This is how Elaine Kim juggles being a mother, doctor and mumpreneur – and still has time for charity work

April 25, 2018
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    Dr Elaine Kim, the co-founder of Trehaus and CRIB as well as palliative care doctor at HCA Hospice Care, shares how she balances her multiple roles as working woman, wife and mother. Dr Kim is the daughter of former MP Dr Lily Neo.

    If you think you’ve got a busy schedule, just look at Dr Kim’s. On top of being a doctor, the resolute 35-year-old entrepreneur juggles multiple business ventures and non-profit work while raising three children Kyan, Luke and Nate – and she still finds time to travel with her family. Here, the multi-tasking working mum reveals her six top tips to managing it all:

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  • 1. Know why you do what you do.
    2 / 7 1. Know why you do what you do.

    “Every vocation, project and role I take up stems from an alignment with my values and desire to make a positive social impact on society, which helps me prioritise the different aspects of my life. As a palliative care doctor, I look after patients in their twilight years, giving them and their families support with comfort and care. With CRIB, I help empower women to reach their full potential, while the co-working space Trehaus was founded with my own role as a working parent in mind.”

    Related: Singapore mumpreneurs: She holds a PhD in medicine but became an accidental fashion designer

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  • 2. Recognise that there are different seasons in your life.
    3 / 7 2. Recognise that there are different seasons in your life.

    “It’s impossible to do everything at once, but you can choose something to focus on. For instance, when I had my third child, obviously I wanted to spend the first few months really focusing on him. Right now, my focus is on building Trehaus.”

    Related: 6 tips for new mums going back to work after maternity leave

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  • 3. Surround yourself with good support.
    4 / 7 3. Surround yourself with good support.

    “I’m blessed to have a wonderful family and helpers at home. But it’s also important to have understanding co-workers. When I had to be away on maternity leave, my business partners helped to step in to meet different needs.”

    Related: How to get along with your maid: One Singapore mum’s success story

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  • 4. Find creative solutions.
    5 / 7 4. Find creative solutions.

    Look for ways to be close to both your children and work at the same time. I work as a doctor in the morning, then spend my afternoon working at Trehaus so I get to have my 15-month-old son with me. That’s why I started Trehaus, to help working mothers spend more time with their kids. You need to fight to find that balance. Don’t be afraid to have creative discussions with your employer – Trehaus has a corporate membership programme that offers customised working arrangements.”

    Related: 7 ways Singapore mums achieve work-life balance

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  • 5. Actively make concrete plans to travel with your family.
    6 / 7 5. Actively make concrete plans to travel with your family.

    Holidays are very precious, as I get to spend important quality time with my kids and husband. At the start of the year, I will sit down and set time aside for travelling. I take no-pay leave and block out my schedule for the summer, which is when my kids will be on school break, so we can go overseas together.”

    Related: 6 travel health mistakes that could ruin your family holiday


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  • 6. Take time to rest and recharge yourself.
    7 / 7 6. Take time to rest and recharge yourself.

    “Sometimes, you need to be brutal about saying ‘no’ to things. I really rest when I read a book, or go on a short holiday. At times I do feel guilty for being away from my kids, like when I go for a spa retreat, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you end up being less effective at work, less present with the kids and the family.”

    Related: Celeb mum Jaymee Ong: battling postpartum depression; staying happy

    This story first appeared in The Singapore Women’s Weekly as part of its Meet Your Mentors series, where The Weekly speaks to successful and visionary Great Women of Our Time alumni for career advice and tips on staying on top of your work-game.

    Photos: Elaine Kim & Instagram

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