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There are so many women and mothers that I am inspired by. One is definitely Amanda Watters from Homesong. She makes life look effortless and beautiful (even though we know it’s not always that way) through her writing and her stunning photos. Every time I read her words they feel like home, which is so fitting for her site. I am very excited that Amanda is our March Mommy Chick and I feel blessed to share our interview with her on Baby Chick today.
Nina: Hi, Amanda! Tell us a little bit about Homesong. What inspired you to start blogging?
Amanda: Homesong is a cozy patchwork quilt of things I care about and value as a wife, mother, and homemaker. It’s a space I’ve created to nurture my appreciation for things in the home done simply, beautifully, and with care. I currently have twelve series that delve into a wide variety of topics, including cooking, cleaning, gardening, mothering, reading, and nesting, to name a few. In crafting this blog it was important to me that it would celebrate the conversation we are in with Mother Nature and her ever-changing seasons here in the Midwest, so you can find a lot of content reflective of what’s going on outside our window panes, too.
I still blog for the same reason I started five years ago: to inspire and feel inspired, to connect with kindred spirits, and to make things a little more beautiful than they have to be. It’s the canvas I use to share all that inspires me and fills me with light in this season of my life as a stay at home mom. I am deeply connected to and inspired by the intentional art of homemaking, and it gives me so much joy to have a space where I can explore that more in-depth while sharing it with others.
N: How would you describe yourself in four words? What would they be and why?
A: Creative: My mind is constantly buzzing with new ideas and things I want to try or write about. I am genuinely interested in learning so many things! This was the main reason I went into education as a teacher and now really enjoy staying home with the kids. I consider myself a tinkerer and hobbiest, always in the middle of several creative pursuits that keep me passionate and positive about life.
Introverted: I appreciate one-on-one conversations and quality time spent with a few people because big groups and lots of chatter tends to overwhelm me. I am a homebody, much like my husband, and feel happiest here with my crew. I feel like I am best understood through my writing which makes blogging a beautiful tool for me.
Observant: I spend a lot of time each day taking note of the world around me: what I see, how it feels, how it sounds, how it smells, how it tastes. I feel as though this can make me very self-aware at times, yet on the other hand, too much time spent in one’s own head can be trouble. I am a trees person, taking in all the small details of the world, and my husband a forest person, able to set far-reaching goals and see the big picture. Together we make a good team!
Sensitive: I am a highly sensitive person. Other people’s energy and mood affects me probably more than the average bird, and I do not do well with negativity. I am also weird about noises and can be overwhelmed by other strong sensory input. This sensitivity is a wonderful trait to have as a creative, but it is also really hard to feel everything so deeply all the time. Carving out time to rest and taking care of my environment help my greatly.
N: What’s the goal of your work as a blogger? What do you want people to take away from your site?
A: Homesong is a place where I go when I want time to drip a little slower and I crave renewal. I invite my readers to come in as they are, and to embrace in the realness and beauty of homemaking and motherhood. It’s my sanctuary outside of the swift current of noise that overwhelms me in our world, and it gives me respite like a good home should. It is my hope that readers sense this intention when they visit Homesong, and feel as though this space can be a pocket of calm and inspiration for them amidst their loud and busy days.
N: What inspired you to start homeschooling your kiddos?
A: We do a combination of Waldorf schooling and homeschooling. This blend is able to give our family the kind of educational nourishment that feels right for us right now. We really want our kids to grow strong roots of respect and reverence for all forms of life and the world we live in, and having the opportunity to teach them at home and in other creative environments gives us more opportunity to water those values and tend to them like a gardener would her garden.
N: We’re so inspired by your craftiness in the kitchen and really your entire home! Where do you draw your inspiration?
A: I get a lot of inspiration from the library and by reading in general. I take solo trips to our local branch often and have a great time digging into pages of material–things outside of Pinterest and curated feeds on social media. There’s a lot of the same thing bring recycled over and over out there, and taking myself out of those spaces helps bring new energy into our home. I also get a lot of inspiration when we travel and in nature. There’s a simple flower arrangement of stem-less, dried baby’s breath in a wooden bowl on our dining table right now, very similar to an arrangement I saw in a tearoom in Kyoto, Japan. That city and their connection to nature was a dream to experience. I took a photo of it so I wouldn’t forget, something I do frequently when I come across something fresh and original that I want to try myself.
N: What’s the easiest DIY project you can share with our readers?
A: Homemade all-purpose spray, hands down. With three kids we go through so much of this stuff and it’s always nice to have an affordable, green option to have on hand when you need it. I use glass amber bottles and fill it up with a ½ cup of distilled white vinegar, add 10-20 drops of essential oils (lavender and lemon are great ones for this) and fill the rest with water. It’s chemical-free and you’re all set to spray.
N: Your home is truly picturesque—especially in the snow! You seem to draw so much joy from being there and making it a wonderful living space. Tell us your top tips on how others can make a house a home.
A: Oh, thank you. I love our home; it’s my favorite place. I really think intentional homemaking and turning a house into a home is all about the details. It’s the little things that on their own may not seem like much, but collectively create something really wonderful and inviting. I also think paying attention to one’s the senses and how a room makes you feel when decorating makes a space more comfortable and cozy. Things like fresh flowers, natural materials, soft linens, and warm lighting can do so much for a space. Also try and make sure everything has a home. Andrew and I remind each other of this often. This keeps clutter at bay and things simple here.
N: How did you get started working with essential oils? What is your one essential oil that every mom should have and why?
A: I started learning about oils from a few close mama friends and decided to give them a try several years back. I immediately fell in love with them and all they can do for our family’s wellness. My favorite essential oil is lavender–the Swiss army knife of oils out there. I use it daily in a variety of remedies I’ve made for the kids, including diffusing in the evenings to help us get a good night’s sleep each night.
N: What’s the greatest lesson (or lessons) that motherhood has taught you?
A: That everything has a season, and eventually, something else will take its place. This goes for the good bits and the hard ones, too. I know the way Alfie says “hello” right now won’t always be so delicious, and I also know that one day Theodore will sleep in his own bed at night. This give and take has taught me to roll with life and to have more grace.
N: What are your favorite things about being a mother?
A: This one is hard! Where to begin? I love watching my husband with our kids; it’s the highlight of most of my days. I love the way our kids pay attention to the most random things; no bug or new flower gets overlooked in their world. Their innocence and perspective is magical and refreshing. I love moments when my kids say something new and catch me by surprise. I love the way they smell and that as their mother I know their scent. I love watching them play in the yard together. They are one another’s best friends right now and it’s really beautiful to watch their relationships grow stronger through imagination and play. There are so many things I love about being a mom!
N: As a mother of three, what’s a piece of advice that you wish you would have known and would like to share with expecting moms and/or brand new mothers?
A: My advice for new parents: be gentle with yourself. Make a habit of saying “no thank you” and stay home instead. Don’t for one second feel badly about that. Craft a routine that feels good for you and your family and do your best to stick with it–rhythm is calming and restorative. When you get overwhelmed, stop and breathe. Then do the next right thing. Baby steps—one thing at a time. Motherhood is not a hundred meter dash. Give yourself grace and get a babysitter lined up because God knows you’ll need one. Learn to acknowledge your mom guilt – we all have it – and then give it a home somewhere other than your heart or your head. And I know it’s hard and maybe not a priority, but try to take a shower at some point in the day—it will make you feel like superwoman.
A few more…double any meal that allows for it and freeze as much as you can. Get groceries delivered! Use the crockpot at least once a week and try to do one load of laundry a day. Make a cup of hot tea and make a list of things and people that are life-giving and cling to them when you feel yourself going to the scary place. I’ve been there. And finally, know you’re not alone. Not ever. There are millions of women who feel just as you do – exhausted and overwhelmed and everything in between. Lean into the sisterhood that is motherhood and ask for help if you need it. Chances are the other mom you ask needs it too.
N: What are your secrets to being a happy mommy and wife?
A: Being intentional (and even a bit hard-nosed) with the time I devote to self-care and creative expression is extremely important for me. I set aside a few hours each week to write alone, something I need to think clearly so I can be present with the kids during the day. I am the kind of person that works best in a quiet environment and I learned early on that giving myself time to feel renewed outside of my role as a mom makes me a better mother. It can sometimes be hard to navigate this time-wise with everything that goes into raising small humans, but carving out an hour or two a week is so life-giving for me! Andrew and I also have a standing date night once a week that we each look forward to. This time together is precious and a treat for our marriage.
N: What are your greatest hopes for our children’s’ future—the next generation?
A: My greatest hope for our kids is that they are able to feel supported and encouraged enough by Andrew and me, along with our community, to discover what gives them purpose, what fills them with light, and then to journey down that road wherever it may lead. I hope their future is full of more respect and opportunity without the lenses of judgments or fear. I hope our children, and all children, always know in their hearts that light is stronger than darkness, and that kindness is free.
N: What are your greatest hopes for women and mothers everywhere?
A: That all mothers, and all women of the world, start regarding one another as sisters. We are the same. We are a sisterhood. I believe this wholeheartedly, and if we open our hearts to other women and their stories, compassion and empathy are bound to connect us.
Thank you, Amanda. Your words are so comforting and are exactly what every mother needs to read. We are truly honored to have you as our March Mommy Chick. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Readers, which mamas are you inspired by? Share with us who your mommy inspiration is and they just might be our next featured Mommy Chick of the Month! ?