SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting
Aarika Lee, Hipster Mum, Entrepreneur & Musician, Shares her Motherhood Experience
In addition to being a mother of two, 33 year old Aarika Lee is a Marketing Director and copywriter at Elementary Co by day, and a resident artist at The Mad Men Attic Bar by night. She also happens to be the co-founder of dress loan company, RMBRTheDress. And have we mentioned that both her kids are under three?
Swing by her Instagram profile (@aarikalee) and you will find really cute pictures of Zola Mae, two and a half, and Ari Jon, aged nine months. This cool hipster mum who knows how to rock a head wrap also blogs at aarikalee.com. So, how does she keep it all together? Let’s find out.
How did the inspiration to start your dress loan business, RMBRTheDress, come about?
RMBRTheDress began because my girlfriends and I hit a season where we had to attend a lot of weddings and events and found that we were spending so much money trying to find a new dress every time. After a while, we got a little wiser and started borrowing each other’s dresses so that we could save some money and also expand our personal wardrobe. It was around that time that we thought it might be a good to idea to open our wardrobe of acquired dresses to other women who faced the same ordeal as us.
How has becoming a parent changed you?
I don’t think I’ve fundamentally changed in any way but I’ve definitely learnt not to sweat the small stuff. Things didn’t go as planned today? Pfft. The sun will still come out tomorrow. As long as the kids are healthy and happy, I’ve had a successful day.
What’s a typical family day or weekend like?
I wake up and lie on the rug in my kids’ room while Ari crawls over me to get to his sister who’s making us breakfast in her play kitchen. We make enough noise until my husband, Kevin, wakes up and then he gets to join in the play breakfast fun until it’s time to shower to head out for real food. We typically try to meet up with friends or find an activity the kids can do – like taking them to the Children’s Museum at the National Gallery, to the pool, or to parks. Zola likes the outdoors and Ari likes going wherever his sister goes.
What have you learnt about yourself as a parent?
I’ve learnt that I am human, even though I want to be superhuman for my children.
How has being a style-conscious mummy helped you in your career or everyday life?
Style is more than just the clothes we wear. It is the attitude we carry. A lot of women think that once motherhood hits, you don’t have any time or room for style. But I think that looking and feeling great plays such a big part in feeling confident about who you are and being a confident woman is so important for your children to see. They learn everything about who they are, and what they want to be, from us.
On a day-to-day basis, being “style-conscious” is a way I get to express myself. In my career, we have been getting a lot more clients that are related to motherhood and babies. Many of these brands want to let mums know that not everything has to go “blah” amidst the bottle/breast feeding, late nights and diaper changing.
Tell us a little more about the band that you are part of.
I’ve been singing with Joseph Saleem (the drummer) since I was 18 and the accompanying musicians have always changed. This particular outfit with Amos Tadate as guitarist is now The Next Movement. We play at The Mad Men Attic Bar every Tuesday night from 8pm to 11pm. It’s a great roof top bar on North Canal Road for good food and drinks!
You hold a day job as a marketing director and a copywriter. You are a musician by night. You are the co-founder of a clothing business. You are a mother of two little ones. How do you keep it all together?
I definitely don’t do it on my own. I have a great husband who is an amazing father, and we have a very supportive family unit that helps us whenever they can. There are definitely some days that are really tough and I don’t have it all together but I give it the best I’ve got and have learned that I can’t say “yes” to everything.
You post such lovely photographs of yourself and your kids on Instagram. What’s the secret behind them?
Thank you! When the kids are involved, you kind of just snap as you go and see what turns out. Sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not. Good or bad (I haven’t decided), the kids are not camera shy so if I do want to take a picture, they’re pretty much always up for it. I also have a Samsung NX3000 that takes good selfies. Otherwise, my husband or friends take the pictures.
How important is it to you to document the milestones your children’s lives?
In the moment, it always seems less important to document it then to experience it. But how many times have we all looked through old photo albums and gushed over faded photographs of when we were younger? I want to be able to do that with my children too. So I try not to go crazy with filming and taking the pictures and miss out on what’s actually happening. I snap the pictures and jot down notes quickly, and then get back to occupying reality. I’ve learned that it’s a good place to be.
How would you describe your parenting style?
I always find it tough to answer this question because I feel like there are some things that we keep constant when we’re parenting the children – like being firm when it comes to manners, routines and boundaries. At the same time it’s also such a fluid process because the kids are changing day to day. Ultimately, I think one thing we try our best to do is give the children our time. We spend as much time as we can with the kids – quality and quantity. It gives us room to hang out and be silly with them, without always having to be disciplining.
How do you find the time to document happenings from your life as a mother on your blog?
I started the blog to write for myself; to take time to reflect on my journey as a mother. I often have an idea of what I want to write about before I sit down to the laptop. Often it’s after a particularly eventful or challenging day, or when someone has asked me anything from being a mom to how to tie my head wrap.
Complete the sentence: “The best thing about being a parent is…”
… being able to be a kid again! Watching cartoons in the mornings, going to the playground, singing out loud everywhere and stopping to look at ants crawling without anyone minding!
Images courtesy of Sharon Leisinger.
All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeMotherhood.