The Lims at home. Behind them, a sneak peek of an upcoming Sunday launch!
When Amanda and Tyler Lim first moved in together, they shared a small apartment in Boon Keng but not much time at home. Amanda — a certified fitness coach and nutritionist — was regularly leaving the house before 6am to get to work, while Tyler — a medical doctor — was pulling 80-hour work weeks in the hospital.
6.5 years on, life has drastically changed for the Lims. Now in their second home — and about to move to their third — the couple has 2 kids, Louise (almost 3) and Archie (1+), a shared business (while each also running their own businesses), and somehow, a thriving family life with fewer work hours.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Amanda and Tyler about their relationship and how they are committed to making it work.
Amanda, you have celebrated many milestones with Tyler. Was there ever a period that was particularly difficult to navigate?
Amanda: We always joke that we don’t do anything by halves — we go all in, from the start, and never look back. From getting pregnant with our daughter and married two months later, to launching two successful businesses during COVID in 2020, to now opening our new wellness centre and renovating a house together — we are so used to major challenges, we almost anticipate them now.
I’m definitely the “hothead” in the relationship so Tyler has to deal with my fierce temper, and I have to deal with his persistent forgetfulness/absentmindedness. But that’s why we work — we can both apologise and move on. Our fights just don’t last long.
Amanda and Tyler in their early days of dating. Images courtesy of Amanda.
Has this always been the case?
Amanda: I love to be alone, and I love my space when we’re in an argument. In the past, I would just leave to take a walk or go back to my own place when we argued. Now, with the kids and our house, I am stuck with him when we disagree (ha!). So we are better about trying to talk things out right away.
One of the things we do is to read the stoic meditations before we go to bed, and the backbone of stoicism is if you spend time and energy on things you can't control, you're basically spinning your wheels. And that is how you keep yourself unhappy. You keep yourself in stress. So what you must do is separate the things in your life that you can control and the things that you can't, and do your best to let go of the things that you can't.
With Tyler’s forgetfulness, for example — if I nag him about it, he will still forget. I don’t think it’s a thing that can change, so I can spend less time and energy stressing about it, though it is difficult to turn around and come back to get something he’s forgotten!
But we absolutely do fight. We’re definitely more fight-and-talk than simmer-and-resent.
How have you learned to fight and talk well?
Tyler: Apologise at the end.
Amanda: Yeah, apologise at the end — and let it be the end.
Fact: one of Tyler's wedding vows was to say something nice to Amanda each day. When asked what he said to her that morning, he said, "I tell her I love her every day. It was the first thing I said to her when she opened her eyes this morning."
But how do you apologise if you don’t feel like you have anything to apologise about?
Amanda: Force it.
Tyler: Well, ultimately, I recognise what we have is a partnership with the kids. We’re not going to end anything, and the disagreements we have are mostly a difference in views of the foundation we’re building. If we talk enough about it, someone will make a compromise. Both of us also know we are trying to do our best for each other, so when we fight, I don’t bear grudges.
Amanda: Yeah, I think we both don’t hold onto grudges. I have some girlfriends who bring up things from 13 years ago the second they get into a fight with their husbands. That needs to be let go.
Tyler: And we’ve not been together for 13 years yet (laughs). So, that helps.
Let’s talk about this foundation that you’re building. What do you mean by that?
Amanda: Well, one concrete example is sleep. We like our sleep — we go to bed early, we wake up early. Before Louise was even born, I showed Tyler this book about sleep training and told him we were going to sleep train our kids. I don’t think Tyler had any idea what that meant.
Tyler: Nope —
Amanda: — Because to be honest, I had a lot of books. But I knew that the foundation of our family had to be based on sleep, because you see these parents walking around like zombies, and kids that are flipping out because they’re not getting enough rest. From the beginning, I knew sleep would be my hill to die on. If nothing else were to go well with these kids, they would at least sleep on a schedule. That’s how our house is run.
So that’s an example of building our foundation. We sat down, we talked about it, we planned for it.
Tyler: Yeah, so we build our foundation by talking about an idea we have and how we’re going to execute the plan. We’re both goal directed in that sense.
Amanda: We’re always working on a plan. We’re never about seeing what happens; we choose a path and we go for it.
The Lims hanging out with our French Linen in Sandshell (launching late Feb 2023) and our collection with Liberty London (launching March 2023).
Like how the both of you decided to take a step back from work to spend more time with family.
Amanda: Yeah, and just to rework our work. For me, it was about moving my business entirely online. I used to be completely client-facing — 8 hours each day — but now with all my calls, it’s one to two hours client-facing maximum. The rest is online administration, which I can do from anywhere.
Tyler: And I was working up to 80 hours a week even in the early days when Lou was born. There was no regularity. I decided I had to focus on my health, so I have taken on more of a management role with the clinics I run. I still take appointments to see patients and of course Amanda and I also have clients that we see at Lift Clinic.
Amanda: Pretty much every day is the same for us now —
Tyler: — It’s perfect.
Amanda: Because we’re both by-appointment, but we also take appointments on weekends. Every day is the same potential day, since we can be at work on a Saturday or Sunday. As entrepreneurs, we set our own schedules, and we’ve made a commitment to each other — and the kids! — not to take calls or meetings after 6. In fact, most days we start early enough that we’re home with the kids by 4.
While Amanda and Tyler admit they still struggle with work/life lines ("we live so close to work, work together, work remotely, AND love our work!"), they have also made scheduling decisions that prioritise family. They both do not take calls or meetings after 6pm, and put the kids to bed together almost daily — Tyler oversees bath time while Amanda oversees toothbrushing.
Final question: do you think having kids has made your relationship easier or more difficult?
Amanda: I think you could say it’s more difficult because we can’t travel as easily, or spend money willy-nilly. But that’s okay for us, actually. It’s not about thinking how having kids might not allow you to have certain things, it’s about considering your priorities. We might not be able to travel as easily, but we’re really happy to just go out and ride bikes with the kids.
Tyler: My kids are fun! I wouldn’t do anything to change what we have.
Amanda and Tyler’s advice for anyone who has just…
Moved in with their partner
“If you feel like killing your partner in their sleep during the first few weeks, congrats — you’re normal. Now take a deep breath, and hug ‘em instead.”
Just had a baby with their partner
“What you think is conflict/anger/resentment is often just sleeplessness in disguise. Know that the worst of it is in the very beginning, when everything is new, and if you give each other grace (and trade naps!) during that time, you’re going to be ok.”
Just started a business with their partner
“Lay out the fundamentals (business plan, accounting and scheduling systems, marketing plan and budget, etc.) together, making sure both partners understand each system in full. When both partners can do any job/task for the business, it’s a lot easier to delegate or share work than only sticking to “your” side of the business. And don’t forget to “turn off” work mode when you get home! It’s the same rule we have being parents – if all you have to talk about is work, or the kids… what’s left when those things inevitably move on? A recent podcast we listened to said that the key to lifelong happiness is being in a partnership with your best friend, and we couldn’t agree more. Cultivating friendship is just as important as growing a family and a business, and we try to remember that whenever times get tough.”