The smart and talented Natasha Jansz Vogt of Natasha Jansz Design sat down with us to talk about working and parenting, and we loved every minute of it. Natasha is an interior designer, and the absolute best part about her work is that she creates family-friendly spaces – where you can actually touch everything and sit on the furniture – without sacrificing one iota of style. Everything is beautiful, inviting, and livable. That’s a unique skill set! And she does it all while parenting her two beautiful girls. Read on!
Please tell us about your career, and why you’re so passionate about it.
I work for myself as an interior designer, doing residential and commercial projects. I’ve been building my business for 10 years. I had always planned to do things that were creative and entrepreneurial, and when I had my quarter-life crisis, I decided to go back to school for interior design and pursue a career in it. I felt like I could chart my own course in the field when I started a family, and luckily the plan worked out.
The best aspects of my job for me are the creative fulfillment of turning a vision into something real, and the satisfaction of helping people make their homes awesome. I write a blog called Inspiration Source Files where I share the fun parts my job – art and design concepts, before and after pictures, shopping finds. Those things still make me giddy, and I feel very lucky to call it work.
We just love all of that. And you do it while being an awesome mom!
Yes, I have two children. Saskia is 8 and Camelia is 3.
Can you tell us about your child care arrangements? How do you make the logistics work?
Right now my 3-year old is at pre-school 3 mornings a week. The other two mornings, we have a wonderful part-time nanny who fits in a bit of housework while she entertains Camelia. Work for me usually stops at 12:30 or 2:00 when childcare ends, and often resumes after my kids have gone to bed. I’m a night-owl, and this is sometimes the most productive part of my day! I usually spend part of the weekend working as well. It’s my favorite time to be out seeing clients and shopping because my husband is there for the kids, and I don’t have to watch the clock.
What do you need to survive your day?
3 decent meals and some sugar in the afternoon.
If you could start all over, would you change anything?
I would worry less about things, every step of the way!
What’s the best work advice you’ve ever received?
“Give ‘em hell!” When I was a kid, my dad was very big on empowering me to assert myself verbally if anyone tried to mess with me. Where this served me the most was in my first years of working in high school and college – babysitting, assisting in corporate offices, restaurant hostessing. I couldn’t count the number of times I was sexually harassed in those jobs. The reason I’m not traumatized about it all is that whether it was employer, co-worker or customer, I always reacted like the spitfire my dad told me I needed to be – even when at times I was totally intimidated and shaking on the inside! After a while, I gained true confidence from making grown men recoil from my wrath. I am really grateful to my dad for preparing me for work and life this way.
That’s incredible. We are big proponents of being brave and acting confident even if you don’t feel it. We love hearing about other women who believe in this and live this! OK, can you tell us the best parenting advice you’ve ever received?
The thing about how taking the oxygen on the plane BEFORE your child in an emergency is the best way that you can help your child, and how that is a metaphor for motherhood in general.
Also very good. How about the worst advice you ever received?
My oldest daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Some genetecists we met with tried to teach us to have low expectations for her potential. It was the most ignorant advice ever. I am always looking to take new moms in the special needs community under my wing so they don’t listen to doctors like that.
And we can say from personal knowledge that Saskia is a great kid. She’s lucky to have you for her mom. Do you have general advice for new-parent friends?
Got this from a behavioral therapist when my first one was a toddler: If you reward a tantrum with the thing that’s being demanded just once, you’ve taught your kid that tantrums are the key to getting what they want. Stand your ground, even when it’s totally inconvenient.
That is SO TRUE. Neither of us give in to tantrums either, which is really, really hard sometimes. You seem to have this on lock! Any work or parenting fails you can tell us about to balance out your amazingness?
I once threw a birthday party for my youngest with a big, beautiful pinata as a decoration and activity. I only found out that you’re supposed to stuff the thing with candy yourself after 20 kids had whacked it over and over to reveal its emptiness. There were some tears shed by the little ones, but at least I gave the parents a good laugh!
Ha. We’re laughing with you, not at you. What’s the craziest part of your day?
Getting everyone out the door with everything they need on school days.
What’s the best part of your day?
Late afternoons, when nap time and “quiet time” has just ended, and hopefully everyone is in a good mood. Both my girls are affectionate, and my 3- year old especially likes to cuddle when she’s waking up from her nap. I drop everything to savor it before she grows out of it.
Given your belief in putting on your own oxygen mask first, what do you do to take care of yourself?
Time spent alone always feels restorative to me, and I love going to Cardio Barre class a couple of evenings a week.
Last but certainly not least, what do you want your kids to learn from having a working mom?
I work from home, and although I have a studio separate from the house, my dining table is the best place for me to collaborate with my team, and my kids often observe that. They can see how engaged we are, and they can feel that there is an energy around something that has nothing to do with them. To be honest, sometimes they don’t like it! As much time as I spend with them, they would love to have ALL my attention. But I think it’s great for them to see me being interested in my work. I hope it inspires them to find things they are passionate about, and figure out how to get paid to do it!
Thank you, Natasha! We love hearing from other moms, and this has been such a pleasure!
If you ever need some inspiration for your own home, we’d highly recommend spending some time on Natasha’s website and browsing through her Instagram. Just looking at her images will feed your soul a bit.
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Are you interested in speaking with us about your career and parenting? Or do you know someone interesting with whom we should speak? If so, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com