When it comes to style inspiration we turn to blogger Hey Natalie Jean, mother of Huck and author of a self-titled book about marriage, motherhood, and style. Natalie has fun dressing herself and her son in a signature style that’s simultaneously put together and laid back. Perhaps part of her sartorial inspiration comes from her recent relocation from Brooklyn, New York to Moscow, Idaho where she and her husband and son now live.
We asked Natalie to give us the inside scoop on the inspiration behind her Schoola collection, while taking the opportunity to get a parenting tip or two. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us a little bit about your Schoola collection. What’s your style inspiration for fall and why?
This fall I’ve been really inspired by our new Idaho lifestyle–getting up early to feed the chickens, biking the boy to school in the mornings when it’s chilly and brisk out, then coming home and watching the boy play hard in the dirt and grass. I’m gravitating toward the kinds of classics that do the work to keep the boy warm and show as little mess as possible. Plaids, flannels, denims, classic shirts that can be buttoned up to look presentable or worn open and loose to provide an easily removable extra layer of warmth.
You recently moved from Brooklyn, New York to Moscow, Idaho with your family. What has been the biggest change for you?
Needing a car and not having one! In Brooklyn a car is a huge pain, and getting around on foot or public transportation is a breeze. Out here, I just really need a car. We’ve been scouring Craigslist for a beat up old pick up truck–not only do I need wheels to haul myself, I also need wheels that can haul junk from our property to the dump! It’s just a complete 180 from our old lifestyle. It’s kind of hysterical.
What’s your number 1 parenting tip?
If they’re happy, let it go. I’ve used this a million times since Huck was born. If he’s happy banging that spoon into that pan, let it go. If he’s happy skipping naps, let it go. If he’s happy playing in the mud getting completely filthy, or eating peanut butter sandwiches for every meal, let it go! Let them be happy and don’t worry about being overly structured, or strict, or about all the “shoulds” we tend to fill our brains with.
Do you have a childhood memory from school that you think really made you the grownup you are today?
When I was in the first grade I remember missing my mother so desperately during the school day, and feeling a lot of angst in the mornings about getting ready for the day and making it to school on time. With Huck, he’s so sociable and gregarious, but every now and then he gets that same little misty-eyed look in his eye and tells me he’s concerned about leaving me for the day, and I just remember that feeling so clearly! It’s changed the way I handle our mornings. Instead of rushing him out, or telling him he’ll be fine and sweeping it under the rug, we’ll stop and have a few minutes together to talk about his feelings, to reassure him of his options, and to let him find his confidence before scooting him off to school for the day. It’s not really his decision whether or not he goes to school, haha, but I work hard to let him feel like it is. I want him to feel ownership of his experience, in small ways that I didn’t feel that I had. I’m sure it will make no difference in the long run for Huck, hah, and I remember reading once that a lot of our parenting decisions really have more to do with ourselves than with our kids, but it goes a long way toward making ME feel good, anyway :).
When Turi was little, her favorite part of school was actually the homework! She wanted to be a veterinarian, a ballerina, and a writer. Now that she’s a grownup she can be found eating her way through the Bay Area or with her nose in a book in the library. She likes jogging to brunch or burgers, and then ending her day working on writing her own “Great American Novel.”