This week, we meet That Mama Cinty Yniguez Curran, who heads to The Magic Kingdom every day in her role in International Sales and Distribution Marketing at Hong Kong Disneyland! This multitasking mama also heads up Flow Yoga in Discovery Bay, and shares her love of the practice with daughters Krissa and Alexandra. Here, she tells us about her love of cooking, her experiences as a young mama and how she achieves balance in her life.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
Because of the juggling act and multi-tasking I need to do, attempting to strike a fine balance accomplishing my duties and responsibilities at work, play, and home, I like to plan my schedule in advance, sometime as far back as a year! I also like to plan and prepare, so when dinner’s over, prayers have been said and my kids are in bed, I prepare my work and yoga clothes and make homemade power green smoothies for the next day’s lunch.
I am usually up at 5.15am on weekdays and I use this quiet time to prepare my yoga practice, read, check emails, book school meetings and kids’ activities where necessary, and read the school newsletter. I use this time for personal admin so that when I’m in the office, I can maintain my efficiency and effectiveness and get home at a decent time to have dinner with my family.
I set timelines for even the most menial tasks and to achieve this I rely heavily on my Blackberry, another phone, and an iPad. I write everything down as a reminder, but I guess it comes naturally to most women to multi-task! I feel that when things around you are clean and orderly, it psychologically de-clutters your mind so both at home and in the office I stay organised and discard what I don’t really need.
I wish I had more time for…
Accomplishing things that I am passionate about. Cooking and baking are two of my favourite hobbies and – other than yoga – the things I find the most comfort and solace in. I like experimenting with new meals, smoothies, desserts and raw food recipes and there are a ton of amazing chefs out there I’d love to learn from! With all that cooking and baking, I’d also need more time to entertain at home! I like seeing people relax and enjoy a good chat around the dining table.
I always feel saner after…
Teaching or practicing yoga, and a good massage.
Favourite activity with the kids in Hong Kong?
We are lucky to be surrounded by lush green, water, hills, and good infrastructure. Hong Kong may be a concrete jungle, but has its charm. We look forward to getting into the great outdoors with the kids, whether it’s a swim at the club pool, a hike up the hills of Lantau, or an outdoor yoga session.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Hong Kong?
We like spending our weekends in Discovery Bay, where we live. Koh Tomyums serves the most amazing and authentic selection of Thai and Laos food and if we grab a table outside, we get to enjoy the nightly “Disney in the Stars” firework display. Zaks offers International cuisine and is great for families. Il Bel Paese in DB Plaza is relaxing and my daughter loves their mozzarella cheese and tomato salad! Just a stone’s throw away from DB is a South African place called The Stoep, nestled by Cheung Chau beach – simple comfort food.
Much as we love DB, we occasionally get off our bums and head to “town” or other islands! Old-time favourites, such as Cafe Deco at the Peak, Pizza Express and Maxim’s Palace restaurant are easy crowd-pleasers. We’ll often visit Sen-ryo at IFC for quick-stop sushi at reasonable prices, and we head to Nanbantei in Soho for yakitori.
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
We don’t really have one particular favourite holiday spot. It’s nice to just explore different places – even within Hong Kong. It’s easy hopping on the plane and getting down to either Manila or Cebu, and since we like hassle-free short breaks, we prefer staying in a hotel or resort with good service, like The Peninsula Manila or The Shangri-la Mactan resort. We travel to Singapore to visit friends, and to Thailand for fun, sun and shopping.
Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my kids love it…
My daughters are fishes out of the sea! They like hanging out at the pool a lot, and although I love the sun, I’d prefer just winding down with a book or magazine and enjoy the breeze!
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
As a young mom, my university life was spent juggling time and energy between schoolwork and my baby. I remember spending my lunch breaks driving back home to see her, before driving back to school. Because I needed some income, and since I took after my mom – a fantastic cook and baker – I set up “Kookies for Krissa” (my eldest daughter’s name), a small business specialising in baked goods, all boxed for Christmas. I joined holiday bazaars and had my daughter distribute the flyers, which helped a lot with our sales!
After I graduated I landed my dream job at The Peninsula Manila Hotel as a Sales Executive. I loved my job and for several years, the hotel was my 2nd home, until I relocated to Singapore with my family, where I landed another a position in Sales at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia. Krissa was still in primary school at this time, and being away from the Philippines, where family support is extensive, taught us independence. After 2 years in Singapore, it was time for a move to Hong Kong. I was open to change and worked for an Event Management company for two years before my second child, Alexandra came along. I decided at that point to take a career break to be at home with her full-time… a luxury I didn’t have with my eldest daughter.
It was during this time that I ventured into other hobbies. I got into a small jewellery business and also about the same time, I started my journey in yoga. Although I’d come to yoga later in life, I found this was my refuge.
When I found myself back in the corporate world, this time it was working for The Walt Disney Company – specifically for its theme park and resorts in Asia, Hong Kong Disneyland. My childhood days were immersed in Disney, so working here seemed like second nature to me.
Whilst I busied myself travelling around the region and ‘sharpening the saw’ at work, I endeavoured to learn my craft more and hone my skills as a regular practitioner and teacher of yoga, after having completed my Yoga Alliance teacher training certification, allowing me part-time teaching opportunities in Hong Kong and in the Philippines. I now teach both adult and kids classes and slowly building up to more which hopefully, I aim to achieve this year.
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
Having a baby in my teens was completely alien to me. It was hard to imagine being a single mom while still at school. I had a helper and my mom then, who were a tremendous help, but I knew from the moment I became a parent, I was on my own.
I drew strength and inspiration from this experience, and I learned the valuable truth of hard work and persistence. I knew I had to make something good out of this and I needed to own up to the choices I made. I finished university with a distinction, and this paved the way for the life and career I’ve carved out for myself. Having my second child was a breeze in comparison!
Having kids has helped me to put things in perspective and set priorities. It has taught me to master the art of finding a balance in everything that I do.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Hong Kong?
Be good, kind and generous, but be firm with your values and principles, and stand by them. Be passionate and have a zest for life!
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
Be steadfast with your love and build a strong and solid foundation for the family. Uphold your values and principles; teach them and live by them.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Scrapbooking and other arts and crafts, and learning other languages.
My most humbling mama moment was…
When I became a young mama myself.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
I don’t usually wake up in the middle of the night – luckily I sleep like a log!
Bedtime is always smoother when…
Bathtime is done early in the evening, homework is completed, the school bag is packed and we say a little prayer together. I am not thinking of reports that need to be written!
Even when my child has a family of his/her own, I’ll still…
Cook and organise family meals together and make their power green smoothies! Also, practice yoga with them… maybe I’ll teach their kids yoga one day!
One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
I won’t sacrifice my time for myself.
My favourite moment of the day is…
When I come home early enough to see my family enjoy simply being home together.