‘I have good reason to be constantly checking my phone’ – 24 hours with…TV/radio presenter Jamie Yeo

Television and radio presenter Jamie Yeo on a day spent balancing professional responsibilities, personal commitments and looking after a 16-month-old baby

6.00am: I am woken by my insane husband, who doesn’t understand the concept of sleeping in. Roll back over, put the blanket over my face and pretend it’s still night time.

6.05am: Luke, my 16-month-old, uses his spidey-sense to work out his partner-in-crime has risen, and starts auditioning for a viking war party.

I consider rolling over again, but am stirred by our eight-year-old daughter Aly’s morning sneezing symphony, which she likes to perform right outside our bedroom.

6.10am: I can hear the children’s aunty giving the baby his milk, as I get out of bed.

6.35am: Aly is on the bus to school, Luke is back in la-la-land. Well, sort of. The husband heads out to do something crazy (run, gym, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or some other sweaty endeavour at an inhuman hour).

7.30am: Check instagram. Reply to messages on it. Since quitting Mediacorp a year ago, I’m now a social media consultant/social influencer/MC/voiceover talent/video presenter/everything.

So yes, I’ve got a good reason to be constantly checking my phone. I try not to when I have breakfast with the toddler, though.

8.00am: Luke and I discuss current affairs, philosophy and the meaning of life, through the medium of gurgles and him shouting: “Car. Car. Car.”. I then prepare him for his bath. As I am doing this, he pees on my foot. I then shower and get ready. 8.45am: I juggle replying to work email, with defending my laptop from baby insurgency. Luke’s weapons in the war of laptop destruction vary from water and food, to toy cars, fists and headbutts.

Clients are getting to their offices and the email, WhatsApp messages come in.

Sometimes I might leave the baby in the hands of his aunty as I take calls etc. Eventually, Luke retires to his room for milk and a nap, and I get proper quiet time for myself.  

On other mornings, I might take him out for a walk. Some mornings, I’ll slot in a quick workout at home or in the condo gym.

10.30am: I create content, field calls, plan shoot posts, meet potential clients, develop captions, run my own social media consulting business, and generally work at what my husband calls the “OCD multi-tasking olympics”.

Some photos require the children, so I would plan the direction and draft out the caption but do the shoot when Aly comes home from school.

I have to work fast because the baby is stirring, and announces his rise from slumber by kicking the sides off his cot. I go into his room and wonder why it smells like a public toilet in a slum, and am greeted with the ‘gift’ every mother dreads from our little angel.

12.00pm: Juggle ‘hangry’ baby lunch with chasing for money. Sometimes, when I need total concentration, I’d get the nanny to lunch with him while I continue working.

2.30pm: Aly my oldest, comes home from school so I spend some time with her. Luke goes down for nap too at some point and parties in his cot before passing out (usually any time until 4pm and 5pm). So before that, I need to actually get out and get things done.This will range from the mundane (groceries), to the meetings with potential/actual clients, favours for people wanting advice/help, charitable and other endeavours, coffee with friends, Aly taxi (to various enrichment activities), photoshoots, cooking experiments, making things and anything else you see on my Instagram.

4.00pm: Aly and Luke are now finished with studies, tuition and sleeping, respectively; and I try and spend some focused and quality time with them.

With Aly that might be helping her with Chinese homework, or just watching her latest stunts on her acrobatic rings. With Luke it’s applauding him chucking balls around, rugby tackling me as I squeeze in more work on my phone, because clients are still hard at work and emailing/calling/WhatsApping me their inquiries/feedback/approvals.

I will often take them out (swimming, playground, park…something outdoors) during this time, as it’s a bit cooler and I believe kids need to be outdoors more.  

As long as my phone’s with me, I can be anywhere, really. My husband is changing his job to his own thing, and is now often around to help out. Especially if I need a break, and a few minutes to work by the pool/playground as he pretends it’s a chore to use super-soakers on the kids.

6.00pm: Dinner time. Pooch places himself strategically beneath the high-chair with his mouth open in a symbiotic relationship with Luke that simultaneously bankrupts us (good food ain’t cheap) and makes them both a little more, ahem, prosperous.

My husband uses science and logic, and eventually bribery, to get Aly to eat protein.

7.00pm: This often feels like a marathon ending. Bath time for Luke, where he again pees on my foot, nagging Aly about teeth-brushing technique, husband feeding Luke round one of milk as I snatch replies to more work requests from clients who have emailed before they wrapped their day.

Then books and bedtime for both. Some days, I won’t be home for this as I am out attending or emceeing an event. Prior to that, is wash, refresh, make-up, hair-straightening, pick an outfit, run out the door and pretend to the client it’s all effortless.

This week for example, I MC for Terradata, an American tech firm that started in the Ohio town I went to High School in (Dad was SAF secondee there). I find these events inspiring.

In this case, it actually involved a 6am start, 12pm-6pm at home as the meat of the technical conference chat occurred, and 6pm-10pm on my feet emceeing – taking them through the intricacies of ‘Lo-hei’, introducing Canadian band Nickelback and then, kicking off the heels as I get in the car and breathe.

8.30pm: On non-gig days, my husband and I might catch some Black Mirror, Homeland or some other stressful TV show. All before more replying to work requests, reading, chatting, meditating and then trying to sleep with a million ideas, plans, dreams and exciting things to look forward to in life.

So what’s missing? Well maybe I try and snatch five minutes during the day to just be at peace with myself, look out the window at the trees and practice gratitude for a healthy, funny, if naughty, family and a buzzing new world of job possibilities afforded by technology and how we interact with each other.

Jamie Yeo is a television and radio presenter, and MC, based in Singapore


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