Work-life balance tips from mumpreneurs: this is how they do it

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Teh May Wan, 34, is a former model and MTV VJ who runs a home baking business, Seraphina’s. Her kids are aged six and four.

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN “I can’t stress how important time management is. I plan my time carefully every single day, as I feel that it really helps to keep to a proper schedule.”

BAKING ON WEEKENDS “I actually wish it wasn’t so, as I’d love to be able to devote my weekends to my daughters. I feel terrible whenever I have to tell them to occupy themselves because Mummy’s busy in the kitchen. Whenever possible, I try to complete my baking by Saturday morning in order to spend as much time as possible with them.”

INVOLVING THE KIDS “They like tasting my creations and giving me feedback. I mean, which child doesn’t love cake? They sometimes accompany me on my deliveries as well, and my customers are thrilled to see them. Besides, I like showing my kids that Mummy’s working hard. On days that I feel discouraged, I think of my girls and tell myself that I can’t let them see me give up.”

WORTH THE PAIN “When it comes to running any business, it’s easy to feel unmotivated and disheartened. But then I look at all the lovely text messages and e-mails from customers and feel inspired all over again.”

HUBBY, MY BUDDY “Even though my husband is often overseas, he’s very supportive of Seraphina’s and often offers his opinions, even if it’s something as simple as suggesting colour combinations for a cake.”

IT TAKES A VILLAGE “My dad lives in Kuala Lumpur, but he commutes here every seven weeks or
so, and stays for about two to three weeks each time to help care for the little ones. This is probably when you’ll find me hosting and attending events – I’m usually too busy with the kids otherwise.

“My twin sister, Choy, who lives close by, also comes over on weekends to help entertain the girls, while my in-laws visit every six weeks. In that sense, I’m never fully alone!”

TIME FOR ME “While I am crazy busy most of the time, I do take the occasional break. There are days where I kick my shoes off, have kopi and watch Food Network on TV for three hours straight. And there are days where I’ll reward myself with a pedicure or manicure. I actually love doing things by myself – whether it’s lazing in bed or having brunch alone – as that quiet time really rejuvenates me.”

DOING IT ON MY OWN “People often tell me that I should get a helper, but I’d really prefer not to. Don’t get me wrong – it can be very helpful, but I personally don’t want to be too dependent on someone else. Besides, I didn’t give birth to my children, only to have them taken care of by a complete stranger.

“Even though I run my own business, I want to be as hands-on and involved a mum as I can be. While there’s always the laundry to deal with, the groceries to shop for, the homework to look over – all these on top of the things I have to do for Seraphina’s – it’s all very fulfilling.

“I genuinely enjoy every minute of it! While this might sound weird, I want to feel tired because, in the end, I want to know that I’ve worked as hard as I could, and that I’ve raised my kids with my own blood, sweat and tears.”

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