Katie is mother to two gorgeous girls, Chloe (5) and Chelsea (14 months). Today Katie talks to us about how she juggles a career with family life and whether she really is superwoman …
Do you feel like you have to make a conscious choice between family and career?
Yes of course. From daily decisions like balancing how much day care or family support we use, to bigger picture planning. For example, do we travel overseas regularly in order to grow the business faster or do we pay for distribution agents to do the work for us but take the risk of a slower growth rate? Everything is a choice and it’s never easy.
How do you and your partner Cliff manage household chores and cooking when you’re both working full time?
We’re both a bit OCD so we clean all the time. I love vacuuming and I clean the bathroom and toilets while holding Chelsea in the mornings. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t do more than we need to, as long as the house feels hygienic and there are no choking hazards lying around then we’re happy.
We don’t have a lot of time to cook so rely on My Food Bag quite a bit. Cliff does that since he loves following rules and instructions and he feels good when his plate looks like the My Food Bag photo! If we both get home late we may order Uber Eats, but I always cook for the kids so it’s less salty and healthier with lots of veggies and fruit.
How did you manage the first months after your babies were born? Did you take time off?
I took six weeks off with Chloe and four weeks off with Chelsea. Being a mother is rewarding, of course, but extraordinarily hard and nothing can prepare you for it. I’m definitely not superwoman when it comes to parenting and I absolutely didn’t know what I was getting myself in for. I am always tired – neither of my girls sleep well and there is usually some bug or tumble that needs a bit of extra love and care (along with wide awake nights!).
Cliff took 2-3 weeks of paternity leave when the girls were born and that was incredibly helpful. Plus we had both of our parents on call, we are very lucky in that regard. It meant I could take a quick shower and make sure I was still functioning for my family. I would squeeze in work here and there, such as answering emails or text messages, checking that our vendor’s needs and orders were being met and making sure all our brides were happy. The newborn days are all a bit of a blur but I’m still here, the kids are alive and the business is going strong, so we got through it! I absolutely couldn’t do it without our family support – it is vital and allows us to successfully run the business, which of course, was my first baby!
How do you spend quality time with your girls?
I take Wednesday off to spend time with Chelsea while she is still little, Cliff takes Chloe to ballet class on Saturdays and we take her to swimming on Sundays. In our spare time we explore different parks and find good short coastal walks around Auckland with Chelsea in my front pack. We also like watching movies together, Tangled is Chloe’s favourite at the moment.
When’s the last time you felt like it was too hard? What happened and what did you do to get through it?
When we first made the transition to parenthood it was really difficult. It was a total shock. Having a child changed the hours we could work and the dynamics of a smooth running business operation. We couldn’t keep our crazy schedules anymore. There were a lot of tears trying to transition from one life to our brand new one, with a new member of the family.
In the end we’ve learnt to operate around the girls, we work from home when the kids are asleep or Cliff writes emails while I bath them. Sometimes we rely heavily on our parents so we can speed through our workload such as quality checks, packing orders, or preparing for shoots. Eating dark chocolate and spicy chips helps to keep us focussed too! I know lots of people like to project an image of ease and balance around work and children, but for me, it’s not like that. Life isn’t always rosy and beautiful, the reality is more like a rainbow after a rain storm. And I’m happy with that.
Is being a role model to your two girls part of why you do it?
It’s cool to have our children see Cliff and I work hard to build a good future for them – but it depends how you define role model. Anyone who is caring and respectful is a good role model. I want our girls to know their self worth and grow up to be confident individuals and as long as we teach them to live with grace and a kind heart, that’s all that’s important to us. I cannot live without my 3 C’s (as I affectionately call them!) And nothing is more important (sorry Hera and Daisy!).