There are a whole heap of different kinda mums you'll meet at the Singapore school gate: here's a tongue-in-cheek look at some we know and see on a regular basis…
It’s a jungle out there in the schoolyard – and we don’t just mean for the kids. The mums you’ll meet at the Singapore school run have a veritable riot of tastes and tendencies. From the crunchy neo-hippy mum and the activewear enthusiast to the corporate mummy and the organic vegan mum, there are many vying for their own patch of bitumen. Observing these women in their natural environment is your reward for wrangling your littles to school on time every freaking morning.
Disclaimer: this is all tongue in cheek, obviously! We love all mums – even when they look like they went through a hedge on the way in (that’s us!). Parenting can be a tough gig for all of us.
The different Mums you’ll meet at the Singapore school gates
1. Tiger Mum
The tiger mum is a force to be reckoned with. Whether or not she hails from greatness, one thing’s for sure: she’s grooming the next Bill Gates. You’ll spy her charging through the school gates with her hyper-scheduled offspring trailing in her wake encumbered with a violin case, karate kit, a stack of extracurricular Mandarin reading and en pointe ballet slippers. And that’s just on Tuesdays. You like her, but sadly you’ll have little opportunity to foster a friendship, as her only available time slot is between 4.10pm and 4.45pm. Friday afternoon three weeks from now. Shame, as she always brings delish power cookies to PTA meetings (even when it’s not her turn).
True to the old maxim ‘if you want something done, ask a busy (wo)man’, this chick is also a Mumpreneur. She has style in droves, and runs a pop-up clothing store, which turns a tidy profit. She’ll be seen doing contra deals in the playground with her other savvy small-business sistas, swapping strappy leather sandals for whimsical cotton maxis.
2. Corporate Working Mum
Corporate Working Mum attracts more than a cursory glance from the other mum tribes in her non-food smeared, cinch-waisted pencil skirt and sky-high Louboutins. She is an expert at multitasking and loves to gather 360-degree feedback on her child. They have regular family meetings with agendas circulated ahead of time, and a performance plan in motion.
3. Activewear Mum
Another most commonly spotted madre at the school gate is the activewear mum. You know the type: immaculately dressed head to toe in matching high-end sports garb (think Lululemon and Adidas Ultraboosts). A sophisticated eye will quickly spot the two distinct subspecies in this prolific group: first up is the boot camp babe, who you’ll spot around town at every possible hard-core sweat-fest on offer, and whose idea of a relaxing Sunday morning is to treat her perfectly sculpted body to a 5am half iron-woman race. Kudos to you, for the mere thought of it leaves us in a cold (non-sport induced) sweat.
By far, the larger contingent in this sporty spice group is the genetically blessed creatures whose manicured brows will never sprout a bead of sweat. Fake it ’till you make it ladies! To be fair, there may be a spot of pilates or barre happening on alternate Tuesdays. She’ll have ditched the unsullied get-up come sundown in favour of a kaftan and a glass of Fat Bird Sauvignon Blanc. We like this mum.
4. Crunchy Neo-Hippy Mum
Free-spirited crunchy mum is a bit of a chameleon, morphing from attachment mummy to free-range parent over time. She’ll be “wearing” her infant, who will be almost constantly simultaneously sleeping and feeding at her bra-free bosom. Said baby has no cot, pram or highchair, opting to live in symbiosis with a bamboo fibre-clad mother.
Co-dependency is well and truly over once baby Patchouli reaches school age. This progressive-minded mum is a disciple of the free-range kid movement, otherwise known as ‘how we were brought up in the ’80s’. She’s been known to arm her independent mini-adult with a map, $5 and a compass, and challenge them to navigate home (c’mon, it’s only 5km and two buses people!). Playdates are to be actively avoided unless you aren’t judgy about unaccompanied five-year-olds looking after two-year-olds in the swimming pool. Totally fine.
5. Organic Vegan Mum
Organic vegan mum is an advocate for living a plant-based, cruelty-free, gluten-free, lactose-free life. Her idea of a perfect sixth birthday cake relies on the liberal (and exclusive) use of ethically sourced coconut oil, cacao powder and avocado ganache. This lady makes Gwyneth Paltrow GOOP devotees look like fast-food junkies. Be wary of this mum if you feed her child sugar: she’ll take out a restraining order against you.
Bonus mum: The Helper
Let’s face it; at any given time in this wonderful city called Singapore, all of the above school mums are interchangeable with The Helper. Bless Bonus Mum’s cotton socks for being there when we can’t, for carrying the school bags, and always keeping calm under pressure. Us HoneyKids mums rely on Bonus Mum to pick up any pieces that fall between the cracks. This never happens of course…
So which kinda mum are you? We like to think we’re a little bit of all of them, but really we’re probably a whole different category entirely: Doing The Best We Can Mum.