Read how the social-media savvy mum of a toddler daughter manages privacy and pressure.

Avid blogger Zoe Raymond Tan’s online presence used to revolve around fashion, food and beauty.

But these days, someone else has “hijacked” her social media pages ― her 16-month old little girl, Arielle.

Zoe, who blogs at www.zoeraymond.com and whose Instagram account boasts 64,500 followers, is happy to share her motherhood experiences with others. This ranges from documenting her pregnancy and braving 12 hours of labour to her C-section.

She says, “I have also learnt a lot from the motherhood community. The generous support, empathy and advice shared by other mothers is truly a blessing.”

Baby Arielle

The working mum (she works in a travel tech firm) says that privacy is definitely an issue, especially when it comes to her little girl. She states, “There are boundaries. I share things I feel comfortable with.”

Her parenting “partner in crime” is Alvin Yang, 30, who works in a bank. The Yangs found out they were expecting on returning from their honeymoon following their wedding in June 2017.

Zoe enthuses, “Both Alvin and I love children and knew we wanted one as soon as we got married! We were blessed to have Arielle come along pretty quickly!”

We caught up with Zoe to find out just how she is adjusting to motherhood.

Hi Zoe! What has parenting been like for you? Tell us more about Arielle.

Arielle is 16 months old, she’s feisty! She has high tolerance of pain; she hardly ever cries when she falls down or knocks herself. Most of the time, it is (fake) cries to get her way!

“Arielle is 16 months old, she’s feisty! She has high tolerance of pain; she hardly ever cries when she falls down or knocks herself. Most of the time, it is (fake) cries to get her way!” 

Who takes care of Arielle when you’re at work?

Our helper takes care of Arielle when we are at work. She has been doing a good job, so we are not in a rush to send her to playschool at 18 months old. We will start her at a childcare centre next year when she’s 2.

What are your biggest challenges as a mum?

Ensuring she eats and sleeps well, so that she’s healthy and does not fall sick. At the same time, I’d need to juggle work and taking care of my well-being ― so I can be at my best for her and my family.

Who are your pillars of support when you come across these challenges?

My family. I can always count on them when I need help. For example, my parents would take her on weekends for a stayover, so Alvin and I can have some time to ourselves and a good rest to recharge.

Family on bed

How hands-on is Alvin?

Very much so! From registering us for breastfeeding courses to babywearing her… He has done a lot! I’m thankful to have him on this journey with me.

Who is the disciplinarian at home and what are your thoughts about discipline as Arielle gets older?

I would think she’s more scared of me because I’m firm when she does something wrong. Whereas, Alvin would go, “Why, sweetheart?” Of course, she will know that she can get her way with him!

Who are your role models when it comes to parenting?

Both Alvin and I were brought up in a family-oriented household. Till now, we travel together very year. We spend birthdays and other important occasions together ― family is always first. 

Since you and your sister are so close, would you like a sibling for Arielle as well?

Yes, definitely! We want two kids ― I would love for two girls

 

Zoe and Arielle

As an “influencer mum”, what do you feel is the key to being a good role model for Arielle?

The key is to be kind with words. I keep my posts positive, and I avoid partaking in online vitriol. As an influencer, I feel responsible for the messages I share. I want Arielle to have a positive impact on the people around her. 

Do you feel the pressure to be the “perfect mum” and to do everything right all the time?

Yes, if being perfect means ensuring Arielle is a person with good morals and values. Otherwise, I have come to accept that there is just too much to learn as a mother.

Family outing

What do you like best about being able to share about motherhood with your followers?

It is encouraging when my mummy followers share with me that what I write has made a positive impact on them. And sometimes, it is just knowing that I am not struggling alone that gives me the strength to push on. The bond that we share as mothers is priceless.

Any pressure to look good all the time? Do you think Arielle will feel this pressure, and how do you intend to manage that?

Not at all! I go to the nearby mall in my sleep shorts and tee. Alvin is like, “You sure you don’t want to change?” [laughs] For now, Arielle probably doesn’t know about pressure. But we see how it goes as she grows older!

Sometimes, it is just knowing that I am not struggling alone that gives me the strength to push on. The bond that we share as mothers is priceless.

How would you describe yourself as a mum? Would you say you are a Tiger mum?

I’m not sure yet. I have friends who researched thoroughly on the preschool options. But for us, we reckoned that she will be studying for maybe 16 years of her early life, so we just want her to play and have fun now. You can ask me again when she is in Primary school!

You just travelled to Hong Kong with your family ― any thoughts about travelling with a baby?

We always feel like we need another holiday to recover from the holiday we just went for, as Arielle’s boundless energy is tiring for us to keep up with. She most likely won’t remember the places we have brought her to, but the experience that we share is invaluable, hence we bring her along, regardless.

Zoe carrying Arielle

Arielle is pretty good amongst strangers and new environments, and doesn’t complain all that much other than for food and snacks. So, I would say she’s a good traveller. 

My tip for travelling with a baby is to go light with your own belongings, which means not bringing extra shoes and unnecessary accessories to match my outfits. It’s purely function over form.

For the Hong Kong trip, all three of us shared one suitcase; Arielle’s things took up half the space. And then it’s the diaper bag and another backpack. It just makes the hardest part of the journey ― from home to the airport and then the hotel, somewhat easier.  

Please complete these sentences…

One thing I always tell my daughter is… Don’t play with tissue! Stop eating tissue!

My parenting superpower is… I can hear Arielle cry when no one else can, even from downstairs.

Arielle kissing Zoe

Something that people usually don’t know about me is… I played netball for about seven years.

The last thing Arielle did that made me laugh was… Eating sour strawberries.

My most embarrassing parenting moment was… When I brought Arielle to the playground and she ran towards an older boy and hugged him!

One thing I discovered about myself since I became a mum… Mums do not need sleep!

Photos: Zoe Raymond Tan

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