What does your daily routine look like, mamas? Tell us, we want to know!
Earlier this year we came up with the idea for a series called “A day in the life” where we’d have mamas submit snapshots of regular moments that occur throughout their daily routines. The idea is to show the wide variety of lives mamas lead in Singapore, whether you’re in the office, staying at home, or something in between. To kick things off, our Editor, Kate McFarlane, lets you in on her not-so-glamorous daily routine!
If you’d like to be featured in this series, mama, drop us a line at [email protected] with “Day in the Life” in the subject line!
I have never been a morning person and would happily sleep til 10 or 11 without an alarm. Lately our mornings have started with Maggie bursting into the room (after much fiddling with the door handle, evoking the dread and suspense of a horror movie) and shouting “Hello! It’s morning!” I can only count my blessings that she generally sleeps until at least 7 or 7:30. There are worse ways to start the day than with cuddles from a giggly toddler, but all bets are off on those days when she comes in at 6am.
Excuse the graininess of the photo — there still isn’t much light at 7am and I was a bit bleary-eyed!
I begin every day taking my dog, Avon Barksdale, for a walk. It’s a really nice way to clear my head, stretch out a bit, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the relatively cool Singapore mornings. Avon is a Singapore Special we adopted as a puppy. He’s very sweet and loyal to me (my husband jokingly refers to him as my “Dire Wolf”), and follows me everywhere, whether I’m taking a shower in the bathroom or he’s curled up by my feet while I’m doing work during the day. After a 20-minute walk I’ll have a quick breakfast, then finish packing Maggie up for school.
My husband and I drop Maggie off at preschool. She used to go to a school within walking distance from our condo, but sadly it closed last April so now we have to drive. The upside is that we get to have fun singalongs in the morning; she’s on a huge Disney kick right now. I’m definitely one of those moms who does drop-off in “activewear” – but I’m going to the gym, I swear! It’s somewhat ironic that I’m always the grungiest mom, since Maggie (who dresses herself) insists on wearing pink dresses just about every day. We’ll then continue on to the CBD and I’ll drop my husband off at his office. Morning car rides are a nice time to chat and catch up without the noise and distractions we usually get at home with an active 3-year-old.
I also look forward to my solo morning drive back, as that’s when I get to listen to all my podcasts (this is how I pretend I’m listening to the radio back home in the U.S.). My hands-down favorite is Pod Save America, which keeps me abreast of the [fairly insane] goings-on in American politics. If I get too depressed by that I’ll listen to American sports or pop culture podcasts instead.
I start just about every day with Teh Halia, ginger tea with condensed milk; while some coffee shops will give you powdered ginger mix, Indian Muslim hawker stalls are your best bet for the real thing with fresh ginger. My favorite that I’ve found so far is Bismillah Yunos Teh Tarik at Tanglin Halt Food Centre in Queenstown. Not only is their tea delicious – just the right amount of sweetness topped with lots of froth – but the couple that runs the stall is so lovely; there’s something so comforting about starting your day with a friendly greeting from a familiar face who knows your order as soon as you show up. And it’s hard to beat the $1.40 price tag!
I love doing work in hawker centers, and will usually set my laptop up with my teh halia at Tanglin Halt amidst the many elderly aunties and uncles out for their morning confabs. Working from home is too quiet for me; I much prefer working with a buzzing crowd in the background. Depending on my schedule and what else I have going on, I’ll occasionally treat myself instead to an almond milk iced mocha at Open Farm Community; it’s an equally lovely vibe, plus there’s free parking and Wi-Fi. We love walking to Open Farm Community on the weekends, too: it’s dog-friendly, they’ve got a great play area and bathrooms on site (so key with a potty-training toddler), and the croissants from Tiong Bahru Bakery are topnotch.
I loved doing the quick workouts at Ritual but had to give those up when I hit 21 weeks in my pregnancy (too many burpees). I recently joined the new Virgin Active in Holland Village and have rediscovered my love for spinning classes, which are a great low-impact cardio workout. Other days I might get in a quick run on the treadmill, or do a prenatal Pilates class at PowerMoves at Dempsey Hill. I’m kind of a fitness junkie; exercise keeps me sane and energized, and I try to make it to the gym at least five days a week.
Afterwards I might grab a quick to-go lunch in Holland Village, but usually I’ll have a working lunch at home with a sandwich or leftovers that our helper’s heated up for me. Depending on my schedule I might also pick Maggie up from school.
This is my biggest block of work time most days. Whereas mornings are for catching up on emails and making edits to the next day’s articles, afternoons are generally for writing (and of course, the emails never stop). Maggie is usually in and out in the afternoons (sadly she dropped her nap at 2½); I feel so lucky that every now and then I can put aside my laptop to read her a book or have a quick imaginary tea party. Our helper, Leylani, is amazing at organizing playdates, hitting up playgrounds, and ferrying Maggie to her weekly Rhythm in Me music class.
A few days a week I’m apt to attend a tasting lunch or other fun events relating to kid- or mama-friendly product launches; it’s a nice way to change things up and ensure that my job never feels too routine. Maybe I’ve mentioned, I think I have the best gig in the world? Because I’m horrible at planning ahead, I’ll usually have to grab ingredients for that night’s dinner. Leylani will give me a shopping list and I’ll quickly swing by Huber’s (for meat and veggies) or else Cold Storage and the wet market in Holland Village.
I put the laptop away for Maggie’s dinner (prepared by Leylani – I’m a terrible cook), then it’s bathtime, bedtime books, and putting Maggie down to sleep. Once she’s down (usually around 8pm), I’ll take Avon out for his evening walk. Then my husband and I will have dinner; on a good night he gets home between 7:30 and 8:30.
This is another one of my favorite writing times; things are quieter and there are fewer email interruptions. Depending on what I’m working on, I might hang out in front of the TV while my husband and I catch up on one of our favorite TV shows; recent faves in the rotation were Better Call Saul, Veep and Silicon Valley. I am sooooo stoked that Game of Thrones has just come back!
I’ll take Avon out for one final quick walk, then head upstairs to read or watch one of my guilty pleasure shows on my iPad (that is, shows my husband doesn’t like. Heavy in the rotation right now: Younger, Outlander, and the latest seasons of Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Then I’ll try to read something mindless (so definitely NOT the headlines from back home), and try to get to sleep by around 12:30 or so. If I’m lucky Maggie will sleep through the night, and it’ll all begin again tomorrow!
Thanks to my husband and helper for their assistance with the photos!
Lead image sourced via Delilah