Get ready to fall in love with the Portland-based photographer and mama Paige Jones. Paige lives in Portland with her husband Keith, dogs, Lincoln and Otis and her 15-month-old son Crosby. Hear Paige's optimistic outlet on life, tips on traveling with a baby in tow, how she juggles her career, and how her struggle to conceive redefined her view of what healthy living meant to her, below.
1. What does healthy living mean to you? How did your view of healthy living change, if at all, after becoming a mother?
I’ve never been the healthiest eater. I love food, I love bacon, I love cheese, I love in-n-out burger. But after two years of trying to get pregnant, I quit drinking, stuck to one cup of coffee a day and started eating healthier. Then once we finally got pregnant, I was just so much more aware of what I was putting into my body and how it could affect my growing baby. I started shopping smarter and cooking more meals at home. I switched to a few more natural beauty products and switched out our cleaning supplies. Things changed pretty drastically, but in our house it’s all about balance. We buy organic when we shop for our meals at home, but we 100% indulge in in-n-out whenever we’re back in California. Goldfish crackers have literally saved my life more times than I can count. Healthy living to me is just trying your best and sometimes my best is ordering pizza.
2. You are a super talented wedding photographer, which is definitely not an easy job with a new babe. How has your career changed if at all, after having Crosby? How have you been able to juggle both photography and Crosby?
Blushing over here, thanks for the kind words! The job has its perks with a new babe and its challenges as well. I spend the majority of my time working from home which definitely can be difficult, but I’d list it as a huge perk. The traveling and being gone for days at a time here and there is where things get tough. We’ve gotten into a groove now that Crosby is older and I’m able to leave him with his dad for some trips, but the beginning was rough, to say the least. I shot 3 weddings in a row 2 weeks after Crosby was born. I fed him in the parking lot during cocktail hours, I pumped in port-o-potties, I wore 3 pairs of tights just to make sure I didn’t start bleeding like crazy since I hadn’t fully recovered. I cried like a baby when I had to leave him for every one of those first weddings and then had to put on a happy face to go be a big part of a bride and groom's big day.
The main way things have changed is I somehow have to get the same amount of work done in about half of the time. Luckily Crosby is a great sleeper so I can work during naps and pull all nighter editing marathons when needed.
The only way it has been possible for me to have a career is through the help and support of my husband and my parents. It truly takes a village and Crosby has the BEST!
I also have to remind myself that I’m setting a good example for Crosby by having a career and helping support my family. I deal with a lot of guilt spending time away from him, but I’m so proud to show him that hard work pays off and that you can make a living off of your passion.
3. Endless smiles and giggles are what come to mind when I think of you and your little family. How would you describe your parenting style? What are your tricks to being optimistic and keeping your spirits up when life and motherhood get tough?
Crosby is 15 months old but I think I became a parent around two months ago. Before that I was just keeping a human alive… feeding him, clothing him, bathing him. Now I’ve got a toddler on my hands who likes to test limits and now the actual parenting has begun. It’s really hard as a new mom to trust your gut, I’ve never done this before, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I leaned on family, friends and my incredible pediatrician for advice and confidence that I was doing the right thing. Now that we’ve been doing this a while, I’ve learned to trust my gut. I still seek advice from all the same places, I still read the books, but at the end of the day, whatever I think is right for Crosby, that’s what we do. As far as keeping things optimistic, it’s easy most days but of course things get difficult. Our life is pretty damn amazing. We have a beautiful home, a beautiful family, jobs and our health, I try to focus on that during tough times… Don’t get me wrong though, I have my share of meltdowns and I couldn’t get through any of it without my husband, mom and best friend. Sometimes you just have to drink some wine, get a good cry out and feel all the feels. Tomorrow is a new day.
4. What has been the best part about motherhood so far? What has been the hardest part?
The best part of motherhood for me is something so simple that I wouldn’t trade for the entire world. It’s the look Crosby gives me when I walk into a room, I’d pay millions of dollars for that look, nothing compares.
The hardest part for me is the mom guilt. It’s a huge weight I carry on my shoulders constantly. I feel guilty when I have to leave Crosby for work, I feel guilty if I’m spending all my time with Crosby and not enough time with my husband or my dogs or getting work done. Someone asked me recently “if you could have any super power in the world, what you have and why?” Everyone responded with the power to fly or time travel or something extraordinary and I said that I’d want the power to be able to freeze time so I could catch up on work. How boring is that?! It’s true though. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up and trying to keep my head above water, but when I’m spending time with Crosby, I put it all aside and try to be present. I definitely fail at that sometimes, but that look I was talking about helps me stay on track.
5. When did you begin to transition Crosby to solids? How easy or difficult has meal time been for you? Any tips?
We transitioned him a little late (around 8 months) because our travel schedule was a bit nuts and we wanted to be home for a few weeks and close to our pediatrician just in case he had any crazy reactions. Meal time has been so fun for us. Our chunky little man loves to eat. Sometimes it takes a bit of throwing a few pieces before he really digs into it but for the most part, we do pretty well. And the dogs are happy to help clean up scraps thrown their way. I think the best tip is to not get discouraged and keep trying foods even if they don’t seem to like it at first. Crosby hated bananas at first, now the kid can’t get enough. That’s been the case with so many things.
6. Do you usually make a separate meal for Crosby? What are some of your go-to meals for you and your family?
Now that Crosby is a bit older, he eats what we eat and it’s made life so much easier and helped all of us eat healthier as a family. Crosby's favorite food, hands down, is mushrooms. The kid devours them. So I make a lot of meals that include sauteed mushrooms and then he’s happy with whatever is included. I do a lot of pasta and ravioli (easy finger foods) and it’s a great “whatever is in the fridge” kind of meal. I can also have everything chopped and ready earlier in the day and then actually cooking is much easier. I also like making a big batch of Italian meatballs and then using them in pasta or gyros throughout the week.
7. Tell us about Crosby’s room. What was your approach when designing a little space for him to call home?
We chose not to find out the gender of our babe throughout my pregnancy so when designing his room I kept it pretty gender-neutral. I also wanted to keep it pretty minimal, earth toned and peaceful. I spent so much time in there throughout my pregnancy, because it was my sanctuary. It really is such a relaxing room and I’d like to think that all the work I put into it is part of the reason we have such a good sleeper on our hands.
8. What is a typical day like for you and your family?
Our days are anything but typical. They change weekly but when we are home, we try to give Crosby a bit of a routine… In the morning I get up with Crosby around 6 am and he is the happiest baby in the world, spurting out every word he knows and just can’t contain his excitement that you’ve come into the room. We play for a bit and then he gets a little solo time with his toys and books while I make my coffee and check in on emails. Then my husband gets up and we either have breakfast at home or go for a walk to a local coffee shop. We sit outside so Crosby can shout “TRACTOR” at every big car that drives by and we can enjoy our neighborhood and some fresh air. It’s also time for my husband and I to have a conversation without computers and phones and all of our work distractions. Then we’ll hit our local park to get some energy out and learn some new words and check out new plants before it’s back home for nap time. I’ve sang Crosby the same song before bedtime for his entire life and cry like a baby anytime I hear it. So Crosby goes down, hopefully for a little over two hours and I do a quick reset of all of his toys and hit my office to get some editing done/respond to emails. Then the little man wakes up and has lunch at home, followed by playtime outside with the pups, or we hit the zoo, bookstore or some other fun outing. Then we head home and make dinner or ride bikes to one of our favorite spots nearby. Back home for some playtime with the whole family before bath time books and bed. Then I usually work for a few hours before splitting a cocktail with my husband and hitting the hay, after scrolling through the days' photos, on my phone of course.
9. Your best advice for a mom to-be.
Motherhood is the most beautiful, life changing, crazy hard thing you will ever do. Reach out to other moms. Don’t feel like you’re going through things alone. Chances are someone has been through something very similar and can sympathize with you and give you advice or just be there to listen to you vent.
10. Your career and life seem to include a lot of travel. Any tips for traveling with a baby? What are a few of your essentials when you travel?
I have so many tips I could probably write a book! Crosby is literally asleep on my stomach on the plane as I type this out… Here are a few things I live by…
// Always get a window seat, privacy while feeding, a window for entertainment, a place to rest your head.
// If you’re traveling alone, travel LIGHT. Only keep it to the essentials.
// Baby carriers like the Solly Wrap are 100% necessary, start them young so they are used to it!
// Spend as much time as humanly possible in the bathroom while in the air. It’s a sanctuary, no one is staring at you, no one is judging, you can just be alone with your baby during a stressful time… give the flight attendants a heads up that you will be pumping or feeding and they will leave you alone and tell other passengers to do the same!
// Reach out to friends who have recently traveled with their babes, I can’t tell you how many moms I reached out to for travel tips (shout out to Rachel Castillero on this one) and their advice was so helpful.
11. How would you describe Crosby’s style? What are some of your favorite pieces from Noble Carriage right now?
Crosby's style is pretty minimal but we like to mix it up with some fun prints as well. Especially if dinosaurs are involved lately (if you’ve heard is cute RAWR you’d understand). We’re obsessed with his army green moccs and Gray label playsuits!
12. How do you like living in Portland?
We love living here! Coming from the craziness of California, Oregon is such a breath of fresh air (literally) and has taught us to slow down a bit. We spend more time outdoors and I’m so excited to raise my son in such a warm and welcoming environment and community.
13. Any favorite baby friendly spots we should know about in Portland?
POA cafe is the BEST. Delicious and healthy food along with a large, clean play area for kids of all ages.
The Yo! Store. This beautifully curated shop has a large selection of kids clothing and also home goods and vintage finds for mom, they also provide toys for your little one to play with and if you’re lucky the owner might be around and she will 100% snuggle your babe until it’s time to checkout.