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An interview with: Jennifer Hagler of AMM
Jennifer Hagler is one of my favorite Bloggers ever. She is also a fellow mom and minimalism enthusiast. Her blog A Merry Mishap brings pure joy and inspiration to my days (I also love that Emma has a crush on Israel, talk about cougars). Getting to know Jen a little more over the past months has been an amazing experience, she's one of the kindest people I've ever known. I love her approach to motherhood and lifestyle and the way she is incredibly humble in spite of being so wonderful, creative and successful. Thank you so much, Jeniffer, for giving us a peek into your life! Happy early Mother's Day!

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do:

How do you balance motherhood, work and blogging?
I don't know that I balance everything really. Some days I spend more time with my shop than anything else. Other days I try to work on my blog and then there are days when I only want to give my full attention to the boys and working around the house. It's sort of this rotation and it's the best thing I can do at the moment! My goal is to get to a point where I have an employee managing the most time consuming aspects of the shop so everyone can be happy and I can spend more time as a mommy & wife not to mention sister, daughter and friend. There's so much I want to do but I can't take over the world so I just try to focus on the things at hand and it's a big lesson to learn, not biting off more than I can chew. It's a work in progress.


Your husband Jeremiah and you are incredibly talented, how do you translate that into your living and raising Israel?
Jeremiah and I began a relationship based on the fact that we both love art. To be more specific we began dating as a result of taking the same (boring) art history course in college. We've spent our lives thinking about design and trying to improve our skills, knowledge and experience. Now that we are 3, Jeremiah and I just try to involve Israel is everything. Some days Jeremiah comes home and colors with Israel. They love to draw, and I answer emails uninterrupted. Being hands on is so important and Israel really loves to help so he helps me cook and bake, standing on his stool at the counter and cracks eggs with me, pours ingredients and stirs. He is very observant and loves to mimic what he's seen us do and within reason, we let him! He even helps me print shipping labels and throw away trash after packaging jewelry.

Israel is acquainted with our routine and both Jeremiah and myself try to explain what we are doing, he likes being in 'the know'. Another example is that Israel watches me shoot photos with my camera and the other day he grabbed the camera and tried to take pictures himself. Rather than take it from and and say "no, that's mommy's camera" I stayed with him and showed how to take a picture, look through the view finder and even review the photos on the camera. He was thrilled! Who knows if he has the potential to be an amazing photographer, I want to give him those small moments to explore and experience. Jeremiah and I are of the same mind on this so Israel gets this with both of us.

Allowing him to get messy, whether that be literally or just by making mistakes has been important to me. I don't want to be the mom who does everything for my child to the point that he grows up to be a man and not know how to do his own laundry or cook. I want to raise him to be multidimensional, whatever that may be.

What are his favorite things?
Israel likes a lot of adult things. As I already mentioned, he's always watched us and now wants to do things himself. Whenever something drops or spills on the carpet he runs to the closet and brings the vacuum out. I plug it in for him and he does the rest. He really enjoys vacuuming! He also loves music so he has a cd player/radio within his reach in his room & he changes out cd's, plays his instruments and sings. He goes through phases of interests but he could probably spend all day outside playing with the watering hose, drenching himself and everything else in water. That is his favorite!

You lead a very minimalistic life, how do you encourage that in your home?
It's a lot of work to be minimalist and I am not the poster child for it! In comparison I am probably much more minimal than some but I am always trying to challenge myself to edit, edit, edit! Right now I have a big pile of things to donate. If I don't completely love something or use it or if it's the quality then I will likely sell or donate it. The whole family is just happier when there are less 'things' to manage. Also, buying things that are slightly more expensive and better quality is a good motivator for buying less. If you just spent $100 on a nicer bag that you really love, there's a good chance you pass up all those cute little $20 bags you find along the way. Investing in quality, long lasting things is a great step towards living minimally and I truly think the happiest people live with less.

Also, I will watch and episode of 'Hoarders', it just disgusts me into action!

What has been the best thing about being a mother so far?
Oh, there are so many great things about being a mother! It's just these little moments, moments that happen spontaneously that just make my heart feel so full. There are times we will be riding in the car and Israel has been quiet for a while. I'll look back at him and he's just sitting in his car seat with his hands folded in his lap, feet crossed and looking out the window. I'll turn to Jeremiah and say, "He's so beautiful, I can't believe he's ours!". I just feel this great privilege to be his mom.

What is the biggest lesson you'd like to teach him and which is the biggest lesson he has taught you?
It's hard for me to pick just 1 most important lesson, I think there are several that are equally important. To answer your question though I would say that when I imagine the kind of man I hope Israel to grow up to be, confident is one of the first adjectives that comes to mind. It seems like so much work to build confidence in a person. The world can be so cruel, so ruthless and as a parent I can't counteract it all. I want Israel to grow up knowing that he is loved, that his life has value and purpose, that he is gifted and has something to offer the world and people. I want him to be confident in who he is because I think that's the beginning of being able to love others, be compassionate and considerate and generous. It's my goal to establish a strong sense of self worth in my son so that he can grow to be an asset to society and the people he come into contact with. He's already very personable and sweet, I want to nurture that and teach him that he has the ability to positively affect others' lives.


Any words of wisdom to blogger moms?
My advice would be to prioritize and try to be as organized as possible. Also, not to feel guilty. Guilt is one of those things that already waits to plague every mom but especially for those whose work is in addition to being a mom. Parenting is a job all by itself and yet many of us can't afford not to work or want to continue with the things we were passionate about before becoming moms. I think there is a way to be an excellent mommy and excellent professional but you can't walk around feeling guilty for doing either one well because it will rob you of the joy that both responsibilities can bring!

20 comments:

  1. She's so inspirational! Great interview.

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  2. It sounds like, in not as many words, she's a proponent of Montessori philosophy. Which is very, very cool.

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  3. Love the advice given in the last question. Prioritizing and feeling guilty are two things that I struggle with as it pertains to business and family. Jennifer's words are comforting.

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    1. I feel the same way. She is wise and incredibly understanding. It is refreshing to read advice like this not given in a judgmental way :)

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  4. She is great. I'm glad you included a photo of her :) She never puts those on her blog. (And she's gorgeous!)

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  5. aww..how adorable is this little fellow..such inspiring interview for moms, lovely! xo

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  6. I love that she doesn't call it balancing but rotation. Such a great thought.

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    1. I never though about it like that but it definitely makes sense. I love her openness.

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  7. loved this interview, and as always, your blog.

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  8. I have two AMM necklaces and they're worn cooonstantly - such a big fan! Loved learning more about the lady behind such a pretty store :-)

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    1. She's THE best! Love everything she does.

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  9. She is the cutest. And I really liked what she said about balancing things. I feel the same exact way sometimes.

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  10. Will head over to her site now, love her philosophy about being a mother and an artist. PLus her skin is so luminous - how does she do that?

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    1. I agree! I also love her bangs. She looks Amazing.

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  11. I love to read this interview, Ana...and to know Jennifer and her blog, thank you dear, she has the most inspiring points of view!

    Have the best weekend!, and...Happy Mothers day to all the amazing mamas out there!

    Big hugs!
    Inés

    SimplyClassyMe.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope you had a wonderful day, dear! I had a restful one... Still smiling.

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  12. Ahh, love Jennifer's work. Thank you so much for sharing this interview, Ana! Happy Mother's Day, sweet.

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  13. Ana, thank you so much for this wonderful interview with Jennifer/A Merry Mishap! (I don't know how I missed it.) I loved every single question and answer, and found myself not wanting the interview to end. I have a son (+ a daughter) and all things that Jennifer hopes for her child really resonates with me.
    PS~I wear my black+gold AMM earrings with pride.

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