I was only 21 when I had Coco. The things I learnt from the day Coco was born have changed me forever. It was wonderful and scary at the same time – I think I instantly grew up the day she was born. I had to learn to take care of this tiny little person and I wanted to do it right – I read so many books! I wanted to be the best mother I could be. Life had never been so rich. The lows were low, and the highs were high, but life had a new meaning.
My husband and I are very active people. Before we had kids, a normal day would start with hitting the beach first thing – he would surf and I would have a run on the beach. Or, if the waves were small, I would head in too. We’d follow this with breakfast and then work. Afternoons were at the beach again, then we’d make dinner whenever our hearts desired. Our days look very different now! Mornings are busy getting the two big girls ready for school, packing their lunches and making breakfast. Then there’s the school drop off, and after that Juniper and I usually head to the beach/park/cafe, where I try to wear her out as much as I can. I bring her home for lunch and she has a midday sleep, which is when I do my work for a few hours. Then it’s school pick up, afternoon errands with the girls and home for dinner – we eat at 5pm, bath the girls, read books and the girls are in bed at 7pm. Then Dave and I have our time together. Sometimes we catch up on work together, watch TV or a movie, or just talk until bedtime.
We live in Mullumbimby, a beautiful little town inland from Byron Bay. We moved here about five years ago from Sydney. I love the beautiful beaches, the countryside, and our neighbourhood full of like-minded families. We all want to give our children that ‘old school’ childhood we had. I love the Steiner school my girls attend and all the beautiful organic produce we get! This is home now and I feel very blessed to live here.
Initially, motherhood was a bit of a shock for me. I was so young and all my friends were still in such a carefree stage of their lives. I took motherhood very seriously from day one. I wanted to get it right, but sometimes it felt stressful trying to be the perfect mother. Over time, I started to relax and really enjoy motherhood for what it is. I learnt there’s no perfect mother or child, we’re all having our own journey and what’s right for one family might not be right for another. Some days are hard, and some are easy, but I love it.
I’m surprised how much I don’t feel like just a ‘mum’. I still feel like ‘me’, just with three children under my wing. I don’t feel like I’ve lost my identity at all, I still feel like there’s so much I want to do and learn in life and I believe that’s an asset to my children. I’m not just their mum, but a woman with a strong zest for life.
From my experience, the more present I am when I’m with my children, the better we all get along. They feed off my energy a lot, so I try to lead by example.
The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to succumb to the chaos. Once you stop trying to control everything and just let it be, it’s amazing how much more joy there is. This is particularly true for families with younger children. After Coco was born, I knew I wanted to do something in children’s fashion. I was particularly interested in organic clothing, as I’ve always been very conscious of what material I’m dressing the girls in. It was just a matter of time, and eight years later the time came!
My beautiful friend said start with a name and from there it will all come together – she was so right.
I was having a great deal of trouble finding classic children’s sleepwear for the girls, it was all so tacky. I had a chat with a good friend one day who really encouraged and supported the idea of starting a business. She gave me some amazing advice and leads, then one night some creative ideas flew back and forth between my husband and I, and little winnie was born!
Working on little winnie is my creative outlet. It’s a break from mothering and it also feels so good working on something that’s essentially for my children. The girls definitely inspire my creativity. In my eyes, they’re just perfect and I love creating sleepwear they get to wear. They’re 100 percent the driving force behind it. I feel inspired daily by them and this is reflected in my designs.
I love our daily rhythm. Without it, little winnie couldn’t be sustained. I need time to work without any distractions from the kids, so having a few hours during the day and at night is essential. My husband’s incredibly supportive as well, so on the days that are harder he always steps up and gives me the time I need to work. But honestly, most days it works out just fine.
What does it mean to you to be an Australian creative, who’s also a mother?
I’m all that I am today because I’m a mother, so it’s an honour to be doing what I’m doing every day with my three girls in tow. I feel so lucky to have my little creative outlet and all the joys of motherhood!
29-year-old Aimee Winchester is the owner of little winnie and stay-at-home mum to Coco, 8, Autumn, 5, and Juniper, 2. She lives with her children and husband in Mullumbimby, NSW. Visit her website, little winnie and follow her on Instagram.