Tell me about your family and where you are based
We are the Cooper family, based north of Auckland. Myself & hubby Jase have three kids, Talulah (6) Dixie (3) & Nash (1). We are currently going through the process of building a house which has been an interesting journey, but fun. I am a branding photographer, helping small business get their content for social media, websites, advertising etc & also am the founder of a Mums Support group called The Mums Collective on Facebook.
What is a typical day like in your house?
A beautiful noisy chaos! The kids tend to wake before me and find their way to the couch while I wake up. My hubby leaves at 4:45 most days so I do the mornings on my own. That fun school run & then home with Nash or off to work. I am lucky to have a village around that helps with childcare when needed for work commitments. Dinner times are my high stress time of day, no matter how many strategies I try I can not seem to get peace. Maybe that will come as they grow older. Bedtime routines finally done & then hubby & I sit down together for the first time of the day alone and chat, scroll or Netflix & chill. Then repeat. At times it definitely gets a bit like Groundhog Day.
What's your best childhood memory?
I grew up in a big family, I am the oldest of four. My siblings & I were lucky enough to have spent every summer at our family bach in Whangamata. I always see that saying “you have 18 summers with your children so make them count” and I am on my 34th summer with my parents. That has been the best, family traditions & bonds made that now our own children get to experience with their cousins, even though its now a full house over summer I wouldn’t change it.
What was the first year of motherhood like for you?
Everyone always asks which is harder;1-2 kids or 2-3. For me it was 0-1! What a life change. We didn’t have set routines, Talulah really just slotted in and was my best little bud. She was born on our first year anniversary so we were still learning a lot as a couple too. We made the most of having one and traveled a lot but I struggled with my mental health. I didn’t know much about post natal depression & anxieties and after being diagnosed I changed a few things to improve myself. Something I now advocate for on social media as my anxiety has worsened with every baby & the state of the world the past few years hasn’t helped.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given to arm you as you navigate motherhood or that you can pass on?
Don't sweat the small stuff. It's ok to not be ok and feel overwhelmed at times. You are doing so much and they grow so fast so really stopping to enjoy each season as much as you can before its over changed my perspective a lot. Also ask for help, we seem to expect ourselves to do so much on our own & put so much pressure to have everything in a certain way but you don't have to. People will help. x
What’s one thing as a mum you cannot live without?
Can I say my therapist? Haha she’s a great impartial person who often brings me back to earth when things seem to be getting too much. But other than that I would say my community, which is why I started The Mums Collective & my own personal social media to share & normalise mum life & support others.
What was the hardest thing about becoming a mum?
Loosing friendships, people who didn’t understand or couldn’t relate. They pulled away, said things that hurt because I didn’t have the time to sustain those relationships in the early days as I was trying desperately to keep my own head above water. And also realising how hard a child I must’ve been for my own mother - Sorry Mum!
How do you take time out for yourself without children?
I suck at this. Sometimes it's a drive to the petrol station, literally ten minutes. I used to shower with the kids, now I take that time for myself. When I work its time on my own (Which isn’t really time out is it but it feels like it) I feel a lot of guilt around this as I often think instead of time out for myself I should be spending time with my husband and fostering that relationship more. As mums we tend to always put ourselves last don't we? Something I need to work on.
If you are a working mum how do you ensure you balance this?
Another one I struggle with. When Talulah was born I was teaching, I quit. It was hard giving energy to other peoples' children & not having any left for her. When Dixie was one I got a job for a company based in London. I travelled a bit both overseas and within NZ. Being organised was key. Learning to switch off is key. Now I am self employed and struggle to step back from social media as sharing my life is my job but I am getting better at not replying instantly, disconnecting more on weekends etc.
What is it you wanted to portray in your Instagram feed? Or wanted to share with others?
Normalising motherhood. I talk about anxiety a lot as a mum, tips to help deal with it & my journey. The good, the bad, the hard times. I definitely keep something private, I don't talk about finances or my relationship often, I don't show my kids at times of emotional distress or sickness.
Do you have a favourite book or podcast?
The podcast Ive loved was the trainee sexologist - so many laughs! I'm now listening to an ebook by Dr Julie called Why did nobody tell me this before which talks about anxiety & tips to mange it.
What do you love about FBK products?
They are not only beautiful but they are well made and will last all your babies & be able to keep for your grand babies! They are safe and the products grow with your kids. You can start your collection when they are newborn and continue to buy FBK as they grow up giving them keepsakes for life.