Meet A Houston Mom – Meet Judi Natareno of Clutter Free Families
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
I was born in Mississippi, but my father was raised in Houston and I have lived here since 2003 and I’m proud to call Houston home!
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have 3 boys, ages 10, 7, and 3.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I was a gymnast as a kid, and I still love to practice as much as my body will still let me. I stopped competing when I was about 11, and didn’t start practicing again until over 20 years later! I mostly apply the basics to my everyday workouts to help maintain my balance and flexibility, but I also really love showing and teaching my boys fun tricks!
Favorite local activities to do in Houston?
Our favorite activity to do as a family is to go to Memorial Park. While mom and dad run and/or exercise near the tennis center, the boys play around the exercise area for hours. They enjoy playing on the equipment, climbing the trees up to their “forts”, and getting dirty in the sand and rocks. This park is their favorite “back yard”. We also love spending weekday afternoons at Levy Park and the Children’s Museum.
Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area?
Punks is our favorite near-by restaurant. King’s BierHaus and Live Oak Grill are a little bit of a drive, but definitely worth it! Any restaurant with enough room for 3 boys to run around is a win for us!
What local places do you go to for pampering and/or mom’s night out?
Since the new Lifetime facility opened, that has been my go-to for pampering (Especially with the availability of onsite child care!) Sixty Vines in Rice Village is a great new spot for a mom’s night out; aside from the eco-friendly concept of having wine on tap, the food and atmosphere are great!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I launched my new business, Clutter Free Families, earlier this year to help families “Make Room for Life”, as I like to say, by helping them re-define their relationship with stuff.
I personally struggled with clutter my whole life, and it wasn’t until we had a family of 5 that I realized it didn’t matter how much I organized our stuff, it was still just too much! We were spending so much time managing the stuff in our home that it was taking away from enjoying life. (It also helped a bit that my husband was not a fan of having a storage unit full of all the stuff that I “might need one day”)
After I spent years slowly downsizing and decluttering my own home, I saw my friends struggling with the same issues and I worked with them to help them find relief. Soon after, I decided to venture out and create a way to share this mission with the community. I currently provide in-home decluttering/organizing services and publish monthly newsletters for those looking for tips and inspiration to “Make Room for Life”.
How has the Houston community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Houston has provided great opportunities to get out and meet people who have contributed greatly in getting this message out to the community. I consider myself an introvert and have historically struggled with putting myself into new situations, but the people in Houston are so friendly that it makes meeting new people so much easier!
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
Ask for help! I was notorious for thinking I could “do it all” when my kids were babies, and I ran myself into the ground. It wasn’t until I started letting people help me (whether hiring help or accepting help from family and friends) that I started feeling truly fulfilled. I loved the time I spent at home with my boys when they were babies, but there is nothing like having time for yourself, whether to be productive, or to just relax. Once I started asking for help, and making time for myself, I became more relaxed at home and enjoyed our time together so much more.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Having 3 boys has taught me that things will NEVER go as planned, but somehow it all seems to work out in the end.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
I like to create little “jingles” for routine activities to help infants and little kids focus and reduce their tendency to fight back. Our jingle for rinsing hair in the bath is “head back… eyes closed… don’t get conditioner in your nose!” and our diaper changing jingle used to be “booty up… booty down… diaper aaalllll around!” I just repeat the jingle every time the activity comes up and they eventually start singing along and helping out 😊
What are you GRATEFUL for?
I am most grateful for my supportive family. My husband, especially, is always encouraging me in whatever I put my mind to do, and my boys follow suit by inquiring about ongoing projects. Also, we all help each other set and reach goals in all areas of life; I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their 100% support.