We talk to one half of the mother-and-daughter design duo behind sustainable kids’ brand, Camomile London, to discuss all thing motherhood
Motherhood Diaries is a testament to modern-day parenting; from life-changing tribulations, to joyous milestones - and all the chaotic bits in between. Each month, we’ll uncover a refreshingly honest account from the Liberty community, with the aim to support women who might otherwise feel frustrated, isolated or overwhelmed. Here, we invite all maternal figures to speak openly about their journey to motherhood, find light in each narrative and ultimately, a sense of solidarity.
Introducing Daniela Boleto, co-founder of venerated kids’ brand, Camomile London, specialising in high-quality bedding for babies and home linen. Mother to two boys, Leonardo, seven, and Federico, five, Boleto shares an honest account of her own motherhood journey, from the pressures of an unforgiving work environment to juggling a busy family life and the importance of knowing when to ask for help.
I always hoped to become a mother, however, I was very focused during my 20’s on carving out my career as a Fashion Designer and wanted to make sure I was happy with my own achievements before I decided to have children. Having grown up with the superwoman role model of my mother, who managed to balance a successful career and have a family, I believed it was possible to have it all.
When you bring a little life into this world the overwhelming sensation to protect your child can make you feel as if they solely belong to you. I had to keep reminding myself after I had my first born that my role is simply to guide my children through this life until they are ready to explore the world on their own. I must lead by example, support them and never judge. My sons are still very young at seven and five, but I see them turning into little individuals every day. I learnt these lessons by how my parents raised me. My mother seamlessly became my best friend as I got older because she never judges me or expects me to be a certain person. I aspire to have the same relationship with my kids one day.
My friends and family were my go-to about anything and everything during my pregnancies.
I was fortunate to have two smooth pregnancies, aside from PGP which made the end of each pregnancy really uncomfortable. With my second child, Camomile was still in its early days and I was working really long hours whilst juggling a two-year-old. I don’t think I had time to even acknowledge my pregnancy. I remember I even missed my first scan because I was so stressed with work. I am one of these people that is always on the go, so I never really took time out to just enjoy being pregnant.
With my first born I was still working as a Womenswear Designer which wasn’t a very forgiving environment. There was a lot of pressure to constantly bring your ‘A’ game, which was hard when you’re exhausted and experiencing morning sickness. There was also this constant fear of losing your role, so I ended up keeping my pregnancy quiet for as long as I could, which meant dealing with the hard parts of pregnancy with little support from my workplace. I was once told by a senior colleague that the best thing to do was come back to work straight after the birth so that I didn’t bond too much. I was also told that mother’s cant work in fashion. I think I was able to shrug off the comments because I had seen my own mother achieve both.
I find my greatest challenge in motherhood is learning how to fulfil all the different roles that I need to be. I am a mother, a businesswoman, a designer, a friend, a daughter and a wife. I struggled for a while to give 100% of myself to all these roles and set my own expectations way too high. Now I realise that to be the best me for those I love, I have to be able to say when I need help or a time out. I am fortunate to have the support there I just have to let them know when I need it. Otherwise, people think your always okay and coping when you’re quietly sinking.
After the birth of my first son, I left my job so had a few months where I enjoyed being a mum. My son had a severe allergy to dairy and after eight weeks of sleepless nights and a very upset baby we finally were prescribed a special formula milk which solved everything. I think this change was actually the catalyst for starting Camomile. Having a content baby gave me time to sit and think. Soon after my creative juices started flowing and Camomile was born. With my second child I was back working after eight days. When you run your own business it’s difficult to take time away, but the difference was, I could run it from my home with my children by my side.
When we look back now, my husband and I laugh at the exhausted haze we were in that first year after giving birth. The key for getting us through was communicating. I am sure that I often sounded like I was planning a military operation to anyone listening, but for us what worked was creating a plan of who does what each day. It’s all new at the beginning and both you and your partner are still figuring out how it all works. If you take away expectations and just say what you need or want, then I think most people find they soon become a finely tuned double act. The second time round definitely felt easier.
When I had Leonardo, I gave up my social life for the first 10 months, mainly because I was so exhausted. I had also decided to try potty training early, a method my mum had used on me. You start at four months old by sitting them on the potty at set intervals throughout the day and have to keep it up consistently for three months. By some miracle it worked, and Leo was pretty much potty trained by seven months old. But this meant I had to travel everywhere with a potty. When it came to Federico, I didn’t have the time to try the same method and I needed to have more flexibility. Federico came everywhere with me and I think it is partly why he is such a social little character now.
Enjoy having only yourself to think about and be less critical of your body!
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to enjoy having only yourself to think about and be less critical of your body. My advice for mothers-to-be would be to set no expectations, don’t compare yourself or your child with others. Don’t be ashamed of fear or failure, we all learn and prosper from every challenge we are faced with. Most importantly, ask for help whenever you need it.
The first thing I bought when I found out I was having a little boy was a Liberty print bib. This same bib has since been handed down to siblings and then cousins. It has become a bit of a family heirloom and I am sure I’ll be trying to give it to my children’s children one day. Liberty has always been my favourite store for finding something different and special. I often visit to buy my boys bits from BOBO choses and Caramel, with my most recent purchase being the wonderful Olli Ella See-Ya suitcase.