There is no shortage of working mothers in our ranks—women who fill all sorts of job descriptions but have one thing in common: they keep a thousand balls in the air at all times, juggling career and family. It definitely requires the right mix of positive attitude, stamina, and strategy. In this busy office, some of our funniest moments are laughing about it all.
And we are always psyched for great advice. Enter Natsuko Watanabe, Clinique’s Senior Director of Business Development and Strategic Initiative for Southeast Asia. She was born in Japan, lives in Hong Kong, and travels for business about 50% of the time. She also has a husband and three children, ages 9, 5, and 2. “I love my busy life that’s full of events,” says Natsuko, “but I realize that it requires some attention if I want to stay sane and also keep my loved ones happy.”
Here are Natsuko’s top tips for doing just that:
1. Have a morning ritual that gives you peace of mind.
“For me, my morning ferry ride is important. Victoria Harbour is the most beautiful place in Hong Kong, and I always snap a photo of the same view, different day. It’s super-simple but works; it makes my day a lot easier to start.”
2. Don’t be afraid to have some fun.
“I used to not go out when I traveled for business. But I realized that I was making my life incredibly boring. I spend 50% of my time away from home, so if I don’t enjoy that time—and instead, withdraw into my hotel rooms and e-mail—then I am completely abandoning half of my life. So now I go out with local colleagues and friends. It might make me more tired, but I am happier! I also get to know the cities and locals of the markets I cover better where I’m working, which enables me to do my job better. Win-win.”
3. Power dress, but keep it simple.
“I absolutely use fashion and makeup to boost my confidence, and I keep my regimen simple so that even if I’m tired, I can take care of my skin and pull together a smart look. Statement-making, bold lip shades and a great pair of heels are always key to my power look. I have my favorite designers, whose pieces always fit well and make me feel strong. As far as my beauty routine, I could easily go many steps—but time is of the essence. That’s why I love Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum; I used to layer on multiple serums, but Smart tackles all my concerns in one bottle.”
4. You can’t wait for perfect timing. Today is the one.
“Somehow ‘your’ time always comes at the worst possible moment, but you just need to go for it anyway. When I was 7 months pregnant with my third child, we took a spontaneous trip to the island of Koh Samui and ended up building a home there—all because of a dream I had one night. This family project threw my life upside down for two solid years (which also included a new job and baby). But the result is a beautiful family home by the beach, where we can enjoy and build memories with family and friends.”
5. Yoga. (Yes, that’s the whole tip. Sort of.)
“Beyond the physicality, yoga grounds me, makes me listen to my body, and teaches me to be mindful. I can control my anxiousness a lot better and am happier as a result! I watch tons of “how to” videos when I’m working on some poses or want inspiration for a new flow—Kino Yoga on YouTube is great. And I finally converted my husband into a yogi! We have been married 15 years, and I believe that it’s been very important to find something we can share together beyond raising our children.”
Photos: Sunn Photography | Words: Alix Light Perez