Netta Rabin is VP of product development for KLUTZ, the delightful line of crafts and activities for kids. She’s also a mom to three boys– including her five-year-old twins. Netta dished about her work, the highs and lows and parenting boys, and that time she bellydanced for Beyoncé!
We love the Klutz brand—what’s it like to work for Klutz?
I always describe my job as a real-life version of the movie Big. From ideation to finished product, every product we make is tested by a panel of kid experts, and our office itself is a bit of a playland. We’ve got a test kitchen where we perfect our candy recipes and do chemistry experiments, a tech room with a 3-D printer where our maker-in-residence solders and hard-wires our prototypes, and a craft room filled with every supply you could possibly dream up—beads, sequins, felt, glue-guns, every type of clay, yards of faux fur in a rainbow of colors. It’s rare for us to have a production meeting where a couple of people aren’t sewing or cutting something with an X-ACTO knife as we go over schedules.
What’s surprised you most about being the mom to three boys?
The fact that I wound up with three boys never ceases to amaze me. I grew up with two older brothers and a mom who never did my hair or put me in dresses, and I desperately wanted a baby sister. So naturally I always imagined that when I became a mom, I’d have girls. But when my first son was two years old and we learned that identical twins were on the way, I knew right away it would be two more boys—and I truly have never felt more blessed or complete. My boys surprise me every day with how they can go from being hyper, fighting, sweaty ninjas to snuggly, sweet little mushes who tell me I’m beautiful.
You performed as a bellydancer for Beyoncé’s 21st birthday. Tell us all about it!
I belly danced professionally to make extra money in my early days working in publishing. My agent usually sent me on gigs at restaurants for birthdays or anniversaries. This time, she told me I’d be dancing at an event for a big celebrity, and she couldn’t give me any information until the day of. I almost lost my mind when I learned it was Beyoncé!
It was after the Video Music Awards, so there were tons of celebrities there. At the end of the night I got to meet her, and she told me she had never bellydanced and asked if I could give her a lesson and show her some moves. Um, yes! I officially gave Bey her first bellydancing lesson. She was amazing, incredibly sweet and down to earth.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Coordinating family life. I feel like I’m always missing an email sent from the school or class parents, never RSVP’d, forgot to add my name to a sign-up sheet or just realized I’ve been delinquent on carpool duty. If someone could magically manage our family calendar, I swear I’d have time to take up a new hobby.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
If I could get a massage every day, I would. Ideally it would be at a place that gives you free clementines and nuts while you wait in a super thick robe, thumbing through O Magazine, but who has that kind of time and money?
What is your best parenting hack?
To prevent chaos from spilling over into actual violence, I’ve become a master of the re-direct. “Oh look, here’s the Uno deck we thought was lost! Who wants to come help me deal the cards?”
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
If you get all dressed and ready by yourself in the morning, bag packed, teeth brushed, shoes on, you can watch some TV before the bus comes. Not exactly a lie, but it hasn’t happened yet!
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
Inconsistent. Snuggly. Delicious.
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
I’m amazed at how strong I was when our twins were born early at 31 weeks. The twins were an emergency C-section and they went straight to the NICU; meanwhile, I had serious complications that put me into intensive care. Through everything, I was pumping constantly, staying on top of their care at the hospital, mothering our toddler and pushing through exhaustion. It’s amazing how strong we can be when things get hard, but I recognize that strength was largely there because of the incredible support network we’re blessed to have.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
You don’t have to be perfect at anything, and you don’t have to be the best— you just need to try and be passionate.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Kids are capable of more than we sometimes recognize. I’m a fan of chores—I think it’s important for kids to learn that households run on shared responsibilities.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I’m very lucky to have a boss who is also a mom of three and never doubts how much I put into my work. She’s incredibly understanding and even encourages me not to miss the sing-a-longs at school or the kids’ Halloween parade. I’ve also learned to trust myself when it comes to childcare—knowing my kids are in the best hands all day allows me to focus completely on work while I’m in the office, which in turn lets me leave the office (mostly) behind when I come home.
What was the last book you read?
She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Davines Love Curl Conditioner.
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Dancing, preferably at a small, sweaty place with my husband.
What is on your DVR?
I’m still working through The Office. It’s hysterical, and I can half watch it while catching up on work emails and texting with friends.
Favorite Kids Store:
There’s nothing better than finding the perfect thing at our local gift store in town. They do a beautiful job gift wrapping, and I pass them twice a day on my walk to and from the train station — nothing beats that convenience!