It's no secret that being a mum is probably one of the hardest "jobs" in the world-if you have not been a mum before, you will probably not understand what it is like to be one. This is made even more impossible if a mum has her own business to run, taking care of two "babies" at the same time.
To celebrate the upcoming Mother's Day, we thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the mumpreneurs in Singapore who are juggling both family and their business successfully.
1. Jaime Teo: Twelve Cupcakes
While some may recognise Jaime as Miss Singapore Universe 2001, the former beauty queen is probably more well known as the co-founder of Twelve Cupcakes. She married radio deejay Daniel Ong, and gave birth to her daughter Renee Ong.
Family aside, Twelve Cupcakes is a familiar name to most Singaporeans as one of the most successful cupcake chains, with brand presence in Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Manila. According to Family and Life, there are also plans to open more flagship outlets in Dubai, Japan, as well as in China.
2. Diah Mastura: Co-founder of Studio Frost
Diah, who was once a primary school educator, left her job right after giving birth to her twins, Mysha Nadya and Myreen Nadya. Diah also has another daughter Sharleez Nadya.
As a stay-at-home mum, Diah runs a home grown clothing line called Studio Frost. The focus of Studio Frost is mainly on exclusively designed kaftans and dresses for special events and occasions. Because they are all designed exclusively by Diah and her team, you probably won't find similar designs somewhere else. Besides Studio Frost, Diah also provides make-up services for weddings, engagements or special events.
Work aside, Diah's life centres around her family and her three daughters, also collectively known as the Nadyas. She is not shy on admitting that too on her blog:
"And have you met my pride, my joy and my life? Goodness, where have you been? You should be worried by now. The Nadyas' pictures are everywhere in my blog, you should be pretty sick of them by now. I am obsessed with my daughters, don't you know that? O B S E S S E D."
3. Monica Lim: Founder of Hedgehog Communications. Also an author of the Danger Dan series.
A mother of two, Monica Lim, is also the founder and director of copywriting agency Hedgehog Communications. Other than running her agency, Monica is also the co-author of the Danger Dan book series for children, which she writes with her daughter.
In an interview with Singapore Motherhood earlier this year, Monica shared that the best parenting advice she has received is, "Just because a kid has time, doesn't mean we have to fill it."
"That's the best advice I've heard. The value of free time cannot be overstated. That's when the kid has time to dream, reflect and play - all necessary components of a healthy mind. Singaporean kids are too busy doing; they have no time to think. I think in Singapore, where there's the constant obsession with doing well academically, many parents are tempted to fill their kids' time with enrichment activities till their kids are utterly exhausted. Ten years from now, would you care that your son received a less-than-stellar mark on his maths test?"
4. Mouna Aouri Langendorf: Woomentum
Mouna is a civil engineer born and raised in Tunisia. Her encounter with entrepreneurship started when she was hired in 2004 to run a French technology startup based in Tokyo and this led her years later to setup her own consultancy company and run it for five years.
In 2011, following the Arab spring revolution in Tunisia, Mouna has relocated to Singapore with her family and made it her home. After giving birth to two daughters, Mouna founded Woomentum in 2014, a business network for women entrepreneurs and professionals in Asia. The Woomentum platform brings together female led SMEs, trending startups and experts to easily access peer-to-peer knowledge sharing (Q&A), curated expert marketplace and mentoring programmes.
Mouna told Vulcan Post that having kids and being an entrepreneur is wonderful.
Her favourite moments? That's when she goes off grids with all her electronic devices off-and simply playing lego or "tickle and giggle" with her daughters.
5. Tammy Tay: Imagine by SK66
Tammy Tay is another well followed mummy in Singapore. As a mother of two, a handsome Elroy and a beautiful Ellie, Tammy also runs an interior design firm, Imagine by SK66.
Her decision to venture into the interior design film is motivated by her desire to have a more private life.
"It's been an exciting month learning about this new industry I'm stepping into and I'm loving what I'm doing so far. This also means I'll be making my exit from the blogosphere soon to focus on this new biz (and my family of course!) once it's running smoothly and also for personal reasons-want a more private life."
6. Carmen Benitez: Founder of Fetch Plus
Carmen is well known among the Singapore startup community as the founder of Fetch Plus, which develops a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) social media marketing technology for major brand franchises. Other than running her own business, she is the mother of three-3-year-old baby David, 8-year-old baby Henri, and 19-year-old Brennan.
When asked what is her biggest challenge juggling both business and family, she said it would be the guilt.
"No matter what people like to say, I still feel guilt for having to step away for meetings or calls, especially when it infringes on family time. It happens and they get it, but I feel a certain level of guilt over it."
Her favourite family moment? That would be the non-stop hugs and helping her kids grow up.
"I know they love the affection from their mum, so I'm very open to showering them with lots of hugs and kisses. I also love just watching them grow and parenting them to be great kids and hopefully great adults."
7. Roshni Mahtani: Founder of The Asian Parent
Roshni is also well known as the successful representative of a female founder in Singapore. She runs The Asian Parent, one of the largest parenting portal in Asia, with over 5 million visitors a month.
As a new mum herself, her biggest challenge she faced so far is juggling both her newborn (baby Shan) and a newly launched business unit.
"I launched our new app, ParentTown and gave birth to my daughter in the same week-it really felt like I had fraternal twins. On one hand, this is really scratching my own itch, ParentTown is exactly what I need as a new mum, but as you would know, launching a new product is a massive commitment and often I would need twice the amount of energy so I could care for both my new babies at the same time."
When asked what is her favourite moment with her newborn, Roshni couldn't decide-How do you even choose?
"The moment she was born is definitely up there. Holding and seeing her for the first time is such a powerful memory."
8. Rosaline Chow Koo: Founder of CXA
Rosaline is the founder of CXA, the first private insurance and workplace wellness exchange in Asia. CXA pioneered the flex wellness marketplace which allows firms to bundle their healthcare budget with benefits and wellness programs giving more choice to their employees.
Other than managing her business, she is also a mother of two.
"My kids are now 21 and 18, but I faced many more challenges during my second startup in 2000 when my kids were 5 and 3 years old. I was actually commuting from Singapore to KL every Monday at 4am and returning Fridays at midnight. During one of the weekends, my daughter had an epileptic seizure. When I visited her teacher at school, they told me she also had a learning disorder. That's when I quit my startup and got her diagnosed. It turned out that her epilepsy was triggered by sleep deprivation and goes away during teenage years. So we moved her into our room and move both kids to special needs school. She fully recovered and caught up with all her classmates and is now finishing her 3rd year at Tufts University in Boston in Computer Science and English."
Rosaline's favourite times with her kids were at the Singapore Zoo, which they visited 3 times every week during the 3 years she was home with her kids.
"We loved the petting zoo and the butterfly area."
9. Candyce Toh: Owner of Cafe Manuka
Candyce may also be a name that is familiar to many Singaporeans. The former Project SuperStar contestant married another fellow contestant and recently gave birth to her beautiful daughter Azalea.
Following her involvement in Channel 8 drama Hand in Hand, Candyce shared that she will dedicate 100 per cent of her time to caring for the baby, and will not accept any new projects for the time being.
The new mum also runs Cafe Manuka with her sister, a casual dining cafe located at Paragon Singapore.
10. Tjin Lee - Mercury Social
Photo: The Straits Times
Tjin Lee is another successful entrepreneur known for owning 9 businesses, which include Mercury Social, a creative, events and PR agency serving some of the leading brands in Singapore. Tjin Lee is also the driving force behind Singapore Fashion Week, and a Trehaus Cowork, new coworking space in Orchard with child-friendly facilities.
Outside her professional career, she is the mother of two boys: Jake and Tyler.
Ms Lee told the Straits Times that her proudest achievement to date is her lifestyle and business incubator CRIB, which she started last year with three close friends.
"I realised after having my first child how difficult it can be for women and stay-at-home mums to get back into the workforce or have that work-life balance you can get as an entrepreneur. This is why I wanted to create an opportunity for women to get the mentorship and guidance they need to start their own ventures, while juggling the demands of raising a family."
11. Sonya Madeira: Rice Comms
Sonya is the Managing Partner of local public relations firm Rice Communications. With over 17 years of experience working in India and Singapore with clients across various industry sectors, Sonya is also the mother of a 9-year old daughter and twin 17-year-old stepsons.
Speaking to Vulcan Post, Sonya shared that her biggest challenge is her lack of hours in the day.
"Between dedicating time to the growing business and wanting to be there for important events in the kids lives, I think that is the biggest battle. I could be in the office till midnight every day - but try very hard to leave for home at 6.00 pm so I can get a little downtime."
"With my daughter, I really feel if I don't spend some time with her now, in a few years, she won't have time for me. I hope that never happens, and we can still be close as she grows up. We try to do things together - horse riding was one activity we both enjoyed until I hurt my back. Now we are learning Spanish together so we have our own secret language!"
"My favourite moment is bedtime. Everything is quiet, I read her bedtime stories, we talk about her day, her friends, and hobbies. After all the talking, she will ask me to sing her lullabies. We have a few favourite Beatles songs that I sing to her. And then its time for hugs before turning the lights out. These moments are very precious."
So there you have it, 10 powerful mumpreneurs who are juggling both their family as well as their own businesses.
If you know any other mumpreneurs in Singapore, feel free to mention them in the comments below. In the meantime, Happy Mother's Day to all in advance!