I'm so excited to share an interview that I did with one of my favorite people on the planet. Chelsey and I met the summer before fourth grade when our moms forced a play date on us. We grudgingly played Battleships and have pretty much been friends ever since.
Chelsey is hilarious, and thoughtful, loves a good fight, and has great taste in sunglasses. In addition to being the mother of three beautiful, caring kids, she has a blog called Girl from the North Country: A Diary of a Mommy, where she writes about parenthood with a ton of heart and wit; and she runs a photography business, Chelsey Tobiason Photography. Be sure to check out her work; her portraits are really beautiful and her blog will have you laughing and crying...
Without further ado, here's our interview.
Did you always know you wanted kids?
Yes! My mom always tells this story about how at two years old, I tried to nurse someone’s baby. Apparently my maternal gene emerged very young.
How would you describe your style, and how is your style reflected in what your kids wear?
I would like to think that my style would be “Lazy Boho Punk”. I love vintage, flowy, bohemian clothes but also edgier, studded things. But I am also a mother of three small children...so there may be times when I’m wearing ripped jeans because that’s just how long it’s been since I bought new ones, and an ironically raggy t-shirt because it was literally all I could find on the floor.
The boys let me dress them, so their clothes reflect a lot of what I like. My five year old daughter, however, has been dressing herself since she was eighteen months. She is a big fan of layering. (For example: pants, three skirts, a t-shirt, a jacket and two hats. Maybe a glove.) I love her style because it is unpredictable and I think that’s really unique; some days she looks like a fairy princess, and other days she looks homeless.
What is the most valuable piece of parenting advice you've received?
A friend’s mother once told me that it was OK to take a moment to pull yourself together when your baby is screaming. They’ve used the recording of an infant crying to torture people for a specific reason; the sound can drive you mad. It is amazing how much a minute or two can calm your nerves --if you just set the baby down and take a couple of deep breaths.
On a similar note, what is your favorite tip to share with new parents?
I would recommend to read/study/listen to others’ advice, but make it your own. What works for one person may not work for you. What works for one of your kids, may not work for another. Children, and therefor your parenting, must constantly evolve.
As the mother of three beautiful, loving, silly kids, what do you do to take care of yourself?
I am terrible at this. But every once in awhile I will go grab a coffee and get a pedicure with a friend. I am the creep that sits in the massage chair and falls asleep while some poor woman paints my toenails.
Is there a musician that you were exposed to at a young age that you hope your kids will love too?
I grew up listening to Bob Dylan-- I am obsessed with him and I have passed that onto my children. They have a CD player set up in their little kitchen/play area, and I have burned them an array of tunes to listen to. They love Bob Dylan, Green Day, Sublime, and Regina Spektor. Currently they are listening to The Strutts.
What is one thing you hope to instill in your kids? This can be anything from the importance of coffee to how to be accepting of others, regardless of their differences.
Wow. That’s a loaded question ;)
I want them to be happy. And in being happy, I would hope that that their cheerfulness spreads to others. During this current climate, with Donald Trump having been just elected President-- a man who built his platform on fear, bigotry and hatred-- I am more determined than ever to instill goodness in my children. I want them to be strong-willed and passionate, educated and mindful.
Right now they don’t know about racism or sexism. They don’t think about the color of someone’s skin or who uses what bathroom or if their gender will impact their career. They see that saying something hurtful causes damage. They delight in the smell of a good fart and the company of their friends and family.
They are beautiful, joyful, messes and I hope that they stay that way.
Thanks so much for being my very first interview for the blog!