Naomi left corporate life when she became a mum in 1996 because she wanted to spend more time with her little ones Natalia (now 20) and Oscar (now 18). Her desire was to play with the children during the day and run RedBalloon at night. But the children objected to their 5.30pm bedtime, so that went swiftly out the window. She’s never been a believer in the idea of work/life balance – “We have one life and it’s about making the most of each day and being truly present; whether that’s with your children or in the workplace".
To my children, I am simply mum. And of all the roles I’ve ever had, being a mother is the most challenging and the most rewarding.
Naomi often shares how grateful she is to have had a professionally successful mother in the 1960s; a mother who worked on one of the first computers in Australia at Monash University and would head off to work each morning in her suit. The idea of being a woman in the business world was very normal to Naomi at a young age, and it never struck her that she couldn’t have a career and a family.
“I remember watching mum head off to work in her suit every morning and thinking to myself, ‘Gee, that looks fabulous’. When I grow up I want to be just like her.’ I owe a lot to my mum and the incredible example she set for me, and for keeping me on the right track. Growing up I wanted to be an artist, but mum told me I'd live a life of poverty and would likely starve if I pursued that avenue. I listened to my mother and enrolled in a commerce degree. To say that's the best advice she ever gave me is an understatement!"
Growing up I wanted to be an artist, but mum told me I'd live a life of poverty and would likely starve if I pursued that avenue. I listened to my mother and enrolled in a commerce degree.
“I’ve learnt many lessons from my mother, and I still turn to her for advice and support in raising my own children. I do ask her not to tell my kids some of the stories she has of me growing up though!”
Naomi’s great respect for the work Australian mother’s do, day in and day out, saw her named as a 2016 Barnardos Mother of the Year ambassador. She wanted to get involved to celebrate all mothers and the important everyday challenges they face in raising and nurturing children, keeping them safe and often holding down successful careers at the same time.
“Celebrating motherhood is so important because while it is a rewarding role in its own sense, it's crucial that mothers feel supported. The role they play is so integral to the next generations of Australians. Too often we think we can do it all on our own.”
There is just something special about Aussie mums. We just get on with it, whatever it might be. We love our kids and will do absolutely anything we can for them to have a happy and fulfilling life. To our children, we are role models in all that we do.