Defying Expectations and Empowering Motherhood with Victoria Lim
Victoria works in the Learning & Development team in Under Armour where she develops retail teammates to empower them to give the best experience in-store. Besides developing learning content, she also conducts coaching, service training and product training for teammates all around Southeast Asia.
Being sporty and a community-lover, she naturally gravitated towards retail sports, and helms a diverse portfolio in events marketing, digital marketing, and now learning and development. Outside of work, she finds time to work out in studios (F45, BJJ, Muay Thai) and outdoors (Cycling, Rollerblading). Victoria shares her joy for movement with her 3 year old son, and would regularly take him outdoors for play and walks, and recently to a studio to learn BJJ!
Victoria shared with us initial challenges in parenthood, but how she overcame it by empowering herself to live by her own rules.
The biggest change since becoming a mom was the reality of having lesser time for myself, and having to share this time between me and my child. My daily decisions are undoubtedly influenced by him, as I feel the responsibility for his well-being. It felt empowering when I learned to be great at fully utilising the 24 hours of each day while juggling life and work.
My routines and mummy duties were not relieved when I resumed work. I found myself having to make time during work hours to spend 30-45 minutes pumping, which itself was exhausting. So I was thankful to the office for providing a secure room where I can do my pump while getting work done. During external marketing events, I recall having to worry about finding a suitable place to pump and store the milk, then deal with the fatigue that comes with it. I finally overcame the issue by pumping in the privacy of my car. While in the office, I had a fridge to store the milk, but outside of that I am never without my cooler bag, so I can store my milk after I pump to keep it fresh till I get home.
Other difficult situations were when my son was sick while I had to be at work. There is the constant worry at the back of my head, but being able to video call him helps me to focus better and get the busy day done so I can return home to be there for him.
My husband has also been my support system since day 1. I suffered symptoms of postpartum depression where I did not feel like my usual self anymore. After labour, I found myself crying everyday, especially times when I was feeding the baby or pumping. I even became easily triggered by little events, like people helping me do housework because I felt like I was not good enough, and not being a good mom. My husband was constantly by my side to assure me, and helped me get through that.
I also deeply appreciate how my husband is my partner in parenting. My husband and I were strongly aligned in our Ideal Parent System. We believe that many important life skills, such as learning and communication, were best discovered outside of school routines. So we took matters in our own hands to home-school our child. He mainly learned through exploration, discovery and play, and we also printed preschool materials. To broaden his perspectives and build his confidence, we actively included him in most of our daily routines, such as running errands, workout classes, grocery shopping and even meeting up with friends. We were proud when he was able to express himself fluently, and even share proper adult conversations with people. Most of my friends who meet Tyler will usually be surprised by his candid conversations and always say “he is like a mini-adult!” Knowing the rigors of formal education our child would eventually face, we wanted to give our child a fun and fulfilling childhood as long as we can.
I am very thankful and blessed to be in Under Armour who is very supportive and accommodating. As a working mom, I believe that having a company who understands and is willing to be flexible really helps, because my life with a child can get quite unpredictable. Due to the pandemic, we currently work 2 days from the office and 3 days from home. And I appreciate the policy where on Fridays after 2pm, we have ‘no-meetings afternoon’ which allows me the time to clear the week’s work, and be there for my child when the weekend begins.
I am also super grateful to join a Whatsapp group chat where mommies of June 2018 babies came together. They were the best support group one can have, as I felt more understood, and less alone during the process - especially during my late night pumps because mummies would also be awake then. They were also quick to share honest advice and experiences whenever I had questions or some problems regarding my baby.
Some of the comments I received were blunting - “You care about yourself too much. You put too much make-up. You think about yourself more than your kid.”
It felt hurtful but I came to realise that I did not need to justify why I do certain things. My decision to put on makeup or wear nice clothes to work does not determine the kind of mom I am. I choose me first because I believe that if I don’t do well myself, I cannot provide the best for my kid. I know that I am constantly giving my child to the best of my abilities, and that is only possible when I look after myself as well.
I feel blessed that my work allows me to be in athleisure all the time, which means I get to choose to be comfortable. Recently, I discovered my love for pockets - I hate carrying anything loosely by hand because I know I will either lose or forget where I left my things. Having pockets, and wearing everything stretchy, comfy and sweat-wicking helps because I sweat so much having to carry my child or run around with him.
Presently, I don’t find myself struggling as much because I ensure I am 300% present wherever I need to be. Be it at work, at a meeting, or at home. I make sure that I don’t work on weekends to be completely present with my son. On weekdays when I work from home, I steal a minute of hugs, kisses and some chit chat with my son (my best work). But whenever I need work to be done or attend a meeting, I will shut off everything outside my study, lock the door and be in the zone. I think having family support is very important – my mom helps to look after my son as he was homeschooled and that really helped me keep that balance.
I grew into my confidence as a mother. I would advise other mummies to have faith, be confident, and know that you are empowered. There will always be plenty of critiques, but your decision as a mom will be the best decision for your child.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Photos c/o Sabrina Wee
This series is part of our International Women’s Month where we catch up with amazing women who live, as intended. With many amazing women in our community, As Intended will be celebrating an entire month to feature amazing women to #breakthebias of Working Mothers.
As part of this celebration, As Intended will be donating 10% of proceeds from purchases made in the month of March to Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT), to help raise funds for low-income working women in need of child minding support.
Daughters of Tomorrow is a registered charity organization with IPC status in Singapore whose mission is to facilitate livelihood opportunities for underprivileged women, and support them in achieving financial independence and social mobility for their families.
The lack of childminding support can be one of the biggest factors preventing a woman from being gainfully employed. Singapore Tote Board will match dollar for dollar for donations made and Tax Deduction Receipts (TDR) will also be issued for donations above $10. You may like to learn more, and choose to donate directly to: https://www.giving.sg/campaigns/as-intended