If you've ever felt lonely in motherhood or are looking for ways in which to build your tribe, this interview with, Krystal Festerly, editor of The Village magazine and mom to three girls under the age of 4 is going to give you the tools and inspiration to leave jealousy and judgement aside and stand together in motherhood.
1. What does healthy living mean to you? How did your view of healthy living change, if at all, after becoming a mother?
Healthy living means a lot in our household, but for us, it's not just eating organically and locally sourced, it also means self-care and living life to the absolute fullest. I believe in order to truly live a healthy life, you must stop and smell the roses whenever possible, drink good wine, eat mouthwatering food, and genuinely seek out those forever moments, even on the days where it seems as if the world is crashing down around you.
2. What was your inspiration for starting The Village Magazine? Why was it important to you to have Village dinners around the world?
When I first had kids I was the only one of my group of friends to do so, and it was extremely isolating and lonely, not to mention that I had no idea what I was doing, or if what I was doing was right. One day I picked up a parenting magazine looking for some insight and felt like I was just being sold and told how to get my pre-baby body back. It was then that I decided to start a parenting magazine that told the honest truth; the dirty, sticky, funny, sad, and happy truths about motherhood and parenting. The dinners started as a way to celebrate the release of each magazine and quickly turned into the heartwarming dinners that they are today. Gather The Village is where mothers from all walks of life come to eat and share their most vulnerable and intimate struggles and triumphs of motherhood. It’s important for me to continue to provides these dinners across the globe because I realized how important it was for mothers to gather in this way, if only to find out that they are not alone.
3. What does having a “Village” mean to you as a parent today? How is this different or similar to the villages of our past? Tell us more about your village and support system…
Having a Village means having a supporting and an un-judging positive group of people who you can call on at anytime for advice, or a listening ear, or even just a shoulder to lean on. I don't think we are supposed to parent alone, just like eating both are better when done together. I'm so thankful for the village that I have now, and it's truly thanks to The Village Dinners that I now have them in my life.
4. For a new mom who is feeling very alone and disconnected in motherhood, how do you recommend finding, meeting and building one’s own village?
I call it "mom dating" and it's probably even harder than regular dating, but it's so worth it. I think it's really important to get out of the house, and hang out with other moms in the wild (aka parks, play places, the beach, etc), say "hi!," step outside of your comfort zone, DM that mama on IG who lives close to you. It's scary and hard, but the results are better than sitting at home alone, wishing you had a village of your own. Or better yet, come on out to our next Village dinner!
5. Tell us more about “mom dates”. What are they and how often do you make them happen?
"Mom Dates," are what keeps you sane after countless days of diapers, spit-up, tantrums, and reheated coffee. I try and have a "mom date" once a week, usually after our kids are asleep, just a few hours to hang with my friends and turn off the "mom brain". We do anything from backyard tennis, to the movies, to hikes, and even bingo. Once every few months we try and do something big like the spa or a kid-free Disneyland trip, or an overnight trip to the desert. I remember when we first started planning our "Mom Dates," it was hard to get away, the guilt we felt was heavy. We soon realized just how important it was, just as important as it is to give our kids our all. My motto? Taking care of oneself is just as important as taking care of everyone else.
6. You have 3 little girls under the age of 4. How are you able to juggle running the magazine and raising them?
It's a dance, a constantly moving dance, I sometimes misstep, and stub my toe, but the key is to keep on dancing, because some days we find our rhythm and it's the most beautiful sight. -- Parenting, no matter if you stay at home, or work outside of the home, or work at home, it's the hardest thing you will ever do, and everyday, I accept the challenge.
7. Tell us about your family of chickens! Why did you get the chickens and how has it influenced your family for the better?
We first decided to get chickens because of the unreal amount of eggs my family eats per day, plus the added benefit of knowing exactly where our eggs are coming from. It was a practical decision, but it quickly turned into something that we all love. Each chicken has their own personality and they follow the girls around the garden like puppies, it's so cute to see. The girls love collecting the eggs everyday, it's such a good learning experience for them.
8. What was your own upbringing like?
My upbringing was something that I wish to replicate for my own children. It was filled with tree houses, garage bands, and running through orange groves in a tiny town at the base of a mountain; my childhood was wild and free. My fondest memories include playing in the front yard with my friends, as all of our mothers sat on the front porch laughing, sending the occasional wave at us whenever we did something cool. It was simple, uncomplicated, un-rushed, all the things I think a childhood should be.
9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that keeps you inspired throughout the trials and triumphs of motherhood?
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self esteem first, and the house later.
I'd fingerpaint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
10. You have given birth three different times in the past four years(so much respect for you!) What advice do you have for a mom about to go through her very first childbirth? Is there anything you learned from each of your births that you would like to pass on?
My best advice... let it go, whatever it is, whether that be fear or expectation, release it, let it go and surrender. Surround yourself with people you trust, and most of all trust yourself, you can do this, let it all go, and sink into every moment, because when you hold that precious baby for the first time, your world will expand beyond any fear you ever had.
11. What are some of your favorite pieces from Noble Carriage right now and why?
I adore every knit by Misha & Puff, their timeless comfort, and heirloom quality are something that I truly appreciate in children's clothing. The jumpers from Gray Label are so great too. They're by far the softest and most comfortable pieces of clothing in my girls' closet, I wish they made clothes in my size. The girls are particularly obsessed with the cutest Frida doll by Maroma & Arte as well. I love their handmade and unique nature.