This month’s That Mama is independent businesswoman and purveyor of all things healthy, Sabine Seilliere!
Nine months pregnant, and making it look easy! Our final ‘That Mama‘ of the year is Sabine Seilliere, who’s known for her beautiful fruit and vegetable delivery service, Sabine’s Baskets. She’s also the mama to oh-so adorable 2-year-old Ernest, with a baby girl due in early January! Read on for some great insights from this no-nonsense Dutchwoman, along with some absolutely gorgeous photos!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?
I was born in Geneva in the early 80s in a Dutch family and I have two younger brothers (who are way taller than me!). I had a normal academic schooling, I was not the best nor the worst, just right in the middle of the pack. I’ve lived with my husband in Singapore since 2012, and started my own business, Sabine’s Baskets, in 2013 after working in different industries for about 10 years in Europe and the U.S. We also started our family here in Singapore.
Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?
Pre-baby: I realise now that it was a breeze! I did make the most of it, travelling to tons of countries for meetings, presentations, etc. It was easy to plan, a late night at work was no problem, all very easy in hindsight.
Post-baby: It’s a different story. I have to admit that my priorities have changed. Family comes first, and then work. I am still really motivated and love my job, I would not want to change but definitely it’s second most important now.
How did you get back into the swing of things after having kids?
Since I had my own company, I never really took any maternity leave and thus never really needed to get back into the swing of it. But I did adjust my hours, working mornings until 1pm and then at night again when the house is quiet.
How do you maintain an identity separate from your child?
I think my work really helped me to keep my own identity. Although I introduce myself as Ernest’s mum now when we are at the playground,I do have a life which does not involve my child, and I am Sabine from Sabine’s Baskets.
How has having a child changed the way you define work?
My priorities definitely changed. My child is number one with my husband, and then comes the rest. Work is still very important to me, I need it to function, to feel like I have a sense of purpose, and to have an adult conversation, but I would also drop it if needed without hesitation.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
I don’t think I am great at saving time, I could learn a lot in this area. But I did install an app on my computer logging where my time was spent, and realised I did a lot of unnecessary browsing, which I’ve totally cut down on now. Also I outsource anything I can. Before I thought, ‘I’ll just do it quickly myself’ (which is never really “quick” — as I want perfection), but now I’m like ‘You can do it for me? How much? Sure go ahead!’
I wish I had more time for…
Shopping! Not that I was doing it all the time before or that I am a mad shopper, but honestly I cannot remember the last time I just went out and walked around on my own browsing shops, not rushing anywhere.
I always feel saner after….
A good healthy salad! And my spinach, banana, blueberries and milk smoothie.
What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?
We moved to Bukit Timah before our son was born. I dreaded it (before I was living in Tiong Bahru which is so lively!). But I love it now. I hear the birds in the morning, we have a garden, it’s really peaceful and we have a lot of space — which when you have a child is necessary. Especially when you see how much stuff one accumulates!
Favourite kid-friendly activity in Singapore?
The water play area at Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. Walking distance from home and always good fun.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Singapore?
Food for Thought at the Botanic Gardens.
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
Langkawi. Short flight, good hotels, clean sea.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Date nights or a cosy movie night on the couch. We have at least one once a week — and we force ourselves to turn off the computer.
I also have a very hands-on husband; I am often in awe of everything he does for our son and for what he does for me. And I think he thinks I am a pretty good mum, and is impressed by my juggling of work/mother/wife responsibilities, so thus far we are still madly in love with each other!
Favourite date night restaurants?
Blu Kouzina in Dempsey, ODP in Tiong Bahru, or Levant in Greenwood
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Singapore?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you are doing amazingly well already. And drop the perfection part – it never will be perfect, so save yourself the time and your sanity!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
That you know what’s best for your child.
There will always be someone telling you “I did it this way” or “You should do it like that”. I just say yes and do my own thing.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women?
I think my friends told me but I just did not want to hear it or just did not register it but… the arrival of your first child is a huge earthquake. Don’t set any expectations, go with the flow. I still remember thinking ‘I’ll take my son to the office, he will just sit there in his maxi-cosy while I do my meetings’… well that did not happen. I spent the whole two hours, outside as not to disturb my team trying to calm him… So I guess my one essential advice would be: do not set any expectations and simply go with the flow.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Cooking! I am a crap cook, lucky my husband cooks for us 99.9% of the time so we have decent and non-burnt, cooked to perfection food on the table!
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Grabbing an early freshly baked croissant or pain au chocolat from Baker & Cook on Sunday mornings.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
I am so tired at the end of the day that I don’t often wake up at night. But I write down on a piece of paper everything that pops into my mind those two seconds after you lay down and think : “Shoot I did not do this, or forgot to do that”.
I write it down straight away and can then go to bed peacefully.
My favourite moment of the day is…
When Ernest is about to go to bed, and is drinking his milk, laying down on the bed with me. We just chill, I go through all the things we did that day, tell him how proud I was of him for doing this or that.
We give kisses and hugs and then he goes to bed. Yay!
Thank you Sabine (and to Ernest for such an adorable photo shoot)! And a huge thanks to Katie Martin-Sperry Photography for such wonderful photos!