#MYGRACETALE: Elesha Rampling, Photographer, Mother To Audrey & Harriet
"We live in a small town in Northern NSW
It is a town of just over 500 people and has a great sense of community. Children play in the street, they walk to and from school (some even ride their horses) and the ideal of a simple life is one that is cherished. There is great pride in our community and it is an honour to be a part of it. The surrounding bushland and livestock inspire my photography and creativity with our children, we are truly spoilt for magical places to shoot and explore.
I don't think we ever stop evolving as mothers
With every age comes new challenges and reward. Motherhood has taught me that imperfection can be perfectly wonderful! Life with two small babes can be bliss one moment and prickly the next, but as long as I remain open to change I find I grow with our girls. Becoming a mother left me craving a village for support and I have found my virtual village online via social media. It was a strange idea at first to be connecting likeminded with women across the world but I couldn't get by without them.
We shop online a lot
Given where we live (we travel over an hour just to do our groceries) I find this the easiest option and I'm always on the lookout for stores with a simple and supportive online presence. We believe in purchasing quality items, preferably organic and ethically made where possible, that will last many seasons. Our favourite children's stores are Gaia Organic, Ark & Anako, Printbebe and Fabrik.
Audrey thrives on structure
Much like myself and she can become agitated and emotional if her routines are broken. Harriet however is more like Luke and needs flexibility, some days she will have two sleeps some days only the one I just go by what she needs on that particular day. She is an extremely social child and loves being out and about, where our Audrey is quite the homebody. We work to achieve a healthy balance in our home to suit all our families needs.
Both girls have been very different in their sleeping patterns
Audrey started to self settle and sleep through from six weeks and three and a half years on she still loves her sleep. In fact in her last school report when asked what is your favourite thing to do at home she answered sleep! Harriet will be one next week and has slept through a handful of times, but it is not her norm. Harriet suffers from acid reflux and is often woken from the pain, she is also a babe who needs comfort to fall asleep. I am happy to provide her with comfort as Luke and I are not huge fans of sleep training but I truly believe that each family needs to do what works for them to keep the family unit happy and healthy.
The first few months of motherhood are extremely difficult
Everyone deals with it differently. My best advice is to stop and catch your breath. When I find myself getting agitated after several wakes in one night I will pick Harriet up, settle her and breath her in. I remind myself that this phase will pass and there will come a day when I will miss those late night cuddles. Of course, a fresh pot of coffee in the morning always helps!
I have always considered myself creative
I enjoy all forms of art, but have spent the majority of my adult life in banking. After Audrey was born I found myself wanting to document not only her milestones and achievements but also the everyday so I picked up my first DSLR. My hobby turned into a great passion and from there a profession. My work has evolved as I have over the years and I enjoy looking back on my early work as it inspires me to better myself everyday.
Childhood is magical time in our lives
There is innocence, exploration and great adventure. I pride myself on capturing moments of this whimsy without interrupting and challenge myself in finding new ways to do so. I am thankful everyday that I am able to document our girls childhood (as I want them to have the images to look back on) and that I have the honour of helping other families capture theirs.
My husband Luke does shift work so we are fortunate...
To have several days together as a family every few days. I aim to schedule my photography sessions and editing during his days off and the girls thoroughly enjoy their time with Luke as he has different life lessons to offer. With photographing the girls, I am very mindful of how much time I spend behind the lens.
I find I question myself on a regular basis...
Am I being the best mother, wife and individual I can be? And I am constantly looking for areas I can improve. I often crave time alone but struggle with communicating this to Luke and the guilt that comes with the need to be alone.
I love watching our children grow into the incredible individuals they are
The girls may be alike in appearance but they are extremely different in personality. They challenge and compliment one another and watching their relationship bloom gives me endless joy.
The Kindred Collective is a community for mothers
To openly share their parenting journey. It is a virtual village where women can voice their triumphs and struggles as a mother without fear of judgement. Bettina and Caitlin, founders of Kindred, contacted me to be a contributor to their E-magazine and I jumped at the chance. The first edition, birth, was launched last week and I am honoured to be a part of the Kindred family."
Elle's little list of loves:
Stove top, organic coffee, a must to start the day.
Baby wearing, our three favourite carriers are our Yoli & Otis, Tula and Sakura Bloom and we use them all to make life easier with two babes in tow.
Essential oils, we use our favourite blends in our diffuser daily.
Blackstrap molasses, I have a history of low iron and need all the energy I can get raising two babes. I take one tablespoon in the morning before my coffee.
Daily walks, either by my self or dropping Audrey at preschool, they give me time to clear my head and ready myself for the day.
Night time feeds with Harry girl, it is a time I cherish as it is just the two of us by the light of the fire and I know these moments are fleeting.
My camera, it fuels and nurtures my creativity.
Winter afternoon light, there is so much beauty and romance in it.
Handmade knits, they are like a big warm hug.
Jurlique Rose hand cream, with the cold my hands have become so dry and need the extra moisture.
Images: Elesha Rampling. Follow @harryandthefrog
-As told to The Grace Tales.
The #mygracetales series puts the focus on the lives and routines of The Grace Tales wonderful and inspiring community of readers.