Being Mama: Natalya Poniatowski

We talk to the infinitely stylish mama and founder of design talent incubator, Luxcartel, Natalya Poniatowski.

Leonora Hamill

Pregnancy tea, great maternity jeans, Tracy Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer book and a good acupuncturist – these are the mama must-haves according to mom of two and founder of fashion talent incubator Luxcartel, Natalya Poniatowski. A practical list from a practical mom.

Natalya’s matter of fact and relaxed approached to pregnancy and parenting is truly inspiring. “I didn’t really prepare for either pregnancy but I did try to have as much fun as possible both times right before getting pregnant,” she says. “I try not to think about the births too much and take it as it comes. It worked for me both times, even though the second time I had to be induced because the baby was too comfy inside.”

Natalya’s talking about her second child, a little sister to Natalya’s first daughter who is now two and a half. “I was a bit nervous because I heard some negative things associated with being induced but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it’s actually an awesome way to give birth (for the second child anyway),” she says. “It was completely painless, very relaxed, and after ten hours of ‘chilling’ in the delivery room, I pushed out the baby in a few wonderful minutes.”

You get the impression that nothing would faze Natalya. It’s a trait which is key to her busy lifestyle at Luxcartel which sees her travelling all over the world helping start-ups become successful businesses. Luckily the Russian-born 31-year-old feels right at home in many different cultures.

Natalya’s parents moved their family to the US when she was 13 but despite living abroad for most of her life Natalya still has keen ties to her heritage. “My older daughter goes to a Russian school in New York called Bright Minds and my younger one will start there as well as soon as she turns two,” she says. “We also employ a Russian nanny. My daughter’s father is French, so on the weekends she plays mostly with French speaking friends and she has a French teacher during the week. Also we try to be in France or with French speaking family during the holidays so this is how we maintain balance.”

Natalya tries hard to expose her children to different experiences and treat them as grown-ups. “I often take my older child to the Tribeca Children’s museum where she can do all types of activities and explore her creativity,” she explains. “I also take her as often as I can to any sort of grownup museums. She likes it and I like it. In general I try to take her with me everywhere when I can aside from restaurants.”

She also follows this mantra when it comes to discipline believing the best parenting advice she has even been given is to talk to your child from the beginning like a respectful human being. “Don’t laugh at them, avoid baby talk and assume your child understands everything you say from the earliest age,” she says. “With my older kid I’ve seen wonders of amazing behavior. Let’s see if it works the second time though!”

Maybe this matter-of-fact mantra is why Natalya has avoided putting pictures of her children on social media, because she believes in their right to choose for themselves how their image is used. “I do not share pictures of my children on social media,” she says. “I don’t judge people who do, but I just don’t. When someone else posts a pic of my kids (like their grandmother or aunt), I don’t mind but I just never feel comfortable sharing something so personal.”

It must be a hard rule to follow when her daughters both look so cute all the time. Often dressed in gorgeous labels such as Makie, Caramel Baby and Muzungu Sisters, Natalya’s little girls have no doubt inherited their mom’s love of fashion.

“For the first six months of pregnancy I found dressing to be the most fun above all,” says Natalya. “It was great to see my usual clothes look different on me due to the bump.  In the last three months of my first pregnancy, kaftans from my friends at Muzungu Sisters saved me all summer. This time however, I was pregnant in the winter, so my uniform was black maternity jeans and various tops. Maternity site, Nine in The Mirror was so helpful for me as well. I found great designer things on there, that even now after giving birth I keep wearing because they are so flattering!”