For the very first time on Sassy Mama Dubai, we’re talking to our That Mama: Lucy Crabbe, a wife and mother of two boys (Harrison 3, Theo 2), with a third on the way! Here, Lucy shares just how she juggles a busy home life with the competing demands of starting up her very own entrepreneurial dream. She gives us some invaluable mama tips and tricks that work great for balancing her growing family and business.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your career?
Wife and mother first but currently building a wireless mobile charging network across the UAE and Marketing Director for Not In The Gym UK.
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
I started my career as an online editor for the Daily Telegraph in the UK but after a bit of soul searching I decided to work with disadvantaged young people in central London as part of a church initiative. This meant a pay-cut and a lifestyle change, but all worth it. I then stopped to have children (2 boys, aged 2 and 3 and one on the way) and before we knew it we were moving to Dubai with my husband’s job. The move has given me a long-desired opportunity to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams both here and in the UK. I now run the Chargifi franchise in the Middle East and have a stake in a personal trainer company www.notinthegym.com as well as enjoying the odd contribution to the wonderful Sassy Mama Dubai.
How do you balance work and motherhood?
Dubai has helped me hugely with realising my career dreams as I don’t want to be an absent parent but due to the availability of wonderful help I can now balance both work and home more freely. I also set boundaries and try to keep work to within 3 days (not always possible!) and spend the rest of the time with the boys, particularly as they’re not yet at school.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tips and tricks?
I do everything on the go and couldn’t live without an iPhone. Also quick online recipes! I don’t mind the cooking so much it’s the shopping, thinking and planning that seem to take up so much time. There is a good service called Dinner Time which will deliver all the ingredients and recipes for 4 meals for 4 people to your door each week which I do sometimes. Before getting pregnant I would also try and squeeze in a run each day as much as possible as it gives you more energy for the rest of the day’s activities.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Dubai?
Really think about what you want to do and what your priorities are both now and in the future. Life with children is constantly changing but it is also constantly busy so having a clear plan of how you want to use your time and for what is essential or else you just get swept along in the tidal wave of life.
Dubai affords so many freedoms that it is possible to carve out time for things you enjoying doing whether that’s working, creating, giving back, training, learning or anything else. And wonderfully we can also spend quality time with our families as life over here is a little less stressful.
Favourite activity with your kids in Dubai?
Desert Palm pony rides at the riding school. They love it and for AED 20 they get a short pony ride and I get to sit amongst lovely greenery and have a picnic with friends.
Favourite kid-friendly restaurants in Dubai?
More cafe, Carluccios and Lime Tree are staples as they have kiddie distractions and good coffees!
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot?
I wish I could say we’ve been to exotic places with the kids but we have shied away from taking them whenever we’ve been anywhere exciting at least until they are a bit older! We love kiddie friendly places locally like Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain and the Park Hyatt, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Prayer, honesty, communication and time together are the four things we try and sustain. We also like to get away together for uninterrupted time once every six months or so.
Favourite date-night restaurants?
Jones the Grocer for a cheap date and Hakkasan, Zuma, Robertos or Nobu for delicious food and a little more sophistication.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
It does get easier! Also I try to take a step back from the situation and see what is really going on, what do the children need; time, a cuddle, sleep, food, encouragement etc. We did the Parenting Course by Nikki and Sila Lee which helped to get some good tips for family life.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
Write down all the special moments and memories for you and them to remember as they do grow so quickly. I also speak words and blessings over them whatever age they are.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Going without sleep!
My most humbling mama moment was…
Probably leaving the hospital with a newborn baby, it makes you feel the wonder and blessing of what you’ve been given.
One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
Caffeine and nights out with girlfriends, sorry that’s two things…
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
Gosh everything, at the moment its baby names, what to cook for dinner the next night and my next meeting/wardrobe crisis.
Even when my children have families of their own, I’ll still…
Want to hug them like they’re 2 years old.
My favourite moment of the day is…
Either lunch time when I can come home and have lunch with my eldest who is a great lunch companion or when both boys are asleep and you get to just watch.
I always feel saner after…
Either the obligatory post-bedtime glass of wine or a prayer if it’s really bad!
I wish I had more time for…
Creativity with the kids, long hot baths, exercise and finally getting my photo frames finished.
Bedtime is always smoother when…
We leave plenty of time and I’m not in a rush to get out!
These gorgeous photos of Lucy, Harrison and Theo are courtesy of Claire Barlow of Claire Barlow Photography.