In today’s meet a mom, we feature Natalie. Born in Belize, she is a US veteran and a proud mom of two. Natalie pursued her goal to be available for her children and started her own, Cook With Me, company. Check out more about her business and how she navigates and balances that mom/work life.
What is your name how many kids do you have and what are their ages?
My name is Natalie Adderley. I have two kids, my son Naum age 12, and my daughter Naima age 7.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in San Antonio?
I was born in Belize and moved to the United States when I was 16 years old. As a result of my husband’s military career, we have had the opportunity to live all over the U.S. I have been living in San Antonio for 2 years but this is our second tour here. We love San Antonio!
Tell us a little about your backstory – what did you do before you were a Mom, any schooling – what did you study/degree in?
Before I became a mom, I served 5 years in the Air Force. During those 5 years, I received training as a Personal Trainer & in Culinary Arts. I started my culinary journey when I was trusted as a young Airman to lead shift at the Military Dining Facility during 9/11 as a result of manning challenges. After separating from the military, I married my high school sweetheart. We decided that having both of us in the military would not be in the best interest of our future family. After having our first child we decided that being a stay-at-home mom was extremely important. We wanted our children to have at least one constant person at home since being away from immediate family would also impact their lives. After my son went off to preschool I pursued and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. With our second child off to kindergarten, I began to get the wheels turning as to what I wanted to pursue as my future career. I wanted to continue staying home but still have a career and income to help the family. My love for cooking grew throughout the years of being home. Our family was always happiest gathering in the kitchen. Those moments sparked the idea that grew into my business, Cook With Me. As I continue to grow my business, I am also pursuing my Culinary Degree.
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in San Antonio?
Raising a family in San Antonio has given our children the best of both city and outdoor life. We are 15 minutes away from downtown and 15 minutes away from trails and rivers. Having season passes to the world-famous SeaWorld is definitely a city perk. A quick hour-long road trip to Austin and swimming in a rooftop pool overlooking the city lights are also a city perk. Outdoor living in San Antonio has introduced us to River Tubing. It has now become our favorite family outdoor activity to beat this Texas heat. Being from coastal Belize, we love being able to drive to the beaches for a weekend getaway.
What do you feel is the greatest gift about being a mom?
I have been blessed with being able to stay home and raise my children. I have been there to kiss their first booboo, to hearing their giggles from the silly stories they tell each other in their fort. I am truly blessed to be able to be there for my children day-to-day but I also try to instill in them the importance of independence and family. When I hear them say don’t worry mom I will figure it out or seeing them cuddle while watching movies….that’s my gift. Makes everything worth it.
What’s your least favorite “mom” job? (i.e. packing lunches, washing dishes, laundry, bath time, etc.)
My least favorite “mom” job is cleaning my son’s bathroom. Moms with boys know my struggles.
Tell us one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Growing up in Belize I was a Girl Guides (equivalent to Girl Scouts). I was a Brownie from age 6 all the way to a Ranger at age 16. We got to travel to Mexico City to a Girl Guide Camp and meet girls from around the world.
Share with us some of your favorite local things to do in San Antonio and/or surrounding areas? (With kiddos or just for mom!)
A favorite local activity I like is eating at food trucks and pop-up stands. Our favorite stands are Wowwow Lemonade San Antonio, Ooyoopan, Mo’s Mangonadas, and everything at the Pearl’s Farmers Market.
We drive to Austin just to go to Manolis Ice Cream for anything on their menu and IL Saprois Italian Food Truck for their handmade pasta and homemade sauces.
Do you have a family favorite restaurant in the area that the rest of us should know about?
Ooh, there’s so many…Baku Ramen, Whiskey Cake, La Panederia, Frida, Stixs & Stones, and Southerleigh.
Tell us a mom hack – that makes your life easier?
Alexa 😊 in helping us stay on schedule with alarms and reminders and how can I forget drop-ins.
Tell us about your career outside of being a mom? Where are you located (if applicable)? How can people purchase your product?
My business is Cook With Me. My motto is We Cook, You Eat, I Clean. I offer live interactive online cooking classes via Zoom. In my online classes, clients can ask questions and get one on one guidance. I will go back to offering in-person classes when we can gather safely again. I value my business name, Cook With Me, because it is not just me standing in front of you and reading off a step-by-step recipe. Instead, I cook with you as I guide you through preparing a meal together with your friends or family. The session creates a family-packed kitchen sharing stories and recipes while creating memories.
Class dates and sign-ups can be found on my website: cookwithmenatalie.com
Tell us what your inspiration was behind starting this career and what your mission has been?
My inspiration for starting this career and business was sharing my love of cooking when gathering with my family. Ooh, the memories I have created with my kids. Shaking my head as they lick every inch of their sticky fingers. Their heads lost in the mixing bowl being sure to lick every last drop of the cake batter. The memories I have of watching my grandma hovered over a gigantic pot preparing our traditional Belizean Sunday dinner. My brother creating a heaping pile of pots in the sink as he cooks five different dishes. My mother trying her best not to burn something. My sister licking her fingers “taste testing” and getting them hit with grandma’s pot spoon. Chasing the dogs out of the kitchen as they continuously tried to lick the floor clean. All while trying to keep the babies from crawling into the chaotic kitchen. Those memories were my inspiration for starting Cook With Me. My mission will continue to be to create memories of gathering in the kitchen and cooking with friends or family.
How important are community and honesty in motherhood for you?
Community is very important to me. As the saying goes….it takes a village. I remember both our families gathered on the lawn as we waved goodbye. We were heading to our next military assignment while pregnant with our first baby. Experiencing pregnancy firsts and being sick with hyperemesis alone was depressing. My husband was to be deployed during my due date. I flew back to my parents and had our first son without him. That experience showed me the value of family and community support.
For my second pregnancy, I told my family I wanted another child but I would need their help. My sister flew in with her toddler just to be there for my son. My grandmother shared my bed as I was bedridden with hyperemesis. My husband’s coworkers came to take care of the yard while he was away. There is no way I could have had a healthy baby girl without my family and community support.
Honesty in motherhood to me means asking for help when you need it. Don’t overthink and consider everybody else’s needs but your own. As my husband says as I sit there considering everyone else’s needs, “Now is the time to be selfish, especially when it comes to your health!”.
Best advice for moms who stay at home but looking to do “something” (whether that means going back to work or starting their own career from home)
The best advice for moms looking to do “something” is to be sure that whatever you decide to do it is something you love doing and worth the sacrifices your family will face. Remember YOUR energy carries into your home and children’s lives.
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
It is very important for me to be Natalie and be able to pursue what I love to do. Not only am I also a mom but a wife, business owner, best aunt 😊, sister, friend and so much more. Not being able to do what I love would make me a miserable person. Now what kind of person especially mother would I be then, I don’t even want to imagine.
Best advice for mom guilt?
Don’t be! Everything is a learning and growing experience. Don’t try to live up to the expectations of what others have for you but instead set out to reach the goals you have made based on the needs of your family. If you and your kids are happy, what else really matters.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today?
All the women in my life have influenced me to be the mom I am today. Both my grandmothers are hard workers. My maternal grandmother ran a restaurant and cruise ship catering to her elderly age. She was also a pillar of her community. My paternal grandmother is to this day helping her grandchildren in the family landscaping business. My mother and all my aunts are the breadwinners of their family. They have all pushed the importance of having an education to be able to be financially independent. I have learned from the good and the bad of their experiences to become the mom and woman I am today.
When parenting gets hard – what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
This too shall pass! This biblical saying has gotten me through life. The tough times get better and the good times pass by quickly. Cherish each moment with your children because before you know it, they are off with a family of their own.
Name one thing you hope your kids look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama?
When my children look back at their childhood, I would hope they would say that it was full of love and adventures. I hope adventures and love are what they remember us by. We call it the Adderley Adventures. Adderley Adventures takes us on road trips or planning an outdoor expedition. I also hope my children remember having a passport since infants and magnets overflowing the fridge from new places they visited.
Featured on SA Live: https://cookwithmenatalie.com/aiovg_videos/sa-live/
Featured on CTV3 News in Belize: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CMgchm5hnxA/
Featured on Female Executives of TX Instagram Page: