I talk frequently—with friends, relations, hundreds of people on stage at conferences—about Instagram. I love it so much. Truly, if you’re not ever finding a sense of beauty and inspiration from Instagram, you’re following the wrong people. Follow people who make your heart sing and inspire you to take a breath of fresh air. Like my friend Autumn—a blogger who homeschools her lovely children and each time I scroll through and see a post from her, I feel lighter. Happier. Calmer. More content with my own life, even, because I see the beauty in the parts of hers she shares on her Instagram feed and stories. Autumn’s Instagram bio headlines a Mary Oliver quote, “Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” And you really feel that, reading her content.
Autumn is a stay-at-home mother of three, homeschooler, and lifestyle blogger with a love for simple, clean living. She is also a certified birth and postpartum doula.
“I wake up with kids in my bed,” Autumn laughs. Homeschooling Marli, Hunter, and Luna—ages 9, 7, and almost 2—she wakes up when the kids do. “Most of our day is following their lead, and their interests… it’s very open, flowy, and easy,” she says. “So while we have a rhythm, there’s nothing rigid, and no set schedule, which helps me keep less stressed… if I have no schedule, we can’t be late.”
In the mornings, she and the children will make breakfast—“usually smoothies or oatmeal and always coffee for me”—and have time for reading to start the day slowly. “I’ll often get my journal out while they have time with their books,” Autumn says. Then they all wash up. “They brush their hair and teeth, wash their face, I’ll do my morning beauty routine… and then if it’s nice out, we’ll go outside for a while and take lots of deep breaths out there and play. We go with the flow as long as it’s fun. I’ve had to train myself to be easygoing… I have my moments, of course, but if I’m stressed, I always apologize. It’s important to teach them that even if we lose our temper, we can be sorry, admit we make mistakes, and that’s ok.”
“Mornings are when I set my intentions for the day; my attitude for the day, the headspace I want to be in, it’s the perfect time to take whatever time I need to meditate, move my body… literally whatever it is that I need. I used to be go-go-go with the kids, but when I take this time, I am so much better being able to communicate and be present with them… mornings and bedtimes are the grounding experiences. We base a lot of our homeschooling on the Waldorf method, which says a child’s day begins with bedtime… how you put them to bed impacts their day when they wake up. So as much as we have a rhythm to our mornings, we also have a rhythm at bedtime—with stories, being tucked in, kisses and hugs, and time together. It’s so important to take those moments.”
Autumn started her blog with her vintage Etsy shop. “I sold midcentury modern houseware, atomic age goodies… that’s where I gained a following, with other kitschy, retro vintage bloggers. It just naturally happened… at the time, I was 21 years old, with a three-year-old at home and had just had my son and blogging was just really becoming a thing—so I thought, let’s homeschool and really do the blog… the blog has evolved over time and grown with me.” (P.S. You’ll want to read her post on self-care here.)
With her love of vintage things, I’ve noticed her kids flipping records on her feed quite often—and my kids are thrilled to know there are other kids out there that have records. “Music is so much better on a record, I want to hear the dirty cracks and pops on it!” Autumn says. “Music is a huge part of what our life is.”
In addition to blogging, Autumn sells and provides education on essential oils with Oils&Honey Essentials. “Essential oils are naturally a part of my life and what simple living looks like for my family… so it doesn’t feel like a lot of work. I like to do the live videos, the classes, a lot… you can buy oils from the shelf, but no one is going to show you how to use them—safely, in ways that work—that education and leading people through it, makes all the difference. It becomes overwhelming for people otherwise, and natural alternatives should be known to people… I really want to make it accessible.”
Between homeschooling, blogging, and sharing essential oils, it’s all about finding the balance. “I used to be a birth and postpartum doula—I had to be on call, away from my duties at home… I feel called to it and love it, but it just wasn’t right for this season of my life.”
I knew we could count on Autumn for some amazing book recommendations; she’s sharing them consistently on her Instagram stories! “Right now I’m reading The Creative Family Manifesto, which I’m loving, and Heaven on Earth, a beautiful parenting book… we’ve been doing a French unit in homeschool, and so a lot of our kids’ books have been Paris-focused, like a Magic Treehouse chapter book set in Paris, and impressionist artist books. We’re planning to take them to Paris in the spring… we like to match our learning with our activities whenever we can.”
“I think there’s this misconception that if you can take a pretty picture, there isn’t chaos,” Autumn says of social media. “Instagram is a highlight reel. I’m a normal mom, we all have the same things going on—there is frustration! And mess! And chaos! But I try to have a good time. I am a creative, I like styling, I like pretty things. Instagram has been a wonderful outlet for me to channel through, for my photography and my business, and I try to share a good mix of vulnerability and creativity… I can style a pretty photo, but the real life, the chaos, it’s there.”