This month’s That Mama is mother of three Sabina Munshi, a digital content strategist and founder of homegrown skincare line Baréskin Singapore
Here at Team Sassy Mama, we have the pleasure of meeting and working with a lot of women who work from home or run their own businesses as a side hustle to raising their kids. A few years back our paths crossed with digital content strategist Sabina Munshi as she helped build our Instagram page (she’s fab, by the way!), so when we heard she had just launched her own skincare line made specifically for the Singapore heat (!), Baréskin, we just had to learn more!
Despite being the mom of three kids (including a teenager! Plus an 11-year-old and a 6-year-old), Sabina projects a tranquil, zen-like demeanor. And at age 36, and in spite of those aforementioned kids, she has absolutely gorgeous, glowing skin that’s somehow free of any wrinkles. Believe us, we want to hate her, but she’s far too sweet! Read on for some of Sabina’s fab life hacks and tips for managing the mama work-life juggle.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?
I grew up as a typical third culture kid and I absolutely loved my childhood. I am of Indian origin, grew up in beautiful Sri Lanka, then finished my education and met my husband in the US. After multiple moves and several learning curves later, Singapore is home to my family and me.
I am a digital content strategist and have been in this field for as long as I can remember. Recently I started a “clean” skin care line as part of my passion project and the journey has taught me so much!
How did you get back into the swing of things after having kids?
I was lucky enough that a fellow mama and friend noticed me during my daily school pick-ups and drop-offs and our conversations circled around to how I was yearning to do more and be more. She believed that I had the drive and energy to make that happen and helped me get back in to action. I will never forget that, and I always try my best to pay it forward with the women around me, by being encouraging and empowering them to reach for more.
How do you maintain an identity separate from your children?
I love this question because it very rarely asked or even thought of. Having 3 kids before the age of 30 made me seriously wonder about when my own personality would surface. I was buried in diapers and feed schedules, with sleep being an occasional luxury, but that was a very important phase in my life as well and I am very grateful for that. When I finally emerged from it all I had a renewed sense of diligence, passion and the drive to balance it all. If you are passionate about what you do and are willing to work hard for it, you will earn the reputation you desire.
How has having a child/children changed the way you define work?
Having children makes you realize that work is not the end all and be all in life. It gave me perspective and a sense of balance, which I found was missing before, and has been very fulfilling after having children.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
Our mornings start the night before. This analogy has been instrumental in keeping chaos at bay in the mornings! Pre-planning is key in our household and the only way to keep all our sanity intact.
Prioritizing is also vital and knowing what truly deserves your personal time is a skill in itself and for the rest, you delegate.
Multi-tasking is another thing we mums are pros at, from meal-prepping while on the phone, to ordering your groceries online while putting the kids to bed to getting your pedicure while on a conference call, to doing emails while at your kids Sports Day — we all find ways to multi-task because only a mother knows the true meaning of 24/7!
What is your skincare routine?
Quick, easy and effective! That has been my only criteria ever since I had kids. Double cleansing your face is the most important step in your skincare routine, even if you wear minimal makeup. It preps your skin to absorb all the vital goodness you use and cleans away all the environmental impurities as well as makeup residue which can really suffocate your skin. Using a potent night facial oil is my second must-do and I wake up feeling hydrated with a clear canvas to play with.
What does ‘self-care’ mean to you? Why do you think it’s important for mamas?
It is important to take good care of the most important person in your child’s life. Let that sink in for a second. Carving time out for yourself is the utmost and most needed “self-care” for each and every one of us. It can be as luxurious as a solo holiday or as simple as a sitting in silence once the kids are in bed. Find your calm in the chaos of life and find it regularly. You will be a better mum, a better wife, a better worker and most of all a better version of yourself if you find the time to rejuvenate.
I wish I had more time for…
Reading. I miss getting lost in a book for hours!
I always feel saner after…
Drafting a to-do list with a bar of chocolate in my hand! As mundane as this may sound, this is the only way I can keep my anxiety at bay. A checklist and the drive to tackle it one task at a time.
What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?
We live very close to the Botanical Gardens. It is close to the city but not too close to the hustle and bustle. It is a sweet spot that we’ve found after a decade in Singapore.
Favourite kid-friendly activity in Singapore?
Cycling at East Coast Park!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurants in Singapore?
Brunch at Spruce. Can’t beat that!
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
Boracay, Phillipines. The azure waters and friendly locals are second to none!
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day to the point where your interactions are very transactional. It’s very important to hit pause and spend time together on a regular basis, not as a one-off. It can be as quick as a coffee together in the morning before everyone wakes up or a walk in the evening after the kids are in bed. But penciling in time in your daily routine is key. Easier said than done, I know that first hand. But nothing can replace it.
Favourite date night restaurants?
Luke’s at The Hereen. The food is divine and the cosy vibe is just what you need to have much needed conversations and connections.
Do you have any tips for working mamas in Singapore?
If you have no time to rest, it is exactly the right time! Take that break when you need it, not just when you think you’ve “earned” it. Sometimes the only way to propel faster is to slow down first. Rest, recovery and rejuvenation is equally important to hustling and working hard. I am still working on knowing when to hit the brakes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Days are long but the years are way shorter. Cherishing the good and hanging in through the rough times becomes doable when you know this to be true — “this too shall pass”.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women:
- Do not isolate yourself. This is key in surviving the trials and actually enjoying motherhood.
- Do not compare yourself or your children to others around you. Kids’ milestones and that other mum’s perfect hair are all relative.
- Do not fixate on your weaknesses. Spend time and energy on what you are good at.
- Reach out. Managing it all by yourself really is a fallacy.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Reading between the lines. The older the children get, they have the most unusual ways of expressing themselves and what they are truly feeling. I am constantly learning how to look out for those cues and so I can be there for them when they need me the most.
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Dinner as a family with no screens. It is easier said than done but works wonders for us.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
How many more hours of sleep do I have left?? Sleep is the ultimate luxury in my books but I don’t get anywhere close to enough!
My favourite moment of the day is….
Once the kids are in bed and it is just me and my tub of ice cream!
Thank you so much to Sabina and her children for sharing their time with us! And a huge thank you to the oh-so talented Gunilla Lindgren of Sugarlight Photography for the absolutely stunning snaps!