The business of motherhood
Three boys, two businesses, day jobs, and a whole lot of love – the Lardelli family sure know how to get the most of this beautiful life.
Renata Lardelli is definitely one of those women I would put into the ‘supermum’ category. Alongside raising their three boys, Eli (12), Sebastian (6), and Xavier (5), Renata and her husband Jeremy run two successful businesses: Little Mash Boutique – a retail store for babies, children and mothers located in Hamilton’s CBD, and Lila Jasmine – a brand committed to nourishing families with New Zealand’s only lactation bar and fourth trimester education. Renata is also a trained nurse and midwife and works part time for their local hospital. You could say she wears many hats!
After purchasing Little Mash Boutique off its founder in 2018, Renata and Jeremy, who have been married for 15 years, founded Lila Jasmine the following year. “I’m the face of the businesses but Jeremy’s very much involved behind the scenes – he’s the ideas man and the steady thing I hold onto when I get wobbly,” she shares.
When asked how she juggles it all, Renata is the first to admit that she hasn’t got it all figured out. “Some days everything hums like a well-oiled machine and other days we’re all ready to quit at breakfast time, head to bed early and start fresh tomorrow. We’re spread pretty thin and I’m not certain I’ve got the balance right just yet”. Knowing her strengths and weaknesses and prioritising what’s important have been a big help in getting her to where she is today, she says. “We meet as a family every Sunday to discuss the coming week and I have frequent business meetings with Jeremy, because I need his help. I’d also be lost without a well organised calendar, lists, alerts, and reminders – because my brain is mush!” Going to bed early and getting up before the boys to get a head start on the day has also been a game changer for Renata, “I always feel more productive when I get up and don’t press snooze on my alarm. It also gives me a chance to do something for myself such as exercise, before the busyness of the day.”
Even with her business success, Renata shares that her biggest achievements are her three boys, “I muck it up often but I have so much gratitude for the responsibility of being their mum – I really want to raise great humans. It’s my three sons that make me proud.” For Renata, being a mother is first and foremost, and it looks like time and love. “It’s giving undivided attention, creating memories together, celebrating achievements, going on individual dates, and showing love in every moment – especially the bad ones. And of course, kisses and cuddles” she says. She also adds that she wants to teach her boys to think for themselves, “I want my boys to be able to problem-solve, to face adversity and demonstrate resilience.”
With all the uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought in the last two years, Renata says that it's made her realise that family, friends, and her marriage are what matter most. “Jeremy and I know that we need to stay connected and work as a team, so we really prioritise our relationship; we have lunch together once a week and take long weekends away when we can, this rejuvenates us to be able to cope with all the demands of life, and be better parents too,” says Renata.
Renata’s background in nursing and midwifery as well as her passion for all things motherhood have been the driving forces behind establishing their businesses. She credits her mother as inspiration for her career choice. “When I was a little girl my mum was a single parent to my brother and I. I have distinct memories of seeing her at work with her white dress, brown shoes and red cardigan – she was an enrolled obstetric nurse. And then, when I was a little bit older I can remember her doing assignments at a typewriter my grandparents had bought her and watching her commute to another city to study when she upskilled and became a registered nurse. As a teenager I decided I would be a nurse too.”
Shortly after landing a role in paediatrics, upon completing her nursing training at 20, Renata had a paid opportunity to study midwifery – a chance that she jumped at. “I now have a casual contract with our local DHB working a few hours each month as I juggle the businesses and the boys but it’s a role I feel privileged to have” she says.
One of the beautiful things about Renata, and maybe a key to her success, is her outlook of gratefulness. She sees her roles in the different areas of her life as a blessing and genuinely loves what she does. There’s a common thread that runs through most of what Renata puts her hand to – motherhood. Whether it’s being on the front lines at a birth, creating lactation bars to fuel breastfeeding mamas, providing quality goods for mothers and babies at her retail store, or educating women on the fourth trimester through her workshops – this is Renata’s world and she thrives on it. “I’m so deeply passionate about better preparing women for motherhood, I’ve first-hand lived the difficulties that come with adjusting to life with a newborn, the change infiltrates your entire life in a crazy but beautiful way.”
The Lardelli family have a large poster in their living room that says “Try a little harder to be a little better”. “I guess you could say that’s our family motto,” Renata says. She’s quick to add that they’re not perfect though. “We’ve been to the principal's office, we sit in time out (both children and parents) and we’ve said a lot of apologies but we’re trying, and I think that’s all anyone can ever ask of you, that you’re trying to be a good mum, dad, son, daughter, teacher and friend.”
Words: Kahu de Beer
Photography: Black Robin Photography