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.
Kirsten is an amazing photographer, blogger, and all around creative. Below she discusses her mission to live ethically, go-to sayings for parenting, and idyllic family days in the woods.
B+G: You are an avid environmentalist. How do you incorporate this philosophy into your everyday life?
Kirsten: In this day and age, simple slow living shines. On a practical note, I try to make educated purchases. From the toothbrushes we use (made from recycled materials and biodegradable) to the clothes we wear (organic and ethically made). We make the effort to research and source the best options. We are vegetarians too, which they say is the number one thing individuals can do to lesson their impact on earth. We were recently staying in rural Canada surrounded by thousands of acres of rotating corn/soy crops. When Cam asked what the corn was predominantly used for we were told it was used to feed cows. All that corn being grown, to feed cows! We then learned while at one of the first grain mills in Ithaca, NY, that cows used to be fed the corn husks, not the corn. People used to eat the corn…but now we need to make the cows fatter quicker so we feed them corn.
B+G: What are the biggest gifts and challenges of motherhood?
Kirsten: The biggest gift is the love, so so so much love. We call Elle little smoochy because she spends a large part of her day snuggling with us. These little beings that you adore so much you could gobble them up. I am also incredibly inspired creatively by the children, their beauty inspires me to make, and Maya has an in-built aesthetic sense that I rely on often for advice. The most challenging thing is my patience and tolerance constantly being tested.
The girls wear our grey natalie swing top, japanese denim rolled chino, cream plaid kurta, and rachel denim, available here.
B+G: What motto do you live by or try to instill in your children?
Kirsten: Ha…I have quite a few “sayings” that I mutter repeatedly… “If you are going to do something, do it properly,” is something I often say. This really matters to me, no matter what it is, be thoughtful and do it well. I don’t like lazy short cuts that come about from not being bothered or connected. “Calm and gentle” Is another one. Maya is very intense and so instead of telling her to stop and be quiet I try and remember to give positive affirmative guidance by saying “Calm and gentle, Maya”.
B+G: What is your favorite thing to cook for your children? Or what is their favorite thing to eat?
Kirsten: They will tell you enchiladas, quesadilla or burritos…we eat a lot of Mexican. As we are vegetarian, beans and rice are a staple in our home. I generally always cook from scratch, and these are my go to meals after a long day.
B+G: Describe your ideal family day.
Kirsten: I would get up and make muffins, the girls would have a little playtime, and I would pack a picnic. We would drive up state New York for picnicking and apple picking. We would have a hot thermos of chai tea and muffins amongst the apple trees and wildflowers. I would make flower crowns. After apple picking we would stumble across a quaint local organic bakery, we would pick a fresh loaf of bread and then go home to make a pot of hearty vegetable soup, followed by apple crumble and hand whipped cream. Hmmm… I can’t wait for Autumn!
B+G: What are your favorite things to do with your children?
Kirsten: Walking in the woods, swimming in the ocean or a lake, star gazing, drawing, making… anything that is creative or celebrates nature.
B+G: What is your philosophy when it comes to motherhood?
Kirsten: Oh…well, I suppose I would say, regarding early childhood, I would say do it whole heartedly. Give them your body and soul, because once it is over, it is over and there is no going back. They are little for such a short time and it is so very precious. The days can be long being a stay at home mother, but the years go by quickly. I see motherhood as a gift and largely it is what you make of it, and I wanted to make it my whole life. As they grow, they need you less and less, and bit by bit you find time/space for other things again. The idea is to just want to be with them and set the rest aside for a few years, and listen to that voice and make life choices so that you can…even if it means buying a house later… or going without exotic vacations.
B+G: What was the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?
Kirsten: How vulnerable you feel, because you love them so much, but you can’t control their life, you can try to guide them and protect them, but ultimately they have their own destiny. The pride you feel is wonderful too…just a moment ago Elle came to me with a hand embroidery she is working on, and she had finished sewing the blue water and was moving on to a dolphin and needed help tying off the thread. I was overcome with pride for her and her little messy stitches.
B+G: If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself?
Kirsten: Probably that owning a house is not that important. I would likely have ignored myself though!
B+G: What excites you most about motherhood?
Kirsten: Everyday is a new day, and each day my children are so fresh and energetic, they really fill me with life and as the years go by their life unfolds before your eyes like a present, full of surprises.
B+G: You’re an artist, writer, AND photographer. How has it been balancing a career and caring for your family?
Kirsten: Well all of the things I do seem to combine cohesively. I am freelance so I set my own hours, and my children are often involved in my work. I did not work when they were babies, but now that they are older there is time in the day that I can work while they play. I homeschool too, so that takes dedication/organization, but it also makes our life very simple. No rushing about for drop off and pick up. I will set them up with work and I can grab 30 mins here and there for whatever I am working on. Or I work at night after they go to bed…if I am writing an article I set the alarm for 6am and write when I am fresh before everyone gets up. When I am doing too much, it manifests as a giant pile of unfolded laundry on our spare room bed, that sits there taunting me for a week…or two…or three!
B+G: Any upcoming work projects you are excited about?
Kirsten: Yes! The girls and I shot a short ditty minute long video about the preservation and protection of the honey bee, we shot it months ago but we still have to do the voice over…it is almost finished and I cant wait! I hope it works. I am a bit nervous, I am my own worst critic.
B+G: How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?
Kirsten: Today…messy! I would say Scandinavian folk, I try to keep things simple but I do like a little handmade flourish, and collecting found objects from nature. I like lots of white, even though we have very little white in our home. It was recently painted when we moved in, so we felt we should leave it. I have not put a lot of energy into ‘decorating’ our home because I feel like it should just happen naturally over time slowly…it should just add up to our life. I always think we are going to move back to Australia, so that keeps me from really putting my roots down.
B+G: How would you describe your own style? How has it changed since becoming a mother?
Kirsten: I suppose I am a little boho, a little classic…I don’t know! I have very very long hair… because I never go to the hair dressers! I am very natural looking. I do not put a lot of effort into my appearance, I don’t wear make up or jewelry. I am a no fuss dresser. I wear natural fibers, I love 100% wool and cotton and silk. I like to be comfortable, I tend to wear pants and shorts, but I love dresses too. I would prefer to buy one amazing designer piece that I find inspiring than five lesser items. I make the effort to iron my clothes at least!
B+G: What pieces would you consider your staples for your wardrobe?
Kirsten: Jeans, a woven cotton blouse and a wide brim hat.
B+G: What do you love most about raising your kids where you live?
Kirsten: We have the woods at one end of our street, and we have a train to Manhattan at the other end. We can stand on mountains with wildflowers and see the New York City skyline. I am a country person, but I love that all that the city offers is right there at our finger tips.
B+G: Would you like to live anywhere else?
Kirsten: Yes, we often think and talk about moving back to Australia so we are close to our family and back near the beach. I miss the beach. We moved here from Byron Bay, which is paradise on earth.
B+G: What is your favorite room in your house and why?
Kirsten: Our attic. I love the big open space, I love the white walls and grey floors, and that it is almost empty.
Thanks so much for chatting Kirsten!
Head to Kirsten’s personal blog
account for daily inspiration.