New Beginnings

September is going to be a month of several new adventures for me and my family.

My son is starting preschool. At 20 months, he has joined Arts Kidz in Bukit Timah, a great school by all accounts. I am experiencing mixed emotions right now, most of which I haven’t sorted through. It’s really hard for me to let go off a boy who I have raised almost singlehandedly since he was born (my husband was in Malaysia for work for almost a year and I have no help or family in Singapore). It’s taken me some time to trust his teachers and not be too critical of them. After all, they are not his mothers and they play a different role in his life.  The discipline at school chafed me initially but I have accepted now that it’s necessary. My son cries every day when he is dropped off at school (which is why my husband drops him) and cries occasionally in between as well especially when he has to share things (he hates sharing and wants everything for himself even when he is not using them).

It’s excruciating for us to see him cry and to think that he is crying when we are not around. We have willed our hearts to stone so that we can do this every day. There are immense benefits to attending preschool and I have noticed significant positive change in my son in just 4 days but I guess he will take some time to adjust emotionally to his new environment. We will just have to bear the torture in the mean time.

We will also be moving to a new apartment at the end of this month. The lease on our current place is expiring and will not be renewed. Besides, we also want to move closer to my son’s school so that we don’t need to take the bus for drop offs and pick ups. However, the kind of houses we have seen so far has put me in depression. We currently live in an old executive HDB apartment which is huge in size, has a great view and very affordable rent. Only condos are available near my son’s school where the apartments are small and expensive. We might end up choosing between a nice house or a house near school as it seems we can’t have both.

With my son in preschool now (starting full days soon hopefully), I have a lot more time to devote to work and I am really looking forward to taking my business to the next level. More exciting projects, meeting interesting people and making a lot more money are on the horizon. I am super psyched!

I am also going to start 2 new sections in this blog – Look out for Label and Interview of the Month. The aim of the first section will be to draw attention to new and/or under-the-radar brands that are unique, good and have a certain ‘It’ factor overall. This is a particular passion of mine that I am finally able to bring to reality. The second section will introduce you to interesting and inspiring people that you must know about.

Friends, if you have any ideas on how I can improve this blog, please do drop me a note in the comments section. Thank you!

7 tips for balance in life

All our plates are full.

I have the house, the child, the business and volunteer work. My husband has a full time job, the child and cricket. Everyone I know is essentially running around from morning to night trying to balance all their obligations and interests.

Here are my tips to balance it all and keep sane.

1. Quiet time – If meditation and/or prayer is not your thing (I do both), just take 10 minutes every morning and evening to be alone (without any person or thing). Sit or lie comfortably, focus on your breathing and try not to think. It’s o.k if you fall asleep. It’s as relaxing and rejuvenating.

2. Exercise – Even 10 minutes a day is enough. Any form of exercise that suits you is good. I have tried many – aerobics, jogging, weight training, kick boxing, cycling – but what suits my body and routine most is free flow yoga and stretching. 10 minutes of this and I feel revitalized.

3. Diet – I have realized that what I eat has a major impact on my energy levels. So if I eat rice or wheat, I feel sluggish, physically and mentally. While I love my two cups of coffee a day, green tea is most refreshing for me. After significant trial and error, I have figured out that I work best on a diet of eggs/fish/chicken, vegetables, fruits, nuts and Greek yogurt (I also have milky coffee, green tea and occasionally soup).

4. Lists – I am always making lists. To-dos for the day (the night before), to-dos for the week (the weekend before), separate business, personal and volunteer work lists; separate lists for each of my clients, grocery lists, cleaning lists – see I am listing here too. I have a daily and a monthly planner and it really helps me stay organised and on the ball. The key is to do urgent work first on all the lists and keep pushing non-essential work to the next day.

5. Read – You don’t have to read fiction or non-fiction books if that doesn’t interest you. Read newspapers, magazines, online articles, business features. Read for information, for motivation, for inspiration. On a day when everything seems to be going awry, reading an inspiring story gives me perspective and puts me back on track.

6. Make time for that one passion – We all have something that makes us come alive. No, not your child, your partner, your work – it could be books or art or music or dancing or friendships. In my case, it is movies. I don’t get to go to the cinema hall these days (childcare issues) so whenever a good movie is coming on TV, usually on weekends, I schedule my entire day around it. The movie is my top priority that day. And I have never regretted this.

7. Fun – Take fun breaks as often as possible. This is what we are doing on our fun breaks these days.


When it all seems too much, slow down and take stock. Cut out the non-essential. Delegate and postpone. Recall why you are doing all this. Be grateful for all the gifts in your life. And remember you will feel better soon.

This always works for me.

What working from home while caring for your child is really like – without Help

So this is how a normal week day pans out.

My son, who is currently 18 months old, and I get up almost simultaneously in the morning between 7 and 8 AM. While I feed him his morning milk, I check my mail, Facebook and Whatsapp messages. I reply to the last two immediately and any urgent emails. After changing his diaper, I head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my husband and myself. My son usually plays with his dad at this time.

Breakfast done, my husband leaves for work usually between 9-10 AM. I freshen up and answer other mails. After that, there is a lot of juggling of activities; office work – basically answering calls, messages and mails, playing with my son, feeding and bathing him, housework, reading the newspaper, checking all my social media, watching TV and preparing lunch. For the first hour or so after waking up, my son plays independently – with his toys, utensils, empty buckets, bottles, stroller – basically anything he can get his hands on. After that, he demands more attention from me. I hover around him and he hovers around me.

The moment my son goes down for his nap which is around 1-2 PM, I start work. He usually naps for 3 hours in the afternoon so that’s when I do the bulk of my work. He is a light sleeper and tends to wake up a couple of times in between so occasionally I work on our bed so that I can immediately reach out and put him back to sleep.

Once he is up from his nap and has his evening milk, it’s a repeat of the morning routine till his dad comes home. I cook, clean and finish all the household chores for the day. We all spend some time together at dinner after which my husband looks after my son while I finish any pending work. My son then chooses who will put him to sleep that night. After some catching up time with my husband, I go to bed with a novel. Unfortunately, I just get to read a paragraph or so before the book crashes into my face and I realise it’s time to sleep. I check my mail one last time, shut my eyes and hope to drift into the land of dreams.

This is of course the routine on a good day.

With a toddler, there is always something or the other happening since they are growing and changing really fast. If my son has a cold or an upset stomach or he is teething for instance, he won’t sleep well and he will be clingy all day. Then it becomes really difficult to work. On such days, I become best friends with coffee and sacrifice my sleep at night. Also, I try and finish all my work a few days before the deadline so that crises with my son don’t affect my work.

Luckily, motherhood has taught me to forge ahead despite intense fatigue and sleep deprivation. I have learnt to expect change, be prepared for anything and alter strategies at a moment’s notice. I have learnt that there is always a solution.

I think motherhood is the best preparation for entrepreneurship. And it’s not just my experience as a mother. I have learnt so much by just watching my son. So if his toy rolls under the bed, he won’t call out to me immediately to take it out. He’ll lie down on his stomach and try to fish it out on his own. He’ll try one position then another position, one angle and then another angle, one side and then the other side and only when he has tried everything and exhausted all his options, he calls me. His perseverance at everything is just so inspiring.

He jumps out of bed every day with so much excitement and anticipation and he goes on and on all day till he physically can’t anymore and just drops into sleep mid activity. And I think to myself – if he can do it, so can I.

In my next post in this series, I’ll share with you some tips I use to manage everything smoothly (well, most of the time).