Every once in a while, you come across a woman, a mother, that seems to put everything in perspective. Someone who shares exactly what they’re feeling, thinking and doing with such raw emotion that it touches and inspires you in more ways than you could ever realise. Elizabeth Antonia is a mother of two girls and undoubtedly one of those women.
With her blog, The Littlest, upcoming book, Early Riser Companion, creative director roles and family business, Yeah! Rentals, she’s juggling more hats than most, but somehow manages to personify slow living and mindful parenting. Favouring ‘rhythms’ over routines, Elizabeth balances a harmonious blend of work and motherhood by opting for nature walks over after school activities, choosing quality over quantity (in time as well as possessions) and creating a family calendar where everyone knows what’s coming next. It’s a system that works for her family and inspires her legions of followers on a daily basis – but if you think any of it is premeditated or too considered, think again. “I find that people really do enjoy when I open up and write and I really love to share. While I have been focusing on finishing Early Riser Companion I have not had as much time to write online. A guiding motto is quality over quantity. I’m not organised enough to put up content just for the sake of posting. I hope any audience I have will forgive me for that!” Here, we get a glimpse inside Elizabeth’s busy yet light-filled world which serves as a friendly reminder to slow down and take stock of what’s really important… Go to www.thelittlestblog.com
You wear so many hats - creative director, blogger, author, business woman… Can you describe briefly what each role entails and how you juggle all your different work commitments?
I find that there is a great overlap in all that I do. In my professional life, I have found that a Creative Director is a bit of an orchestra conductor breathing life into a creative idea. Working with just the right photographer, stylist, model to create a story is always so inspiring to me. I also love to work with real people and while I was Creative Director of Ergobaby I always tried to cast real mothers and their children. I started my blog while I was working full time as a way to capture all the sweet first moments of raising my daughter. I have always been a big journal writer but found that, at the end of a work day, I didn’t have as much time to put pen to paper so I began to blog. I quickly found a like-minded group of women to share my journey with. It was very organic. My husband and I own a company called Yeah! Rentals here in Los Angeles. I just launched a children’s portion of that and am always trying to create beauty and ease for living.
How do you balance motherhood with work?
I have become very rhythm minded for both my girls’ sake and mine. I’ve found adding anchor points of ritual in our day helps them know what to expect and keeps me from trying to reinvent the wheel every day.
What’s it like raising two daughters in LA?
We live on the East Side of Los Angeles near Pasadena. Believe it or not, but we don’t spend a lot of time in the car and have definitely found a way to live a quiet life near a big city. I grew up near the ocean with a lot of freedom so I’ve done my best to make sure my girls have plenty of time to explore nature rather than be booked into a million after-school activities.
Tell us more about The Early Riser Companion - you’ve described it as the handbook you wished you’d had when your children were born, why is that?
As women and mothers, we are the healers and rhythm keepers of the home. We have an opportunity to create a sanctuary of home for ourselves and our children. Early childhood is a time to be immersed in songs, rhymes, and the natural world. Our children teach us to keep our hearts open and see the world with new eyes. Early Riser Companion is a creative guide filled with ideas to help strengthen your family life and to find ways to take the sometimes difficult moments of the day and turn them into thoughtful rituals.
What kind of mother are you - relaxed, strict, routine…?
I am not sure I would prescribe myself with any of those labels. I am me and I am learning. But I like to imagine myself as the edge of a swimming pool that my daughters can kick off on. They know I am present for them but that I also create safe boundaries.
How do you handle the more stressful parts of motherhood?
The pause. My practice is to take a deep breath and know that whatever stressful moment I am in is, just that, a moment. When I can create space during a time that is hard, I am more likely to respond reasonably. It is hard for our little ones to self-regulate, so just slowing down and noticing what’s actually happening can save us a lot of grief.
What is your favourite thing to do together as a family?
Be in nature. I’ve found that taking walks together brings forth the best kinds of conversation.
If you could offer one piece of advice to any new or expecting mothers, what would it be?
Be kind to yourself. I love the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy.” You are on this journey with someone who will love YOU just the way you are. My biggest wish is that you could see yourself through your child’s loving eyes.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about motherhood?
That you have to give up who you are. I reject that notion. I think in so many ways, you shed your old skin every year and are constantly in evolution. What a beautiful thing that we get to grow into ourselves alongside our little ones.
You have such lovely personal style, what kind of clothes do you like to wear when you’re on mum-duty?
I love dresses! I grew up in a temperate climate so I’ve always loved that you can just throw one on and be done.
What are some of your favourite brands to wear?
I love Dôen, Loup Charmant, Beatrice Valenzuela, Rachel Craven – all amazing women designers!
Are you a minimalist or maximalist?
Minimalist. I love to buy a few special pieces and wear them with love. I avoid fast fashion for myself and my children. If you buy well-made clothes you spend less overall!
You have a sizeable instagram community - what is your approach to social media day to day?
It ebbs and flows. I find that people really do enjoy when I open up and write and I really love to share. While I have been focusing on finishing Early Riser Companion I have not had as much time to write online. A guiding motto is quality over quantity. I’m not organised enough to put up content just for the sake of posting. I hope any audience I have will forgive me for that!
What are some of your favourite accounts to follow on Instagram?
Such a big fan of @thewomanwhomarriedabear, @onewillow_apothecaries, @ourlifeinthealps, @mynewroots
You lead such a busy life yet seem to personify the slow parenting movement - any time management tips to share?
I have so many thoughts on this and will be including a load of ideas in Early Riser Companion. Creating beautiful routines with your little ones (I say rhythm over routine) is a blessing in disguise. Our children thrive on knowing what comes next. So creating a calendar that is age appropriate has helped our family so much. Before they know the days of the week they can know that there is “library day”, “gardening day”, “laundry day” and more. Under-schedule them until at least age 7. And when you hear the incessant “play with me, play with me” do it! Create that You and I moment and get down on the floor and play. Turn a timer on or turn an hourglass over and be with them. All they need is ten minutes even. Just connect!