Don’t be too hard on yourself. That is the gentle mantra of London-based Spanish businesswoman Celia Munoz, founder of the luxury kids brand La Coqueta - and a mother of five.
Donald Winnicott’s ‘good enough mother’ concept, which centres around the principle that children benefit more from experiencing life’s minor frustrations rather than your undivided attention, is more her parenting model.
“My father is a psychologist, and I very much grew up with this in mind,” Celia explains (she too is a trained psychologist). “We all love each other, and we focus on trying to give the best we can. Not every day is perfect, but some are, and those days make up for the less than perfect ones.”
What a welcome perspective. Isn’t it freeing to know that even the super-mums – the immaculate-home, thriving-business-with-five-beautiful-children-under-11-style-super-mums – are not afraid to cut themselves some slack.
In fact, there’s a lot we can all try from Celia’s approach to parenting.
She spends an hour putting Flavia 11, Lucas, 10, Sienna, nine, Bosco, eight, and Hugo, seven, individually to bed, but come morning she allows her two sons and two daughters to walk to school together alone (at least part of the way) while she drops her youngest off at school.
As a family, they think nothing of exploring the most far-flung corners of the earth en masse – her latest trips were to Japan and Ethiopia (the key, apparently, is one carry-on bag each – the stress-saver when it comes to travelling with children).
Her own idyllic childhood in Southern Spain (her mother and grandmother are French) married with her wanderlust and curiosity has formed one of the most sought-after childrenswear brands on the market.
Sold globally with stores in London’s Notting Hill and Hampstead, as well as an online boutique and partnership with Liberty London, the brand offers an irresistible mix of sweet nostalgia, grounded with just the right measure of modernity (all modelled on quite possibly the most beautiful children).
So much of the collection transports you back in time; the hand-smocked dresses are reminiscent of what Celia herself wore sat on the lap of her beloved grandfather as they watched the local townspeople on their way to church.
“In Spain there is a total adoration and devotion for children and, in a way, this feeling manifests itself through their clothes, through the way their parents dress them,” Celia explains. “I grew up in a place where most children would be dressed impeccably, even when going to the playground and this has definitely had an effect on me.”
And her label is growing all the time – a newborn range, occasionwear and a newly launched cashmere collection have just hit the rails.
We first spoke to Celia back in 2016 where she talked about her plans for the brand and views on motherhood but connecting again, we were fascinated to learn how her parenting has changed as her children have grown, especially how she sparks their imagination – as well as discovering the lessons learnt in building a brand from scratch and ensuring its relevance.
Even second time around, Celia had so much to share. Enjoy!