This month we met with the dazzling Faustine, mom of two little girls, and recently co- founder of the kids & pyjama brand Laustine. She arrived in Switzerland a few years ago and decided to become a housewife. Let’s discover the reasons behind this choice and how she
handles her day-to-day life.
Faustine, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I am 33 years old, mother of two girls, Victoria (3 years and a half old) and Cassandre (1-year-old). Before the kids, I was a civil engineer, asset management relationship manager, and a Londoner (smile). Today, I am the co-founder of Laustine, a kids and baby pyjamas brand, from 1 month to 6 years old.
Housewife: was it a choice or a necessity?
I had to quit my job when we came to live in Geneva 7 years ago. I thought I would find a job quickly, but it wasn’t the case. When Victoria was born, I didn’t see myself going back to the finance world when I finally had something to do at home! I never thought I could be a housewife, but in the end, I’m happy. The first years are the ones when our kids need us the most, before school, activities, and friends start, so we may as well enjoy it the fullest. It isn’t that long… yet sometimes it can be (laughter).
The project Laustine, is somehow your 3rd baby, is it a way to repurpose yourself professionally speaking?
Even though I’m happy taking care of my girls, I was missing something to stimulate my brain and challenge myself. You know, once we know how to change a diaper, warm a bottle up, cook a purée, play Playmobil, we end up going around in circles… With Laustine, I got back to some problem solving, adults to speak to, and a fantastic colleague I can share with. It is reassuring to have something else to think about other than daily tasks related to the kids and the house. Additionally, when it is your project, motivation is multiplied. We craft it in our image and follow its development along with the surprises, whether good or bad ones.
What kind of mother are you? What is your education style?
My mom would say that I am very strict; however, I would consider myself as someone traditional who likes to be organized. The kids’ routine is essential to me because it grounds the entire family in strong foundations. I also think that the children have to adapt to our lifestyle (as long as it is reasonable) and not the other way around. During the day, they come along with me everywhere I go. I explain everything, and I do my best to listen to them as much as possible (specifically Victoria, who is a real chatterbox). In the future, I would like them to feel free to tell me anything without any taboo or embarrassment.
How did you experience giving birth?
I had to be induced both times. As I like to be organized, I was happy to have an “appointment” at the maternity ward (laughter).
For Victoria, the delivery was quite fast (so fast that the midwives didn’t believe me and gave me the epidural at 8cm!). The placenta didn’t get out entirely, which meant I had to have a manual removal and suffered from significant blood loss. I was so weak the first days that I had to be put on complete bed rest.
For Cassandre, the delivery was even smoother than for Victoria; however, the rest of the experience wasn’t… I suffered from a postpartum hemorrhage, one of the gynecologists’ most feared complications, along with pre-eclampsia. The uterus stops contracting to get back to its initial size, and therefore the bleeding doesn’t stop. I lost in less than an hour, more than half of my blood (approx. 3,5/4 liters). More than 15 people were busy giving me injections, massages, curettage as well as placing electrodes to be ready for reanimation…A second gynecologist came to support mine, and the intensive care anesthetist followed her protocol until the end. The midwife did a massage on my belly to simulate the contractions, and finally, 45 minutes later, the bleeding stopped. Once stabilized, an ambulance transferred me to HUG to be monitored in the best place in case of further complications. I spent the longest night of my life while my newborn daughter stayed at Grangettes. I could leave the following afternoon, very, very swollen due to the numerous blood transfusions from the day before. Getting back in physical shape was more challenging than before, but when you have two kids, you have no other choice!
Despite the trauma, it is vital to talk about it and confide yourself about what happened to move forward. The Grangettes team was outstanding, and my gynecologist certainly saved my life!
How do you organize your day? Do you have childcare?
I took care of Victoria full time during her first 16 months and Cassandre for 13 months. This year we decided to enroll Victoria in a French school that welcomes kids from 3 years old. My husband drops her off at 8h00, and I pick her up at 15h00. I am lucky to have a nursery in my town which accepts kids from 12 months of age. Cassandre goes there 4 afternoons per week. Her older sister has also been there for the past two years, which was a tremendous help during the second pregnancy. My days are filled with drop-offs and pick-ups, but, between all that and thanks to naps (thank God for naps), I can work on Laustine for about 3h during the day and the entire evening.
What are the high and low moments in your housewife’s life?
I will be honest, during Victoria’s first year, the best moment was when my husband was coming home in the evening and when I could hand her over to him (laughter). Throughout the years and with experience acquired, it becomes less accurate today. I don’t feel the need any more for the day to end to have some “me time.”
Now, my best moments are when I go pick up Victoria from school and Cassandre from the nursery. Also, in the evenings because we are all together.
The worst moment (once again during Victoria’s entire first year) was lunchtime. Mainly because I didn’t handle it well, it was always a battle with shouts and cries from her as well as me. After some work and a good book on the topic, lunches are now enjoyable. Today, the worst moments are when the girls haven’t napped and therefore are overexcited or crying for no reason.
How do you find a balance with your husband?
We are lucky that the girls go to bed quickly and early (some luck but also great help from my bible book, which I highly recommend, “the Sensational baby sleeping plan” by Alison Wright). The girls are put to bed between 19h15 and 19h45 each night with no exception, which leaves us our evenings as a couple. When we only had Victoria, we were often going away on weekends with her or only the both of us, but with two kids, it’s more complicated from a logistical perspective. However, this weekend we’re going to try that for the first time (smile).
Which core values do you wish to share and pass on to your daughters?
I would like them to learn how to be happy with what they have and how to be persevering and caring. I try to teach my kids empathy and respect, whether it’s for people, cultures, or rules.
An inspiring woman to you?
Currently, I like Arielle Charnas from Something Navy. We could even say I have a woman crush. She just got, after only a few years, a deal of more than $10million with Silas Chou to build her brand.
Faustine, what can we wish you today for tomorrow?
Plenty of success with Laustine!