Natalie Gentile | Another Mother Her Way
I first met Natalie Gentile when I was six or so months into Mother Untitled and a year and a half into motherhood. It may have been our coffee date that reaffirmed that this adventure would introduce me to so many special women I would have otherwise missed.
We initially met because of Natalie Gentile’s company King Kidlet which helps families navigate navigate the vast baby product market and select what is uniquely best for your family based on your family’s lifestyle (do you travel a lot? what’s your budget and aesthetic? do you live in a walk up?). Following that first date, she has since generously shared her wisdom here (read this, this and this).
But I was drawn to Natalie for her sensitivity, smarts and sensibility that make her as good of a mother and friend as she is in her business. Read on to hear how she quit her full-time job in education to be a mother to Ramona, all while starting King Kidlet. Also love how she brilliantly leans into sleepovers and the bigger picture with herself and her 2-year-old daughter.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Motherhood has taught me to roll with the punches more easily. Kids are just so unpredictable, so while we have a routine, it’s loose and can change at a moment’s notice.
WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I chose to leave my full-time job and stay home with my daughter when she was born. I assumed I would enjoy every second of being at home with her, and while I have loved it and feel so grateful, it has also been very challenging at times.
One of the challenges being that I started my business while I was pregnant, and building a business while taking care of a baby (with very little help) proved to be much harder than I had anticipated.
Now that my daughter is in preschool, I have two full days a week to work and it feels like the right balance for me. All that being said, I would make the same choices again. I know with 100% certainty I’ll never look back and wish I’d done anything differently.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Loving, supportive and lighthearted.
I strive to create a very loving environment where my daughter feels supported and comfortable making mistakes. For me, it’s really important to foster her independence and give her space to explore. If she’s off doing her own thing, I don’t interrupt but am always ready to jump in if she wants me to. And while I definitely set boundaries, we keep things very carefree in our household and there’s always a lot of laughter, and dance parties!
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
Learning to carve out time for myself (guilt-free) has taken time and is still a work in progress. Whether it’s to see friends, go shopping or simply take a walk, I’m constantly working on giving myself more alone time.
Once my daughter was old enough for sleepovers, my husband and I began leaning on our parents for more help. Even if it’s once every couple of months, it’s great to have some time for just the two of us.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
Besides my incredibly supportive husband, I’ve been very fortunate in finding an amazing group of ‘mom friends’. They’re all women I would be friends with regardless of kids. Since I’m without any family in the city, these women have been my support system since the postpartum days and now our kiddos are all best friends. It’s extremely special and something I don’t take for granted because I couldn’t do this alone!
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
I’m working on being more patient with both my daughter and myself. 2 can be a tough age and there is a lot of boundary pushing happening in our home currently. I’m constantly working to set a good example for my daughter on how to handle emotions.
And as a woman, I’m working on being easier on myself. I can be very hard on myself but what I’m starting to realize is that everything I accomplish is part of a larger process and I’m learning to trust in that process more and more.