If you’re a mum with an Instagram account and a penchant for scrolling in the morning, at the park, while the kids are asleep, in the evening when you should be sleeping chances are you’re well acquainted with Insta-star Rachelle Rowlings...
The proud mama of “Lord Commander” Roman has built a loyal following thanks to her hilariously witty and relatable take on motherhood, all while wearing the latest threads by the likes of Ellery and Gucci.
So how did the journey from first-time mum to influencer begin? “When I had Roman I think I went through a bit of depression, which a lot of mothers experience. I lived in my husband’s undies and T-shirts and totally lost myself. One day I got up, put on a dress, red lippy and Louboutins and took a photo holding Roman. But I didn’t want new mum’s to think that they’re failing if they’re not doing this so I told it like it was – the back of my dress was covered in vomit, I had my hubby’s undies on and I was sweating like a beast but that won’t stop me from trying to still be me in the clothes I love!” It’s this juxtaposition between high-fashion photos (with an equally-adorable baby) and captions that include the realities of baby vomit, nappy explosions and strategically avoiding playtime that has made Rachelle a household name within mothers’ groups and beyond.
We caught up with Rachelle ahead of her impending second birth (her baby girl is due in December) to chat about her journey to social media stardom, what a typical day looks like (hint: it’s less about heels and more about distracting a vivacious toddler), the challenges of breastfeeding and her go-to pram, the Bugaboo Donkey2, which is designed specifically to grow with your family and transforms – in just three simple clicks – from a mono to a duo pram. This means you can use it for one kid, two kids of different ages, or twins. You’ll also love the large underseat basket and the side basket for when you’re just pushing one bub around – hello storage! It also looks super sleek (it’s a pram you’re proud to push), is easy to manoeuvre and steer (both essential when you’re grappling with two small tots) and comes with lots of accessories, which will make life easier for you. Wondering about the width when it’s set up as a duo? It’s just 14cm wider than mono-configuration which means you can easily go in and out of entrances. It’s also car seat compatible, has reclinable seats, a height-adjustable handlebar and much more. Yep, it’s our favourite new accessory (and Rachelle’s fave too).
Photography: Gui Jorge | Words: Marisa Remond | Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe | In association with Bugaboo
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Messy. Loving. Silly.
What has motherhood taught you so far?
To love beyond words.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To enjoy your intact womb. To eat the carbs. That travel shouldn’t wait. Trust your heart. Make mistakes. You’re not tired (weakling). Don’t wear shoes that will give you bunions. You’re not fat. Never say no to an adventure or some white bread. Oh and to appreciate your metabolism (you’ll miss that when it’s gone).
Tell us about your career pre-motherhood? When did you launch your Instagram account and start focusing on building your following?
I was unhappily in media. I’d had Instagram for years mainly trying to be a try-hard fashion ‘blogger’ (Instagrammer because I didn’t understand how to use a blog). When I had Roman I think I went through a bit of depression which a lot of mothers experience. I lived in my husband’s undies and T-shirts and totally lost myself. One day I got up, put on a dress, red lippy and Louboutin’s and took a photo holding Roman. But I didn’t want new mum’s to think that they’re failing if they’re not doing this so I told it like it was – the back of my dress was covered in vomit, I had my hubbies undies on and I was sweating like a beast but that won’t stop me from trying to still be me in the clothes I love!
What do you love most about the world of Instagram and what are some of the more challenging parts of Instagram?
I love that you can have so many friends, supporters, shoulders to cry on and people to pull you up when you’re down – all at your fingertips! Friends who know so much about you yet you’ve never met. It can be a challenge when you’ve had a tough week and you look like something that’s crawled out of the sink and you need a nice photo!
What does it take to stand out in the world of Instagram mums? How would you describe your personal style?
To stand out – be yourself. My personal style is colourful and quirky (and my husband asked me to write ‘overpriced’).
Have you always loved fashion/had a knack for putting outfits together?
I’ve loved fashion from the moment I watched Dirty Dancing and she twirled that beautiful silk skirt at the end. Ever since then my main talent has been damaging credit cards.
What are some vivid memories of your childhood? Where did you grow up? How many siblings did you have? What was it like?
I remember being so happy. Insecure but happy. I grew up down south with a beautiful big brother. We grew up on the back of a nature reserve that had a bamboo cave. We had six boys on our street and I was the only girl. They used to lock me in the toilet, pour foul things on me and blame me for things I could have never done. But it made me tough and ironically super girly!
Talk us through your journey to motherhood – can you share any highs and lows?
I don’t think the journey ever ends. My 87-year-old grandmother still wants to know where my mum is at night. Mine has been a struggle. I adore my son, love him with every inch of me but I found it so suffocating. That you go from an independent, confident adult to a floundering fool, questioning yourself on everything! But this love, my goodness this love, you can feel it from the tip of your toe to the top of your head. A kind of love that makes you superhuman – a mother!
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood and how have you overcome any challenges?
Breastfeeding. I knew that if I loved him and he was fed and smiling when I was doing a good job. I breastfed for 11.5 months and I found this the most physically and mentally challenging part of being a mother! Since that has finished it’s the disciplining – trying to reason with a little human who doesn’t understand consequences or pain. And you’re trying to teach them to be kind and gentle in a very scary world. It terrifies me.
Do you enjoy pregnancy – what do you love most about it and what are some of the more challenging parts for you?
Yes and no. I love it because my body is doing the most magical thing in the world, and I can eat all the carbs I want. No because even though it’s the most natural thing in this world and what we are designed to do – I’m sure the female body was designed by a man – a woman would have put things in different places so you didn’t have to pee every three seconds, stretch marks wouldn’t exist, cellulite (what cellulite?!) and we wouldn’t have to shift organs. And that pregnancy glow?! Liars!
What are your go-to fashion items when pregnant?
Wrap dresses so I can buy my usual size. And bassike – so you still feel a little fancy while essentially wearing your husband’s pyjamas!
How have you/did you handle any sleep deprivation?
I found it extremely difficult. I’d always been a solid sleeper slash princess. The getting up and breastfeeding was excruciating. But then as soon as he would sleep I’d be awake all night worrying. I think my saving grace was my husband and my mum. They’d take him so I could shower and have a nap. Never be afraid to ask for help – we need it.
What’s your approach to health and wellbeing?
Gosh, I wish I could say I did Bikram every morning and frequented the organic aisle but it’s so hard. Before Roman, I was a five day a week gym goer, reformer Pilates three days and would cook the majority of the time. After my cesarean it took me a long time to get back into exercise because I was terrified an organ would fall out. Then I fell pregnant again and had horrendous morning sickness until 22 weeks. I could barely walk let alone stretch. If I do have time I will make a salad or an omelette and I’ll try and take Roman for a walk every day. But I also won’t say no to a large margarita and a long stint on the lounge!
Describe a typical day in your life…
Chaos. Mess. Laughing. Eating. Chaos. Wee. Bed! My day revolves around my little man so it’s a lot of playing, park visits, food shopping & rolling around the floor. After his bed, it’s my husband and I picking items for our new house and holding hands while we snooze on the lounge. Romance!
How do you juggle blogging and babies? We’d love your time management tips...
Throughout the day I’ll write down oneliners – my thoughts, funny incidences etc. By the time I put Roman down I almost have two paragraphs of thoughts. I enjoy having that time to myself to write and vent and know that when I post it, there will be so many other mumma’s who have had the exact same day as me and we can just have that moment together knowing we are never alone! I don’t think time management exists with kids. Mum’s just seem to add a few extra hours into a day!
What makes you laugh?
My husband. My son. And bottom burps!
Where are your top three places to go in Sydney with your son?
Any play equipment that’s guarded by a fence! Any park that has dogs that he can chase after! A shopping centre where he can run free!
What are your pram essentials - what will we find in your Bugaboo Donkey2 basket?
When no longer pregnant maybe a hip flask (I kid). You’ll find (of course) nappies and wipes. I’m obsessed with MooGoo lip balm because mama lips are always so dry. A bottle of water. Bribery snacks. Crumbs, lots of crumbs. Random toys Roman has hidden. And a change of clothes for us both because you just never know…