FIVE X FIVE: Gabriela Babila
The Tot FIVE x FIVE invites inspiring mamas to answer five questions on motherhood and curate five products they can’t live without. Here we talk to Gabriela Babila, Founder of Matana Organics.
Image by Nicki Sebastian
Image by Nicki Sebastian
When Gabriela was pregnant with her daughter, Natanya, she became acutely aware of the potentially harmful ingredients lurking in her skincare and beauty products. After setting out to find both safe and effective solutions, Gabriela grew frustrated with the lack of options and blatant green-washing. Then she remembered that her own mother would most likely hold the answers! As a single mother and immigrant, Gabriela’s mom had to be savvy when it came to skincare, which is why she started making her own products from scratch. Armed with her mother’s knowledge and advice, Gabriela created Mantana – a line of plant-based, organic products designed to provide a holistic approach to beauty and skincare. Today, she’s chatting all things motherhood, self-care and entrepreneurship!
Gabriela on Motherhood
We love that ‘Matana’ is the Hebrew word for ‘gift’ and that each product celebrates and nurtures the human body. Did you always feel empowered by your body or did that come with motherhood?
“I’ve always been confident and empowered in my own skin but after becoming a mother I learned to appreciate my body so much more. I have my mom to thank for being so confident and empowered. As I got older, I realized that confidence doesn’t come easy to everyone and saw a lot my friends and fellow females struggling to feel empowered within their own skin. Especially when we become mothers, our body changes so much and it’s hard after birth. Matana was born to empower and help mothers feel confident in themselves and the skin they’re in. You are amazing, and your body and baby are proof of that.”
Launching a business with a baby is no easy feat! What support systems did you have in place to help you put energy into both areas?
“The people in your life are either an asset or a liability”. I live by this quote and strongly believe that nobody has built an empire alone. I depend on my husband, family and friends in so many ways. And there’s nothing wrong with saying, I need help and I can’t do it all alone. You rarely hear men stressing they have to be “Independent” yet as a woman we put all this pressure that we have to do it all alone or without the help of anyone. There’s nothing wrong with relying on your partner and utilizing the support of others to build your “empire”. Men do it all the time we just don’t talk about it. My support system consists of my husband, mother, close friends (some of whom work for me) and housekeeper (god bless her soul) for allowing me to chase my dreams and giving me the tools and energy, I need to do what I do.”
What were some of the hurdles you faced in the early days of Matana and how did you overcome them?
“The early days felt a lot like having a newborn. There were a lot of emotions, excitement, obsession, anxiety, paranoia and not feeling 100% confident in my decisions. As time passes you learn to adapt and feel more confident with your choices and outcomes (good or bad). I wish someone told me that the mistakes are essential and good to have in the beginning because it allows you to grow as a person and entrepreneur. I continue to have hurdles but the only difference is that now I try to find ways to break through those barriers and look to all that I have accomplished when self-doubt starts to creep in.”
As a mother in the time of COVID-19, how do you find ways to take care of your own mental health?
“During this pandemic, I had to remember my fourth trimester when I was building a business while caring for a newborn. I had to make what little space and time I had to myself, to work. Whether it’s my bathroom, backyard or bedroom or while Natanya’s asleep. I utilize that time to create a moment for myself. I love taking baths, going through my nighttime skincare routine, or eating a meal to myself in the peace and quiet. Finding small things that make you feel good and remind you how important it is to take care of yourself is crucial for mothers during these times. It doesn’t matter what it is just as long as you make the effort to do it. There were days I wanted to skip putting on a face mask or do my hair but I would push myself and do it anyway. And without fail, it always made me feel good afterwards and allowed me to tackle my day more positively.”
What’s one piece of advice that’s resonated with you as a mother?
“Do what’s best for you, your baby and family. There is no correct way to mother and everyone’s family and baby is so different. I think approaching motherhood with that mindset will relieve the pressure and set you up for success. As women, we naturally compare ourselves to each other and put unrealistic pressure to feel, to look or to be a certain way. So, whether you have a natural birth, breastfeed, bottle feed, sleep train, go back to work, or don’t give your baby enough tummy time. It’s OK. You’re doing your best and doing what’s best for baby. Listen to your instincts and don’t worry about what your mother-in-law might say or what the other mothers in mommy & me will think. You are the mama and trust that you are making the right decisions and care enough to question them from time to time.”
“I love these gift sets for your little ones to create and design themselves. It not only sparks creativity but makes for a cute and custom pajama or super hero cape. This set is super cute for Valentine’s Day!”
“A fun exercise and great way to develop balance control. It’s also lightweight and easy to store away when not in use. As a family during these times, we’re trying to get creative with how to get in some physical activity and exert energy. A great active play toy for toddlers and preschoolers.”
“I got this scooter for my toddlers’ birthday and we love it! She rides it sitting down mostly as she builds up more confidence to ride it as a stand-up kickboard. Love that it converts into a stand-up scooter and is so easy to fold. It also looks really cool and modern.”
“I’ve had my eye on this stroller trike for a while. Doona continues to make products for parents on-the-go that are functional and elegant. It’s been challenging keeping my toddler in the stroller for long periods of time and a stroller trike might just be the perfect solution.”
“As much as I love buying my daughter new products moms also need to be spoiled. It’s essential for all of us to take care of ourselves and our bodies. Both our Recovery Sitz Bath and Stretch Mark Oil are plant-based and crafted with feel-good ingredients that help nourish and support your body. This bundle is great for any postpartum mama looking for some self-care love or to and just take a few minutes to relax.”
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