From time alone and silence at breakfast, to re-prioritising and the big love she has for her children, Karena Simpson of children’s wear label, Pappe, told child mags blog about how she felt when she became a mother.
To be honest, I think becoming a parent is the hardest thing anyone will ever do. It absolutely changed me, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, I can now see those changes were necessary for adapting and evolving into my new role of being a parent.
Before I had kids, I’d wake up slowly, usually with a cup of tea. I’d do a bit of exercise and have breakfast – in silence! Then, I’d casually stroll off to start my day (usually walking to work) with my headphones in, listening to music. Wine would be had in the evenings.
As a woman, becoming a parent meant I had to learn to re-prioritise. So many aspects of my life had to be rearranged, while at the same time I had to learn to do the most important job I’ll ever have. All of this was done with less time and more things to do. I think little girls grow up with a very romanticised idea of becoming a mum. This is completely normal, but the total opposite to what it takes to be a good parent. Pregnancy for me was a real battle. I suffered really badly throughout the entirety of both my pregnancies with hyperemesis gravidarum. For that reason alone, I’m not really sure I’d like to have known what I was in for, or I may not have been so keen to get pregnant in the first place.
Once I held my beautiful baby in my arms, my world changed. It was just an indescribable feeling. I didn’t know I could love that much. Then I had my second child, and I felt the same way again. Those sleepless nights in the first few months of having a newborn really tested my mettle. When my baby finally got to sleep, I found myself staying up worrying if he was okay, when in fact this was the time for me to be resting too! Next, I’d be worrying if he’d enough to drink or eat, or if he needed another fresh nappy. Then, worrying again if I was teaching him enough or if he should be crawling yet. In my experience, mums in particular worry about so many things that don’t need worrying about. I know I did and still probably do.
I feel like I can be a way better mother when I’ve had enough time to sort out all my work. I think its important to have strong support structures around me and I find it helpful to be able to discuss my fears and worries for my children. Let’s be honest, all parents stress about how their kids are going. Mostly, these are irrational fears, but its important to get a second opinion from time to time, or at least get it off your chest. For myself, I had to come to the realisation that I cannot be everywhere all the time. For my creative mind to flourish, I need to have some free mental space. Most importantly, I’m a way better mum with a clear head. None of this can be achieved without an important support structure around you. No one is Wonder Woman, although I have a few women I look up to that I think are pretty close.
The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to read to children from the moment they’re born.
Read them everything – children’s books, books about the solar system, books about the human body, books about science and books about famous places. My family play a crucial role in what helps to make my creative process tick. However, I do tend to try and keep them relatively separate so that I can focus solely on the task at hand. In turn, when I’m at home I try and focus on my role as a mum. It’s never a perfect balance and there are always inevitable crossovers between the two, but it helps me to try and keep things somewhat separate.
I honestly wouldn’t change anything about my life now to make more time for creative work. The time I spend with my family and friends helps to fuel my creative energies. I get inspiration from so many different aspects of my life that I think sometimes too much ‘creative specific time’ can easily end up being just wasted time. I’m really excited about what is ahead for Pappe. Our team’s worked very hard on the next collection, which will be out in early 2016. There are some really unique pieces within it and I cant wait to see how our customers respond to them. We’ve also been reviewing what we currently offer within our range and exploring avenues to develop the Pappe brand in the older children’s wear market. My favourite piece from Pappe so far is the Tucker Scottish Cashmere Sweater (pictured above) – it’s been a favourite since I first dreamt it up. The Beau Bloomers are a close second.
If I were to offer advice to other mums who may be trying to combine their lives as creatives and caretakers… I’d say you have to take time out for yourself. It has to be guilt-free time out. I used to struggle with the idea of leaving my children for short periods of time, but I now realise how important it is to both of us. It allows them to develop and allows me to be a better mum, as I’m focused on my children when I am with them.
Karena Simpson, 31, is the CEO and founder of Pappe and mum to Percy, 4, and Patch, 2. She lives with her beautiful family in Victoria. To shop Pappe’s designer baby clothing, visit Pappe, and follow Pappe on Instagram.
To win one of two $100 Pappe Australia vouchers, check out the giveaway post for entry details.