This month’s That Mama is sports presenter and FitnessFest emcee Kelly Latimer
Where are our sports fan mamas at? If you’ve ever watched ESPN or any number of other sports events in Singapore, chances are you’ve seen the super lovely Kelly Latimer gracing your screen. We recently met Kelly, who will also be the official host of FitnessFest™by AIA 2018, and were so blown away by her boundless energy and devotion to her adorable 15-month-old daughter, Sienna, that we thought she’d make the perfect That Mama.
With her video series #breastsidestories, Kelly has honestly captured the ups and downs of motherhood, and we love how unapologetic she is about her dedication to her career. Read on for some major motivation and inspo, mamas, from her tips on finding time to work out when you’re at home with a baby, to some fab advice on keeping the romance alive even when you’re knee-deep in laundry and diapers. And don’t forget to enter our giveaway for your chance to win one of 20 free tickets to FitnessFest!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?
I am a tv presenter and emcee with a love for sports. I moved to Singapore when I was 12 years old and never looked back. My mum is Singaporean Chinese, Dad is from the UK, where I was born. The whole family moved back here because quality of life is greater here than most other places in the world.
Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?
My career pre- and post-baby is pretty much the same, except that now I prefer to travel a little less. I still do a lot of sports events! I have tried to dial it all back though, as I aim to spend more time with Sienna whilst she’s young.
Sports and fitness are obviously a big part of your life. How did your approach to fitness change during pregnancy and in the time since you became a mum?
Prior to getting pregnant, I spoke to my physio and told him that I wanted to be “primed for pregnancy.” We sat down and came up with a programme to strengthen my body and prepare me for the marathon 10 months and to put me in good stead for post-natal recovery.
When I found out I was pregnant, I took it easier in the first trimester, but ramped it up in the second before tailing off in the third. My mental approach to fitness had to change a lot, as well as my expectation of myself. I needed to tell myself it was ok to lose strength and that I shouldn’t beat myself up about not being able to do stuff that I could before.
What tips do you have for a new mum (or any mum, really!) who’s trying to fit exercise into a busy schedule?
Finding the time to exercise sometimes isn’t as hard as finding the energy to do it! It’s a lot easier to Netflix and chill. Like, really chill. But I always try to remind myself that if I have an hour for a show, I have 25 minutes for a HIIT workout before my shower. Once I get going, then it’s a lot easier. Just start. Make it part of a routine, and you’ll find it only gets easier to keep up with it.
As the emcee of FitnessFest, you have the pulse [no pun intended] on everything going on. What are the must-do features you’d recommend to mamas in our audience?
The best thing, to me, about FitnessFest is the coming together of so many individuals, no matter what their fitness level, to work out together. You form a community right there and then during the mass workouts — usually bonded by your love for sweating. No one cares what you look like, how good your push-up is or how flexible you are. So throw caution to the wind and make sure you take part in the mass workouts! Aside from that, it’s a great way to try new sports that you wouldn’t normally consider. Sometimes sports like Crossfit can be daunting if you’re walking into a box alone, but if you join one of the classes on site, you’ll benefit from being surrounded by first-timers like yourself. It makes it a lot less scary.
How has having a child changed the way you define work?
I don’t think it has changed the way I define work at all. I’ve always approached work with the attitude of giving it 100% every time, but also that work is work, and it’s not life and death, so it shouldn’t stress me out to the point of unhappiness.
What inspired you to launch your web series, #BreastSideStories?
#breastsidestories was just an avenue for me to rant and share good things that I found useful. Being a new mum can be lonely, so just talking to myself helped me work through a lot of issues. I laughed, cried and stressed on these videos without the intention of reaching out to millions. I never cared if no one watched it, I just needed to get stuff off my chest. It was a bonus that mums found themselves relating to it, too!
You spent your first year of motherhood without a helper. How did you balance work, childcare and housekeeping?
I spent the first year with Sienna sans helper. I figured if my Mum could do it back in the UK, so could I! But balancing a newborn, household chores and work wasn’t easy in the slightest. I had to call on my Mum for help when I was working, my husband honestly did all the laundry and household chores, and I largely focused on Sienna. It really takes a village. It left my husband exhausted and I felt bad that he wasn’t able to dedicate time to just playing with Sienna. So just before she turned one, we made the decision to get help and we haven’t looked back. We’re very lucky to have Edith to assist with the household tasks so that we can focus on helping Sienna grow and blossom.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
With my hectic schedule, we have to plan ahead. On days where it’s all a bit manic, I save time with meal prep by getting homemade food delivered by anyameals for Sienna. At least then I know she’s getting the best possible food even though we’re busy!
I wish I had more time for…
Play. As a family. I wish that my husband had as much time with Sienna so that he could watch her grow like I do.
I always feel saner after….
Working out. Sweating helps me de-stress and get rid of excess energy so that I can sleep better.
What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in the East, always have! It’s bright and breezy and close to the beach. There’s something laid back about the East that I don’t think you can find anywhere else in Singapore.
Favourite kid-friendly activity in Singapore?
Power Kids Gym, without a doubt. The instructors are great, prices are reasonable. Especially if you go to the Open Gym sessions too!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurants in Singapore?
Babilicious Marine Cove: the food is great and there’s a really nice little play corner for the kids. A big bonus if you’re able to get a table close to it so you can eat and observe the little ones at play.
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
We just came back from a short trip to Bali. We stayed at The Laguna in Nusa Dua and even though there was no kids club, the environment was great for young ones. Sandy lagoons sloping into pools were great for safe play, and the white sandy beaches with a large bay area made for a great time with relatively shallow water by the sea. Perfect for a short getaway.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Keep holding hands. This was my parents’ motto and they practice what they preach. In a world where holding on is hard, and divorce is common, if we can all just keep holding hands, it forces us to stick together and back each other up when times get tough.
Favourite date night restaurants?
We love our Italian restaurants because sometimes hearty and simple is all you need. For a local, nearby feast, we’ll go to Al Forno or Etna but if we’re in town, then Osteria Mozza is one of our favourites.
Do you have any tips for working mamas in Singapore? What has been the toughest part about traveling for work and being away from your daughter?
I think as a working mother you just have to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s hard to leave the kids. The first time I traveled away from Sienna, I had to leave on Mother’s Day. I felt like a failure and I was so upset I cried for days, but the work had to be done and I actually really enjoyed the week of shooting and the chance to sleep through an entire night undisturbed! If you have to travel away from the kids, just take it as a break — a chance to recharge the batteries so that when you go back you’ll be at 100% for your kids again.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
“As long as they can spell their name and count to 72, everything else is above par.” A reminder from my husband not to stress about Sienna’s development and also that it doesn’t matter what school they go to, or how much we spend on tuition or classes, she’ll turn out ok.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Delegating time to buckle down and do more admin work! I’d much rather spend all my time playing with Sienna than doing my admin. I really need to be better at that.
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Pre-bedtime! Everything from bathtime with Dada, to brushing her teeth and finally sitting on our laps and reading a bedtime story. The whole ritual is calming not just for Sienna, but also for Justin and myself.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
Whether Sienna woke up for a feed and helped herself without me knowing, or whether she just slept through!
My favourite moment of the day is…
Morning. When Sienna just wakes up, waddles over and gives me a big kiss and says “My mama!”
Thanks so much, Kelly! And thanks to our super talented colleague Samantha Ong for the gorgeous snaps of Kelly and Sienna!