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BFFs Whine and Wine through motherhood and entrepreneurship

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This week, we celebrate women and the support of one another! Friends because their daughters share the same name, bonded over motherhood and a common love for wine and home improvement, then finally business partners by choice, Jo and Libby are the undomestic goddesses behind BRUNO (@brunohotplatesg) & Maison Ace (@maisonace).

They are also firm believers that it is not the size of your Mom Tribe that matters, but the camaraderie and support they give. As the demands of today's modern mothers literally stretch them thin across the home and the office even as their "villages" shrink, it's extra important that mothers find and foster healthy relationships with each other that help them grow as parents while maintaining their sense of self. How did they do it all? Read on to find out more.


BFFs, Libby & Joanne
Mums & Co-founder @brunohotplatesg @maisonace


Libby Soh

What do you love and value about yourself?

I struggle with finding something precise to love about myself because I’ve come to love the sum of my parts (instead of nit picking on the areas I find myself lacking) but if there is one quality I particularly love having, it would be having what I call a “tofu heart” – which allows me to forgive, move on and treat people with compassion so I have few regrets in the area of relationships. I value my creativity and my hard-won tenacity. I was not naturally a very determined child, so perseverance did not come easily to me.

What do you struggle with and how do you try to address that?
The thing about parenting is that there really are no hard and fast rules and you 100% cannot apply the “if I put in x amount of effort, there will be results” mentality. Some days you feel you achieve nothing as a mother and as a business owner, but some days are wonderful and everything just falls into place. As something of a control freak, it took me a long time to realize that I need to pick my battles and just go with the flow sometimes.

I struggle with being an emotionally stable haven for my kids and trying not projecting my expectations on them, so they have room and support to grow. I address this by taking time out when I’m not in a good head space emotionally so that when I do come back to them, I’m able to be the mother they need. And I feel especially blessed to have a village that supports me in doing this.

What does self-care/love mean to you?
When I first heard the term, I tended to associate self-care as a luxury. But over time, I realize it is a necessity, especially for modern mothers who juggle a thousand different responsibilities. It could be something as simple as having an hour to yourself three times a week, kid free, to go to the spa, get a massage, catch up on a book or some trashy drama. It’s different for everyone because we all do different things to unwind. For me, it means either having a quiet dinner with my husband where we can catch up without the kids, or 15 minutes in the morning to enjoy breakfast over the papers before heading to work. It makes all the difference and recharges your mental tank so you emerge a better version of yourself.

Do you make time to do the things you enjoy doing?
I almost never had time for self-care with my first child, but now after having an amazing helper join our family, it has been much easier to carve out time for myself. I set aside two Fridays a month for dinner with my husband or with friends, and twice a week in the mornings before I go to work, my helper will bring my son down for a walk so I can have 30 minutes to make and enjoy my own breakfast.

How do you support your BFF, Jo?
We make it a point to take time out of work to have dinner and connect as friends. No topic is off the table, really, each work BFF dinner is spent really ironing out any tension or issues we’ve had that month. This did not come easy, it took us many months to reach a good and stable synergy and we’ve gone through some really painful times – but here we are.

Support is a 24/7 thing, especially if you work together. It could be babysitting each other’s kids when the other is busy, a simple message to remind them they are appreciated and someone is thinking about them. Jo brings the wine, I pick (or cook) the food, we both bring the “whine”, its all good.

Any tips to share with others on self-care/love?
I would say, not to think of self-care as a “fixed” concept. Going to a spa once a week or eating as much carbs as you feel like in the middle of the night will not always make you feel recharged. Rather, self-care is a fluid concept – it really is making time to do what you need mentally or physically at that moment. If you’ve been craving some adult conversation – a dinner or BFF date, if you have been missing your parents – taking a day off to be with them. Don’t subscribe to popular and glamorized ideals of self-care – it is an entirely personal experience and I think its all about listening to yourself and prioritizing yourself frequently enough that you feel cherished, appreciated and don’t burn out.


Joanne Sim

What do you love and value about yourself?
I mulled over the response to this as it took me a really long time to actually come up with what I love and value about myself for growing up I had low-self esteem. Over the years, I learned how to be more comfortable in my own skin. So if I have to choose now, I would say that I love and value my positivity and determination. Even in the darkest of times, I try to see the positivity in the challenges and am determined try to work towards the best possible outcomes.

What do you struggle with and how do you try to address that?
Having work-life balance! Everyone wants that but in reality, it’s almost impossible to achieve. I struggle with wanting to have more time to be with my child, friends and family but there are so many never-ending things to always attend to. So instead of beating myself up, I set myself pockets of time to spend with my loved ones and always try to be present when I am with them.

What does self-care/love mean to you?
Carving out pockets of time within the week for myself to do the things that I want. To me, it’s the smallest things that matter, like dropping by at my fave shop to squeeze in a spot of shopping or grabbing a decadent cup of bubble tea to treat myself before the next appointment.

Do you make time to do the things you enjoy doing?
Yes, I try to. There are other things that I would like to do but I recognise that those are not the top of my priority now. So, I pick what’s more important to me at this point in my life that will give me the most joy!

How do you support your BFF, Libby?
With a lot of wine! We set aside ‘Whine and Wine’ sessions where we will talk just and talk. It’s not always a bed of roses and we have encountered some setbacks in our friendship. But we learned along the way that it’s important to be honest and open with each other about how we feel. Only then, we can provide the support to one another.

Any tips to share with others on self-care/love?
Carve out some time within the day and spend it on yourself. It can be the smallest of things like lying in bed and binge-watching on ‘Crash landing on you’ or enjoying a glass of wine on your own or even going for a facial/ manicure. Learning how to care for yourself is important as your needs are just as important as your loved ones. It ensures that your emotional well-being is looked after as well.

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