The mum of two and Editor-in-Chief of Baby London, Little London, Baby Surrey and Baby Hampshire on what working motherhood means to her
When you first walk into Kate Freud’s impeccable South West London house, you’d be forgiven for not knowing its residents include two small children (Jago, 6, Georgia, 3 and one on the way). But, take a few more steps and see the photo frames covering every surface; there’s no escaping it – this is a classic family home. “My husband doesn’t understand why we have books on the bookshelf if we can’t even see them through all the photos but that’s just the way I like it!” and, as the Editor-in-Chief of several magazines at The Chelsea Magazine Company it’s a safe bet that nothing in her world is done without consideration.
When I ask her how she manages four titles and two children she is quick to point out that she has the benefit of help – “I have an incredible team at work and I wouldn’t be able to do my job without them. For me, life is only as simple as my childcare is good and I’m very lucky to be able to rely on my mum and the kids have a nanny we adore. I love my job and I enjoy it infinitely more knowing my kids are happy and I can be fully present at work”. We talk at length about being the architect of one’s life and the choices that help make life as a working mother a little bit more manageable. Kate says one of the ways she is able to stay sane is by keeping everything within a small radius. Doctors, supermarkets, schools, date-night restaurants: they’re all nearby. “If I don’t need to get in the car, it makes life much easier. It means I can walk my kids to school and then cycle into work. I love working but this way I can spend time with my kids at both ends of the day”.
She responds well to structure and says while she initially went freelance for a better work/ life balance, in the end that actually came with a more traditional nine-to-five role. “Freelance life can best be described as feast or famine. There was no certainty about it which is fine when you’re starting out but it wasn’t ideal for me when I had kids – there are enough surprises with that as it is!”
However, working five days a week turned out to not be the ideal solution either “I knew I needed to move to three days a week when I realised I was paying someone else to put my kids to bed. And that’s the absolute best part of the day. They tell you the things they don’t like from their lunch, their secrets, and what is going on at school and that is so important to me”. Kate and her husband – Jack who runs his own PR agency – are naturally very social people but Kate insists on the bedtime routine. “We may have a dinner with friends in SoHo one night and even if I’m already on that side of town, I make a point of coming home in-between so I can tuck my kids in. It’s not always practical and it often involves too many ubers but I’ll always do it”. She also notes that since having children, working is a welcome change of pace; “it’s not exhausting to me now and I actually get energy from working with others”.
I wondered out loud if her mix of home and work life influenced her wardrobe since her day-to-day life is such an equal mix of child and office duties. Having worked as a writer in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries for over ten years, I felt sure Kate would have invaluable advice on dressing the bump; “When I’m pregnant I always wear shoulder pads to balance out my bump. I don’t get vast with my pregnancies but the shoulder pads are the best trick to avoid feeling bottom-heavy”. She loves having a bump and depending on the pregnancy, she needs to make different style choices. “One mistake I always make is wearing my regular clothes too far into my pregnancy which ends up stretching them out and then I can’t wear them again. I live in jeans and sweaters but a dress is always a welcome change”.
As the conversation rounds up and inevitably turns back to her working life, it’s clear that while Kate loves being pregnant and the time with her children, her appetite for a continuing career is never far from her mind. As Editor-in-Chief of Baby London, Hampshire, Surrey and Little London it’s no coincidence that her two worlds are perpetually blurring – “My kids and my home life often dictate the tone of my writing or the issues covered in a given issue. As parents we’re all living the same experiences and working on the magazines is a lovely reminder of that”.
In Her Words
Hide the bump or show off the bump?
A bit of both. I love tight tops and floaty skirts, or boyfriend sweaters with skinny jeans.
Nine joyous months or nine long months?
I’m trying to remember to savour it, as it’s (probably!) my last pregnancy, and I find all the baby kicks magical, but with two little ones already, I’m pretty pooped!
What have you missed most during pregnancy?
Rosé wine and sleep.
What has surprised you most about pregnancy?
That even though its my third pregnancy you get a totally different set of side effects each time – I’ve had everything from restless legs to heartburn before, but this time it’s been morning sickness, sinusitis and nosebleeds! I think pregnancy just keeps you on your toes!
What could you not have lived without when expecting?
My husband! He is the most amazing support.
Girl, boy or waiting to find out?
Another little girl! My poor son, he asked for a baby brother who could walk straightaway so I had to break him the bad news on both fronts!
If your partner could carry the baby would you let him?
I think it’s an amazing gift I wouldn’t want to pass up. I also think if he did have to carry the baby, we would definitely have been a one child family!
Words by Hannah Finnigan-Walsh
Photographs by Eva K. Salvi
Hair and Make-up by Jo Adams