Maternity and Creativity

Xiana and Claudia are two women involved in creative jobs. Xiana is the designer and illustrator behind her eponymous project and Claudia is the creative director at Naguisa. Having both been mothers for a few years now, they combine the task of developing their own brands with the vitality of their maternal endeavours.

Can you give us a brief explanation of your work? What does it mean to each of you to have developed your own career or trade and to work independently?

C.: My job at NAGUISA is to come up with ideas in any of the different departments, both at a strategic level and in the development of the collections and the communication campaigns. Thanks to the great team we have behind us, these ideas become a reality. NAGUISA has been and is my life project alongside my great partner Pablo. A significant part of my time over the past 12 years has been dedicated to the brand. I’ve really enjoyed this time and learned a lot; there have also been some bad times. I’m a perfectionist and highly committed to what I do; my work has become an obsession. At the same time, it’s given me a great deal of freedom, especially in terms of organisation and movement. It’s allowed me to travel and meet people from all over the world.

X.: I’m a textile designer and I have a brand for which I produce small numbers of printed scarves, embroidered accessories and other handcrafted items in collaboration with other artisans from my region. I also develop and design products for “Made in Spain” brands. Working independently involves a great deal of effort and a lot of uncertainty, especially at first. By contrast, you benefit from other things that are impossible to have when you work for someone else, like being able to choose what production model you want to use at all times.

Both of you became mothers when you were very young. Could you share more about your experience of motherhood?

C.: In my case, motherhood came at an unexpected moment. Improvisation is one of my skills (the one that makes Pablo most nervous) and it wasn’t any different when it came to this. When I fell pregnant, personally it helped me to overcome a difficult time; professionally it was a huge challenge and involved a lot of effort. With my first daughter, Lola, I wanted to do everything from the very start: raise her and work. NAGUISA was growing fast and we still didn’t have a well-structured team or family close by. Olivia arrived just eighteen months later… we thought we had endless energy… Right now I’m enjoying motherhood more than ever; it’s a really lovely stage that I’d like to freeze. Almost five years later, I’ve learned that I need to separate my work life from my family life and also to create a space for myself. Being a mum has made me grow as a person and enjoy life more.

X.: It might sound clichéd but it’s a very intense experience that’s hard to explain. There are very tough moments. In my case, it was quite complicated at the beginning. Emotionally, it’s a roller coaster and there are days when you get very little sleep so you’re more susceptible to things than you are normally. The relationship with your partner changes and you almost have to start from scratch again. Fortunately, all this slowly settles down and eventually they sleep through the night, so it’s much better (haha). No but seriously, once you’ve overcome the “trauma”, this little person suddenly teaches you so much and you don’t know what you’d do without her in your life. You learn to see what is truly important, what fulfils you. You let go of a lot of baggage to focus on this new life and, let’s be honest, on your own life as well. I think the most important thing that motherhood has taught me so far is that it’s really important to be at peace with yourself in order to raise and take care of someone else.

Once a baby is born, your free time or time to yourself is reduced to almost nothing. If you add to this the fact that both of you are running your own companies, how has motherhood changed or redefined your attitude towards work? If it has at all.

C.: Being a mum has helped me to relativize. I enjoy and celebrate my achievements more and suffer less when things don’t work out the way they should. I’ve also learned how to delegate. Although over the past few years it’s been really hard to combine NAGUISA with raising kids, at the moment I’m able to enjoy my daughters much more. NAGUISA has also afforded me small pleasures that I couldn’t have working in another company, like all of us taking the day off and going off to spend it together.

X.: So much! When I was working in the fashion industry with office hours and trips, I didn’t even think about becoming a mum. Reduced working hours is fine but I think that in terms of balance we’ve still got a long way to go. Although my main reasons for leaving the industry were different, it also played out in favour of changing to a way of working that’s more compatible with taking care of another person. That balance is at the root of everything, not just for someone who decides to raise other people, but also for the balance between work life and private life. I guess the biggest thing in my case, as I said before, is realising how important it is to be all right. To enjoy and believe in what you are doing is a form of education as well.

What do you enjoy doing when you have a little time for yourselves?

C.: It’s taken me years to have and enjoy some time to myself. Exactly a year ago I discovered yoga, which I practise regularly. I also like going out for walks by myself, or accompanied by the mountains. And I’m now hooked on doing online creative courses in different areas, like pottery for instance.

X.: Lately, I’d like to have more time to do things for my nephews and nieces — I’ve got a huge list of projects for them — and some clothes for Marcela, my daughter. I really enjoy making gifts. I also like going for walks, reading or listening to my favourite podcast “Deforme Semanal Ideal Total”. I’m a fan.

When was the last time you felt proud of your skills as a woman, mother or entrepreneur?

C.: My great achievement in the last month has been helping and accompanying Lola in the arduous process of giving up sucking her thumb.  There is nothing more comforting than being a mum and helping these little people to grow up into independent beings.

X.: Well, the truth is that I’m really proud of everything I’ve achieved this year and all the projects that are coming out. Personally and professionally, I’m going through a good phase. I am calm and I feel aligned with what I do. Although I still always question everything, I think I’m on the right path. In terms of motherhood, I’m proud of having a healthy relationship with my daughter. I really like her as a person… Sometimes, she pushes me a bit because she’s got a strong personality, but I think in the end I manage to keep the peace. I also feel proud of doing things with her where both of us have a good time. I think that’s really important for them, not for you just to be part of their game but to get them to join in a little with something that makes you happy.