Cheryl Gan, 38
Beauty guru, Cheryl, is mum to Nicholas, 12, Nigel, 11, Niven, 5, and Natasha, 6 months. She believes in instilling independence in kids
5:30AM Nicholas’ and Nigel’s days start before mine. They get up for school, get dressed, have breakfast and take the short bus ride to school. The helper helps them get ready, but I believe in training my boys to be independent from a young age. We live in Changi, in the house that my mother-in-law bought for herself. We were going to move into her old home, but there was a change of plans and we moved in here instead. Twelve years on, we still live here. Asians value their roots so we value our first home. 8AM I wake up and cleanse my system with a large glass of water. Then, I get Niven dressed, and my husband sends him to kindergarten. This gives me time to feed, bathe and play with my smallest one, Natasha. Then, when I need to leave for work, my mum comes over to give my helper a hand in taking care of Natasha. Both my parents and my in-laws regularly help us out so we can concentrate on our businesses. 10AM My workday goes into full swing with department meetings to review and develop new aromatherapy products for Mt Sapola. 2PM During my lunch break, I take the opportunity to call home for a quick check. 3PM I might go to the production line to review products, or schedule meetings with external vendors. 7PM Once a week we have dinner at my mother-in-law’s, but for the rest of the week my helper will prepare a simple dinner for us. I try to be home to talk to my kids about school, and tutor Niven in mathematics and English. I believe the education system in Singapore is world class and if my children can’t perform academically it’s not the end of the world. He or she can be talented in other areas. Although we do jokingly leave a cane by the boys’ desks to encourage them to finish their homework. 10PM My six-month old daughter goes to bed, and my whole family gathers together to play with her, and tuck her in.
Sirinya Bishop, 36
Actress and mum to Leila Carmen, 5, and Aiden William, 2, says that the key to surviving Bangkok is avoiding the two-hour traffic jams
5:30AM I go to the kid’s room, kiss them good morning and get them ready for school. Then, I prepare a simple breakfast of eggs, French toast or porridge. 7AM While the kids enjoy breakfast, I recharge with a cup of freshly ground coffee that Aiden helps me to prepare. 7:30AM I send Leila to International school, which is 15 minutes away by car, and return for my morning run to kickstart my day. Then, I walk Aiden to his Thai nursery 10 minutes away. 9AM My work schedule is different every day. Generally, from Thursday to Saturday, I work on two television series—one is a remake of a well-known teen love story and the other is The O.C. Thailand. I divide the rest of my time between hosting, modelling and working on my own brand of skincare products, Mama’s Secrets (www.mamassecret.co.th). 2:30PM Either my husband, my nanny or I will pick Aiden up from school. On Mondays, I also take Leila to ballet class. Sometimes, I stay and watch her and then we have a short stop for ice cream in between. 3PM The kids do homework, play and read after school, and when I’m home I help them with it. On weekdays, it’s hard to get around the city in heavy traffic, so we don’t go far after school. It takes two hours just to go a few blocks in Bangkok during peak hours. Weekends, we might visit indoor playgrounds such as The Little Gym or during the cooler months, picnic at our local park, Benjasiri. Bangkok is very child-friendly, so there are also many mummy groups and activities. I’m a member of Bangkok Mothers & Babies International. When Leila was a baby I used to take her to many playgroups they had organised. 5PM The kids have dinner, and then we go outside for a stroll with Leila on her scooter and Aiden on his Strider bike. If my husband is home, he will join us. 6:30PM This is bedtime for the little ones. Aiden’s favourite bedtime stories is Spot’s Birthday Party and Leila loves Thai tales. Leila and I also have a bedtime ritual where I get her ready for a ball—it’s actually a way for me to give her a gentle Thai massage and soothe her before she sleeps. 8PM My husband and I enjoy a simple, healthy meal. Then, I catch up on email and work. 10PM I finish my day with a glass of wine. When the children are tired, they need a relaxed mummy, not a stressed one.
Johanna Ho, 42
This fashion designer is mum to Natasha, 8, and Katrina, 5. The family have learnt how to take Hong Kong’s fast-paced life in their stride
7AM I always wake up to a cup of hot lemon water and get dressed. My eldest Natasha dresses herself and my youngest daughter Katrina manages with help from my helper. I think I’ve created mini monsters. Their wardrobes are larger than mine. 7:30AM Natasha leaves for school, which is 10 minutes away by car. It was important for me to have our home, the schools and my studio close to each other in Kowloon so we don’t have to battle with city traffic and pollution. This is where I was brought up and my parents live. It’s a quiet neighbourhood and not so built up. Natasha goes to the Diocesan Girls’ School, one of the oldest schools in Hong Kong. It’s the same school that my mother, aunts, sisters and I attended. I wanted her to go here as well because it is an academically strong school that is still tuned to students’ wellbeing. When Natasha leaves for school, I take Katrina to kindergarten, 15 minutes away by car. 9AM I grab coffee from Starbucks, or have a breakfast meeting with clients at Kowloon Cricket Club. 9:30AM When I get into the office, I check my email and go through ideas with the design team. I’m always on the go and spend my day shuttling between the studio, doing interviews and photo shoots around Hong Kong. 12PM After school, my driver picks Katrina up and brings her to my studio. I like to find out about the children’s day—what they did, who they played with, and have a little bonding time. I also like them to see how hard I work and get a bit of perspective on life. 3:30PM The girls have hobbies, but they’re not on a military-style schedule. They play tennis every week, but we try to limit how much time they spend outside as the pollution is a serious problem. The whole family has nasal allergies. It wasn’t like this when I was younger. Thanks to more high-rise buildings and cars, the pollution is two hundred times as bad. On weekends, we take them out of the city to the Hong Kong Jockey Club where they can go horse riding and cycling. 8PM We will eat veggie-packed soups or my husband Hiroki will create a Japanese dish. 10PM Once my girls go to sleep, I go back to work. 12:30AM It’s time to get some zzzs before another busy day.