These stay-at-home mums began blogging and using Instagram as an outlet, now they nurture online communities
What started as a way for two stay-at-home mothers, Liang May and Ameera Binsemait, to vent and open up about their parenting journeys has evolved into online communities and support networks where other mums can connect with and learn from one another.
When Ameera Binsemait had her first daughter in 2019, she felt torn. The then 28-year-old had a thriving career as a communications and marketing specialist, which she had built up over seven years. But what she wanted most was to be a stay-at-home mother (SAHM) and care for her daughter while witnessing her child’s milestones firsthand.
For another stay-at-home mother, Liang May, the decision to stop work came easily. When her first son was born in 2011, she knew she wanted to focus her time and energy on raising him.
After years in the hospitality industry, Liang quit her job as an assistant director in sales to become a stay-at-home mother.
We don’t always have to contribute economically, there’s also a lot of value in focusing on raising good humans.
Their decision to give up their careers to focus on their children raised eyebrows.
“My peers thought I’m just relaxing whenever I’m at home, and my relatives thought I was wasting my degree by not working in a company,” said Binsemait, whose older daughter is now four, and her younger daughter, one.
“People often see having a job as the only way to contribute to society,” Liang, who is 41, added. “But we don’t always have to contribute economically, there’s also a lot of value in focusing on raising good humans.”
SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE LIFE OF A STAY-AT-HOME MUM
“When I quit my job and started the chapter of my life as a stay-at-home mum, I felt lonely and invisible,” said Binsemait. “A lot of my friends were either not mums or were working mums, and as a new mum, because I was so busy tending to my baby, I didn’t spend much time outside the home.”
People’s perceptions of SAHMs also affected Binsemait, as not many understood what she was going through.
“Even though I was at home all the time, I was busy cleaning the house, changing diapers, learning to cook and then cooking for my baby and the family, and planning and scheduling playtime for my daughter. It was a lot – I barely had time for myself,” she said.
She tried searching for online groups of homemakers or SAHMs in Singapore but couldn’t find any. “Even the online space wasn’t where I could run to,” she said.
If my blog makes others laugh or helps to broaden others’ minds by just a little bit, then that’s great for me.
Needing an outlet to express her thoughts and frustrations, in 2019, Binsemait started blogging on WordPress under the blog title 4-thirty (the time of her daughter’s birth).
On the blog, she used text posts, graphics, humorous memes and quotes to depict her daily life. She would also share excerpts from the blog on her personal Instagram.
“I talked about my reflections as a homemaker and my daily life with my daughter,” said Binsemait. “But eventually, people started reading and replying to what I’d shared on Instagram and on my blog … they were actually interested in what I did as an SAHM.”
Her blog posts run the gamut of what she does if she runs out of ideas for activities and snacks, to dealing with her daughter’s toddler tantrums.
“If my blog makes others laugh or helps to broaden others’ minds by just a little bit, then that’s great for me,” said Binsemait. In 2021, she retired the name 4-thirty and renamed her blog Everyday Mama. Today, the blog has grown into a website with its own Instagram account.
Liang too, when she started on social media in 2013, simply wanted to “chronicle the kids growing up”.She had an Instagram account (@mmlittlee) in which she posted her experiences as a new SAHM – witnessing her son’s milestones, like starting solids or saying his first word.
“I loved telling stories and so I told stories of my parenting journey as an SAHM, which people sometimes confuse with being a ‘tai tai’,” Liang said, referring to the Chinese term for a wealthy married woman of leisure.
I’m always mindful that each of us mothers has her difficulties and struggles.
Just as much as Liang shared her joys, she also shed light on her struggles – not having time to socialise with friends or former colleagues, having trouble breastfeeding, experiencing postpartum depression, battling between gratitude and guilt as a mum, and coping with the demands of taking care of the household.
What was more important to Liang was to not create competition between different types of mothers.
“I’ll never say that it’s easier to be a full-time working mum, or the other way round,” she said. “When I share my thoughts and journeys, I’m always mindful that each of us mothers has her difficulties and struggles.”
FINDING FULFILMENT OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD
“One day, my children will grow up,” said Liang, whose son is now 11 and her daughter, nine. “When I create and share content, it keeps me occupied in ways that don’t directly involve mothering my children and it brings me joy. I get to be a writer, a taster, a traveller – it’s a lot of fun so I make sure I enjoy it.”
For Binsemait, her creative side is fulfilled when she workshops ideas and creates graphics for her posts.
“It’s what gets me excited and is a refreshing activity away from what I do as a mum,” she said. “I too get tired of cleaning, cooking, and doing everything for my kids and husband, so having something for myself means a lot.”
ISSUES SURROUNDING “SHARENTING”
As mothers who craft content about their parenting journey, the issue of “sharenting”, where parents share sensitive information about their children online is a natural concern.
Liang works around this by looking at the core of what she does and ensuring that her children are clear about how she’s involving them in her social media posts.
“I make sure they understand that we are setting an example or case study for other families to learn from,” Liang said. She is also careful to not reveal information like what schools they attend, as well as photos of family members and friends who may not be comfortable being in the spotlight.
Binsemait said she prefers to focus on her reflections as a mum. “I want people to connect with me, get to know me and trust me,” she said, adding that her content is more about her insights, mistakes and lessons learned, rather than what her children do.
Liang added that when her children no longer feel comfortable being in her social media posts, she is ready to pull the plug.
“I am willing to close down my handle just to respect my children, as they are my number one priority,” she said. “What matters isn’t the digital family we’ve created but the real family we have.”
NURTURING A COMMUNITY OF MUMS AND FAMILIES
Creating a community has been one of the most pleasant surprises to have come out of sharing content as a stay-at-home mum, said Binsemait.
Everyday Mama has hosted gatherings such as in-person playdates with other SAHMs and their kids, and Binsemait has also been involved in activities and panels hosted by women-led organisations Crazycat and Little Blossom.
It’s heartening when I find out that through Everyday Mama, different mothers can discover that they’re not alone.
Binsemait is especially happy to see SAHMs make time to connect and share their own stories and struggles. “It’s heartening when I find out that through Everyday Mama, different mothers can discover that they’re not alone."
Over her long decade-long social media journey, Liang too, has received thousands of comments, not just from other SAHMs but from working mothers, singles, dating couples and even teenagers who resonate with her posts.
Her comments section has become a platform for followers to share their own experiences.
“I’m heartened and grateful that my voice as an SAHM can represent something for someone who reads it, even if they’re not stay-at-home mums themselves,” Liang said.
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