Courtney, her husband, Michael, and their children are nearing the end of their family gap year that has seen them traverse the globe, from their home in London to the United States, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Sri Lanka and on to Europe. We caught up with this inspirational mama and asked her how she manages life as a mother, business owner and Instagram sensation.
I first discovered Courtney Adamo through her Instagram account. I only had two children at the time and was finding motherhood particularly hard. I found a lot of comfort in her photographs.They were inspiring and they helped me to see the beauty in the sometimes mundaneness of being a stay-at-home mum. I've always been fascinated by every woman's individual experiences of motherhood, so we were thrilled to talk to Courtney about her take on motherhood.
Was motherhood what you expected it to be and did you adapt to motherhood easily the first time around when Easton was first born?
I'm the eldest of five kids from a really close family and my mum had me around the same age as when I had my first. So, it has felt kind of natural because of that, and Michael is also the eldest child of seven, so, you know, of course there were things that were surprising and challenging but I always knew I would be a mum.
I never really was one to overthink it. I'd never be the kind of one to read a parenting book because I just felt that I needed to trust my own instincts and of course I had my mum to help give tips and share and advice.
So its always been a very natural instinctive thing for you?
Yeah and I think my advice to new mums is always to allow it to be that. I mean you can over complicate your life when you’ve got different advice coming from everyone and you read this book and than this parenting expert tells you you should wake your child at this time and you know to me that just takes the joy and the natural rhythm away from being a mother and from what we have always done for years and years and years.
I understand one of your main motivations for selling your family home in London to embark on a family gap year was so that you could spend more quality time with your family. Is that right and is that something you've been able to achieve this past year?
Yeah, there were some moments in London the year before we left where I’d be at home trying to make dinner and doing everything all at once, and the kids would be telling me about their day and I’d be just nodding but not actually listening to them. It was almost like trying to shut them up in a way, and I just really wanted to be able to live more consciously and give more time to my kids as a mother. I catch myself still doing that from time to time but without a doubt at all, it's been the best thing we have ever done, really. The simple fact that our day doesn’t start stressed out with me yelling, ‘I’ve told you 10 times to put your shoes on,’ makes a huge difference for a start. And that the children get to spend time with their dad has been amazing.
You've got 185,000 people following you on Instagram, are you amazed at how much interest there is in you and your family and the way in which you live and document your life?
Yeah, I am. It's incredibly flattering and I never would have ever expected it. I just thought I would never share these images, that they were just something I would keep in my own folder and I could use these filters to make my photos look prettier. I never, ever expected this and it has been a really surprising thing. Its actually been really, really wonderful, especially this year, while we have travelled because we have connected with so many families through it. So many people have reached out. They have sent messages and left comments and we've met up with people as a result... It's been so nice to connect with and meet up with like-minded people who you woudn't ever have otherwise met.
You know sometimes I have doubts about what is this weird social media world we live in, when we post these photos to a bunch of strangers who we don’t know and I definitely struggle with this love hate relationship with Instagram from time to time. I certainly have moments where I love it more than others but I always remind myself of the friendships we've made, of people we've connected to, and all the inspiring people that I like to follow too.
What do you think it is about your Instagram account that people are drawn to?
Maybe it's that we have a big family and we’re a really close family and now that we’re travelling I think that’s interesting to people and how we make that work. It's hard to say, I just think that people are inspired by the fact that we’re a big family and we’re out travelling and doing what we’re doing.
How do you manage that juggle between motherhood and running a business and everything else you have going on in your busy life?
I think that’s like the million dollar question. And I think it is just that, juggling, and sometimes it works and sometimes balls drop. It's something we all do and I don’t think I do it any better than anyone else.
I guess, if I have one tip, it's that I do try to be really present in the activity that I’m doing and not to do too many things at once.
Even this morning, I had a conference call with Esther, my business partner. So I woke up at 6.30 and snuck into another room and was on a call with her and then I was working till about 7.30 and the kids started trickling into the room and Michael started making pancakes and I could see it starting to get chaotic and I just had to close my computer and go and focus on my family.
So I just think it's really about carving out time for each thing and not trying to do everything at once because I find that I just don’t do it well. It’s not always easy and it doesn't always work out that way but that’s the intention.
You mentioned before that you are from a big family. How important is the sisterhood to you in terms of having that support, particularly as a mother and a business owner?
I think it's so important to have that. I mentioned my mum, but I should have also mentioned Esther and Emilie, my business partners. We were new mothers together at the same time in London before they moved away (to Amsterdam and Paris, respectively) and just having people to bounce ideas off of or to make you feel like you’re normal, and what you’re doing is normal, and what your baby is doing is normal. Its just so important for us as women to have that and so important for us to build each other up. I mean every once in a while I’ll see the down side of it and you see women sort of tearing women down and I just think its so important for us not do that. We just really need to support each other. It's just so valuable.
- Be sure to check out Courtney's Instagram account: @courtneyadamo, and follow her inspiring journey. You can also find Babyccino Kids at www.babyccinokids.com.