After a morning with Amber L'Estrange, you'd be forgiven for immediately signing up for meditation classes, adopting all mindful parenting techniques, and searching for coastal real estate. Because Amber exudes the type of energy that will leave you saying, "I'll have what she's having."
Radiating positivity, mindfulness and all-natural joy, she’s the type of mother so many of us aspire to be. But she’s also not afraid to talk about the realities of motherhood, which she does regularly on her podcast – The Mother Loving Future. Sharing interviews and musings on topics from the healing power of crystals, through to re-parenting yourself and the postpartum roller-coaster, there isn’t much that’s off-limits for this knowledge-junkie.
She’s also acutely aware of her own reality and how is consciously balancing the needs of herself with the demands of motherhood. “I am a very free-spirited person by nature so adapting to routines, the duties of domestic life and having to constantly curb my desire to take off on a solo adventure has been an interesting journey … Not getting a break from being “ON” at all times is also very confronting,” she says.
We spoke to Amber about her parenting philosophies, the life she leads between the USA and Australia, and the power of rituals. We challenge you not to be moved to make a shift.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My husband Cary and I are going on 5 years married this May. We have a nearly 5-year-old son, Valentine who swiftly entered the equation just after a few months of being engaged!
We also have the fourth piece of our little puzzle currently half baked in my belly who remains a magical mystery to us all.
Cary owns and runs (my favorite) organic/vegan restaurants in L.A – Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. I have two podcasts and a Holistic Health Coaching business and Valentine (whose secret identity is Spiderman) is busy being 4.5.
We have recently moved to the Hollywood Hills in L.A where we are ambitiously designing and renovating our new home.
Life is blooming!
Where did you grow up and how would you describe your childhood?
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa and moved to Sydney Australia at age 6. I did not have the picture perfect childhood (it wasn’t as bad as it gets either) but I managed to make plenty of my own adventures and amazing friendships to enjoy life with. I believe we choose our parents and that our childhood often sets us up to be the people we are called to be to fulfill our life mission. I have a habit of seeing everything as perfect and divinely orchestrated on some grander scale.
What type of childhood are you hoping to create for your own child?
I am weaving an environment where my child feels safe and loved. I think these are fundamental ingredients to any healthy human. I get Valentine out into nature as often as possible to help nourish his innate connection to the Earth, the animals and all the wisdom it offers us through the plants and seasons. We are a very social little family so Valentine is always surrounded by an incredible community which I know will help him build trust in others and appreciate the support tribes can offers. I believe there are massive opportunities for learning and personal growth within the mirror of community.
What type of mother do you aspire to be, and do you subscribe to any particular parenting philosophies?
I aspire to be a present mother who has a skill for listening, respecting and moving intuitively with my child and his needs. I believe that we are all unique individuals made up of our own emotional, mental, physical and spiritual blueprints and that ALL of these variables need to be considered when designing a conscious parenting plan for a child. I am aware of the impression and influence I have on my child’s world views, fears, joys, interests (the list goes in). With this in mind, I keep my own inner work top on my priority list as to show up as present and “whole” as possible. My worst nightmare is to impress my own trauma or brokenness onto the unlimited potential of this pure little being! Besides self-inquiry, my main parenting tool is my intuition.
I also love exploring RIE parenting and Montessori philosophies.
Tell us about your career before children and how this has shifted.
Before I had my son, I was modeling and acting for many years. Although I was well trained in these arenas I never felt like I had fully arrived at my calling. You could say I was playing it safe to an extent. Once I gave birth I took a year or so off to be fully available for Valentine and to integrate the massive changes that came with motherhood. A surge of creative energy and the discovery of my true calling came with the birth of my son. This activation manifested as my podcast, holistic health coaching studies, passion for parenting and transforming living spaces.
You’ve lived in LA and in Sydney - tell us about what you look for in a place to call home.
I believe that home is wherever my little family unit is but if I could combine Sydney and LA, I may have the perfect place to call home! I live for the vital natural elements Sydney life offers (clean ocean, clean air, fresh healthy food and dense nature) but can’t live without the endlessly inspiring creative and spiritual culture and communities of LA.
You’re a health coach and a yogi. How do you incorporate these philosophies and practices into your everyday life?
I view yoga not only as a great way to bring attention to what is going on in my body but as a tool to keep me present and balanced in every aspect of my life. I explored Kundalini yogi for many years and now try to make a Vinyasa or Hatha class a few times a week.
My coaching practice is centered around fine tuning intuition so one can design a life from an intentional and authentic place. I use my intuition as my compass on the daily from what my body needs to nourish itself in that moment to what elements are being called to incorporate into my week for balance and productivity. Having educated myself on the power of food as medicine I have strict fridge rules that include all organic, as fresh and local as possible, alive healthy water, and lots of greens!
Balance is also a key aspect of my coaching/life. I believe happiness is achieved by true health and true health calls for balance of all key elements which make up ones human experience (relationships, career, health, spirituality, passion pursuit etc). I try to take a weekly inventory across these areas and assess where I need to make more time to achieve more balance. I commit to weekly rituals that I know will keep a flow of balance across my wheel of life.
What tips do you have for mothers who are feeling run down and overwhelmed?
SLEEP! Create space for self-care. Ask for help. Do things just for you that light you up. REFRAME your reality to empower yourself and keep your heart and mind open and evolving.
Tell us a little about the Mother Loving Future.
This podcast was conceived out of long walks with Jenna (my co-host) during our early motherhood days. I would walk away from our insightful talks feeling deeply understood and inspired and thought others may also benefit from being invited into these conversations!
We realized that a real change towards global peace and systems that help us all thrive calls for an upgrade in human leadership. Being parents ourselves, we understood the VITAL role we play in dictating the caliber of humans this world receives. Naturally, we were inspired to do all we could to personally evolve our consciousness to set the best example possible for our children. This safe space to explore a deeper relationship with ourselves and life is the basis of The Mother Loving Future podcast. It is an invitation not just for parents but for everyone!
You’ve interviewed some incredible guests on your podcast. What are some of the greatest learnings or insights you’ve taken away from your guests?
We often receive the confirmation that we are the architects of our lives and that we all have the capacity to live a fulfilling and empowered life. Some other significant insights had been around the innate connection between the mind, body and soul and how each element must be nourished in order to achieve true health. The superpower of ones intuition is also a repetitive theme amongst our interviews and well as the importance of perspective and commitment to traveling inward through the trenches.
How do you make time for yourself? And how do you focus on your own mental health?
I have to schedule in time for myself! I try to give myself one self-care day a week where I get a massage, have lunch with a friend, journal, lie in the sun, read a book – whatever I need in that moment to find balance and unwind my nervous system from the action packed day to day LA life. I am also blessed to have easy access to nature escapes such as our organic family farm (Be Love Farm) I try to make a trip to every few months to reset.
How do you make 'the juggle’ work in your family?
Systems and time management are some tools I turn to! I also make my health a priority (sleep/good food/balance) so that I have the energy to handle everything on my plate with as much grace and ease as possible.
I make a conscious choice to only put energy towards the things that are an utter priority, that bring me joy and are in alignment with my larger life goals. Anything that waists my time or energy goes!
I try to approach my weeks methodically, dedicating each day to one area of my life rather than constantly multitasking over several major areas within one day. I find I am more productive and less scattered when I compartmentalize my main focuses within specific days.
Another key element to surviving the juggle is to ask for help when I need it!
What does your average day look like?
I personally work better with diversity in my schedule so I design my weeks with this in mind. Each day is a little different (besides the consistent mama duties – meals, play, school drop offs, etc).
- Monday I have my “wife” hat on. I fill the fridge, clean the house, do the laundry, work out meals for the week etc.
- Tuesday I have my “passion pursuit” hat on which allows me to focus all my energy on running and developing “The Mother Loving Future” and “Heal Yourself Now” podcasts.
- Wednesday I have my “career” hat on and try fit in all my coaching clients and never-ending stream of emails!
- Thursday I have my “self-care” hat on where I force myself to take it slower, make a yoga class, attend health appointments, perhaps get a massage and study (currently prepping for my home birth with hypnotherapy, conscious birthing books and 40 Day postpartum nutritional study).
- Friday is another podcast/work day.
- In-between this schedule I fit in last minute auditions/call backs/modeling/acting jobs.
We are currently deep in our latest creative project which involves designing and renovating our new home. This has added an extra “hat” to the mix which has called me to bend my usual “no multi-tasking” rule, slipping in a few hours where I can each day to get us through this crunch time.
My weekends are dedicated to being fully available for time with family and friends.
How do you approach meal times in your family?
I try to have meals planned out on Monday when I do the shopping. I make each meal medicinal and hopefully a little different from the night before.
We have a “no phones at the table” rule and all try to eat together each night.
Every meal we start with a “gratitude circle” (usually led by Valentine) This looks like holding hands and each mentioning what we are most grateful for.
How has motherhood changed you and changed your approach to life?
IN EVERY WAY! Motherhood has been the most profound activation of my life.
I will never forget the first time I wandered out of the house 10 days after giving birth. Each person who passed me in the street I saw with fresh Mama eyes. I had the realization that every human was a walking miracle and someone’s precious baby, just with a grown-up body. I felt a compassion and deep understanding for people like never before.
Motherhood has expanded my capacity to love unconditionally. It has stretched me to be more, give more and do more than I thought possible. I have also discovered a fearlessness within me that translates into caring less about what others think, taking more creative and personal risks and being in action rather than contemplation. My authentic self has bubbled to the surface to take more of the stage.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of motherhood?
I am a very free-spirited person by nature so adapting to routines, the duties of domestic life and having to constantly curb my desire to take off on a solo adventure has been an interesting journey. Not getting a break from being “ON” at all times is also very confronting.
How do you prioritize and make time for your marriage?
We try to stick to rituals that keep us connected and allow time for just the two of us to relate to each other as lovers rather than parents/team members. The two of us often try to squeeze into our small bath each night once V is asleep to talk about what is on our minds. We try to stick to our weekly date nights and manage to get in one or two solo trips together a year.
What’s on your little list of loves?
Exploring interior and architectural design
Avocado oil for my face and body
Heal Yourself Now Podcast (released soon!)
The ocean, always high up there on my list
Hail Merry dark chocolate almond butter cups
Watching my son wake up
Linen bed sheets