These days, Trehaus Atelier has a new happy baby. Adrian, 11 months, comes on a flexible basis to play with his friends, and often comes with a wide grin on his face. His mother, Stephanie, a commercial manager/intercultural expert, is also one happy mum, who now enjoys productive time to get her professional time back. We meet them this month and hear from this happy duo.
Tell us a bit about yourselves – Stephanie & Adrian.
We are two of the new members at the Trehaus co-working space and kids atelier: Stefanie – commercial manager/intercultural expert and mum of Adrian – 10 months old bundle of joy. After moving to Singapore 1.5 years back and enjoying some time at home, we joined Trehaus in March to become part of the Trehaus community, find some playing companions and start an inspirational blog about cultural success called globally connected.
How did you hear about Trehaus?
When I was browsing the internet looking for daycare options for Adrian, I stumbled across Trehaus and I really liked the concept. One week later we went for a tour and came for a trial. By the end of the day, it was already decided that we would be back.
How has your experience been so far at Trehaus?
It has been great! I think both Adrian and me enjoy our days at Trehaus very much. He is well taken care of and gets entertained by playing with the other kids. At the same time I can focus on my work and actually get things done.
What is your business/work about? How has parenthood affected your career path?
As travellers, business men, expats or exchange students, have you ever wondered why you experience a certain “culture shock” when leaving your home country? Before starting a family, I worked internationally as a commercial manager in the airline industry and I have certainly experienced many intercultural misunderstandings as a German living in France, the US, China and now Singapore.
Soon to come, I am now going to share the funniest of the intercultural misunderstandings from my own experience on my blog globally connected. You will find out why you should always attend French meetings at the vending machine, how a tourist in China steals a baby’s soul and to what extent squirrels can provoke the American right to self defence.
While you get the chance to learn how to avoid some of these mistakes for yourself, I am also looking at the potential of providing targeted intercultural training sessions in the future. Ultimately, knowing how to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds can make your travels more rewarding, your expat life more enjoyable and your business endeavours more successful.
What is it like bringing up Adrian in Singapore?
From the beginning, we had a great start in Singapore. Prenatal classes, the support at the hospital, new mum groups and baby café meetings, Singapore had everything to offer what we needed as new parents. We enjoy the family-friendly environment here, with people being very supportive, no matter if you need to lift the pram into the bus or looking for a diaper changing facility at the mall. Only if the weather would be la little less hot and humid, then we could spend more time outdoors instead of going to malls, indoor playgrounds and Gardens by the Bay.
How has being in Trehaus helped you in your parenting journey?
Having a baby brought my professional career to a halt. I decided that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum for a year and fully be there for Adrian. And while we thoroughly enjoyed our time as a family, after 8 months I felt the need to bring back parts of my old life that I wasn’t really ready to leave behind.
Trehaus provided me with the right framework to transition from a full time mum to a working mom without the need to compromise. I could start off with 2 days a week, ease Adrian into the atelier and be there for him while picking up my professional career. It has given me tremendous confidence that I can witness how happy he is and how well he is taken care of. I don’t need to sit in an office and ask myself if he is crying all day at daycare.
What’s your typical day like at Trehaus?
I get Adrian checked in at the atelier and then I start working on my task of the day. At lunch time I go back to feed him and we get to spend some time together. I usually bring my own lunch or grab a quick bite, so I can eat in the pantry area and watch him play. Then I go back to work, usually taking a small coffee break in the afternoon in order to fight off the mum-tiredness. I also get some nursing sessions in during the day, which I really appreciate as it would be a lot harder to keep this going if I was at work and Adrian was at a daycare.
What do you enjoy the most about Trehaus?
I love that all the spaces are connected in a nice way. It has been great that I can sometimes hear Adrian laugh or squeak in the kids atelier while I sit and work in the co-working space. Trehaus creates a nice atmosphere, where it is easy to balance being a parent and pursuing a professional career.
Which is your favourite space in Trehaus?
I enjoy taking an afternoon break in the pantry area, where I can sit and watch Adrian play while I enjoy my coffee. At home it gets cold 3 out of 4 times.
Have you seen any changes in Adrian since he started here?
It got more and more difficult to keep Adrian entertained at home, especially since he started crawling and wanted to explore more and more. At Trehaus he absolutely enjoys the space, the toys and playing with the other kids. I can see that he engages with other children wherever we go and he is not shy to do so. And he sleeps a lot more on the days we are at home, so Trehaus is tiring him out – in a good way!
Any words of advice for parents like you who would like to bring an active toddler to work?
There is the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Even if we don’t have that kind of support system in place nowadays, it helps to find neighbours, friends and like-minded people that support you on your journey, even if they only have words of encouragement. It makes it so much easier to not be alone. Trehaus has that sense of community. It makes it easy to tackle some of the difficulties that arise when you have to balance being a parent and a professional.