She’s a mother of two (with her third due in October), a doctor, an entrepreneur, a designer, a traveller, and a writer. Meet supermum Dr. Elaine Kim.
We have caught up with a number of supermums and mompreneurs in the past editions of our My Parenting Style series. But this is the first time we are interviewing one who’s also a doctor! Her name is Elaine Kim, and like all supermums, she wears several hats. The 34-year-old mum of Kyan, 5, and Luke, 3, is a doctor in palliative care at HCA Hospice Care.
What other commitments take up Elaine’s time? And just how exactly does this multitasking mother manage it all? Let’s find out.
How has becoming a parent changed you?
Becoming a parent has not changed me much, but it has definitely made my family the centre of my life.
What’s a typical family day or weekend like?
Weekends are set aside for the family and are usually spent at birthday parties, brunches, playdates with friends, or doing fun activities that we can look forward to. We attend church on Sundays. We also have dinner with the kids’ grandparents every Sunday evening.
We try to travel together as a family often as well, and the experiences and memories we build together are very precious to us as they bring us closer to one another. We usually spend the summer in the UK or US, where my husband has an office.
What have you learnt about yourself as a parent?
That there is no limit to one’s capacity for love.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur?
To benefit others and our community, to chase my passions and also to achieve career fulfilment.
How do you juggle your various roles? Do you have to make any compromises?
Knowing my priorities and thoughtful planning have been very helpful. Learning how to say no to things that don’t fit within these priorities has also been important. I have also learnt to focus on different priorities at different seasons of my life. For example, I am focusing on my family more now and delegating some of my responsibilities at work as I prepare to welcome my third child.
You have a luxury travel column in Tatler. What’s an exotic destination you’d like to visit again?
Patagonia. I went there with my husband and then six-month-old son Kyan, and it is still perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever been to. We cruised through the Chilean fjords, saw falling glaciers, and stayed at the Torres de Paine National Park which has one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. We also stayed in a windswept plain in a beautiful luxury lodge called Eolo in Argentina.
How do you make time for your boys? Ever suffered from ‘mum guilt’?
I truly treasure the flexibility and control I have over my time. I try to be at work and have my meetings while they are at school. This is also why travelling with my children is so important to me. The quality time we have together and the experiences we have on the road bring me closer to them.
There are of course times I wish I could spend more time with them, especially on nights when I miss putting them to bed or reading their bedtime story to them because of other commitments.
How would you describe your parenting style?
Loving and firm.
If you had to pick only one occupation to stick with for the rest of your life, which would it be, and why?
Doctor. This will always be my main profession as it allows me to be a blessing to those in need.
What spurred you on to own multiple businesses?
My businesses all arose from my own passion and experiences. My first business, Trinity Bridal, based in Hong Kong and Trinity Gallery in Singapore was started as a result of a personal experience. When I was going to get married, I had to go overseas to get my dream Oscar de la Renta gown. I then saw an opportunity to bring to Asia the gorgeous gowns by international bridal designers like Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Jenny Packham.
Likewise with Trehaus, the co-working space for mums at Claymore Connect. The idea for it arose because I saw the need for a place where I could work while having my children nearby. Trehaus includes child-minding as well as enrichment facilities, which see children benefiting from the Reggio Emilia style of learning.
CRIB, the social enterprise that empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs materialised because I realised that being an entrepreneur gave me flexibility and control over my time and choices. I could make my family a priority while having a fulfilling career. My co-founders and I wanted to build a network to provide the support and resources needed to achieve business success and overcome the challenges female entrepreneurs face.
What do you think could be stopping potential mompreneurs from pursuing their business goals?
A lack of confidence, partly due to a lack of role models. A lack of support and business networks, as well as difficulty in accessing seed funding. We try to address these factors at CRIB by sharing with aspiring entrepreneurs the stories of inspiring role models, building a network of investors to increase access to funding, and developing a strong community of entrepreneurs and mentors.
What’s your top tip for aspiring mompreneurs out there?
Just do it!
Complete the sentence: “The best thing about being a parent is…”
“…the joy and fulfilment it brings.”