Charlotte Kidd is an inspiration. She's driven, focused, super intelligent, beautiful inside and out and is a SEO whizz. We had the privilege of photographing our gorgeous friend and UNIK muse, Charlotte, just one week from giving birth, so took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her life before and after her beautiful baby boy Levi was born.
You are originally from the UK, what brought you to Australia, how long have you been here and what or who made you call Australia home?
Well I was your typical English backpacker that wanted to travel around Australia before heading to university. I was 18, had just left school, and having travelled a lot with my family growing up I had the travel bug, so headed to Sydney for some summer sunshine. I was only supposed to stay here for 8 months, but very quickly met my now husband Benny, so I guess you could say I stayed here for him - and now it's 10 years later and we are married with two dogs and a baby!
Not only are you organised and efficient, but you are also creative and you paint. When did you realise you could paint? Do you draw as well? What other creative outlets do you pursue?I'm only organised as I'm very much a control freak! I do wish I could be a bit more carefree. But yes I absolutely love to be creative and painting is a passion of mine. I always loved art at school and seemed to be quite good at it, so have always painted in my spare time - which is now not very often! I like to paint abstract pieces so my drawing is not really up to scratch, but I'd love to do it more as I feel very at peace with a pencil or brush in my hand. I love to make all kinds of things too - my problem is finishing something I've started (there are a few half done canvases in our attic...) and my current project is knitting a blanket for my son Levi. Hopefully he won't have outgrown it by the time it's done!
How has life changed from 1 year ago? How is life since becoming a new mum?We found out this time last year that I was pregnant and that definitely rocked our world - in a fantastic way! The first thing we did was move house to live somewhere more baby friendly. I then spent the rest of the year working hard, keeping as fit as possible, preparing for the baby and enjoying my pregnancy. I was so excited all year for Levi to arrive, which he did in late December. Being a mum is a magical, overwhelming and extremely rewarding experience but it is certainly tiring and I worry a lot! I also thought I was busy before I had a baby - but now just to leave the house takes about an hour of prep!
Do you think the transition from independent career women to motherhood is challenging? Would you say that it is difficult for women who have travelled and had a fulfilling career to become the primary carer for a baby?
That transition is definitely challenging. I lived a very fast paced, busy life pre-baby, always trying to do a hundred things at once, and I thrived off it. So then when Levi came along and demanded all of my time it was a big change. However, it's very humbling to be forced to slow down and go at the pace of a tiny baby. It's a pleasure to be needed by him and I've learnt to enjoy the slowness and just surrender to it.
And if life is not busy enough with a new baby, you have recently started your own business. What do you do for work and how has your work changed since having a baby?
I used to work for a Digital Marketing Agency based in Manly before I went on maternity leave, and since having Levi have started freelancing. My work involves helping businesses market their brands online, whether its search advertising, social advertising, SEO or website consulting. My passion is helping smaller Australian brands get more visibility online, especially when those brands create products that I love - like UNIK or Elvis et moi for example! I love doing what I do and all I need is a laptop and internet connection to do it which means it’s flexible and I can work it around being a mum, which is of course my main priority - although I must admit, it is nice to use my brain again and get some adult interaction!
What piece of advice would you give to an independent, competent woman about to have her first baby?3 things; to expect the unexpected, take things one day at a time and don't try and do too much at once. Apologies for sounding so cliche! We spent a long time preparing for the birth and I did so much research on going through labour, when in the end I had a caesarean section as Levi was breech! It's the same when they are born, they do something a few times (like sleeping through the night for example) and then everything changes. Or you've just mastered napping in the cot and then they start teething and need you to hold them all day. My husband told me to expect the unexpected and it's made everything a lot less stressful and I try and just go with the flow. I've also learnt that giving myself a long to do list is setting myself up for failure because looking after a baby is a 24/7 job and of course there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. I also highly recommend carving out some "me time" at least once a week - have a bath, go out with the girls - just do something without the baby to get your mindset back on track. It's so important for your mental health to do the things that made you happy before you became a mum. You'll be a better mother for it too!
You looked absolutely radiant during your pregnancy (and still do!). Did you find it challenging to dress while being pregnant and what about now while feeding?Haha I don't know about radiant - sweaty maybe? Especially during that shoot, I had to take a few snack breaks and fan myself to cool down! Luckily I've always loved loose fitting, flowing pieces so most of my wardrobe still fit throughout my pregnancy. However, trying to dress smartly for meetings without looking and feeling like the size of a house was challenging. But then UNIK by us came along and I fell in love with everything! My pieces still fit me beautifully now and I can breastfeed comfortably in them too which is another bonus. I'm not a fan of clothing labelled "maternity" or "nursing" as I find most of those styles quite boring and I feel so much better wearing something I know is beautifully made, suits my style and will last me whether I'm pregnant, breastfeeding or not!
Do you miss your pregnant form?Yes I do! It's funny as I have to remind myself sometimes that Levi is the reason for no more pregnant belly, and he is obviously so much better! I was always too skinny pre-pregnancy so I loved being curvy as I felt more womanly. I don't miss the back pain or pregnant waddle though ;-)
What are your favourite UNIK by us pieces?I love my Wilde jumpsuit. It's black so goes with everything and it looks great layered with long sleeve tops during cooler weather. I love all the maxi dresses too but my next purchase has to be the Byron shirt as it's so versatile - you can dress it up or down and it's perfect for breastfeeding.
Life is full of surprises and our plans change more often than not, but what is something you’re really happy you did before having a baby?
I'm so happy my husband Benny and I travelled as much as we could. We always said yes to an opportunity to go away, be it skiing in Japan, a wedding in Sweden or a trip around Europe and I'm so glad we did those things. We will definitely be taking Levi away with us as much as possible, we are heading to Bali in a few weeks with him actually, but of course you always have a bit more freedom without children and I'm so glad we made the most of our first 9 years together. I always say you'll never regret something you do, only something you don't do - plus I have a huge case of FOMO and so does Benny!