SUPER MUM: NAOMI JACOB
Our Super Mum blog is back for 2018, and we are super excited to kick start the second in the series off with Naomi Jacob, Co-Founder of Coopita, the Global platform created for artisans.
When Naomi isn't managing Coopita's sourcing operations, this Super Mum can be found practicing the art of sleeping with her eyes open - but only if she loses a game of rock, paper, scissors with her husband...
Find out more about Naomi's 'Octopus Style Parenting', learning not to have control and what inspires her, below.
While her little one Liam, may be our biggest fan, we are most definitely Naomi's!
How do mornings look in your household?
Who needs an alarm clock when you have a little one who wakes up at the crack of dawn and starts trilling away, wanting to be out and about! My husband Johannes and I play stone paper scissors and the winner settles in for a peaceful bonus hour of sleep. The loser stumbles out of bed bleary eyed and practices the art of sleeping with their eyes open, while also doubling as a step stool/ bumper for the eager little beaver.
Then it’s a mad scramble of breakfast, getting ready for work and getting the little one down for his first nap – during which time I try to plan my day ahead. When he wakes up at about 10, we zoom off to Trehaus Cowork where Liam plays with his friends and I get to start my work day.
What's your daily mum uniform?
Under the fruit purée splodges and inevitable trail of sticky wafer crumbs I’m usually in comfy cotton pants and a simple T-shirt, with one statement accessory and an emergency overlay in my bag in case I have a last minute meeting. It’s a uniform that I can put on in 5 minutes, fuss free and stain proof! The upside to this “mom uniform” is that on rare nights out or date nights, dressing up feels really special and enjoyable!
I am slowly (baby steps!) weeding out fast fashion from my wardrobe to downsize it to a capsule with clothes that represent craft skills, unique design viewpoints and sustainable production practices.
Who is your favourite eco/green brand?
One of the privileges of my job at Coopita is meeting amazing entrepreneurs and communities creating fantastic products sustainably.
From Aarohana EcoSocial Developments, a company that makes bags out of fabric handwoven by tribal women in western India from plastic grocery bags to Agatha Lee, a one-woman powerhouse in Singapore who teaches people to upcycle their existing wardrobes and does some beautiful work with natural dyes; there are too many to pick a favourite!
Gun to my head, my favourite is CintaBumi Artisans, who makes gorgeous products from sustainably sourced treebark, natural dyes and now even eco prints.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Too many things actually - a primary school teacher, airline pilot, ceramicist, marine biologist, social entrepreneur (checking that one now!) and a lawyer. I still want to be a lawyer!
Which female inspires you?
Gosh where to start - I grew up with very powerful and positive female role models - my mom is an architect and a #girlboss even before that was a thing, my school principal was a pioneer who fought for women’s rights in India and who created an amazing environment for kids (girls and boys!) to grow up believing they could achieve whatever they set out to, fellow mom and entrepreneurs who juggle a million balls and keep everything together –there’s inspiration all around me!
There is always going to be a special place in my heart for the Trehaus team - their vision and hard work allow me to function as a mom and a woman in business. I’m inspired by how they took what a lot of working moms would consider to be an either or choice - and just created a third option where you could have both, thereby solving a real problem and creating real value and impact.
We 100% agree! So what is your philosophy on motherhood/parenting style?
I think your philosophy doesn’t really matter – children have such strong and unique personalities and are quite capable of telling you what they need, if we are patient enough to listen. I just focus on that and giving him a whole lot of love - my husband says I squish him like an Octopus that gets squished till it’s ink comes out - so maybe that’s what I should call it - the Octopus style.
Haha that's very cute. Where is your fave place in the world?
Wherever my two boys are, it’s always super fun- but throw us on a beach anywhere and we’re usually the best versions of ourselves. Sun, sand, sea and family. Nothing can beat that combination.
What do you love most about your work?
The people I get to meet! And the stories they share.
Any tips for us working mums on juggling career and motherhood?
It gets easier and more fun!
Also, for me, after Liam, what became really important was having very strong reasons for why I was spending time away from him, so I got better at saying no to stuff that wasn’t that important and really prioritising and being more efficient.
Anything that you know now you wish you’d known as a start-up mumpreneur?
I really thought I would have more time for work (haha!). But also it’s that your personal choices affect the people on your team so you have to be really clear, honest and open in your communications with them and make sure everyone is one the same page.
I chose not to have help at home - this choice impacted how much time I had available for work. Luckily my co-founders and team made it work, but it’s not easy when your personal life changes but your professional goals don’t. I would think twice about having a startup with big goals and having an infant, especially if you aim to be the primary caregiver. Something’s gotta give.
When you get some 'me' time, what are your favourite things to do to unwind from the daily grind of work and motherhood
I wish I could say I do a lot of yoga or I exercise or meditate or something profound like that –but I usually disappear into a good book or catch a murder mystery on Netflix. I used to do a few ceramics classes when I was pregnant, which I loved, so at some point I’d love to get back to that.
Biggest lessons learned being a mum
How hard my mum worked probably to manage two under two and work. Also I have so much respect for my husband who gives up Liam time to go to work but still manages to create a secure and strong bond with Liam.
The biggest lesson to me is that there is no such thing as control especially when you have an infant under 6 months with a very strong idea of what he wants. You can organise your day perfectly and he or life could just have other plans and you have to be ok with that. Like it used to drive me nuts when I would finally get him down for a nap and twenty minutes in there would be a massive renovation project starting in our neighbours’ flat - and sometimes he would wake up, but other times he wouldn’t even stir. So you just have to be prepared to be flexible and if he wakes up - enjoy the extra play time. If he doesn’t, get some more work done or take a nap!
What's been your proudest moment as a parent to date?
Seeing the smile that lights up his face when he sees me come into the room - it makes me feel like I’m not doing everything all wrong and that there is a chance that he will come out of this happy and healthy!
And any funny parenting story to share?
Liam is usually a fearless explorer and he at 6 months figured out that my dad, his Grandfather, would quickly take him for a walk if he so much as looked in his direction and whined.
So one day we were at the beach in Kerala, India, and Liam was resisting sleeping- he played his usual tricks and got my dad to take him for a walk. They saw a little calf who was grazing nearby - and Liam pointed to go towards the calf.
He had just started playing with different octave of his vocal chords as well and his favourite sound at that moment was a Low growl/grunt/bellow - a truly horrible sound, much like a possessed little gremlin. As soon as they got to the calf, he started making that sound to get its’ attention. The calf looked up, and one baby to another, replied back with the exact same sound - and Liam promptly burst into tears!
Haven’t really heard that low sounds after that incident! Now he does a series of high-pitched bird calls...especially at 6 in the morning...
The other Liam classic was when he decided to make his baptismal font his bathtub for the morning and splashed about in it while the priest solemnly indicted him into the church.
What's your favourite baby gadget which you could not live without?
The bouncer – thank you Baby Bjorn for saving my tired arms. #notsponsored #butwouldntmindsponsorship
SHOP LIAM'S FAVOURITE HUNTER PRINT HERE.