What does your daily routine look like, mama? Anna Tingzon has a day job, a social venture cooking Filipino meals and is a full-time mama to 3-year-old Marian, who has Down syndrome
Not sure how some women multi-task motherhood, a job and life? How about when you add in an extra role doing good for others too? Meet Anna Tingzon. Anna has a day job in Sales, is a mother to a 3-year old who has Down syndrome and has also started up a home-based venture 21 Extra Goodness with a mission to raise awareness of kids with Down syndrome. This social venture is her passion and Anna advocates for a more inclusive society for all. Her wish with 21 Extra Goodness is to give hope and assurance to new mothers that everything will be OK with the right support and appropriate intervention for their child.
Early mornings (7am – 9am) on the weekend is bonding time with my 3-year-old daughter, Marian. We read books, do activities to help with her fine motor skills (ie building blocks, scribbling on the blackboard) and do her workbooks with So Happy to Learn, a guideline used in the US to help kids with Down syndrome read, write and understand basic Math concepts.
Recently, I have initiated and completed an IEP (Individualized Lesson Plan) for Marian as a guide for both therapists and teachers to see the child holistically. Goals are set by each therapist to focus on areas of language, motor, literacy, etc. This way, the learning of the child is integrated where both school and therapy are aligned to aid Marian’s development and learning. This is something that I see as an opportunity for inclusive mainstream schools to be more open and adaptive to parent’s requests.
During the week Marian goes to an inclusive pre-school where she is the only child with special needs among a class of neuro-typical kids, while I am at work as a Market Lead (Sales role) in a resort in Sentosa. We chose her school because it was recommended by NUH (where Marian was born) as an inclusive school for kids with special needs.
On weekdays I usually finish work at 6.30pm, have dinner, play with Marian and put her to sleep before 10pm. I resume my work until midnight.
My weekends are precious to me and it’s mostly spent at home with my family. After breakfast, my hubby and I will bring Marian to either swim in the condo’s pool or go to the nearby playground to get some sunshine.
For lunch, we either stay home or eat out together as family. Afternoons are usually spent working on deadlines for work and my advocacy for the special needs community.
I am passionate about my work for the Down syndrome community. A typical baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, called Trisonomy 21. Having a child with Trisonomy 21 is a blessing to our family; and therefore considered “Good”. Hence, my venture 21 Extra Goodness was created. 21 Extra Goodness’ mission is to empower individuals with Down syndrome and achieve their utmost potential through early intervention, inclusive education and fair employment thereby achieving a better quality of life.
We do this through educating communities about being inclusive to people with Down syndrome. We also sell home-cooked Filipino dishes and last Christmas a portion of the proceeds were donated to DSA Down Syndrome Association (Singapore). For World Down Syndrome Day, 21 Extra Goodness has launched the “Bag of Goodness” campaign where we will donate baby hampers to new mothers whose babies have Down syndrome or other special needs. The Bag of Goodness is more than just a baby hamper full of newborn items. It is meant to inspire and empower parents that their child with special needs will be loved and supported because children with DS like Marian are thriving in this world.
After I have finished work and anything else needed for 21 Extra Goodness, I usually drop by at the nearest library to borrow some books for me and Marian. I’m a firm believer of habit formation and as early as 2 months old, I started reading books to Marian. Now, it’s her “go-to” activity the moment she wakes up. As for myself, I read books on business and on non-fiction as it helps me to relax and clear my head.
In between work and relaxation, there are also orders for Filipino home-cooked dishes and we accommodate orders from Monday-Saturday. 21 Extra Goodness best seller items are its pork sausages and crispy pork knuckles.
On weekends we would go out for dinner to the mall and unwind. Ending my weekend with my family with a simple dinner where Marian is able to eat by herself and is in a good mood.
Having a 3-year-old toddler may be a handful but with the right guidance and approach, our children can grow up to be cheerful and independent.