Yvonne Chan, 37, may be a workhorse, but she certainly thrives on keeping her career and family in shipshape. As the mother of two told MH, one adds to the other.
INTERVIEW LOW LAI CHOW
Being the mother of two extremely young daughters, Yvonne Chan, 37, admitted, has put her in a bit of a quandary of late: her eldest daughter, three-year-old Lauren, simply does not want to share her mummy with her younger sibling, ten-month-old Nicole.
“I think young children have this innate survival instinct. Even though I have been giving her more attention since Nicole was born, she wants to deny Nicole my attention,” said Yvonne, who works as a product manager for L’Oréal.
While her eldest daughter has begun to share material things such as toys and snacks with her younger sibling, Yvonne is easing her into siblinghood even more with group activities such as reading or taking breezy night walks.
Sometimes, when either she or her husband, 36-year-old strategic accounts manager Andrew, carries or plays with Nicole, they turn to distracting Lauren with what she likes: namely puzzles, music, colouring and the such.
“It’s a constant conscious effort to remain calm and calmly tell Lauren to do the right thing and share,” said the no-nonsense mum. “We don’t scold her saying she is ‘naughty’ or ‘not a good girl’. We emphasise to her to do the right thing.”
“Andrew and I both believe in ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ and we always follow-through with our warnings. There are no empty threats. We also believe in treating our daughters with respect from a young age. We don’t baby-talk to them.”
Time for Work and Time for Play
Being a mother makes being home by 7pm on workdays — as well as quitting the office entirely at the end of every work day — even more important, so as to be able to spend quality time with the girls every day before their bedtime.
“Leaving the laptop at work helps,” she said. “As long as no one’s life is in danger, there is no need to reply to every email. Work can never be finished and timelines can be stretched. Thankfully, my company values work life balance and no one makes you feel bad about leaving work on the dot.”
As Yvonne said, there is really no secret to managing time well. Mothers who want to do it, simply do it.
“Just the natural desire to watch and listen to the girls as they evolve from baby to toddler to a little kid full of life,” she said. “Work balances life.”
Yvonne says she is lucky with being to keep her day job while looking after her two young girls. This year, her mother retired to work in a part-time capacity, so as to be able to take care of her granddaughters, while Yvonne also has a reliable helper from Myanmar.
Before her mother came onboard, though, she said Lauren simply had to be put in full-day childcare near where her husband works.
“It was the best arrangement, logistically and a great way for Lauren to build her social skills and learn that the world doesn’t revolve around her.”
Motherhood and Work
As product manager — and brand custodian — who oversees the SkinCeuticals and La Roche-Posay skincare ranges, Yvonne is always on the go as she works with both internal and external stakeholders to achieve business objectives and brand objectives that range from PR and training, to merchandising and sales.
“Motherhood has made me manage my own expectations better,” she said, reflecting on how her daughters have changed the way she works. “It’s forced me to diligently decide what is a non-negotiable and what isn’t. Doing the right thing comes up over doing what is easier. I’ve also learnt to appreciate the effort to try more than the result, both at work and at home.”
She divulged a longtime wish to start a business under her maternal grandfather’s company name, ever since he passed away in 2009. “As his only grand-daughter, it would mean a great deal to me and hopefully to him,” she said, adding that she is looking to acquire specific skills, such as in conflict resolution and trade management, in preparation for this wish.
For the time being, however, she is now putting these plans on hold as the couple believe a dual income is necessary to provide for the girls’ daily needs and education — at least till they reach 18.
Family comes first, after all. It’s not all work and no play, either, when every day is an adventure in parenting.
As young as they are, Yvonne said her daughters already take after both her and her husband: “I am an only child, privileged but not spoilt, or at least that’s how I would like to think so. My daughters have my sense of independence, no holds barred attitude and strong will. They have their daddy’s features, carefree and happy outlook on life, as with most children, and daddy’s big heart.”
Yvonne’s Fuss-free Tips for Great Skin
Perfect for the mummies who are always on the go, here are some tips from Yvonne.
#1. Don’t just stick to sunscreen
“Sunscreen is not enough as an anti-aging regime. That’s because sunscreen filters will disintegrate in about three to four hours. A topical antioxidant containing pure Vitamin C and Phloretin to neutralise free radicals and arrest skin aging is key.”
#2. Know thy skin
“Don’t compromise. Find out what your skin type or condition is first before looking for products.”
#3: Don’t try products blindly
“Knowing that you have sensitive skin will prevent unnecessary skin irritation or inflammation caused by trying new products. Especially cosmetic brands which do not have clinically proven efficacy.”