Determined, intuitive and honest - are the three words that spring to mind when we think of Valeria Harris. This natural, Swiss beauty is the mother to the sweetest curly-haired bub, with another on the way. After spending several years living in Florida where she met her husband, Valeria has returned home to Switzerland to share with her children the beautiful childhood she experienced growing up there. An absolute force of nature, Valeria has recently begun her studies in the field of social work, following in both of her parent's footsteps. We sat down with Valeria to find out how she does it all, discuss the difficult task of sharing your time evenly between your children and your husband, and the women that have remained her rocks through difficult times.
You grew up in Switzerland and have recently moved back after many years living in Florida. Tell us a bit about your childhood growing up in Switzerland. What are things from your childhood that you are looking forward to sharing with your children?
Yes, that was actually one of the many reasons we wanted to move back to Switzerland because it’s truly a country that offers so many activities for kids and parents. Now with winter coming, I look forward to introducing Emma to snowboarding. It was something I used to do a lot and as we all know, kids learn so quickly. I hope this is something she will be able to do and enjoy for the rest of her life. I’m really excited for Emma to grow because the older she gets the more we will be able to do (like hiking for example).
Mother to a young bub, pregnant with your second and a new student studying social work- first of all, you go girl! How are you finding that mum/ wife/ study/ life balance?
I guess it’s just a lot more time management, and also being more strict with Emma going to bed earlier than before, as she is very much a night owl haha! I only study when I have an exam coming up, that’s when I will plan in advance how many hours I need for myself and who will watch Emma during that time. With that said, I’m very grateful for the support I receive from Ali, my husband and my mom. They are the ones that will watch her while I study or when I’m at school.
What drew you to social work? Is this something that is close to your heart or that you have always been passionate about?
No, it’s not something that I was always passionate about, or maybe I just wasn’t aware of it. Last year, I had a little personal dilemma where I just felt like I wasn’t pursuing something that was truly important to me. So, I did some online quizzes, which helped me figure out what jobs/careers would suit me best. It turned out that I was best suited to work in the field of social work. It made a lot of sense afterwards, as both of my parents are social workers and I deeply care about human rights and the well being of humans in general.
As a young mum, we know it can sometimes put a little strain on our relationships with our partners. Before becoming mothers our partners receive all of our love, after the birth of our children it can be hard to be a loving wife AND a loving mother...I mean, we are only one woman. Do you have any tips for new mums dealing with this same life challenge?
It definitely has, yes. I believe the key is to not lose yourself or ourselves in the daily routines and challenges that come with it. So, intentionally making time for each other, where we just say “hey I love you”, “hey I appreciate you” or “hey how are you”. I feel like these small things are what could make such a big and positive difference in a relationship. Still working on it, so maybe ask me again in a year, haha!
With baby number two on the way, how are you finding the second pregnancy compared to the first? Any weird cravings you didn’t have last time around?
It has definitely been a way faster pregnancy than with Emma. I think that’s due to me being super busy these days, so I barely remember that I’m pregnant until I feel the baby kicking. I take it as a reminder that I need to spend some quality time with the baby now.
No, I actually haven’t had any weird cravings. Maybe that will soon come, I still have the third trimester in front of me.
At Auguste, we have created a space where women support women, which is something we are really proud of. We are big believers that there is something very powerful about the bond between women, the sisterhood that we can form with one another. Who is someone in your life, a sister that has helped you get through some tough times? Tell us a bit about your friendship.
The women in my family, like my mom and my aunt, have been a huge support system in my life. I tend to keep my problems to myself, but it’s always impossible with them because they just always feel when something isn’t right. My aunt’s intuition goes as far, that she will dream of me in a specific difficult situation (which actually happened) and so she will call me and ask if I’m okay. So far, her dreams have always been right, in the sense that I wasn’t okay. Both women have always been here for me and are my biggest fans for sure. :)
We love the idea that our lives are full of chapters! What were some of the chapters you closed when you became a mother, and what was it like opening the new chapter of motherhood?
That is so true, I’m trying really hard to think of a chapter but I can’t think of anything specific. Maybe because a lot of my life-changing moments happened before I became a mom, they probably prepared me for motherhood. One of the most life-changing chapters itself was becoming a mom though. I don’t think I have to explain why. It just changes so much in your life, and you grow up very fast. Not to mention the free time that you once had is suddenly gone haha!
You looked absolutely gorgeous in Auguste, what was your favourite piece from the collection and why? What do you love to style your Auguste faves with?
Oh, I just love everything you guys create, especially your dresses and if I can match my daughter on top of it, even better! It’s important to first mention that when it is spring in Australia, it’s fall in Switzerland; which means it’s getting colder, especially in the mornings. So, I style my Auguste dress with a chunky knit sweater over the top. This works out for almost every dress! Then, when the sun hits around midday, I just get rid of my sweater and there I am in my summer outfit again. Haha.