Mum of the Month: Natalie Norman
Each month we introduce you to our Mum of the Month. Inspiring women, strong role-models and kick-ass Mums, all sharing their working women’s wit and wisdom with us.
This month we chat to Natalie Norman – Mum to Liam & baby Amelia & Founder of Growbright; home of the airnest cot mattress and bright ideas for growing families.
Sleep was Natalie’s #1 concern when she had her son Liam (now 3yrs), now she’s on a mission to help all families sleep like babies – safe & sound.
Working Mumma Natalie shares some of her Mum life hacks with us.
1.How has life changed since you’ve had baby Amelia?
Wow…how hasn’t it changed! I couldn’t have ever imagined any room for me to love another one as much as Liam and just as my mother told me….my heart just grew J
With the addition of another baby and the loss of any personal time it is forcing me to put things into perspective, and figure out what is really important, which is not always easy. I have struggled with post natal anxiety which has been crippling some days. Just getting a handle on my coping machanisims, finding some head space and getting sleep has been vital to us as a family but now Amelia is 6 months I am finding it a lot easier and my whole family have been an amazing support.
People may wonder why I want to work with all of this going on but it really helps me focus and not obsess over the little things (and really enjoy the time I do have with my babies (and husband).
2. What are some Mum life hacks you can share with some of our readers?
Never turn down help – it does take a village… With Liam, in the early days I really didn’t want to take on too much advice, I felt I could do it all, but really struggled. Once I accepted that I couldn’t do it all and started letting my mum come and look after him for a few hours it was life changing. With Amelia – she was rostered on pretty quickly from day 1, as well as everyone else in the family :). I am pretty nervous about what will happen when my sister’s first baby is born later in the year…
The other one is try and find some room for exercise (sans kids if possible!).
If I can get up before the kids and have a walk in the morning, it helps clear my head! Although its getting dark now so I will need to find a walking buddy. I am also limiting my Netflix at night time…partly to read but also so I can get up early. Otherwise its hard to turn it off before 11 (for me anyway).
Be as consistent as you can with your children’s food and sleep – it makes it so much easier to know why they are upset.
3.What’s Amelia’s favourite food?
Pear (Future foody of course!) She has a bit of a sweet tooth my girl, but she still happily finishes off her dinner which I don’t sweeten. She also loved banana but is allergic. It started to give her red cheeks and stopped her body moving; I knew straight away what it was as Liam had the same reaction.
4.What’s Amelia’s most disliked food?
Baked beans (blended with cheese), it’s literally the only food she won’t open her mouth for. Not suprised…I’m not a fan either.
5.What did you find the most challenging when starting Amelia on solids?
Knowing when to stop as she will eat as much as I offer! I needed to make sure it wasn’t slowing her down on her milk.
6. What’s the best thing about being a Mum?
Seeing my babies happy and developing into little people. Amelia is still so young but she already leads us around the house (hand out in front) knowing exactly what she wants! As for Liam, now three, I am really enjoying seeing his EQ develop. In particular through, the comments from day care about how he interacts with his peers and what he tells me on the way home. I am really trying to foster his caring nature as he loses it pretty quickly when he is out of routine & over tired.
7.What’s the most challenging thing about being a Mum?
It’s not as easy to make them happy as I thought would be. I have really learnt this the hard way with Liam. I found giving him what he wants (I guess I have spoiled him at times) seems to make him really unhappy –he’s just never satisfied. As we have learnt to stay consistent with him…emotional support, structure, routine, love & hugs…not too much choice, he is so much happier and content. It wasn’t an easy habit to break (not to give in to screaming) but it’s so rewarding for both paties.
The other thing is probably similar to most other mothers…Always being tired! I really have to work hard to handle my emotions.
8. How does Greg help you to be the best Mum you can be?
Greg has really supported me in not losing my personal identity by supporting my work and time with friends and family. It does add a lot of pressure to our family as we juggle many balls but it is working really well for our family. He is also happy to look after the kids so I can get a night out with the girls (pretty much weekly if I had the stamina J).
He also knows how badly I deal with no sleep and my struggles getting back to sleep so he is extremely helpful when the kids wake in the night.
9. What is the thing you’re most proud of that Amelia can do right now?
Sleep through the night…if only her brother would! But I also think its pretty cute how she leads us around the house as mentioned before.
10. Do you have any advice out there for other working Mums?
- Seek out female mentors and positive role models…investing in yourself is important too
- Never be afraid to ask for what you want or need. That might be advice/help – time out!
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed (which I do almost weekly), stop, have a cup of tea, write a list of everything you feel you need/want to do – break it down to a few manageable tasks a day.
- And if washing only gets folded once a week…its not forever.
Now I just need to take my own advice!