This month’s That Mama is Amanda Dyer, a former runway model and current mama of 3 and founder of the popular Facebook group Singapore Expat Women
We were connected to Canadian mama Amanda Dyer through a friend, who met her and came away amazed by her ability to juggle motherhood and a variety of online businesses. Amanda got her start traveling the world as a model but has lived in Singapore for the past 13 years, along the way raising three beautiful children, Asia Rose (11), Isabelle (5) and Dylan (17 months). She was early to recognize that Facebook was an excellent way for women – particularly busy mamas – to connect and support each other, and a while back founded the popular group Singapore Expat Women. We caught up with Amanda and her adorable kiddos at home (all getting over colds, poor things!) to hear more from her about networking in Singapore, balancing a career with three kids, and her favorite spots for family travel in Southeast Asia.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?
I’m Amanda Dyer – a Canadian national living in Singapore for the last 13 years. I left Canada as a teenager and by the time I was 16, was living between Tokyo, Paris & New York as a professional model.
Today, my children keep me busy as I juggle the roles of mother, wife & businesswoman. I’m fortunate that my business allows me to work from home so I’m always around the kids.
Besides running my luxury candle line ‘Maison by Amanda Dyer’, I’m also an expert digital community builder on Facebook (my group Singapore Expat Women, or SEW, was recently selected by Facebook for their beta subscription program), and also a travel writer for my magazine Living 360.
Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?
My office is my laptop and I have the luxury of working from anywhere in the world. All my freelancers are remote and anyone I have to meet tends to come over to my home office. So during pregnancy, I could still conduct my work as per normal (mainly from the kitchen table) and post-baby, this continues. I feel that my work flow was constant, which didn’t affect my career.
How did you get back into the swing of things after having kids?
The secret here is to eat healthy during your pregnancy (I know it’s tough!), which often means that you are still in a healthy mindset after pregnancy and it becomes a little easier to get back into shape. For me, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and I got back into exercise not long after my babies were born.
I continued to eat well and before long I was fighting fit and ready for action again. It’s all in the mind!
How do you maintain an identity separate from your children?
I think that happens relatively organically for me. I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work. It’s more of a passion and an extension of me. My kids and my family are my world. When I’m with them, my focus is completely on them. And when I’m not, my ‘me time’ is my work. I think it’s important for every woman to find time for their passion and what fuels them. For me, that’s SEW…
How has having children changed the way you define work?
That’s a great question. I think for me I had to define time-management, which in turn led to me defining how I work. I planned my day (and business calls and meetings) around the time I blocked out for the kids. This often meant that I was doing late nights after they went to sleep, but that suits me anyway because I myself need very little sleep.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
Keep a diary and set reminders. I’m very disciplined with my schedule and am never too far away from my phone diary.
I wish I had more time for…
… learning a new language.
I always feel saner after….
… my children go to sleep.
What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in Novena and love the fact that we are surrounded by everything we need and Orchard Road is a quick hop away. I feel we are just out of the action (Orchard area) but not too far away in case we needed to pop back in. Novena suits us very well.
Favourite kid-friendly activity in Singapore?
We love taking the kids to the Botanic Gardens and feeding the fish and turtles in the lake – it’s their favourite thing to do also.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurants in Singapore?
Gallery & Co at The National Gallery also The Shangri-La on Sentosa.
Read more: Our fave museum + lunch combos for a day out with the kids
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
We really enjoy holidaying in Phuket and Bali. As cliché as that sounds, as a travel writer I’m blessed to be invited to some stunning places to enjoy with my family that are off the beaten track and very special. You can read my reviews on Living 360.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Turn off your phone!
Favourite date night restaurants?
Artemis Grill – the food is amazing and the view is world-class. Not to mention the service. Just tell them Amanda Dyer sent you..
Read more: Best Rooftop Dining in Singapore
Do you have any tips for working mamas in Singapore?
It can be very overwhelming to run a business and raise a family. Many give up quickly and others go out of their minds. I’ve spoken to literally hundreds of working mums over the years in my Singapore Expat Women group who have experienced all kinds of stress.
The advice I can give is the following:
– Don’t try to do more than you are capable of.
– Plan, plan, plan – get organized. Keep a rock-solid schedule!
– Become good at networking (both virtual & real-world) – you’d be surprised at who you will meet who can help with your business & vice versa.
– Keep healthy! (perhaps the most important thing as a healthy body means more energy!)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
To teach your children about respect from an early age. Respect for themselves, others and also animals. It’s the best foundation you can give them.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women
New mama advice is to follow your own instincts. You carry your child for nine months and you share a bond. Although well wishers have the best intentions and advice, nothing can replace your built in intuition when it comes to caring for your child.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Relaxing and enjoying the moment. Our children are briefly given to us to nurture and guide and we often miss the truly wonderful moments with them when we stress about the situation. The smallest moment can make a memory lasts a lifetime.
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Putting on music and having a family dance-off. We love music in our household.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
Going through 10,000+ requests to join my groups on Facebook.. I tend to vet each request and often have anxiety when I see this number grow.
My favourite moment of the day is…
Waking up in the morning and playing with the kids before school.
Thanks so much, Amanda! And a big shoutout to the fabulous Irina Nilsson Photography for the gorgeous snaps of Amanda and her adorable kiddos.