Natalie Hensley, 23, wed the man of her dreams,
Micheal, last March, four years after they met. They waited until
their family was complete with two beautiful girls Elise Kate, two
and a half, and Courtney Rose, one, before marrying and their
daughters were flower girls. Natalie is delighted to be a
stay-at-home mum and doesn't want to miss a minute of her time with
Before I had children I was a... Retail manager in Newmarket, Auckland.
I fully expected to be a full-time mum because... I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mum, at least until both my children started school, as this is an important stage in their lives.
My favourite things about being at home are...Watching and enjoying my girls' milestones and developing a bond that will last a lifetime.
My least favourite thing is... The isolation, as there are very few mums my age who are willing to stay at home.
The thing I miss most about my old life in the workforce is... Interaction with adults and recognition of my sales and successes.
I get a break from being mum when... My husband is at home to look after the girls so I can enjoy pampering sessions, movies and theatre with friends and family.
My top tip when everything turns to custard at home is... Give yourself space by putting them in a safe place (bedroom, cot or playpen) and walk away for a breather. Have a glass of water, get some fresh air and try deep breathing to get back into a state of relaxation. Think about how insignificant your problems are compared with what is happening around the world.
The best part of my day is... When I have one-on-one time with either of my children, for example when my two and half-year-old comes up, holds my face in her tiny little hands, stares into my eyes, kisses me and tells me she loves me.
The best advice I was ever given as a mother was... Don't stress out over the small stuff, every child develops at their own pace, follow your instinct and never compare your child with others.
I think my children are better off with me at home all day because... It gives them a sense of stability and consistency.
My top budgeting tip is... No credit cards or consumer loans. Allocate your money into specific accounts. Take an agreed amount out in cash to cover weekly spending. Using cash means you are much more aware of what you spend.
The most surprising thing I've found about motherhood is... By being fully committed to my children I am overwhelmed with how much they have given back to me and how much personal growth I have made.
My parenting philosophy is... Be an excellent role model as children copycat their parents' behaviour.