If you've lived in San Diego you would most definitely know the stylish mama of 3, Richelle Cote. Aside from raising three adorable littles under 5 (Zoe, 5, Jude, 3, and Lincoln, 8 months), she is also the founder of the Neighborhood Collective, where she organizes events to bring together our community of inspiring mamas. Richelle has an easy sense of motherhood and style. Luckily, we are literally neighbors, so Richelle invited us into her plant-filled home, nestled on a cliff in South Park, San Diego to have a dance party with her littles and learn all of her secrets! (hint: a strong community and a little bit of vino go a long way ;)
1. What does healthy living mean to you? How does it influence how you raise your three kiddos?
Healthy living is different for everyone, for me and my family, I like to focus on happy living. What makes us happy leads to what makes us healthy. We enjoy spending time as a family, playing, reading books, going on adventures, cooking together, and going on fun vacations. Some say life has to be a balance, but if you focus on what makes you happy then normally the balance is created without having to even think about it or sacrifice anything. I don’t stress routine, but normally they create themselves and life falls into place on its own.
2. What are some of your favorite local spots in San Diego? What are some of your favorite places to take the kids?
Balboa Park, The Zoo, Liberty Station and Target are some of our favorites.
3. Your home is like a secret garden hidden in downtown San Diego. Can you tell us more about your philosophy on decorating? What is important to you for creating a space to call home.
Honestly, I have never thought out a design space or created an inspiration board, I simply buy what I am drawn to and love and the pieces usually mesh together nicely. I do lean toward natural colors, homemade pieces (my triangle shelf from my Father-in-law) and vintage treasures. I may not have a green thumb but I do love my plants and I believe the more the merrier.
4. Do you have a wellness routine?
Nooooo…. Ugh I really need to work on this. If anyone has any advice please email me!! Ha
5. How do you manage to stay sane with three babies in tow? What gets you through the day-to-day?
A clean home, music playing, candles lit, and wine in the evening keep me sane among the insanity that comes with three kids under five. In all honesty, I stress a clean home (maybe too much sometimes) and organization. After my kids leave one toy area, I make them return and clean it up before moving on to the next thing. This new year brought new resolutions, my top resolution was to get rid of the things that take up space in our lives and create chaos. I don’t want my home filled with things we don’t need or use. When cleaning out a closet, cupboard or drawer I ask myself these questions...“When did I use this last? Do I love this? Does this create joy or chaos in my home?”
Getting out of the house for a little bit helps us get through the day as well. I also still have my kids nap so I can spend that time on myself (watching a tv show, showering, painting my nails, cleaning the house) and end the day with a dance party (and wine for mama) during that awful 4:00 pm witching hour helps too!
6. How has motherhood changed you? What has been the hardest part? What has been the most rewarding part?
Since becoming a mother I have had to learn to be more flexible and less of a controlling perfectionist, I have a long way to go and a lot to still learn but I think I am getting better daily. Kids stretch you, challenge you, frustrate you and teach you the unthinkable. Every day is a new adventure with kids, and each day I get a chance to positively impact them so they can, in turn, impact the world. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart and some days seem unbearable, but after the tantrum and tears rise, the giggles and squeals are what’s rewarding. The fact that even on my worst most ugly days I am still one of their favorite people on the planet, now that is something worth waking up for.
7. You and your husband seem to do a great job of scheduling date nights and time for yourself. Any relationship advice for other mamas?
Oh man, dating after kids and putting your spouse first can really be a challenge. A friend just reminded me the other day that before I was a Mama, I was a Wife. Sometimes I forget that. Luckily we have great parents that help with our kids but it is hard to get sitters for date nights so we usually get the kids to bed around 7:30 pm, make a drink and spend a few hours together watching a movie or talking. Dating is what you make it, it can be going out or it can be just dating at home, but it’s important to “Date”, no matter where you are (as I am typing this I feel like I am telling it to myself, since I need to be better at this.)
8. Last year was an incredible year for you, with the birth of your third babe, Lincoln. What excites you the most about 2017? Do you have any resolutions, dreams or plans for the year ahead?
I am excited to live a healthier clutter free lifestyle in 2017. I want to focus on quality over quantity, spend less at big box stores and more on small business. I also have made it a priority to spend some time every day on the floor playing with my kids.
9. Tell us about the Neighborhood Collective and how and why it got started?
Neighborhood Collective started as a 2015 New Year resolution to meet new friends, and create a safe place for women to connect and be creative. I’ve had to step away due to baby #3, but it is a New Year and I’m excited to get back at it, we have some fun events coming in 2017.
10. Any more babies in your future?
If I could, I would be pregnant and give birth 10 more times. I love every single stage of bringing a new baby into this world and I have been blessed with three amazing pregnancies, deliveries and babies...BUT...with that being said, and the fact that my husband insists “WE ARE DONE”, I am guessing we will remain a family of five. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken with the reality that I will never again feel a baby kicking in my womb, watching my tummy grow; enjoying the excitement that comes with bringing a new baby home from the hospital or smell that newborn baby smell on my clothes. It is a euphoria that only mothers understand, but I pray that God will give me peace and contentment with my little tribe.
11. What is one piece of advice you could offer a new mom?
Don’t stress, don’t listen to every piece of advice, and don’t think you have to follow in any other mother's footsteps. You will find what is best for you and your baby so don’t let any friend, doctor, stranger or family member guilt you into thinking otherwise. I always say “I won't judge you and all I ask is that you don’t judge me”. No Mother is perfect we are all just doing our best to survive. You will never find two Mothers that are exactly alike and believe all the same things, but one thing that connects us is the fact that we LOVE our kids and want what is best for them!
12. What are some of your favorite pieces from Noble Carriage right now and why?
Briar Organic Bonnets are currently my favorite for Lincoln, because who doesn’t love a baby in a bonnet. Hazel Village Dolls are the sweetest animals and make great gifts, I personally hate stuffed animals but these little friends are adorable. The new Gray Label pieces are worth investing in, they are super soft and beautifully made.