What does your daily routine look like, mama? Tell us, we want to know!
British mama of two (soon to be three!) Helen McGuire is a longtime expat, though she’s newly arrived in Singapore having made her mark in Dubai as the founder of Hopscotch.work. Seemingly dreamed up for mamas (or any woman whose career is in transition), Hopscotch’s mission is to help women progress in their careers by sourcing flexible and non-flexible work opportunities through its Job Board, as well as providing training, support and advice through events, news items and other initiatives. (Want to know more? Fill out their 3-minute survey to help them get things off the ground here in Singapore!) It’s no surprise that Helen is a champion multi-tasker; from back-to-back meetings, to ballet class, to cooking up a curry, here’s what a typical day in the life looks like for this mama…
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Lead image sourced via Getty
Yep, mornings start early in our house! I have two kids, Clementine (3) and Arlo (2), with a third on the way plus, of course, our English Bulldog, Percy. Luckily our lovely helper, Juliet, is up to get the day started and breakfast on the go. I’m not much of a morning person (just ask my husband!), so I tend to surface a little later and kick off the day by slightly blearily checking overnight messages on my phone from back home in the UK and Dubai, along with a much needed cup of something caffeinated…
We call it school in our house, but it’s actually just Kindergarten in most people’s language and the kids are at White Lodge in Bukit Timah. Today was dress up day and the kids decided to go as a giraffe and a pirate…cue a trip to a local fancy dress shop at the weekend. We’re very new to Singapore, so Google and Google Maps is basically my best friend right now.
Once I’ve done drop off by about 9:15am, I’m at my ‘desk’, which this morning is at home! I tend to work between home, our office at The Working Capitol on Keong Saik Road and also 1880, a Members’ Club we’ve joined which has been great for networking. This morning, I’m just back from a trip to the UK so have a TONNE of emails to catch up on from clients, women’s groups and my Dubai team…wish me luck.
In Dubai, we’ve been established as market leader in the women’s career space for over 2 years, so coming over to Singapore to kickstart our Asia operation means lots of meetings, link ups and networking events to get us up to speed. We’ve made a good start and this morning I’m catching up with one of our legal clients on how we can help them find female talent from our community of 60k+ and also support them through training and learning programmes. If only all my meetings had this view, though!
Being five months pregnant, lunchtime is something I really look forward to. Today, I’ve dropped into our office to say hi to the team and popped next door to this little gem to grab a rather delicious wrap. I don’t get a lunch break as such, and if I do make it out for lunch, I tend to log on to their Wi-Fi and get some emails out of the door. Right now, I’m wrapping up arrangements for not one but three women’s workshops with clients back in Dubai and I’ll no doubt be travelling back there in October to keep up with the team.
By 2pm, I’ve whizzed back to Bukit Timah to pick up the kids from school and get them back home. Quite often I’ll stay at home in the afternoon to be around for them and they usually like to unwind with 30mins of TV and a snack once they’re back. My brain tends to be better placed to tackle harder projects in the afternoon, so I spend time on calls and reviewing and editing content for our site, as well as writing proposals for new clients. I have a fabulous team back in Dubai and will be growing the team here soon, so I try to hand over as much of the admin as possible to them…
This afternoon, I’m back in the car and over at 1880 for a catch-up over a coffee with a women’s group in the region. I’m currently partnering with various groups to share our survey on women’s careers and the challenges they face here in Asia, and I’ve been lucky enough that various blogs, sites and groups have helped us gain responses. We still need around 100 more and the results will be out in the press next month when we officially launch Hopscotch to the region with programmes to help women get back into work here!
If time allows, I spend the last part of the day with the kids, either popping up to one of the many playgrounds near our house, organising a playdate with newfound friends here in Singapore or, today, ballet classes! I always feel a bit sorry for my son, who is a bit too young to be doing classes as such and I’m not sure ballet would be his thing anyway (!), but my daughter absolutely loves her ballet class. We head up to The British Club and I get some playtime with Arlo, whilst Clemmie learns a few new moves…
By 6pm, we’re home and the kids have their tea and we start winding down for bed. Whilst my helper keeps them amused, I usually start dinner for my husband and me, and attempt to respond to any emails that have come in in the last couple of hours. Curry is probably my speciality – Thai, Indian or Sri Lankan! – and the last time we were in Sri Lanka I took a short course… Pineapple Curry is a recent favourite! Bedtime for the kids is around 7pm and once they’re off, I try and close the laptop and just keep an eye on my phone for an hour or so. Dubai is four hours behind, so it’s always busy, and occasionally if I can, I fit in a bit of yoga practice before dinnertime!
Being pregnant, I have to admit most evenings are sofa-bound right now, but we also love exploring the local area. My husband and I catch up over dinner or head out for a bite to eat and then collapse at the end of a long day in front of Netflix or whatever we’re in the middle of. Right now, we’re watching a series called Ozark which is quite dark but occasionally funny, too. Being British, I’m also a huge fan of Bake Off, MasterChef, Grand Designs and even X Factor…but my husband isn’t always so keen! By 10pm I’m thinking about bedtime ready to do it all again tomorrow…over and out!