Celebrate Moments That Matter This Mother’s Day

Being a full-time working mum isn’t exactly the easiest job on earth.

I often find myself in a challenging juggling act – managing the heavy demands of being literally on-call 24/7, for my clients and team because of crazy deadlines, and being a present mother and wife for my family. It takes a great deal of persistence and a lot of strength to pull through my everyday. I try to live as lightheartedly as I can and navigate through the journey of motherhood and building a business.

Being busy doesn’t mean I neglect my family. I try to make every moment fun with my two babies and hope to build beautiful memories for my family. We spend a lot of time crafting, colouring, making things and just rotting around the house. We really are quite a lazy bunch of humans. LOL!

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

Doing what I do at work, and my love for capturing moments with my loved ones, this year, I gifted myself, for Mother’s Day,  a brand new PowerShot G7X Mark II, because it was time for my personal G1X Mark II to retire after serving me well the past 2 years.

I’ve been asked many times, which is the best camera to get and why. Seriously, the best camera for anyone depends on which camera you have beside you when you want to capture that precious moment. It could be your mobile phone or a compact camera that you bring along everywhere you go.

I use the huge DSLR at work and also recently added the Canon PowerShot EOS M5 to the work routine. These are great cameras that help my team delivers very professional quality work. But to carry them everywhere I go is not ideal and also my team is using them to shoot very often lately. So my new friend the G7X Mark II will be my BFF wherever I go. And just in time too for my upcoming trip to Sydney with my eldest!

If you are a mum who, like me, likes to capture memories with your family and loved ones, it’s time to consider rewarding yourself with a new camera too!

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the love and sacrifice of all the mothers out there; mums who have tirelessly poured into our children’s lives – teaching, inspiring and giving. Flowers and chocolates are nice gestures of showing gratitude but there’s a more meaningful and purposeful way to express our thankfulness and love – capturing moments in time by spending quality time with our family and preserving them with precious photos taken with a Canon camera.

If you’ve already got a camera, how about getting yourself a printer too? Don’t get me started on the reasons why every family should own a printer! I’ve got two at home and used them on a weekly basis! My girls love flipping through photo books, scrapbook and even my journal because they love laughing at how tiny and funny they looked when smaller.

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

Get a complimentary bouquet from Dawn Q. with every item purchased from Canon’s Mother’s Day gift guide and a free Shiseido gift set along with a personalised Shiseido skin indulgence (skin consultation and luxurious makeover) with the purchase of selected Canon products from their e-shop. I’m waiting for my camera and free gifts to arrive! This promotion is valid till 18th May 2017. Get your Canon products now and receive these special gifts.

Canon Mothers Day Guide

Thanks to the nice folks from Canon Singapore for the above beautiful photos of me with my girls. It is so so rare to have photos of me with my girls, because THIS.

Officially a Full Time Working Mum Or Not?

Since adulthood, whenever you catch up with long-time-no-see friends or relatives, one of the questions they confirm will ask is so what are you doing now? As in where are you working? For the past couple of years, my answer has always been “Oh I work for myself, you know… digital and social media kinda stuff?” Then come the puzzled looks and I can almost see all the question marks floating over their heads. “Oh you know? Online publishing and advertising?” Ohhh…

Still puzzled.

Then the next question will usually be, “So you work from home? That’s so good.” Ermm… at this point I’ll usually just shrug my shoulder and try to change the topic.

Working from home is NOT good!

Everyone who works 8 to 9 hours in the office will tell me that they envy me because I get to work from home. At first (about 2 years ago) I thought so too, and really did enjoy the flexibility to be able to work wearing my giant-worned-out-tshirt and boxer shorts and being able to just let out fart grab a quick nap whenever I have to. After your work starts getting kinda crazy, juggling multiple accounts and projects at one time, you start to realize working from home is NOT GOOD AT ALL.

Because home is where you do EVERYTHING, I ended up spending 70% of my time at home working. That’s more than 12 hours every day, and there’s like no-day-no-night please. In the morning, after sending the girls to school, my fingers will start typing non-stop on the keyboard right up till 5pm where I had to prepare dinner and fetch my girls from childcare. Thereafter a quick dinner, wash-up and spending some time with the girls, I will be back working away on my keyboard till 2am in the wee morning. And then the cycle repeats itself EVERYDAY! No weekends for work-from-home-mums ok? And I totally forget what it means to be on leave, on medical leave or just being away from office. All these terms just didn’t exists in my clients’ book nor my own.

Working Full Time Vs Working for Self

For the past one year, I’ve been working with a team at Alvinology Media. Thanks to the 101% trust from the big boss, I run the show well and managed to bring steady projects for the team. And I must say, the past one year has been the most hardworking period for me since I became a mum. It must be the desire to be able to run an agency again that pushes me, and the pressure to bring in enough to feed my team and myself that kept me going. And so I’ve been working full time on the team for a year already.

But a recent conversation with the big boss saddened me. He thinks I’m not committed to the company full time yet! WHAT???? 

According to Ministry of Manpower, a person who works for more than 35 hours a week is considered as working full time. So I am working way beyond the full-time definition can?

Working full-time in my context means I commit myself to producing and completing what I have to for my clients and assigned projects. I may not be physically seated at a work desk 35 hours a week, but the time committed to doing proposals, managing projects, communicating with clients, meetings, running errands etc all these surely add up to more than what is lawfully defined as working full-time.

I still consider myself as working for self, just because I am able to manage my schedule flexibly and is able to make decisions for the team and company (thanks to the empowerment given to me).

Say goodbye to coworking space
Say goodbye to coworking space

Officially with a Proper Setup

Though we have been running Alvinology Media for one year now, I still feel that there’s a lack of officiality because we are neither here nor there. The team works remotely and I sometimes feel like a lost sheep in between meetings as I have no place to work. Things will change officially from tomorrow.

We are officially moving into our very own office!

Together with our extended family of companies, we will be entering the next milestone of our agency life. A proper space with carpet (LOL!), our own furniture, a space for meetings, for learning and discussions. I can finally hold a proper meeting with my team with stable Wifi, screen for projection, space for brainstorming and walls to paste post-it notes on!

I miss having our own offices!

Previous office for 24seven at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
Previous office for 24seven at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
DICE Studio at The Modules
And the space we had for DICE Studio at The Modules

With this new milestone in life, it’s going to be my third baby, one that is still in the infancy stage and waiting to bloom and blossom. Am thankful for the opportunities the big boss, my team and our clients have given us. And the years ahead is looking even brighter! It’s going to be one hell of a journey and I’m super pumped!

Our new home before we took over, and now empty waiting to be filled with our creativity and adventures

Go team AM and OUS!

Watch this space as we transform and bring you bigger, better and awesome work and content. Stay tune!

A peek into the after work hours of a FTWM

Let’s set the context right before we peek into my after work hours…

  • I am a Full Time Working Mum (FTWM) with a 9am to 6pm job which I enjoy.
  • I do take up freelance gigs when they come to me, from companies and people I adore very much.
  • My no. 1 goes to a full day childcare and she stays with me everyday. She still wakes up twice every night for milk.
  • My no. 2 stays with my parents on weekdays and we visit her once a week and brings her home every weekend. I wish I can have her home with us every night but the routine is just not possible yet.
  • I don’t have a maid but has a lady come clean our house, wash our toilets and iron our clothes once a week.

So… what is it like for me after my working hours? Let’s start from the morning…

“Ayra! Time to wake up! Mummy’s late for work…. (AGAIN)”

I go through the same morning routine everyday since January, till today, I have never been on-time at work. (Thank goodness for understanding team and boss.) I try to let Ayra sleep till 8am and this is how I wished for our mornings to be…
0800 Ayra bounces out of be happy and smiley.
0805 Ayra drinks her milk while I get ready for work.
0820 Ayra changes into her uniform willingly.
0830 We walk happily to school.
0835 I drive off to work.

*poofs!* This is reality…

0800 I attempt to wake Ayra up and gives her milk.
0830 Second attempt to get Ayra out of bed.
0845 “Ayra we are late! Wake up!”
0900 “Ayra your friends and teachers are waiting for you… (And the 101 explanation why she needs to get out of bed and dress for school kicks in)
0915 Ayra!!!
0930 Ayra wakes up, changes, and sit in the living room to play!
0940 And we are soooo late!

I’m giving us a little more time to get this morning routines right, not sure what is it that’s stopping her from loving school. Hope to find out more at our first PTC in June. Perhaps Ayra just want me to be home with her instead. Perhaps I will also try to wake her up earlier instead, but that’ll mean even lesser sleep time for both of us.

What’s for dinner tonight?

The question I drag everyday. Ayra is a very picky eater. She will REFUSE to eat if the food doesn’t look crispy, doesn’t even attempt to taste anything we give her, eats only when it is tasty enough. The places to pack our dinner from my way home from work is limited. Sometimes we try cook our own dinner, and this will usually mean meal at 8pm.

I would very much want to cook our own dinner every day, but when Ayra refused to eat the motivation is just gone. It’s the school holiday now, with hub at home on most of the days, perhaps its time to try open up Ayra’s golden mouth again. Wish us luck!

Mother Daughter Bonding

Every day I will try to do something engaging with Ayra after we are done with dinner. I am in the midst of setting up a proper activity room with proper place for crafting, for role-playing, for reading and learning. Currently we spent most of our time in the living room where our playroom is setup. But this arrangement usually end up with our TV on with YouTube videos (with Ayra’s choice of videos) streaming continuously through the night. I think it is time to return the TV back to hub for his afterwork entertainment. And also time to reduce Ayra’s time on YouTube.

The weekly necessary household routines

Lucky me do not need to vacuum nor mop the floor as often as I used to. And with dark laminated flooring, we don’t see dust or hair as much. Yes I know it is still dusty, as long as it doesn’t affect our daily routine, with the once a week major cleaning by our cleaning lady it’s enough. If we really need to vacuum, we have a wireless Philips vacuum which works very well for small area vacuuming. My hub will do the mopping if necessary.

The only household routine for me is mainly the laundry, which is done 4 times a week. Twice for my own laundry and twice for the girls. Hub does his own. Lucky me?

The Night Shift

In between all the above, I have to find time and energy to sit myself in front of the computer at home (usually after Ayra is asleep) to get more work done. These include work from my daytime job, work from my freelance gigs and blogging “duties”. By time I am done with all these things, I’ll collapse in bed at 1am (if I’m lucky). And just when I finally manage to fall into deep sleep, Ayra sits up and demand for milk… and then I got to catch the milk bottle when she’s done… and this repeats in 3-4 hours time.

Weekends are for PLAY!

We pick Zara from my parent’s on Friday/Saturday and spend time with both girls at home. Juggling two at night is a challenge we are still trying to juggle, but we are learning and managing decently. The mornings on weekends are usually spent sleeping in till the sun hits our bum! And by time I shower, feed and settle both the girls, and then do the same for myself, it’s already time for tea! This is the reason why we never make it to morning events on weekends.

We like to spend our weekends at home, playing and just being there with both the girls. This is also the only time where the two sisters get to interact, laugh and have fun together. Zara loves having her sister around. She giggles at the sight of her approaching and reacts to her every move in a loving and fun way.

On some weekends when we are less tired, we bring the girls out for some fun. We usually either hang out at an indoor playground, window shopping at the malls or just let Ayra have her own shopping fun at a Toys R Us. Of course, there’s the occasional LIVE show we get to watch for free at Shopping Malls.

This kinda sums up my after work hours, or rather, non-working hours life. Wonder if anyone shares almost the same kind of routines? Most of my time off from work is spent with my girls. One thing I need to improve on is how I can spend quality time with my hub too. This I got to think harder and do better.

I do not have any tips to share on how I manage my time better cos I am still going through the trial and error stage. Simple rule I follow by – If it’s not necessary, don’t think or do it. This way, we focus only on the essentials and unknowingly we may end up with time to do things we wish.

A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Christy from Kids ‘R’ Simple on “A Peek into the After Work Hours of a FTWM”. Read about how 21 FTWMs from Singapore Mom Bloggers handle their kids and household everyday from 1 June to 21 June. The aim is to give other working mums motivation, ideas and support to deal with the everyday demands of juggling work and family while keeping sane. We will be happy to hear your story, tips and even an encouraging word will make our day! Share your thoughts in the comments!

MadpsychmumTomorrow, Madeline will be sharing about her endeavours trying to juggle work, family and personal life.

Madeline is a research psychologist and mum to a chatty 4-year-old girl and a chillax 5-month-old boy. She is passionate about child psychology and hopes to make a difference in the lives of children living in Singapore. Also an avid traveller and advocate of breastfeeding, Madeline regularly documents her overseas trips and nursing room reviews with incredible detail on her blog, MadPsychMum.