Natalie Ciccoricco, one of the fabulous coworkers at The Garden, describes herself as a “full-time mother, freelance language consultant, visual artist, and graphic designer.” If that sounds like a lot, it is: like many of the working moms who use the space at The Garden, Natalie is used to wearing many hats. We talked to Natalie about her work, her passions, and her commitment to motherhood.
Tell us a little bit about your work.
Regulars at The Garden might have seen my mixed media artworks on the walls of the workspace and lounge room. I started making art six years ago, just after we moved into our house in the San Carlos hills. Creating art is something I enjoy immensely. It’s almost like form of meditation to me. When I’m making art, time flies by without me noticing and I totally get into the zone. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Having worked as a freelance software translator for over 10 years, I am slowly trying to make the shift to more creative work, as that is where my passion lies. I love projects that let me unleash my creativity. Some of my recent graphic design projects include a custom birth announcement, menus and layouts for a local winery, and pitch books for a movie director.
How do you balance motherhood and a career?
From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to focus on being a mom. For years and years I had taken on pretty much any translation project that came my way, but I knew the stress and tight deadlines of the translation business wouldn’t work with a new baby in the mix. So I took a break from translating to be a full-time mom. I had no idea if I would like it, but I did. Although it is hard at times, I cherish the moments together with my 21-month-old son, Lou.
But I also make time for art and design projects I care about. It feels empowering to know that I can work on a project at The Garden while my son is well taken care of downstairs. It is a great feeling that I don’t have to choose between work and being a parent.
In my spare time I practice ballet and yoga, too. These activities keep me happy, calm, and grounded. Especially when I’m busy or stressed, these are the things that keep me sane.
What kinds of work do you mostly focus on while you’re at The Garden?
I divide my time between an ongoing consulting project for Apple and my creative work. I usually bring two machines, so I can divide my time to work on both. I’ve also been doing some graphic design work for Katie. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of what Equal Play is becoming.
How did you first learn about The Garden, and what do you love about working there?
I heard about Equal Play through Fit4Mom, a workout program for mothers where I regularly take classes. Someone recommended the place in our Facebook Group and I immediately made an appointment for a tour. I thought the concept was brilliant and it was just what I needed at the time—I had the opportunity to work on a very exciting project, but I just couldn’t focus on it at home while taking care of Lou. I was nervous that Lou would have a hard time adjusting, but he absolutely loves it at The Garden. He’s crazy about the caretakers and the social interaction with the other kids has been really good for him.
The workspace is bright, spacious, quiet, and comfy. I’m amazed by how much work I can get done while I’m there. I also like that there’s now a weekly yoga class being offered. Katie and her team have been supportive on so many levels. I’m so happy that we found The Garden!