This season, we partnered with some of our favorite mothers who happen to be multi-talented artists, photographers, and designers. We asked them to capture their littles in their natural elements. The result has been a series of beautiful images from around the globe.
Anna lives in Rotterdam with her beautiful daughter Stella. She shares her love for her lifelong hometown, and how her passion for photography transformed into a business!
B+G: What are the biggest gifts and challenges of motherhood? Anna: Before I had Stella, I read a quote: ‘Making the decision to have a child- it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.’ I thought that quote was funny, thinking about the fact that my mom made that decision five times and after that I really never gave it more thought, until Stella was born… Then I completely understood that feeling. I think this all together is the biggest gift and the biggest challenge. That unconditional and powerful love, that makes you want to do everything for and with your child. But I want Stella to become an independent, curious and fearless little girl, so that means I need to let her figure things out on her own way.
B+ G: What motto do you live by or try to instill in your daughter? Anna: Although I’m not really a motto person, the one that would fit my life and upbringing the most would be: “Be the type of person you want to meet.” I would say I’m not such a strict mom, but the only thing I’m really strict about is manners. I want Stella to greet people, say thank you and be kind to others.
B+G: What is your favorite thing to cook for your daughter? Or what are her favorite things to eat? Anna: Her favorite meal is pasta, any pasta really. Pasta with pesto and chicken is her all-time favorite I guess, because she knows the drill and 'helps’ me. Next to that we often bake, mostly cupcakes and brownies. Every time when we have something to celebrate, like the birth of my niece Philia last month, we bake something together.
B+G: Describe your ideal family day. Anna: My ideal family days are Saturdays. I love a good sleep in, we all do in this family. Stella is a very good sleeper and often sleeps in until around 9.00/10.00 in the weekends. For breakfast we go to 'Picknick,’ a small place on our street with the best breakfast and lunch! Then we walk to the market to buy some fresh flowers… When the sun is out we love to drive to the beach (about a half hour from our home). In the evening having friends over for dinner or off to our family. I come from a big family and my youngest brothers still live at home, so they are not 'traditional’ uncles. They are more Stella’s big brothers!
B+G: What are your favorite things to do with your daughter? Anna: Maybe you’ve seen by now that I like the simple little things in life. I love being outside with Stella, riding on my bike together and having conversations with her. I love going to a farm with Stella, let her pet the animals and feed them. I love going to my sister and her little baby with Stella, let her kiss her little baby, feed and 'help’ my sister out of taking care of the baby. Maybe it’s boring or your life becomes much simpler when you get a kid… Stella helps me to enjoy the little things, last weekend we stood before a man that made music on the street for about 15 minutes. If Stella didn’t wanted to stop, I would have walked passed it.
B+G: What is your philosophy when it comes to motherhood? Anna: When I still was pregnant with Stella, my plan was to go back working when she was 3 months old. Just like every mother does here in the Netherlands. But then she was born and everything changed. I didn’t want someone else to take care of her and missing these first couple of years. So we chose for less money but more moments together. I must say I’m very thankful for Chris (my boyfriend), who agreed this is what’s best for us. I have so many memories (and pictures) from these last 2,5 years, it’s crazy! And I think it changed my whole outlook on what kind of mother I want to be. I want to be the one that she spends the majority of her time with… They are only little once!
B+G: If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself? Anna: I wouldn’t know what I would tell my 15 year old self… Maybe a very wise advice or a motto to live by (just kidding). But then again, what teenager ever listen to advice?
B+G: What excites you most about motherhood? Anna: Seeing Stella learn and grow… And thinking about our future with hopefully a brother or/and sister for Stella!
B+G: You are an amazing photographer and creative. How has it been balancing your career and family life? Anna: Thank you so much! Well, that wasn’t very hard. I didn’t plan on becoming a photographer, it just kind of happened… I always loved photography and since I was 10 years old, brought my camera everywhere. Being home with your kid gives you a lot of free time and I started making more pictures and joining Instagram. Instagram has played a huge roll in my new 'career.’ There are so many creative people on Instagram that inspire me and next to that people and brands find me through Instagram. Stella was mostly with me until she was about 10 months old, also because I breastfed for a long time! After that I got more freedom and slowly started to get asked for little things. But when Stella was around 1,5 it started to become more serious and I started my own little company so people could hire me.
B+G: Any upcoming work projects you are excited about? Anna: Yes! But unfortunately I can’t tell much about it… It’s something I wanted to make for a while and am now working on! I hope to be able to share more about this soon!
B+G: What’s a typical work day like for you? Anna: I work on the days that Stella goes to school, so that’s three days a week. I will bring Stella to school and after that my day starts… My days are never the same: I can be on location shooting a whole day, editing from home or bike around town for meetings.
B+G: How would you describe the aesthetic of your home? Anna: Cosy, a little messy and a place where I want every one to feel welcome. We have people over daily and I love that! I love that mess-free, perfect Pinterest home feeling but that just isn’t us. Our home is a real one where people live in and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Ok. Maybe sometimes ;)
B+G: How would you describe your own style? How has it changed since becoming a mother? Anna: Simple, comfortable and with a lot of black! And no, I don’t think it changed…
B+G: What pieces would you consider staples for your wardrobe? Anna: Ripped jeans, sneakers, simple oversized sweatshirts, comfortable trousers and long coats.
B+G: What do you love most about raising your daughter in Rotterdam? Anna: I’m born and raised in Rotterdam and so is Chris. We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the Netherlands. I love how Stella gets to grow up in this city, just like us. When we walk around the market on Saturday, the people who work there got to see Chris grow up and now they see Stella grow up…
B+G: If you could choose another city to live in for a year, where would it be? Anna: I would love to live on the coast of England, like Cornwall. In a little cottage with a fireplace and kids running around on the beach. But then for a year and not much longer, that I would be happy to go back to Rotterdam ;)
B+G: What is your favorite room in your house and why? Anna: My favorite room is our living room. We have an old, big table that fits around 10 people and it’s occupied a lot of weekends. When we ever move, I only have one thing I really want: a kitchen/living area. In my home where I grew up in we have this: a big kitchen/living with a big table and fireplace. People rarely watch tv over at my parents house, everyone sits in the kitchen and phones are not allowed on table. I love that!
Thanks for chatting, Anna!
To see more of her amazing work, check out her blog and Instagram.