03.05.2016

The Cool Moms Club

Ultra chic moms share their parenting tips, style secrets and more

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photographs: Nick Gordon

Fiercely devoted, nurturing and just plain awesome, our moms give the best hugs, have the biggest, most compassionate hearts in the whole wide world, and love us unconditionally. In honour of Mother’s Day we photographed some of the most stylish moms we know; proof that you can keep your cool after you’ve had kids. But be warned, further reading will make you seriously broody - cuteness overload!

Jenna Pietersen

As someone who spends a lot of time in front of the camera Jenna Pietersen, the sometimes swimwear model, had to reschedule our shoot for swimming lessons – Ruby’s not hers – and it’s this type of sacrifice that she’s relishing in while seeking out new challenges.

Besides being a mom, what else do you do and how important is it for you to have this other side to you?

I want to go into interiors and have started working for a guy in Bree Street. Then I want to study horticulture next year so that I can do people's houses and outside areas. I want to link it with permaculture and hydroponics so you can live off of your property. It’s a sustainable thing. That’s my passion. Modeling is good money and I like the travelling but it doesn’t stimulate me at all.

How old were you when you had your child and how did it change your life?

I was 25 when I had Ruby. She came at a really good time where I’d fallen out of love with modeling. When I got pregnant everything fell into place and Ruby was the missing piece. Everything made sense for me. My whole life changed. Being a mom made me less self-centered and it’s not always about me anymore. It’s quite refreshing.

Does being a mom affect a woman’s style and did it change yours?

I don’t dress for anyone else, and I never think “am I dressed appropriately?” I need to feel good in what I’m wearing. Fashion lets you express yourself. Becoming a mother didn’t change who I am.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mom?

Always put other peoples needs before your own. She’s a very caring person. Very loving. And you can always talk to her.

What’s the most important thing you can teach your child?

Always be yourself and do what you want to do, as long as you have good intentions and don’t hurt anyone in the process. I would never try and change her. Also travel as much as you can and learn from different cultures. And then love and honour your body always.

As a busy working mom, how do you maintain the right work and family balance?

I dunno, you just have to make it work. I have a mother in law who is always helping, and an amazing nanny – basically I have a village. Whenever I need time out I go do yoga. I do a lot of yoga. Every morning I need to meditate and stretch it out.

What’s the most valuable thing motherhood has taught you?

When I was a little girl I always thought my parents had it all figured out because they were grownups, but I’ve learned that you just do the best you can and a lot of the time you feel like a kid stuck in a grownup’s body.

What’s the best thing you’ve stolen from your mother’s wardrobe?

I actually need to get them fixed, but I have her beautiful 80s style hoop earrings.

What piece will you keep for your daughter?

I’m keeping a lot of things. Like if I’m not into something now I’ll vacuum pack it and put it above her cupboard for when she wants it. Nice coats and handbags. I went through a ridiculous handbag phase for some reason. Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choos. When you’re young and making so much money you end up buying brands for no reason. So I’m keeping all that for her when she’s in her 20s.

How’s motherhood changed from when your mom was your age?

Our generation is trying to open the gate more. I come from a very conservative background, where a lot of people were trying to suppress who they really were, because they were very concerned what their parents or community might think. Today that’s changed, and I’m not going to let anyone tell me who I should be, or what I should do, or how I should do it.

What do you hope will be different by the time your kid has kids?

The same. A lot of people are very judgmental. Why? We’re all different. Everyone does things differently and we should be allowed to do things differently. I don’t do mommy groups, hey. They mean well, but I couldn’t do it. When Ruby was born it was a very confusing time for me. This one was saying this, and that one was saying that, and when she turned two I stopped and decided that I was going to do whatever feels right. So I’d want Ruby to be able to do whatever she wants to do.

If you could ask any mom a question what would you ask?

I’d want to speak to older mothers with teenage daughters. I was intense, a major rebel, and I’d want to ask a mom who has a teenage daughter now if it’s really as bad. My biggest thing is I want to have a good relationship with Ruby. I want her to be able to tell me anything, and have all the house parties at our house.

Bronwyn Day

After a decade in magazines, Bronwyn Day started her own business so that she could spend more time with her two boys Sam and Elijah. When she’s not representing designer collections she can be found at the boys’ soccer games wearing leopard print.

Besides being a mom, what else do you do and how important is it for you to have this other side to you?

I’m a stylist and entrepreneur. I have my own show space called The Showspace. I did this to spend more time with my boys but we have had to get an au pair, ironically. Funny enough when you work for yourself you work ten times harder, but there are nice lulls during the week and I find that I can nip out when I want, without having to tell anyone, and that for me is freedom.

How old were you when you had your child and how did it change your life?

I was 25 when I had Sam and 28 when I had Elijah-pants. The month before my 25 birthday I went to a party as a pregnant high-schooler, and then a few months after that I got married and had a kid. Shotgun wedding. 36 weeks pregnant. To say quarter life crises is an understatement.

Does being a mom affect a woman’s style and did it change yours?

It can get quite tricky when you’re pregnant and your body misbehaves, but once you get your body back, and it can take a while, you have to learn to work with your assets. So whether you have a small waist or a bigger bust or really good legs, those things are still intrinsically the same. I found after I had my kids that I still had my small waist and my sixpack, so I overemphasize my strengths and never my weak points. You have to work with what you got. Work with what your mamma gave you.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mom?

Seek the truth. The truth always comes out.

What’s the most important thing you can teach your children?

Make sure that they’re men of integrity.

 

As a busy working mom, how do you maintain the right work and family balance?

Accept help. Sometimes as a single parent you think you can’t, but accepting help from others is a big thing. Also I find the more organized you are the easier everything is. I do everything at night. Pack lunches, make sure their clothes are out, make sure that my clothes are out, and then when we wake up in the morning everything is ready and there’s less stress. I find the way you start your day is majorly important for them, because it disturbs them when you’re smacking them in the car on the way to work.

What’s the best thing you’ve stolen from your mother’s wardrobe?

Not one piece but it’s very much what I’m wearing now, which is leopard print. When I was little my mom used to have a leopard print jumpsuit that I used to get into after school with her pink court shoes and all her jewelry and then prance around her house. I’m obsessed with leopard print and I obviously got it from her.

What piece will you keep for your kids?

That’s tricky with boys. Maybe my jewelry?

What do you hope will be different by the time your kid has kids?

I hope they have more space to run around freely. Living in the city is great, and I guess if we lived in New York or Paris or Milan we’d also be in an apartment, but I still think space would be good.

If you could ask any mom a question what would you ask?

I’d ask Gwyneth what time she goes to bed at night. I think that all highly successful people go to bed between 9 and 9:30. I am such a night owl, flitting about doing all the kids’ stuff, and only after their bedtime it’s my time, so I phone my mom, have a glass of wine, watch some TV, then it’s 11:15 and you get into bed and check your Instagram and check your mail and then your debit orders are going off so you have to quickly shift some money around in your account… and then it’s 6am and you can barely open your eyes.

Simone Hodgskiss

With an entrepreneurial streak and freelance career that’s as demanding as baby Sonny is, Simone Hodgskiss takes all of this in her stride while still finding the time to project manage the construction of their new home.

Besides being a mom, what else do you do and how important is it for you to have this other side to you?

I work from home as a freelance illustrator and designer. That’s Pearly Yon. Six years ago I worked on a collaboration with my husband called Mingo Lamberti. Probably won’t attempt that again. Sonny and gardening are the only things we collaborate on now.

How old were you when you had your child and how did it change your life?

It was a year ago; Sonny is turning one on the 8 May. I was never a maternal person and it doesn’t sound like me when I say that having him has been strangely fulfilling. I know it’s a cliché, but I always thought my career would bring me the happiness that I wanted. It’s hard to explain. This is the most selfless thing that I’ve done. I constantly surprise myself with what I can do and the superpowers that come with being a mom.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from being a mom?

It’s taught me to stress less. There are always ten things that need to be done at once, and some things really don’t matter, so you learn to take everything in your stride. It’s taught me to chill out.

Does being a mom affect a woman’s style and did it change yours?

It does affect your style because there’s a lot less time to spend on your outfits. You also can’t wear jewelry as much because babies are always pulling at things. I’m wearing less dresses because leaning down all the time things are going to fall out. And I also went for the mom haircut because I don’t have time to style my long hair anymore. I probably dress a lot more practically now. Trainers most of the time and for the first six months I accessorized with a flannel cloth that I wore over my shoulder.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mom?

My mom gave me some really good advice – “enjoy every moment”. You’re only going to experience everything once, maybe twice, in your life, so enjoy every step of the way.

What’s the most important thing you can teach your child?

To be his own person. Even though there’s a little bit of expectation that creeps in I really want to try and let Sonny be whoever he’s going to be.

As a busy working mom, how do you maintain the right work and family balance?

Brad cooks and I do the bath and feeding routine. We make sure that we socialize because that’s important to us. But we invite friends around instead of going out.

What’s the best thing you’ve stolen from your mother’s wardrobe?

Well I haven’t taken anything from my mom’s wardrobe in a long time, but when I was a girl there was a pair of strappy leather sandals that were bright yellow that I told her she had to save for me when I was older. I don’t think they survived long enough.

What piece will you keep for your child?

We have a stash of Mingo Lamberti T-shirts in every size and design that we’re saving for Sonny. That’s why we needed attic space. Hopefully he likes wearing T-shirts and isn’t, like, “I’m a V-neck guy!”

How’s motherhood changed from when your mom was your age?

There’s a lot more reading material and you can get really caught up trying to be the perfect mom according to all these books and pediatric, nutritionist and all the other advice. In my mom’s day you’d just do what your mother did and these days it’s frowned upon if you give your child cow's milk.

What do you hope will be different by the time your kid has kids?

One thing that freaks me out is social media and how the youth live their lives through social media. It’s probably not going to change and will only get worse, but I just hope that he won’t put every single thought, frustration or emotion he’s had that day on social media for everyone to see. Or show off his abs so people can see how wonderful his body is. I don’t understand that.

If you could ask any mom a question what would you ask?

I’d ask David Bowie’s mom about how she gave him the freedom to be so experimental and do all the things he did and not get upset by that.

Nandi Kai

Mother to two-year-old Max, Nandi Kai will have given birth to her baby girl by the time you read this. She believes that going back to work is important, but this time will do so on her terms in order to spend as much time as possible with her sprogs.

Besides being a mom, what else do you do and how important is it for you to have this other side to you?

I’m a makeup artist, which can be quite difficult because the hours are crazy, like, you’ll have a call time at like 3am and work until 8pm. It’s important to have my own thing. My husband didn’t want me to work but I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t. Once the second baby comes I’ll only work on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so that I can take them for swimming lessons or art classes on the other days.

How old were you when you had your child and how did it change your life?

I had Max when I was 25 and my whole life changed. Obviously I’m not going out as much as I used to. Our priorities have changed and you really don’t want to wake up hungover when you have a two-year-old. That’s killer.

Does being a mom affect a woman’s style and did it change yours?

I wouldn’t say it changes your style. Obviously you gain a bit of weight afterwards, which you try and get down, but other than that I wouldn’t say it changes. Maternity wear is comfortable, but not the best looking. I suppose you don’t have to do proper maternity and can buy tights, oversized T-shirts, sneakers…

What’s the best lesson you learned from your mom?

Good manners can take you far in life. It’s important to teach your kids small things like “thank you”, “please” and “you’re welcome”.

What’s the most important thing you can teach your child?

Treat everyone equally and always show respect. I think those are values I’d want them to have.

As a busy working mom, how do you maintain the right work and family balance?

Everyone needs to do what works for them. Some moms like to go out and party, and that’s totally fine, whereas other moms would judge them for that. But if that works for them and they obviously need a break then they have to do it. You must carry on with your own life and shouldn’t be something that you think everyone else wants you to be because you’re going to be super-unhappy and your kids will notice that. So it’s ok if you go out and go a bit crazy every now and again. Likewise if you’re happy to stay home with your kids then you shouldn’t let other moms tell you that you need to go out. Just do whatever makes you happy.

What piece will you keep for your kids?

Well he always plays with this necklace I’m wearing, which was Kevin’s grandmother’s, so maybe I’ll keep this for him to give to his wife one day. Or maybe his child will want to give it to his wife? My daughter can have the wedding ring.

How’s motherhood changed from when your mom was your age?

There’s a lot more pressure on young moms nowadays. You still want to work and maintain your career even after you’ve had kids. Also back then there weren’t as many options, but now there’s so much more a woman can do and as women we have a lot more going for us.

What do you hope will be different by the time your kids have kids?

I hope the world is better. At the moment it feels really bad. People are either super wealthy or really poor. Big corporations are taking over. I dunno, I just hope they have a good life.

If you could ask any mom a question who would it be and what would you ask?

I’d want to speak to a mom with a kid in their teenage years, and ask her what’s going on at the moment. At what age do kids start doing what, because we started quite young, but I suppose it’s getting younger and younger now. I started smoking at about 12, so maybe now it’s, what, 10? But I’m not even worried about the cigarettes, it’s more the other stuff, kids want to fit in and do what their friends do, so it’s a bit worrying. I suppose I just want to know what’s happening now. What’s trending.