mohd Jiwa, 48, she made it clear that her career would take a backseat to marriage and eventually, motherhood.
Never mind that she has produced 17 hit albums in the last 11 years.
In a recent interview with Malaysian paper Berita Harian, she said: "Only shows that are truly suitable for me, I will accept and only after I have discussed it with my husband.
"What is for sure is that after 11pm, I am at home. Before (marriage) I would be out until 1am."
The pressure of juggling motherhood and a career is not easy.
Ziana said with a laugh: "My fans keep complaining that I am too slow with my new album. But what can I do? I am a mother, a cook and a businesswoman all at the same time."
For Sheila, she said she is lucky that her musician husband, Hasridz Murshim Hashim Abdullah, is a "hands-on father".
"If I have a performance at night, he will stay at home."
Other mums say they pick work that accommodates their family life.
Ziana said: "Both my manager and I are mothers, so we pick projects or events that will fit our schedules.
"When I was younger, I gila-gila (Malay for crazy) did as many events and film projects as I could do.
"I was establishing myself at that time. Now I am a senior artiste, I can say no to projects simply because the money is not worth my time."
As for Rilla, her job co-hosting Suria's Sunday morning talk show, Suria Segar, fits nicely into her timetable.
She said: "It's a live show, so we film for two hours on Sunday morning and I have the rest of the day to spend it with my family."
The former child star of Malay children's show Aksi Mat Yoyo also used to be a scriptwriter on Najip Ali's talk show, Kopi O Teh Tarik.
The only difference, say Malay celeb mums, is endorsements.
Ziana said: "I've been lucky in that sense because advertisers still see me as valuable. The endorsements I do now just target a different audience, women my age."
Rilla added she is now more careful about which products she endorses.
"I will not do a slimming advertisement because that will send a wrong message to my audience."
She also avoids scenes where she is physically affectionate with a male co-star as "I can't explain it to my son later".