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.
Amy Morrall of Missing Fillmore calls Devon, England home with her husband and their three children. Both a business owner and incredible photographer, Amy shares her thoughts on attachment parenting, the surprises of motherhood, and the family’s favorite way to spend the day.
B+G: What are the biggest gifts and challenges of motherhood?
Amy: Becoming a mother for me meant gaining a brilliantly wonderful and often overwhelming responsibility. To have three other humans as part of me is a whole new journey of learning. It means being challenged to keep perspective in sight when there’s after-school tiredness raging or underlying sickness bubbling. There are handfuls of days when everything seems to come together and there’s celebration. I love to celebrate them and celebrate along with them. When they spend an hour after school making me a book to colour in or singing along with Gilby as he’s made up a new tune on his keyboard. It’s in these moments when I realize what a gift I’ve been given. Where we live can at times be a bit isolating for a stay at home mum but keeping perspective on the decision I’ve made to invest this time in them is important. I don’t believe there’s anything more significant for me to be doing right now. A challenge I hadn’t foreseen is the amount of communication and negotiation skills I would need raising my daughters. These are skills I need on a daily basis and am still learning. I find myself lost for words more often than I’d like to confess. It requires all of me to mother these kids. I fail daily and am challenged daily but I hope to bear with them, nurture them, treasure them and ponder those big issues with them. I’m so grateful to have the gift that no matter how far apart we will end up these three humans are now and always will be part of my consciousness.
B+G: What motto do you live by or try to instill in your children?
Amy: I have so many hopes for my children. Whether I can myself install these I’m not sure but my biggest hope is that they can love. I hope they have the tools to always give love and kindness to all people in all areas of their lives. No matter how challenged their daily lives are I hope they can choose the best route and not just the easy route. I hope they learn to be adaptable and question why they do what they do. To be brave and step into uncertainty with the belief that thinking can change and that they can form original ideas. I hope they can be creative in the way they think about life and collaborate with others whilst finding community to be inspired by. I truly hope they develop a sense of self esteem and self discipline. I miss the mark daily on installing life lessons, but then a new day comes and I give it another go. I hope they will live with hope and faith for a new day.
B+G: What is your favorite thing to cook for your children? Or what is their favorite thing to eat?
Amy: As a family we attempt to eat organic whole foods which arrive on our doorstep once a week. I hope to grow more over the next few years. We started this year with tomatoes, a few vegetables and apples which have been fun over the last few weeks. I try to keep cooking simple during the week because after school time is precious. My girls’ favourite food is sushi, pumpkin pie and ice cream. They love fancy drinks with cocktail umbrellas. Gilby’s favourite way to eat is on an open fire nibbling on sausages and marshmallows.
B+G: Describe your ideal family day.
Amy: The best family day for us would be on the sand with blankets, warmth from the sun (or not as so often happens here in England) and the salty sea air. Surfing, rock climbing and cooking on a fire until sunset.
B+G: What are your favorite things to do with your children?
Amy: I love cooking with Maggie or watching her perform. Maggie is full of jokes, clown acts, leopard costumes, songs and raps. I love drawing with Primrose. We don’t find time to do this nearly enough. She is full of creativity and has a constant notepad and pen in her hand. She’s just as likely to be using up her physical energy climbing trees in our garden too. I love to do my day to day with Gilby. He is full of eagerness to get involved and be part of a project. He’s keen to help me whether it’s planting tomatoes or mopping the floor. We take a pottery class and muskigarten together. He loves on his sisters. And regularly helps them out when they need extra reassurance and confidence. We love to camp together in Cornwall and Wales and travel as much as we can.
B+G: What is your philosophy when it comes to motherhood?
Amy: My philosophy is to set out to enjoy my children daily. To know that everyday requires love, attachment and nurturing. And on those basic survival days to be motivated to see their real needs and be flexible towards them. Instead of standing in the kitchen for an hour cooking from scratch I might need to sit and cuddle my 6 year old. I try to remember this time is fleeting and which need is greater.
B+G: What was the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?
Amy: A mother’s path can be so different so maybe it was always going to be surprising. But so much has surprised me. I’ve found motherhood can be quite isolating especially when you appear to look at it so differently from other mothers at times. I was surprised that it’s the most exciting learning curve I never really new existed. I was surprised that it would take three years for my daughters to really enjoy their brother. Surprised that I would be told so many times a day that I’m loved by my son. Something I hold so dear and desperately never want to end. Surprised that I could have such complicated little girls and yet they aren’t. I’m surprised at how fast these days are going by. When was the last time I carried my twins any distance? I don’t know. When was the last time Gilby called me mama and not mummy? I’m surprised I can’t remember these things, they just don’t happen any more. I’m surprised at how much I yearn for the days gone but I also surprise myself by envisioning our future together with excitement.
B+G: If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself?
Amy: 10 years ago I would have told myself to look up attachment parenting. I would have told myself that every child is unique and I would need to learn to adapt my parenting to my children’s individual needs. I would have said to gain a better understanding of twin births. Read up on breast feeding so I could be prepared for the shock of having new born babies that couldn’t suckle and the greater shock of being let down by midwives and health visitors. But I would have told myself that in the end I would make it through. I would have told myself to enjoy my body because it will dramatically change postpartum. I would have told myself that by the time Gilby was born, with three years of negotiation and communication skills under our belts, Andy and I would no longer hold any decision making abilities, we wouldn’t be able to decide on one or two names for our son so would end up giving him four. But really perhaps I wouldn’t tell myself any of these things because what a boring learning curve it would have been.
B+G: What excites you most about motherhood?
Amy: I’m excited to spend with them the little moments that are so big in their eyes. I’m excited to see them conquer fears and thrive in learning their everydays. I’m excited to see who they will become. How they will learn to live with and love those around them. It excites me to get out of the house and adventure with them. Whether we’re popping to the nearby town to search second hand shops for new books or flying to explore Berlin. To experience life together. I’m excited to become a better mother and best friend to them.
B+G: You’re a wonderful photographer and also own a family business. How has it been balancing a career and caring for your family?
Amy: We have an almost 20 year old skateboard and clothing business called Flatspot. It’s mostly online with a small shop in Totnes, England. I’ve always seen my life as being a mother and was quite clear in my mind that I would dedicate the early years and probably more to being at home. I was also clear that I would have twins. I love to photograph them but have no plans of turning this into a career. I will most likely go back into our business working on our brand once Gilby is in school full time but only on a part time basis.
B+G: How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?
Amy: Maybe I could describe it as mainly thrifted, with a little (not nearly enough) mid century and far too much Habitat and ikea. It’s a work in progress as we’ve lived in this 3 bed 1920s bungalow since April and have plans to extend it. It sits in an over grown ¾ acre plot and currently has a makeshift kitchen, wood worm and lots of drainage issues. It’s small, too small for us, so we’ve tried to get to grips with storage a little and are absolutely loving the Vitsoe shelving system. I also try to have a little of a Montessori approach when it comes to setting up areas of use for Primrose, Maggie and Gilby with the hope to have a play/craft room in our extension for them.
B+G: How would you describe your own style? How has it changed since becoming a mother?
Amy: I have a very different postpartum body. My twins weighed 7lbs 15oz and 7lbs 8oz and Gilby weighed 11lbs. My stomach is now very different so my style has loosened up. One thing has stayed the same and that’s that I wear jeans. Most days. And in the summer it’s jean shorts or dungarees. Often with a smock top and vintage cardigan with sandals for as much of the year as possible. I have a stash of old skate tees and dream of the day I can get back into them, lately my girls have been enjoying some of them, maybe that will have to do.
B+G: What do you love most about raising your kids where you live?
Amy: We live minutes from a national park where we love to climb, 30 minutes from great beaches and near a creative Bohemian town. We commute 25 minutes to school but have the delights of a garden and space to live in.
B+G: Would you like to live anywhere else?
Amy: We would love to one day settle in the USA. We were last there in 2011 with the kids and traveled down the west coast. Possibly Northern California. But really I’d take anywhere along the coast.
B+G: What is your favorite room in your house and why?
Amy: My favourite room is the living room. It has a large window looking towards the moor from where we’re enjoying sunsets and lightening storms. It really is a room for living, full of books, toys and instruments. We’re hoping to create a new living area with useful spaces to create together and play in along with a new kitchen and dining area and then this room with a view will become our bedroom.
Thank you for chatting Amy! To see more of her wonderful work, follow her on Instagram and at her blog, Missing Fillmore.