The chaos is totally normal to us Courtney Adamo with Easton, Quin, Ivy and Marlow . London
If I wouldn’t have a passion for amazing mums, this website wouldn’t exist. And Courtney Adamo, the co-founder of Babyccino has probably been one of my first mum-crushes ever. I started following her Instagram account when I was pregnant, and I still love looking at her pretty pictures of her beautiful family. Thanks to her, I can now imagine having more than two kids! But Courtney is not only a great mum of four, she is also an incredibly nice, warm, clever and charming woman. And she has great taste! You just have to like her. So what’s her secret, I wanted to know…. and I just asked! How does she survive long flights with four kids, how does she keep her house clean and neat, and how does it feel when your Instagram is blocked because you’ve posted a picture of a babies belly – she told me all this in our interview.
Hätte ich nicht eine ausgesprochene Begeisterung für tolle Mütter, dann würde es diese Seite nicht geben. Und Courtney Adamo, Mit-Gründerin von Babyccino war einer meiner ersten Mum-Crushes überhaupt. Ich entdeckte ihren Instagram Account während meiner Schwangerschaft und bis heute liebe ich die Bilder von ihrer wunderschönen Familie. Dank ihr kann ich mir mittlerweile sogar gut vorstellen, mehr als zwei Kinder zu bekommen! Courtney ist aber nicht nur eine tolle Vierfach-Mama. Sie ist auch interessant, warmherzig, clever, unfassbar nett, und sie hat einen tollen Geschmack… Eine Frau, die man mögen muss und deren Leben man teilen will. Was ist ihr Geheimnis..? Das fragte ich mich und… fragte sie einfach! Wie man mit vier Kindern einen Langstreckenflug überlebt, wie zum Teufel man es schafft, dass das Haus immer so makellos aussieht und wie es sich anfühlt, wenn der Instagram-Account gesperrt wird, weil man ein Foto von einem Baby-Bauch hochgeladen hat, das erzählte sie mir im Interview. Dieses Interview ist vorerst nur auf Englisch verfügbar.
Hi Courtney, I’m so happy to have you here. You’ve been one of my first “Mum-Crushes”! I think you are a role model for many mums. Are you aware of this – and how does it feel?
Oh you’re so sweet! I feel so honoured to be asked for this interview, and of course to be your ‘mum crush’. I am aware that I have a bit of a public profile and that a lot of people follow my photos on Instagram, but I’m not so sure about the role model bit. I’m very flattered you think so!
Four kids – sounds like quite a challenge (and a lot of fun). Did you always want to have a big family?
My husband and I are both the eldest children from big families, so we’ve grown up with chaos and it’s totally normal to us. I love being from a big family and nothing makes me happier than when I’m with my siblings. Because of this, I’ve always wanted a big family. I knew when Easton was born I wanted him to have loads of siblings!
I struggle with daily stuff all the time: bathing, dressing, feeding, bedtime-routine – and I only have one kid! How do you manage to get four kids ready and how much time does it take you?
I’m so lucky to have a husband who is so hands-on and there is no way this family could function without him. His workday doesn’t start until after 9:30, so he’s around in the morning to help with breakfast and tooth-brushing and dressing kids. It’s very much a team effort between the two of us, and we usually manage to wake the kids and get them out the door in a little over an hour every morning. Michael also takes the kids to school every day, which means I can start my working day earlier and be available to pick the kids up in the afternoon. But I agree that a morning routine of getting kids dressed, fed, bathed, etc. is such a stressful one! Of all the parenting struggles, I think my least favourites are the mornings…
They say it gets easier after the second child, is that true?
It’s SO true! I found going from one child to two was the most difficult transition. Once you master the juggling that comes with two children, it’s really not that much more difficult to add more children to that juggling act.
I always figure one of the most amazing things about having many children is that you get to know all those different characters. True?
Yes! It’s amazing how different these little people can be, and it’s really a parenting challenge trying to figure them all out and understand the best approach with each of them. This is something I learned from my mum – she had five children and was very conscious of how different we were and that each of us had different needs and emotions, etc.
Do you have the feeling to spend enough time with each of your kids?
I wish I had more time to spend with each of my children! I wish I could sit with each of them every day and do their reading and their piano practice and just play and talk. But… it’s really impossible. Of course I struggle with the guilt that comes with that, but on the other hand I think that the love and attention they give each other makes up for it. Sometimes I find Quin doing his reading with Easton, and Easton helping him with the words he can’t make out. It’s so sweet! And Marlow – she practically doesn’t need parents because she has three older siblings who do so much for her!
How do you organize yourself – when do you find time to work, and time for yourself?
Time for myself is super-rare, but Michael and I do try to squeeze in a yoga class together every week and it’s wonderful. I wish we could do it more often! My work schedule is especially busy right now because we are preparing for our big ShopUp event in December. I’ve been working full time for the past couple months, and it’s definitely been a big adjustment for all of us. But I don’t like to complain about being too busy – I think it’s really a privilege to juggle work and motherhood, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
One thing I love most about you and your family is that you travel so much. One would think it’s only hectic to travel with four children and no fun at all. Can you prove them wrong?
We love to travel, and I think the more you do it the easier it gets! We’ve travelled all over the world – we’ve taken the kids all the way to Australia twice in the past five years, and we go ‘home’ to America at least once or twice a year as well. These long-haul flights put it all into perspective – I no longer consider a 9-hour flight to be such a big deal! Also, we’re pretty flexible with our schedule and aren’t too put off by jet-lag or sleeping in new places or adjusting to different food. My four kids will sleep all together in one bed when we travel, and they think it’s the coolest thing! I think it’s all about being flexible and willing.
So you even travel to the States with all of them every year. How is that working out?
Yes, we spend our summers in the states visiting our families. It’s our favourite time of year! Luckily we are able to stay with my family most of the summer and I have lots of family members around to help me with the kids.
Ok, let’s talk about your house. How the hell can you keep it so clean and proper?
I’ll admit, I’m a little bit of a neat freak. I am constantly tidying and organising, and I always ask the kids to make their beds before they leave the house in the morning. Also, I don’t like clutter and I really try not to collect too much ‘stuff’. The more stuff, the bigger the mess! Also, I only take photos of the tidy bits – so you don’t see it when it’s messy! : )
I love love love your interior style, where do you find your furniture, where do you get inspired?
After we renovated our home, our budget for furniture was pretty much zero. Thankfully, we had friends who were also renovating their house and getting rid of furniture. We were happy to take it off their hands. So… a lot of our furniture is stuff we’ve had for ages or stuff we’ve been handed down from friends. I would love to buy a cool new sofa, but I also know how silly that would be with four small children! I love browsing Pinterest for home inspiration and have all sorts of ideas for future homes!
After your Instagram account was closed you received a lot of criticism – I think every parent who puts pictures of their kids online has to deal with this from time to time, but you had to experience it in an extreme way. What was that like? Anything you learned from this experience?
Aaaah that was such an emotional time, and I felt so vulnerable and exposed. At first I really let the negative feedback affect me, but over time, I came to think of it as a really good experience. It really thickened my skin and made me feel stronger and more sure of myself. I stopped doubting what I was doing and realised that I’m never going to please everyone. There are always going to be people who disagree with the way I do things, but really all that matters is my family, our health and our happiness. If my mom or sister disapproved of something I was doing, I would think twice about it. But when a total stranger wants to share negative opinions, it’s not really something I’m going to take too seriously.
And finally: Our favourite questions:
What’s the most annoying part of motherhood?
Ha, I can think of a few things…. But my least favourite thing is having to repeat myself a thousand times. Sometimes I have to ask Quin to get dressed in the morning about 10 times, or ask Ivy to finish her dinner 200 times!! Patience is not my strongest quality.
And what do you love most?
I love watching my children love and care for each other. It’s really the greatest thing in the world, and of course it makes up for any annoying bits.
Thank you so much, Courtney!
Courtney Adamo with Easton (9), Quin (7), Ivy (5) and Marlow (2), November 2014
Photography: Sarah Winborn
Interview: Isabel Robles Salgado