Charlie's Story

Charlie Fowler is the Founder, creative and managing director of MOA a British natural skin care brand.  She is also mother to Jemima aged 10 years and Zachary aged 7 years.  MOA  - Magic Organic Apothecary, have been recently presented with an award for Best Family Skincare Product, which makes sense as she has her own family and wanted to create something that was great for everyone of all ages, containing only natural ingredients and made with love.   Charlie started her company from her home and is now watching it take off whilst juggling the balance being a mother as well.

what’s the hardest thing about juggling motherhood with work?  I am very lucky to work mostly from home with meetings here and there. The school holidays seem to come around very quickly which in the past has been a logistical nightmare, wanting to spend time with them and fixing up extra childcare when I need to work… it’s much easier now they’re a bit older.

what’s the most rewarding? The brand is beginning to grow, which is very rewarding, it’s taken a lot of hard work. I’m an illustrator and I design all the packaging, so I am always very touched when people comment on it.  I love the fact my kids enjoy using all the products and seem genuinely interested in any new designs and my potion making. My daughter is particularly interested in it all and I often ask her advise, she really understands what I’m trying to achieve and has some great creative ideas!

Would you feel fulfilled being a stay at home mum?  I sometimes wonder about this. I am at home working most of the time, so I kind of feel I’ve had the best of both worlds and I’ve always been the one to pick them up from nursery or school, which has been important to me. Personally I need to be creative and to work on some kind of project, be it art, design, interior décor or DIY projects!  I’m pretty sure it would have tested my patience being a stay at home Mum with no other childcare at all, both my kids have fiery tempers and they needed their independence too. My son is severely deaf and it was a struggle to get him diagnosed, which didn’t happen until he was over three, I knew something wasn’t right from about a year old, so it was a tough couple of years for both of us. It breaks my heart as he was really frustrated and was quite aggressive at times. He was much happier being around other kids playing, than being around me constantly trying to talk to him. Fortunately he finally got the right help and we really enjoy each others company now.  I love doing cooking and crafty stuff with the kids and being outside amongst nature with them. I’m a big kid at heart and we laugh a lot, I’m very proud they both have a great sense of humour. I don’t think either path is easy, but I just try and make the most of each precious moment, such a cliché, but they grow up too fast!

how do you typically split your time? I went back to work when my daughter was almost a year. I was very fortunate that she loved her sleep, sometimes as much as 2 hours twice a day, slept well at night time too…apologies!  I would literally get as much done whilst she was sleeping. I think I’ve become a lot more efficient with my time since becoming a Mum, as you literally don’t have any to spare! We’d go out in the buggy for a couple of hours to the park, library or to meet a friend. Working around her could be very unpredictable and stressful at times, but we muddled through. Working remotely has been a god send, but it also means you don’t properly leave the office either! With two kids it became harder still, but somehow I kept the juggling act going! There is three and half years between my two, which helped, so she had started school when I went back to work after Zac.

what’s your wellbeing focused around? Spending quality time as a family. Eating healthily (veggie and vegan food),  we usually eat together at meal times, I think I was quite forceful about making them try new things, luckily it worked out as they have quite grown up tastes now and they’re not fussy eaters! Taking time out for a long soak in the bathtub. Going for a walk or run with our dog. Yoga. Herbal teas.  I try and take a small amount of time for something I enjoy, share time with friends and my husband too.  Of course, it is easier said than done sometimes and especially in this day and age we all spend too much time in front of screens, I am trying to avoid this as much as possible!

how do you manage your stress? I practise yoga from home in the mornings and I run outdoors with my dog. If I skip these, it really affects my stress, so I try and make time for exercise in my life, it keeps me balanced. I love gardening in the summer when it’s warm enough to potter around outside in the evenings, it’s so therapeutic.

tell me about the moment you decided you were going back to work  I felt very lucky to have found a job working from home which still allowed me to be with my daughter a lot of the time. When she started at a local nursery, I hated leaving her in tears some days, it took a while, but she settled in. I enjoyed the balance of working part time for the most part. My son went to a child minder with a few other toddlers, which was less intimidating for him, and in some ways I found it easier second time around.

how do you feel about messages that are out there to mothers juggling everything and trying to look good too?  I think this is quite a false message in many ways, as personally I find it pretty impossible to stay well groomed since being a Mum, especially after two kids…therefore I go for a slouchy effortless chic these days!  It’s nice to have an occasion to dress up for once in a while and it’s good to not neglect yourself totally when you are taking care of everyone else around. Balance is key.

any pearls of wisdom? Use your instinct, it will serve you well, you know your child better than anyone!