There are a few reasons why I’m putting off having kids for as long as I can:
- Kids are expensive to raise (the average cost hovers around $360,000)
- I’ll need to sacrifice a great deal to juggle motherhood and a career that I can be proud of
Becoming a mother is not something I see as a challenge – it’s something that I actually fear.
Of course, there are very inspirational ladies out there who constantly amaze me with their finesse in balancing motherhood and career.
Two of these ladies are the sisters behind proptech startup Ohmyhome.
In light of Mother’s Day, I chatted with Singapore mumpreneurs Race and Rhonda Wong on how they’re handling motherly duties while running a bustling startup, and also their advice to mums out there.
A Cantopop Singer And Derivatives Trader Go Into Proptech
If Race Wong looks or sounds familiar to you, it might be because she was one half of popular Cantopop duo 2R.
The other half was made up of Rosanne Wong, her elder sister.
Active from 2001 to 2009, the Malaysia-born Singaporean sisters headed to Hong Kong for a pop career and found success, winning a slew of awards and acting projects during their active years.
Race reveals that while it was a great run, she knew that the life of a celebrity wasn’t her end goal.
“Being an artiste was quite an experience – I loved singing and acting since young,” she shared.
I appreciated the experience I’ve garnered and the fans who have always supported me, but I knew it wasn’t a lifelong career that I would want to pursue.
She then joined Maybank Kim Eng in Hong Kong as a marketing manager, subsequently growing into equity sales while studying for her MBA.
As compared to her sisters, Rhonda had always been in the Finance industry, and worked as a derivatives trader in Chicago upon graduation from university.
However, Rhonda soon spotted a gap in the real estate market, and roped Race in to start Anthill Realtors, which sources investment grade properties from within and abroad.
For the sisters, the process of starting up was something they were familiar with since they were young, as their parents were also entrepreneurs.
Chirped Race, “Entrepreneurship runs in our genes!”
This eventually led them to launch Ohmyhome in 2016.
Shared Rhonda, “When friends and family who had difficulties in transacting their homes came to us for help, it made us realise that the mass market sector could very well transact by themselves in a cost-free manner, if only they had the option to.”
Thus, we set out to make housing transactions simpler, faster and better, putting the control back in the hands of the buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords.
“Till date, Ohmyhome has helped to simplify over 1,000 housing transactions and has successfully transacted a combined value of more than S$500 million,” gushed Rhonda.
“For Most Working Mums, The First Thing We Sacrifice Is Ourselves”
Amidst their hectic schedules as startup entrepreneurs, the sisters were also looking forward to the next stage in their lives – becoming mothers.
Still, worries filled their minds.
“There were concerns about the amount of time I am able to spend with my baby,” revealed Race. For Rhonda, she worried about how pregnancy would affect her work, and vice versa.
“But when there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Currently, Rhonda is mummy to the adorable Ashton, while Race’s daughter, Cara, is a bundle of cuteness.
“My priorities in life are my biggest change,” shared Race. “Now, I’ve become the lowest of my priorities!”
For most working mums, the first thing to sacrifice is ourselves.
Rhonda admits that “mummy guilt” is one of the biggest things she has to cope with.
“[Because of that,] I make sure that I don’t miss out on our daily reading time together.”
“I know that Ashton loves me a lot, he’s always kissing me and giving me cuddles, and this helps me deal with the fact that although I can’t be there for him all the time, our bond remains very strong.”
Race, too, ensures that the time she has for Cara is maximised.
“What I do is to give my 100% on a particular task at any point of time.”
“If I just have one hour with Cara in the morning, she has all my attention. When I’m at work, my to-do list is in front of me and I focus completely on finishing my tasks.”
More than that, the sisters gave a lot of the credit to their supportive husbands and family – all of whom have helped in lessening their burdens.
“We Had To Be Cautious If Our Investors Would View Us As Less Able Founders”
Even with their success, the sisters shared that being mumpreneurs also revealed a lot misconceptions about women – especially those who were mothers.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that we are unable to give 100% of our time to the business,” said Rhonda.
Back when I was expecting, we had to be cautious if our investors would view us as less able founders. We made sure that we kept delivering strong results keep them reassured.
“I hope that one day when it is widely accepted, people will no longer distinguish between ‘mumpreneur’ and ‘non-mumpreneur’.”
Reiterated Race, “Women are twice more likely to drop out of work when they reach parenthood. So, we do have a lower number of female entrepreneurs compared to males. That being said, still there are definitely a lot of successful women out there who are mumpreneurs.”
Women can excel and lead when our eco-system allows us to.
A mumpreneur figure that the sisters draw inspiration from is none other than their own mother, who “never stopped working”.
“Motherhood and having to care for her mother-in-law never stopped her from starting her own businesses and property investments.”
Having been the children of entrepreneur parents themselves, the sisters grew up “understanding the value of hard work”, and also that work and family time don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
“Both my parents were often working, but they’ll always make time for dinners together and be present during the important days,” recalled Rhonda.
“Having been through such a journey, I feel comfortable being a working mom even though I know I’ll be missing out on some precious moments with my little one.”
“But I know that it’s okay for parents to not be by their child’s side all the time.”
If you have brought them up right, your absence in their early years does not make them love you less, but instead have appreciation towards your hard work and the time spent together.
“We Need To Grow As A Person, Not Just As A Mum”
Most of all, the sisters are strong advocates that a woman’s growth doesn’t stop at motherhood – in fact, it should be a driving force to forge ahead even more.
“When a woman becomes a mum, she should be reminded that she is a woman, and not just a mum,” said Race.
As a women, we have many roles to fulfil, manage, and grow into as we age. At the end of the day, we need to grow as a person, not just as a mum.
Race advices that being mentally prepared to embrace the roles and responsibilities as a working mother is vital.
Next, remembering to constantly communicate with kids, family, and even workmates.
“Most disagreements are pent-up anger built up over time, so solve problems before it gets too big to handle.”
Lastly, time management and knowing your priorities is the final piece to the puzzle.
Added Rhonda, “Make sure that the work that you do is meaningful and will have a positive impact on society.”
After all, you are spending time away from your adorable baby every day, so make it worth it, and make it count!
In appreciation of mothers from all walks of life, the Wong sisters and their Ohmyhome team will be going around Singapore on Mother’s Day (13 May) to distribute handmade flowers.
“It’s the Moms who makes a house a home isn’t it? This activity is a great way to show appreciation for all mothers out there,” chirped Race.
We’d like to thank Race and Rhonda for their time!