Jennifer Lam - Mama's Got This

Hey there!

Thanks for popping by.

I’m Jen, the blogger behind Mama Has Got This. I live in Sydney with my husband Zen, and my two year old daughter, Clara.

This blog is a curation of what I know now — it’s a collection I’ve been gathering since becoming a mother — of resources, wisdom, experiences, tools and more, for an inspired and intentional life.

I share these to pass on the gems of wisdom from lessons learned in hope that it somehow will make a little difference to someone somewhere.


Random facts about me

UNTIL I BECAME I MOTHER, I HAD NEVER

Gone to the cinema alone

I BOOST MY ENERGY & MOOD BY

Earthing at the beach

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D BE

Vegan for almost 2 years now

I HAVE THE SAME PERSONALITY TYPE AS

Oprah & Barack Obama! (ENFJ-A)

I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT

My reusable coffee cup

MY FAVOURITE JUNK FOOD IS

ALDI’s deli-style chilli chips

They’re slightly hotter than the Kettle brand!

Commonly asked questions

How long have you been blogging / how did you start blogging?

I started my first blog in 2004; I had learned to manually code and build blogs in uni before WordPress was a thing. In 2006, I set-up jenius.com.au as a personal portfolio and a space to document my food adventures and photography — that eventually morphed into iatemywaythrough.com in which I grew to a readership of over 80,000 visitors/month, with a team of 20+ contributors. We also ran food events and tours around Sydney. At the time of inception, I Ate My Way Through was strictly a hobby but I was lucky to be able to pursue it as a full-time gig in mid-2009. I created Mama’s Got This in 2017 when I fell pregnant. I wanted to share all the tools and resources that I was discovering to help others on the same parenthood journey.

What kind of equipment do you use to take your photos?

Most of the photography on this blog is shot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm lens. I always use natural light.

I use a GorillaPod to take family portraits but other than that, I don’t use much photography equipment.

Almost all the photography on Instagram is shot with an iPhone X which allows me to capture the special candid moments.

What apps / filters do you use to edit your photos?

When shot in RAW with my DSLR, I use Lightroom to post-process my photos. I use custom presets which I’ve tweaked over the years.

On my iPhone, I firstly use Snapseed to adjust the white balance and then the selection tool to highlight any areas; or the healing tool to tidy up any inconsistencies. Then the image is imported to VSCO where I typically use the E2 filter with a lowered saturation. I go through different phases — the S2 filter was my favourite when I first started the Mama’s Got This Instagram account so you may have noticed a transition to these warmer tones from the earlier posts.

I plan my posts on the Preview app to ensure the grid looks cohesive.

Back when it was just the two of us — we celebrated our three year wedding anniversary at Six Senses Yao Noi

About me

Before baby

While I became an entrepreneur first, it was the impending responsibilities of motherhood and the quest for freedom to do what I want when I want, that pushed me to resign from my full-time job on the eve of my 25th birthday.

Almost ten years on, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in learning how to build two great companies. I’ve spent the last decade passionately learning everything I could about business and leadership; it’s been an incredible ride with some amazing highs and some terrifying lows but I can’t imagine living life any other way. I’m lucky to have Zen as my greatest cheerleader of 17 years (and the best husband in the world during the last 6 years) and together, we’ve had many spontaneous and thoroughly planned adventures around the globe. Travel has always given me the inspiration to hone my craft in storytelling and photography.

I don’t think there is ever a perfect time to do anything; after putting off the idea of having children for many years, here we are. I’m juggling more things than ever and I’m determined to continue to live life purposely and travel endlessly, whilst trying to be a better leader, mother, wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, auntie, mentor and friend.

Becoming a mother

Here’s my birth story.

When I first became a mother, I didn’t know there was a term for velcro babies, attachment parenting or even what exclusive breastfeeding or breastfeeding on demand meant. Although I knew to trust my instincts in my approach, discovering these resources have provided so much validation and clarity in times of uncertainty.

Because of you
I can feel
myself slowly
but surely
becoming the me
I have always
dreamed of being.

– Tyler Knott Gregson

Motherhood has consumed me in ways that I never expected. I never thought I’d miss my baby so much when she’s asleep that I’d be looking at photos of her instead of resting. I never thought I’d be physically incapable of concentrating on conversations with anyone else if my baby is at the table because when we’re together, the world stops around us. I was unaware of how powerful hormones would be to sustain breastfeeding for 24 months and counting. I was never prepared for postnatal depletion or for this level of exhaustion and mental fatigue. But when she calls me mama and rubs her little hands on arms with the sweetest smile, I always wonder what I’ve done to deserve her. 

Clara had been on eight flights by the time she was two! This photo was taken at Macao when she was 18 months old.

More about Jen

Jen is the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden, an online marketing agency which helps brands to create great content and conversions, and to get noticed by the right people.

She is also the Founding Editor of I Ate My Way Through, one of Australia’s best-known food& travel blogs; founded in 2006! They won Food Blog of the Year at the 2013 Ultrabook Pedestrian Blogster Awards and were #28 in Australia’s Top 50 Influencer Awards 2017.

Jen was a nominee in the Cosmopolitan Fun, Fearless Female Women of the Year awards 2010 and a Rising Star (under 30) finalist in the B&T Women In Media Awards 2014. She was shortlisted in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2016.

Speaking about my journey from hobby to business at Tasting Australia: Words To Go 2016 conference, a dedicated forum for food & travel bloggers

Jen speaks at events, panels and conferences —

  • Presenter: Asian Home Gourmet Kitchen Demonstrations, Chinese New Year Festival, February 2010
  • Panelist: Monetising and Professional Blogging, Eat Drink Blog, November 2011
  • Panelist: Using Social Media to Boost Covers, FoodService Australia, May 2012
  • Panelist: Australian Media Landscape, Visit California Sales and Media Mission, August 2014
  • Panelist: Influencers and Online Advocacy, Social Media Week, September 2014
  • Speaker: Paranoid Android (The Power of Technology), Vibewire fastBREAK, September 2014
  • Speaker: Social Media and Blogger Outreach and Online Marketing Trends, City of Canada Bay Managers Workshop, September 2014
  • Panelist: Technology Innovation – Going Global from Australia, Alumni Event, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, University of Sydney, August 2015
  • Guest Lecturer: Twitter Seminar on Social Media Campaigns – MECO6936 Social Media Communication, University of Sydney, April 2015, April 2016, March 2017
  • Speaker: From Hobby to Business – How to Take Blogging to the Next Level, Tasting Australia, Words To Go, May 2016
  • Speaker: 5 tips in 5 slides – Made in Sydney – Local Food & Liquor Legends, General Assembly, September 2016

Growing up, Jen wanted to be a teacher and she managed to intertwine that with her online media career, becoming a unit demonstrator/tutor at the University of Sydney where she had studied.

As a writer and story-teller, she has written for a number of publications including The Coffee Guide, Lifestyle Food and Spark Magazine. She has also written numerous successful award entry submissions for clients across Australia, helping them to become award winners and finalists.

Jen is passionate about giving back and was a business & marketing mentor to refugees at Settlement Services International’s (SSI) Ignite Small Business Start-ups program.

Jen is currently bringing together an accumulation of more than 14 years of online marketing & business expertise and a passion for ethical and sustainable living with the launch of social enterprise, Caring Co.

P.S. This TED Talk really touched me, I think you’ll like it too:

If I should have a daughter

If I should have a daughter, instead of ‘Mom,’ she’s going to call me ‘Point B,’ because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

And I’m going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, ‘Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.’

And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry.

So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself, because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. ‘And, baby,’

I’ll tell her, don’t keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick; I’ve done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him. But I know she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few that chocolate can’t fix.

But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything, if you let it. I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass-bottom boat, to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind, because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this.

There’ll be days like this, my mama said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises; when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape; when your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say thank you.

Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the wind in win some, lose some. You will put the star in starting over, and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

‘Baby,’ I’ll tell her, ‘remember, your mama is a worrier, and your poppa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.’ Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things. Always apologize when you’ve done something wrong, but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street-corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
— Sarah Kay