I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have my lovely friend Britt Havens a part of this Motherhood Series, you guys will LOVE her answers. But first a little intro!
I 'met' Britt through Instagram years ago. On the surface, she is a beautiful young mother who I truly admired and loved having a peek into her life with her husband and her three littles. But over time, I've come to realize that she is also a kind, caring, compassionate mother and woman, and one that I think brings so much to her family and those who are following her journey. Recently I was lucky enough to meet her in person, and I can't explain how lovely she is. That person she conveys online is so genuine. She exudes love for her babies and she's just a joy to talk to. On top of being just a lovely person, she has also been a supporter of small brands like The Wild for years, and I have loved seeing her minis in our brand as they have grown!!
I really encourage you to check out her stunning Instagram feed as well as her website and get to know her a little better! And read through her interview here because she has just so much wisdom to share with us!!
Describe for us a typical day in your life as a mother.
I generally wake up to one of my kids at my bedside, either asking to crawl in with me or asking me to make breakfast. We all make our way out for breakfast and COFFEE and I throw on a morning playlist and light a candle.
After that we usually start a little bit of our homeschooling around the table. After breakfast we do clean up and free play and if we aren't going anywhere, I try to get Indie (9 months) down for a nap.
From there it's either out to meet friends at a park, the library, a nature walk or we jump right into our school for the day. Then it's a simple lunch with together, and more tidying/reading/playing together. Quiet time in the afternoon is like an absolute need right now with three littles pulling me in many different directions so we try to all have some quiet time alone in the afternoon.
When that's done we finish up any school for the day and ideally head back outside for a bike ride or just books on a picnic blanket in the yard. We love getting outside as much as we can together, especially in the fall!
I try to be really strategic and planned about dinners but without fail, 10 minutes before my husband is done work I am scrambling and have no idea what to make! Thankfully he's a great cook too and we usually tag team dinner throughout the week.
Then it's your typical, baths x3, bedtime songs and stories and tuck in, 6 additional bathroom breaks , 4 requests for water and a big house tidy and then we are finally free to hang out on the couch and watch Netflix. Phew, I feel exhausted just writing that out hahaha!
What have you found to be the biggest surprise about motherhood?
I think the depth of emotions. I have never loved or wanted to protect anyone or anything as much as I love my children. It's been such a blessing to experience such joy and love and gratitude for the family and life I've been blessed with. On the flip side, I have never known such anxiety. Such guilt and self-doubt and lack of patience. Always questioning if you did the right thing. Worried when they are hurt or sick. The pendulum certainly swings both ways and I was already a pretty emotional girl to begin with. Becoming a mother has brought it to a whole other level. Thankfully the good times and emotions far outweigh the hard ones.
What are some of your favourite activities to do with your family?
Like I mentioned earlier, we love being out in nature together. The beach, or a hike or picnic. We also love to check out local cafes and farmers markets That's probably my dream day. Good coffee, farmers market for some delicious food and then somewhere we can have a picnic and play together.
Do you find time for self care? If so, what does that look like?
I do! It's so important to me and I have a husband who really recognizes when I'm in need of some time to myself and he encourages me to do that. It usually looks like getting out of the house alone for an iced coffee and some shopping or just hanging at the cafe writing or reading a book. If I'm really lucky, my husband will take the kids out of the house and I'll get the house to myself. There is something so amazing to me about being home alone because it happens SO rarely! I'll usually have a bath, give myself a mani/pedi and read, cook or watch some Netflix.
Do you have any favourite books/blogs/podcasts/youtube channels you can’t live without?
YES! Love this question and I could literally go on forever but I'll try to keep it short.
Books: Love Does by Bob Goff is an amazing book! I could read it 100x. I'm in the middle of Simplicity Parenting right now and loving it too!
Podcasts: The Purpose Show by Allie Casazza has been my fave for a while. Really inspiring and motivating! I'm also a big fan of true crime podcasts (Serial, Up and Vanished) but haven't found any that I like in a while.
Share with us one of your family’s favourite quick and easy dinners.
I'll preface with, none of this is extraordinarily healthy. We try to eat pretty clean around here but these are the dishes that are comfort to us and that the kids (and husband) always ask for! We love love love chicken enchiladas with lime crema and cilantro. They are great because I always make a double batch and freeze a pan of them for another night. We also love homemade soups. Chicken tortilla soup and this vegan lentil vegetable soup have been family favourites as of late!
How do you manage the flow between your role as a mother and everything else in your life?
Ahh I wish! I have to be honest and say I don't think I am great at managing the flow between roles. It's a constant balancing act for me and one that often makes me feeling that I'm letting one of my roles fall to the wayside. My husband and kids are absolute first always and after that it's a juggling act that I'm still working on. I'm really blessed that my husband and I are both entrepreneurs who work from home so we are able to tag team and really help each other out when one person is feeling overwhelmed. Practically - I couldn't live without my Golden Coil planner. That thing keeps me in line!
How do you handle the hard days, when being a mother feels like the hardest thing in the world?
I am VERY familiar with those days. Prayer. Endless grace for myself and my kids. Talking to my husband and other mom friends about how I'm feeling. Reminding myself that even though these days are hard (like SO hard) they are the best days and I know I will look back at them and long to relive them. There is a quote by Mary Jean Irion that talks about a normal day and I think about that quote almost every single day. It reminds me of what a gift these hard, boring, exhausting, trying, normal days really are. You must check it out! (Quote inserted here for you!)
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”
What is one of your favourite things to do after the kids are in bed (assuming they sleep!) and you have a moment to yourself?
I've got to be honest, I usually spend some time on my phone because I like to have it away for dinner/bedtime. After that I love making a snack with my husband (usually nachos or we bake a couple cookies) and get cozy on the couch and watch The Office or whatever show we are currently into. Lately I've been trying to wind down before bed with some tea, and reading a couple pages in whatever book I have on the go.
What advice would you give to new mothers?
I don't know about advice but I would probably offer encouragement and say "You have what it takes! You're going to be okay and they are going to be okay and you are killing it at being a mom! Don't worry about what other moms are doing or saying. You've got this. You're strong and you're a damn good mother. Now tell yourself that every single day! " I probably sound so cheesy and overly optimistic but I think every new mom, or even experienced mom needs to hear that from time to time.