Parenting looks different for every family, and yet there’s shared knowledge among parents: of the unpredictability, the joys and gentle moments, the downright tough days or nights. With the release of our new All In Baby Bag, we reflect on this momentous role, both shared and wonderfully different. We spoke to Sophie Vine, mother of three and the thoughtful mind behind Vines of the Wild. Sophie shared with us her insights into parenting: what inspires her parenting style, what an ‘average’ day looks like and, let’s face it, what’s both chaotic and beautiful about the experience of being a parent.
If you’ve seen Sophie’s instagram you’ll know her humour, honesty and the love of nature that comes through in her photos. She’s not afraid to admit those days when parents need to pile the children into the car, pack a bag of snacks and essentials, and let everyone roam in nature for a while. Raised in the regional city of Geelong as one of four children, Sophie met her husband Dale while a student in graphic design. Years later they now run a busy household of five.
How would you describe your parenting style?
Gentle, with a focus on nature immersion and developmental play that promotes imagination, creativity and critical thinking whilst modelling practical life skills and simple, sustainable living. Our family motto is 'have courage and be kind'.
Tell us about a normal day in the Vine household?
Usually chaos! At least one child will wake up anywhere from 5:30am. After breakfast, it will just depend on what activities we have happening that day (kinder, playgroup etc.) but we usually tend to keep things pretty simple. There are lots of play opportunities at home that are constantly changing to keep the kids occupied and learning - building, play dough, dress ups, cooking etc.
We'll always have some outdoor time no matter the weather, either a walk to the library for rhyme time, or to the park along the creek, nature playgroup or just outside for some cubby and mud kitchen play. Dad comes home for a play while I get dinner on and then bath and bed :)
We all strive for balance - how do you manage to find it with three kids and a busy work life?
I've just let go of trying to do too much, trying to keep the house perfect, trying to get back to emails the second I receive them, thinking I need to leave the house for a thousand structured activities every day. And I really utilise nap time. My two youngest overlap their naps a little so that's when I have one on one time with my eldest and then I set him up with independent activities when the other two are awake or I'm feeding my baby or getting lunches etc. I get one on one time with the younger children when the eldest is at kinder or happily playing independently. But it's usually all 3 literally climbing all over me all day.
Any tips for fellow parents?
Follow your own compass. Don't worry too much about what the books say, your neighbour or your best friend. No one is the perfect parent, and someone else's priorities don't have to be the same as yours, you're allowed to do things your own way.
No one knows or loves your children like you.
Ask for/accept ALL the help! You might not feel like you need it at the time or you might think its a sign of weakness but accepting help takes so much strength, I wish I'd learnt that sooner.
And the bag: what do you like about Crumpler’s first baby bag, and what goes into yours?
I load up my nappy bag so I'm ready for anything!
I pack nappies, wipes, baby cream, nappy bags, sanitiser, bandaids, sunscreen, a bib, a muslin blanket, dummy, kids drink bottles, snacks, full change of clothes for each child, a hat for each child (sunhat in summer, beanie in winter), picture books, colouring pencils & paper, a teether.
I love the flexibility of the compartments of the Crumpler baby bag (there's room for everything!) I also love the different carry options - as a backpack, over shoulder or carried by the handles.
And on a final note:
Nothing compares to the good days - the smiles, the giggles and the outpouring of love. It makes the sleepless nights, the out of control messy house and the deafening loud squeals all worth it.
Shop the All In Baby Bag here.