Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to everyone. Truly, it is the season to be jolly- well, not just because it is a holiday, but here in MummySG, it calls for a wondrous year of celebrating motherhood. MummySG’s Supermom reached one year. Woohoo! Thanks to our avid readers and our forum members who continuously share their lives not only with us, but with fellow Mums and to the rest of MummySG community. Thank you for unceasing support!
As we celebrate our Supermom’s section anniversary, and as we show the whole world how much we revere mothers who can just do so much, mothers who live for others, mothers who do everything to make ends meet without compromising the quality of their parenthood, and mothers who turn nights into days, we are bringing you one of our most admirable and inspiring mothers: Samantha Dorri. And just like how festive December is, isn’t it great that we want you to feast on a story full of motherhood wisdom?
Samantha who is a mother to a beautiful daughter is also behind the great works of Sammy Eve– an exciting new range of highly-personalised luxury art prints for children in Singapore.
But Mummy Samantha didn’t get everything at her convenience. Her journey towards motherhood was initially served on a cold platter, but just because she is a supermom as she is, she persevered and relentlessly keeps on going. As she shared her story with us:
“I too had a very difficult pregnancy with my daughter (who is now nearly three) and was on bed rest for all of the first and last trimester of pregnancy. I was in a full time job at the time and they were amazing at giving me all that time off. There were all sorts of problems like premature contractions, awful sciatica, gestational diabetes, and low fluid which left me being put to sleep for a C-sect instead of the calm hypnobirthing that I had trained for and dreamed about.
Prior to that I’d had one miscarriage and I’ve had two since since the birth. The second was an ectopic pregnancy and the last was particularly unpleasant because I had to have a course of methotrexate to solve an incomplete MC which left me wiped out for weeks. I’m very open about it all and know that when I do talk about it with other women they welcome the comfort in knowing they are not alone. After talking about it I realised that so many of us, women, go through it but few like to or are able to talk about it. I feel so blessed that we live in a society and time where medical knowledge is so good that we can be looked after when these very common problems arise.”
Now, isn’t that an ability of a super?
And as you all know, all of our Supermoms are being asked of questions relevant to juggling arduous tasks of parenthood and motherhood. Below, we share with you her words, so inspiring, you might get hooked, you might wanna read it again, and again. Enjoy!
1. Are you a working mother or stay-at-home mother? I’m both. I’m a graphic designer and I run my own business at home specialising in personalised art for children. I also look after my beautiful 35 month old daughter Sophia.
2. What influenced your decision to work/stay at home?
I went back to full time work when Sophia was six months old and even though I welcomed the work routine and being back in the office, I always knew I wanted to set up my own business so that I could one day work from home. The only problem was I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that I could always leave and set up a freelance design business as I had done in the past but I wanted to do something different, I had so many ideas of my own I wanted to bring to life.
When Sophia was young it was easier to leave her to go to work however as she got older and more aware it became increasingly hard. We have an amazing nanny who looked after her in the day so I knew she was in good hands but I felt that I was missing out on all the little fun things that she was doing in the day. I’d find myself getting upset if I heard when I got back from work that she had tried to walk or had made a new sound. Work started to ramp up and I was given new responsibilities which left me working longer hours, the pressure built up and I became increasingly stressed. By this point, Sophia could communicate a little over the phone. The pull effect of her words were incredibly strong. When Sophia was one and a half I told my partner James that I was unhappy and I wanted to leave and we both decided that in the new year I would set up my own business and work from home. My last day in the office was last November 2012 and have not’t looked back since. Though the past year has been tricky with two miscarriages, trying to set up a new business and an erratic and smaller income, I can honestly say that leaving full time work was the best thing that could have happened for all of us.
3. What sacrifices did/do you have to make to work/stay at home?
I have never felt that I had to make any sacrifices per se because I’m really happy with the situation, I can’t deny however I do miss the social interaction that I had when I worked in an office. I loved the buzz you’d get in a design studio or particularly the people I worked with in my last organisation. I worked for a very unique investment firm that had incredibly talented and smart employees from all walks of life. I’m a very sociable person who thrives off others so I would love the day to day banter and every day there was something new to learn. Now I spend a lot of time on my own working on my computer in my mini makeshift studio and on some days I can go through the whole day without really having a proper conversation with anyone. In the startup phase there is a lot to do so I can sit for hours on end and into the night working. The difference now though is I absolutely love what I do so it makes every minute worthwhile, I just have to make sure that I get away from the screen, spend quality time with my family and get out and see my friends when I can. And, of course, when you go from earning a very good income to a more sporadic one, you also have to make sacrifices in terms of your consumption patterns on all levels.
4. Do you feel that your child is missing out on anything because you work/stay at home?
Quite the opposite. I can see how happy it makes her that I dont’t have to leave her. She sees her Dad leave for work every morning and I know she misses him and often asks him to stay home so at least she has one of us around all the time. The only issue is that I have to make sure I balance my work and my time with her. With a new business I have a very busy schedule and it’s only ramping up over time so I have to make sure that I manage my time well.
We have a weekly timetable for Sophia and I try and spend one morning or afternoon block of time with her every day and use the rest of the time, including the evening when she is asleep, to work. If I have an errand to run, I’ll often bring her with me so that we can spend time together. She’s at that age where she doesn’t get bored and is just happy to potter about with me. She’s very understanding about what I do and I think it’s because she sees me drawing all the time so it’s quite easy to explain what I do. When I’m working on my computer she’ll sit next to me on the floor drawing and will look up and say “Mummy’s doing her drawings”. I am also proud to say that I think it has nurtured her creative talents as she too often asks to do drawings or paintings or draw on her blackboard. Seeing her revel in her own creativity makes my heart swell and I am often amazed at what she can do. The apple does not fall far from this tree however it fell quite far away from my partner James’s tree as he is the first to admit he is not as creative!
5. How do you think your relationship with your child would differ if you worked/stayed at home?
I think we would have the same type of relationship as I know if I was still working full time I would be very dedicated to making sure we shared quality time together. I would make sure I was fully focused at work so that I could leave on time and get home. Nevertheless, having done both, those daylight hours together can never be made up and has invariably drawn us closer as well as, I dare to say, making me the primary care giver instead of our fantastic nanny. Being away at work and having your nanny spend all day with her would arguably draw them closer.
6. What would be your ideal situation (stay home, work part-time, work full-time)?
I’m pretty much in my ideal situation now. I’m doing the work I love and I get to spend quality time with our daughter. It’s more than I could ask for. In the days when I worked in commercial branding I would work incredibly long hours, sometimes 16 hours a day and 7 days a week, I just dont’t see how I could cope with it now. I would be really torn between the dedication that would be expected at work, the high work ethic I have, and the love and attention that I should be giving to my family.
7. How do you view mothers who work/stay at home?
You can’t make any judgements about a mother who has decided to do what is right for her family or for herself, or both.
There are so many different circumstances, for some people being a stay at home mum just isn’t an option financially, other people love being a mum 100% of the time whilst others need to have a balance between work and home life. I’m more of the latter. I love working and it makes me feel independent, I would start to feel frustrated if I couldn’t work but that’s just me and my personality type. Mothers need to do what they feel is right for them and what makes them happy. dont’t they say “happy Mummy, happy child”?
8. What advice would you give to a parent who is struggling with the decision to work or stay home?
Again it goes back to doing what is right for you. It’s a question of personal priorities and finding what is right for you and your family. As a couple it is important to discuss what each of you want openly and honestly so that you can make the right decision together. And in fairness, priorities can change over time. Often change is good and reflects a response to the situation around you.
9. Have you ever or will you join any baby/toddler classes?
Sophia attends various classes and I have an excellent circle of friends with toddlers who Sophia has known since birth so there is always something for her to do. She is not in school now but she will go when she turns three. Until then, I have a weekly schedule with regular weekly classes that I take her to.
10. What skills do you think your child could/has gained from these types of classes?
Sophia adores music and we can already see that she is quite artistic. The music classes have definitely helped to ‘bring her out’ as she can sometimes be a little shy. She sings all the time and I think she benefits enormously from the structure of the classes. They teach her to follow instruction and be considerate to others. She’s an only child so I think it’s important for her to be in situations where she has to share, listen to others and be part of a group and not be number one all the time. An important skill she has learnt which we really appreciate is how to clean up. A little one can leave a disaster behind her but if one can get her in the bait of cleaning up after herself, as her classes did, it helps out the parents tremendously.
11. Being a mother, what other skills would you like to master?
Advanced juggling, teleportation and a great singing voice? No seriously, I think the one skill that I am constantly aware of improving is my motherly patience. I think parenthood provides a unique opportunity to examine the real meaning of patience. I think being a parent really teaches you about yourself and also how to nurture others.
12. What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a mum (in terms of raising your kids and running the household)?
Being a mum is one of my greatest accomplishments and by far the most fulfilling one. I would really like to say that I have done my very best. The only thing that I will try and tackle next time if we are able to have another child is not being so hard on myself as a mother. I’m a terrible one for berating myself that I am not doing enough or that I should be baking this and that and I should be doing more exciting things for my child. But there are only so many hours in the day and when you have to juggle work and home-life it can have it’s challenges. We all want the best for our children but we are also human. It’s all about balance.
13. What is the best piece of advice that you can give to all mums out there who do like you do?
Be kind to yourself. Us mums put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves and it’s easy to compare yourself with other mums out there. They might look like they can handle the job of 10 air traffic controllers at the same time whilst you feel like on some days you are trying to control a heard of sheep without the dog but they are probably going through all the same challenges that parenting brings.
Make sure you are happy. Whether that means staying at home, working part-time or full-time then that’s the best decision that’s right for you.
You are doing a great job! Remind yourself that you are doing your best and your kids know you love them and you are incredible.
Find balance. Just because you have children doesn’t mean that your life should stop. Make sure you carve out some time to blow off steam as well as spend time with your partner and friends.
As told to MummySG.
You can view more of Mummy Samantha’s artwork on her website: www.sammyeve.com or you can like her FB page,
or follow her on Twitter and connect with through Linkedin!
“MummySG, where every Mum is awesome.”