How she prepared for the toughest job in the world with the toughest job in the world.
They say nothing can prepare you for motherhood, and it’s 100% true. Building and running my company for 6 years before becoming a mom came close though.
I’m the Founder and CEO of Tickled Media, the company behind theAsianparent.com and social networking app, theAsianparent Community. When I started the company, I was 25, operating out of my parents’ flat. Today, 8 years later, I’m the proud mom of a rambunctious preschooler, and our company boasts the largest parenting portal in the region—safe to say we’ve moved out of my parents’ and into what Zula.sg has named one of the “cool offices in Singapore”.
You may think that it’s all the parenting content I’ve read and even written over the years that has helped me prepare for my role as mother. While that has contributed immensely, it was actually the leadership skills I’d honed that came in handy.
Who is my daughter today? Only she knows.
One moment your little one is the sweetest cherub; and the next, a bawling, biting, inconsolable tantrum-thrower. I’ve had my fair share of people throwing grown-up tantrums when things don’t go their way and have come across all types of personalities (one of the things I find most interesting about my job actually).
There isn’t a persona of my daughter’s I’m not ready for. Well, so far. Just wait till she hits her teen years!
As CEO, I firefight on a daily basis—from disgruntled customers to employee conflicts to tech snags. As CEO mom, the frequency of firefighting is the same, but the issues range from nanny troubles to playdate wars to (as any parent of a little girl would know) wardrobe choices.
There are days as CEO mom when it’s just one problem after another, and you know what? I’m used to it. Bring it on.
Traveling with kids really puts your multitasking skills to the test!
As CEO, you dip your finger into every aspect of the company. You put your R&D hat on one minute and your sales hat the next. There is a ridiculous amount of work to be done and strategy needs to be employed so you don’t constantly obsess about finding a way to invent 26-hour days (Note to self: I should really put a team on that).
Multitasking brilliantly at work has helped me do the same at home. True story, I’ve pumped while eating while reading my daughter a story. Easy peasy. A few other favorite combos: feeding her while hosting a conference call, packing for our day while getting her and myself ready, giving her a bath while cleaning the bath-tub and singing—actually, everything while singing.
It’s what answering a curious tot’s why-why-why questions and waiting for the right time to enter a market or for a strategy to play out have in common.
You’ve got to have loads of this especially when you co-sleep with a toddler. There are nights when she’s suffering from a cold, kicks you in the face, wakes up at 3am bright-eyed saying the dreaded words “Let’s play mama!”—and you still have to be CEO bright and early the next day.
As my team at work grew, I both had to and was able to hand over some of my tasks. Relinquishing control is never an easy exercise, but one that is necessary. As CEO mom, I learned early on that it really does take a village to raise a child. And as I am thankful for every single person in my company for what they contribute to it, so do I appreciate every member of my mom support system.
As CEO, there are days when I shake my head saying, “Now I’ve really seen it all.” And you know what? Moms all over the world join me in chorus.
Learn more of this CEO mom's learnings as a startup founder in this video:
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