Triple the happiness
It’s a first here at Sassy Mama HQ… our next That Mama is Karla Prompers, creator and founder of Mika Rouge, a luxury leather bag line (that also doubles as a diaper bag!) and mama to triplet girls, Juliette, Sophie and Amelie! We’re in total awe at how this first time mama balances time with her triplets while running her own business. Karla shares with us her initial reaction to the news of her pregnancy, the best advice anyone has ever given her as well as her top organisational tips (and you can bet we’re taking notes!). Although life may be hectic (as we can all imagine!), there is definitely a lot of love that fuels this busy family as they navigate family life in the 852.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you end up in Hong Kong?
I’m from the north of Mexico. I come from an entrepreneurial family and have always dreamt about having my own business. I’ve lived and worked across several continents: Boston, London, Dubai and Hong Kong. I have always been fascinated by other cultures and customs, and love to travel. I am a mum to triplets as I gave birth to my three daughters in May 2016. I married my best friend who’s from the Netherlands and together we’ve created our own Dutch-Mex culture.
How did you get into the world of fashion and accessories?
Simply put, I am passionate about bags and shoes! I strongly believe that a good pair of shoes and a nice handbag can change the look of your outfit completely. Living around the globe in cosmopolitan places like London, Dubai and Hong Kong has helped me gain awareness of different styles that drive fashion globally and locally.
When I arrived in Hong Kong, I started working for a global logistics company where I had the opportunity to work with high-end fashion brands on their logistics needs. As a result of my interest and experience in the fashion industry, I started to draft designs of handbags as a hobby. That hobby ultimately resulted in the creation of Mika Rouge®.
What inspired you to create Mika Rouge?
I was getting to that age where all my friends started to get pregnant and have kids. One problem that I observed was that within the “diaper-bags” assortment available in the market there were generally only 2 choices: 1. A cheap option: generally looking horrible, unstylish, and of poor quality, or 2. The high-end luxury brand option, which tends to be very pricey.
Being a proper Pisces and an eternal dreamer, I started thinking about the look I wanted to go for when I finally have children and a lot of that had to do with an amazing stylish diaper bag. That’s when I started drafting ideas.
I got inspired when one of my friends (a new mumma) arrived to a birthday brunch. She looked amazing in her designer dress with her beautiful baby! She looked absolutely perfect except for one small detail that she also lamented to me about: her diaper bag. It was impractical and not aesthetically pleasing to her and in addition to that, she needed to carry another bag to fit all her personal items as well as the baby items. She shared how she wasn’t able to find a bag that was not only practical for both mama and baby’s needs but also stylish to match her lifestyle.
From that conversation, Mika Rouge became a reality and my first three babies were created: the Mia, Nina & Sasha bags.
How does Mika Rouge differ from other diaper bags?
Once I had designed my bags and started to use them (pre triplet days!), I knew that the bags I had created were much more than diaper bags! Unlike other brands Mika Rouge® bags can be used as multifunctional bags from day to night, gym to office, and traveling around the globe. Mika Rouge® handbags are made for women who are more than mums.
The timeless design, highest quality vintage leather, waterproof inside lining and many inside and outside compartments make Mika Rouge® bags the perfect bag to carry throughout your multi-faced lifestyle.
What was your reaction when you found out you were having triplets?
My husband and I went together for our first scan and just like any scene from a movie, we eagerly clasped hands together anticipating an image of our baby. Typically at the early stage of a pregnancy, you can’t make out much on the screen other than a small gestational sac.
The doctor was pointing to a little dot on the screen and said, “Congratulations, that’s your baby!” Then he found a second dot and said, “Wait… I see twins!” My husband and I were full of excitement not just at the fact that we had one baby but two! But it didn’t just stop right there… the doctor continued to look on the screen and suddenly exclaimed, “WAIT! YOU ARE HAVING TRIPLETS…!”
The doctor and the nurse went pale, and subsequently my husband went pale too! My initial reaction was extreme elation, but when I turned to my husband, he looked worried which was when it hit me that being pregnant with multiples is often classified as a high risk pregnancy with potentially high chances of failing. Although we were excited, our excitement was mixed with concern.
How did you prepare for multiples?
I had to resign from my job at the logistics company immediately and was pretty much on bed-rest throughout the entire pregnancy due to the high-risk nature. The pregnancy was tough, but also gave me the opportunity to bond with my own mum for nine months.
She came all the way from Mexico to take care of me during my pregnancy and help me with the triplets after they were born. It was a very special time as my husband was traveling a lot for work, so it was a lot of mum-daughter time that we hadn’t had in such a long time since I moved from Mexico 12 years ago.
My husband bought a book that was my bible for the coming months: When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke & Tamara Eberlein (highly recommend it for any multiple pregnancy).
Someone told me about a Facebook group called “Triplets Mum 2016” which I joined immediately! The group was a huge support during my pregnancy and even now as a mum to triplets. There are things unique to multiples pregnancies that you can only be understood by people in the same boat. I became so much more informed by this group!
You can never feel fully prepared to be a mother and all the more so when you’re expecting three! If it wasn’t without my doctor’s support, my mum’s intense care and my husband by my side, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve all that I was able to. I am very grateful for the amazing support of our friends in Hong Kong. We’re very lucky to have such a group of kind and supporting friends around us.
But most of all, I am so thankful that my daughters only had to stay a short time in the hospital after they were born and we had the whole family at home within five days after delivery, which is an amazing achievement for triplets!
Have you noticed any similarities and differences between your three girls?
They are still very young (6 months old!) but I already see the strong bond between them. They have started to hold each other’s hands and interact more with each other. Regarding personalities, they are all very different! Each one has their own personality but so far I think all of them have very strong personalities. Their smile is the same though!
How do you balance work and mama life?
Balancing both work and mama life is not always easy to achieve. Some days, work takes most of my day while on other days I spend more time with my girls. Generally, I try to work in the mornings (this includes exercise time and as well as focusing on Mika Rouge®) and after their big nap in the afternoon I will spend time with them until I put them to bed at 7 PM. After bedtime, I can continue with work or focus on other commitments.
How do you save time? Can you share any organisational tips and tricks?
Having an organised schedule and routine is the key to everything when having multiples. I followed the Gina Ford books from a very early stage. Those books were a lifesaver as it taught me how to implement a routine. The girls now have their routine, which is good for them and for us as the parents! We always make sure to have a Mika Rouge® diaper bag ready in case of planned or unplanned outings whether it’s to the park or doctor.
We also have a home Whatsapp group that includes the helpers so it’s very easy to communicate with everybody. We have a big calendar in the kitchen where we write all the coming events for the week, dinner, visitors, doctor’s appointment, vaccinations, etc. I write the triplets feeding menu every week and stick it on the fridge, along with their feeding and sleeping schedule.
When it comes to my personal life, I try to organise my day in advance the night before and prioritise things that are most important.
What do you do to get in that “me” time?
“Me” time is much needed when you are a mum of triplets! Having a nice girls night out once or twice per month will recharge your batteries completely. In addition, I try to do yoga or Pilates a few times per week and will sometimes meditate in the morning if I wake up before my girls do. It doesn’t always quite work out as I’m sure most mums can attest to. Some weeks are so busy at home that “me” time becomes going to the store to buy diapers or sometimes having a hot tea!
What do you find to be the most challenging part of parenting?
The responsibility that comes with parenting, and particularly this stage that my girls are at where they need me for everything. You can be as organised as you like and prepare as best as you can, but the reality is that every night can be a surprise which can take the form of a continuous “party” between the three girls all night!
What are your favourite spots to eat at with your family in Hong Kong?
We haven’t really been able to go out and eat as a family yet. With three babies it’s virtually impossible at this stage.
Favourite family holiday spot?
We haven’t gotten to that point yet, though there are a lot of nice beach options relatively nearby, which we are looking forward to visit soon!
What’s the best advice you’ve received as a parent?
To have a routine, as this will help you plan your time and you can better understand your babies needs during the day.
I wouldn’t call it worst advice as everybody means well, but as a mum to triplets, a lot of suggestions and advice were not applicable to me.
Something that you wish someone had told you about motherhood?
Postpartum depression. You can feel awful after delivery and that is very normal, I cried and cried for the first weeks and I felt awful. I wish someone had warned me in advance that this could be so impacting. You see all these beautiful pictures on social media, but they don’t represent the reality of what it’s like being a new parent!
What has been your most humbling moment as a mum?
The day I became a mother, when they were born and I heard them cry for the first time in the delivery room. I saw them for the first time and seeing these little miracles: they were all perfect and mine.
How do you keep the romance between you and your husband alive with such a busy work and family life?
We try to carve out “us” time, but now with the babies most of our dates are during lunch, while they nap, or having a glass of wine at home after putting the babies to bed. That being said, we make sure to go out of the house once or twice per week. Sometimes these outings are a combination of errands and a quick lunch at a nice spot.
Favorite date spot in Hong Kong?
Since we became parents our dates are quick ones! We love going for a quick lunch at Flaming Franco for their fabulous chicken or a quick spicy pizza at Motorino. Recently we also enjoy going for lunch at different restaurants around Lee Tung Avenue in Wanchai and for dinner we love The Optimist.
As a mama, I wish I were better at…
Letting things go and relaxing. I am always worried about everything.
I wake up in the middle of night thinking about…
My girls. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I always go to their room to check on them.
Bedtime is always smoother when…
The girls go to bed smoothly. The house is quiet and I have a cup of tea, time to read and check my social media.
My favourite moment of the day is…
Each morning when I wake up and see my girls who are waiting for me with a big smile.
Thanks to the talented Michelle Proctor of Michelle Proctor Photography for all of the beautiful images above! Follow her on Instagram @michellejproctor