- Name: Naomi Clarke
- Age: 33
- Children: Heidi 3, Annie 1
Naomi, our Stay At Home Working Mum (yep, it’s a thing!) who recently launched The Tipi – a new children's homewares, gifts and toys website – from the comfort of her own living room.
Saved interview for later
Let’s jump straight in, Naomi… I know being a stay at home mum is really important to you now, but was that always part of your “plan”?
I always thought of myself as pretty career driven and I never minded putting in the hard yards, in hope of the monetary returns at the end of the working year. So, I was pretty surprised at how my outlook on life changed when we had Heidi, our first daughter. When Heidi was about 10 months old I started the job search, to return to work in an Investment Bank, however I knew I didn’t want to return full time and I was struggling to find part time work. I was also conscious I didn’t want to return to a role where I would have to have a Blackberry strapped to my hand 24/7, which was when we made the decision that actually, maybe it would be the right time to have a second child quicker than we had originally planned, and hey a 2nd can't be that hard can it?! Annie came along when Heidi was 20 months old to add to the chaos.
How did you find the jump from successful career woman to successful Mum?
I instantly loved being a Mummy, it actually felt pretty stress free compared to working in an investment bank and being yelled at by bankers and traders, whilst worrying about how you were going to fill 100 jobs in the next month. However, for nearly six months I would feel embarrassed when people asked what I did, or when I was going back to work. I'd respond: "Oh ermm I'm actually a full time Mum." Lots of people replied: “How do you cope with the constant baby thing?” I would quickly tell them what I used to do pre motherhood, as if I needed to offer something else than just being a mum. I mean, after all, telling them I used to work in an investment bank really gave me rock star status. Ha ha. So yes it took me a while to be comfortable in my new skin, with my new identity, but actually I think a lot of it was my own insecurities, no one was judging me for taking that time out to spend with my girls. I was just beating myself up that I didn’t fit a certain mold. Once I stopped making those comparisons, it was literally the best thing I’ve ever decided to do, for myself and my little family
Good on you! So many Mum’s do feel embarrassed by their choices, or at the very least, feel like they have to justify it…
There really isn’t one rulebook for each family. We’re all so different - with different needs and certainly different children – and you make it work for your set of circumstances. Yes, without a doubt I probably have taken a step back from my career which, if I wanted to return to work in an investment bank would hinder me, and we certainly haven't been on as many exotic holidays without that second income, but we made that choice as a family, and I don't regret it one bit. As my husband always reminds me I've got at least another 25 years of work before I retire!!
Talking of work, how did the idea for The Tipi come along?
I had spent two and half years at home with the girls, when I thought maybe I could try and squeeze in a bit of a project in too. We don't have family on our doorstep, so it needed to be something I could fit in around the girls. So, I thought I’d put my love for shopping to good use and came up with the idea of a quality children's homewares, gifts and toys website. The aim was to provide unique children's gifts and toys that were pleasing to the eye for Mums and Dads but still just as fun and creative, for little ones.
What does your ‘typical day’ look like being a stay-at-home working Mum?
I'm still definitely in juggling mode! I don't really start doing any proper work on The Tipi until about 9pm because I've lost the ability to do anything quickly! By about 10pm I’m all guns blazing by midnight I think it's about midday and my mind is racing with new ideas and products. Come 2am my husband wakes up and realizes I'm not in bed so texts me saying “get to bed now”. He's never wasted the energy to come down and check on me. Annie usually wakes at about 3am and by 5am Heidi has jumped into our bed so by 7am I need coffee and perhaps a Mars bar, typical diet of such a wholesome mum. The routine of work and the girls still needs to be refined quite significantly to make it more manageable but I am truly loving being able to create something for myself, purely based on things I love for my own children. Hopefully this year I won't have to ask my husband for some money to buy his own birthday present, which I'm not sure is a bonus for me or not!
I’m shattered just hearing about your day, so on that note I want to introduce you to The Up All Hours quick fire round… Here we can get to know a little more about what you are currently in to and it might serve as some recommendations for others
Up All Hours watching
I actually don’t watch that much TV anymore, I would much prefer to scroll Pinterest and Instagram, it’s a whole world of creative loveliness. I also have the attention span of a goldfish so can’t watch films.
Up All Hours reading
I’m a total magazine girl, I’ve recently discovered Smallish Magazine which is an awesome mag for parents looking for beautiful clothes and ideas for their kids.
Up All Hours listening to
Passenger, he used to busk in Manly in Sydney when we lived there so holds a special place in my heart.
Up All Hours eating
I’m a total Northern girl at heart, give me a roast dinner, or pie any day, with loads of gravy obviously!
Up All Hours wearing
I really shouldn’t be giving any fashion advice, but you’ll always find me in skinny jeans and thick knits in the Winter and always in loose fitting dresses in the Summer.
Can’t cope with anything too clingy, it literally ruins my day.
And finally, if you had to be Up All Hours with anyone, who would it be and why?
Ha, I’d have to say my husband, we go out so little together it would just be rude to pick somebody else.
For more info on The Tipi head to www.thetipi.co.uk.