Caitlin wears the Delphine dress
Sending messages of self love and positive body image are things that are often not far from Mother Caitlin's mind, who is raising three wonderful children. She talks about being a role model to them and awareness of praise that is not always focused on appearance. A passionate foodie with a refreshingly realistic and simple approach to healthy food. With young children it's not always an option to spend hours getting creative in the kitchen, I loved hearing Caitlin's simplified approach to cooking, including two easy recipes she kindly shared.
Tell us a bit about yourself - what has led you to here?
Ok Hi! I'm Caitlin Langford, I'm 36, and I can't tell you my 'profession' in one word, because I'm many things. I'm a mama, I'm a lover, I'm a friend, a partner, a sister and a daughter. I have a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Nursing. I also coach strength and conditioning. So I have many hats, some days I wear all of them, and some days I drop a few!
Many things have led me here, but I guess my biggest life lessons have come from family and relationships. Yes, of course things from your studies, your work, the things you do everyday lead you down different life paths, but when I strip everything back, my greatest life lessons and influencers are my family. MY immediate family, my partner and my kids. They are what have led me here!
What are you passionate about?
You wouldn't believe how much this question stumped me! I had to come back to it. I think it's because I'm passionate about SO many things. I kept thinking about this, and about how I'd list ALL the things I'm passionate about. But I'm passionate about LIFE, and ALL the hats I wear, and some days they are very different things! So, at the crux of it all, I am passionate about the human spirit and about connection. I believe that's the thing that all my passions have in common.
Caitlin wears the Theodora dress/kimono
Do you believe it’s important to promote positive body image to our children from a young age?
Oh absolutely! It seems to me, we become entrenched in these ideas of 'beauty' from SUCH an early age. It scares me. My experience as a teen saw no social media or online influence, and I still really struggled with feelings of 'not fitting in.' Feelings of not being pretty enough, or not having the best clothes. That's difficult enough to navigate through without the massive injection of online influence that our youngsters are now exposed to. But of course, this 'awareness' starts MUCH earlier than this. It starts as kids, young kids. So from an early age our babes are 'aware' of themselves, how they appear and how they present. Awareness is different to insecurity. We can be aware without feeling self-conscious or insecure. So we need to make sure that we foster a safe space for our kids to grow up as strong, confident little beings.
It's such a powerful tool this social media bio. So, as a parent, I know I need to make sure I'm using it as a positive platform of empowerment & acceptance, not as a breeding ground for insecurity & judgement.
How do you go about this?
First and foremost I'm mindful of how I speak about myself, and about my own body. I'm also careful about making comments based on appearance in general. I go about this by being very aware of how I talk about myself in front of my kids. I don't beat up on myself in front of the kids, even if I'm feeling out of sorts.
I've recently had a baby. Well, 15 months ago in fact. In that postpartum period you go through many periods of change, and your body reflects this. That little belly might hang around for a while, you might feel a bit squidgy or more curvy or heavier than your pre-pregnant body. Your clothes don't fit quite right, and it's generally a bit 'BLAH!' If I was feeling a bit frustrated about this (yes, we all have those day, and that's OKAY), I'd just be careful about talking about it in front of the kids. For me, I'd let it all out to my partner Ryan, have a whinge and be done with it. Thankfully, he is AMAZING, would listen then talk some sense into me!
I'm also careful about how I talk to my kids, and their friends for that matter. It's quite hard, especially with girls, not to comment on appearance and clothing frequently. Some days my girl (and my boy) look SO beautiful, and yes I do tell them that. However, I'll also compliment something else 'you're very clever,' or 'you're a very kind friend' etc. So sure, give compliments, but make sure they are not purely focused on appearance!
Caitlin wears the Theodora dress/kimono
What’s your philosophy when it comes to meals for the family?
SIMPLE WHOLEFOODS EVERYDAY!
Food for the family can get so tricky. My eldest son went through a really fussy eating period. Actually he's still quite finicky with food. I am STILL surprised that a kid of ours struggles with trying new things! But I know this is really common. I used to spend a lot of time agonising over this. I would spend hours in the kitchen making all these healthy 'kid friendly' snacks that I'd then almost have to force down his throat! So frustrating!
Fast forward to now - three kids, a busy household and a million other things going on - I just don't have the time to put into the kitchen that I used to. That day will come around again, but for now I focus on SIMPLE WHOLEFOODS.
For example - this week looks like this:
*A HUUUUGE tray of roast veggies to last a couple of nights.
*A slow cooked lamb shoulder
*Slow cooked chicken thigh
I did this prep on Sunday (took me 20 mins to throw in the oven/slow cooker), and it will give us quite a few meals. We'll have lamb and veggies one night, chicken tacos another night, roast veggies with rice and tofu, and a 'bitsa dinner' (i.e whatever is left over thrown together on a plate or in a toastie).
I'm not one to plan out every meal of the day with precision, but if we have fresh fruit/veggies, a couple of quality protein sources, and plenty of seeds/nuts/fats etc on hand then you can knock up some pretty good meals/lunches/snacks through the week.
I do like to bake something for the kids lunch boxes, a little treat, but the time to do so is a luxury so it happens sometime not all the time. These generally include: bliss balls, muesli slice, pikelets etc. Often its a good idea to make a double batch and freeze half!
Caitlin wears the Nettle blouse
Do you include your children in the food preparation process?
Probably not as much as I'd like to think I do! At times they get involved, but otherwise, I'm a mama on a mission and I go as fast as I can! Admittedly, they do love getting involved so I should probably SLOW the hell down, and include them more. Sometimes we'll bake together, they LOVE it. Yes, it is messy and it takes longer so I find I need to set aside the time and lay all the ingredients out prior to opening the kitchen to the helpers!
We do talk a lot about food though. Education is everything! I often feel like food is a negotiation process, particularly with my older boy. We always talk about what good foods are, what we should eat more of, what we should eat first, and what are 'sometimes' foods!
Navigating kids parties is always interesting! Often there is a plethora of sugar/preservative loaded foods on offer. I don't want to be the crazy lady that doesn't allow or tries to prevent the kids eating ANY of it. What I try to do instead is fill them up before we go (think super nutritious and filling smoothie), then let them have some free reign. I'll keep a loose eye on what they're eating and I'll let them have more treats than I would usually be happy with. If I think it's a bit much, distraction is the way to go! I'll also usually be fairly quick to snaffle the party bag away, and let them pick one thing from it per day (though quite often when they've forgotten about it, it finds its way to the bin). Sorry, got a bit side tracked there!
Do you all sit down together for family meal time?
Yes we do. Well 90% of the time anyway, with the exception of breakfast. Breakfasts, we are not always sitting down together, but we're all milling around the kitchen. I'll be making lunches while the kids eat (or similar).
I really love the evening meal, we always sit down together for dinner. It's a really nice time to connect and chat about the day. One thing we love doing is asking the kids about the highlight or best thing about their day. Always sparks a nice conversation and some gratitude for what's happened in the day! I do quite often feed Arlo some food before we eat, he's 15 months and get HANGRY before dinner is ready, so I'll feed him some mashed veggies, then he'll eat some more of what we're eating!
Do you have a killer recipe you can share with us?
Ok, I'm going to swing you a couple. Two of my faves, things that are in HIGH rotation from our kitchen and things that my kids love.
Has the way you eat changed since having children?
Yes, I would say it has. At the moment, it's about getting bulk meals on the table. It's less about flipping through recipe books and thinking 'that looks great, I'll grab those 50 ingredients and spend the next 2 hours making it.' I'm all about meals that are fairly quick and simple to make. Things that are nutritious and wholesome. Things that can last a few days, be prepped in advance and can be frozen. So at the moment, its very basic things; loads of veggies with every meal, bolognaise, slow cooked meats, lasagne, curries, casseroles, quiche, that type of thing.
I have quality ingredients on hand and go from there - a big box of organic fruit/veggies, quality protein sources, quality fats! You don't need to be fancy and complicated to feed your tribe well!
I love to bake, but the time to do so eludes me these days! One day, I'll find my groove again.
Caitlin wears the Theodora dress/kimono
How would you describe your style?
I feel that the way I dress (like many areas of my life) is a total dichotomy! I'm either in training gear (tights, crops and cons), OR, a bohemian maxi dress and leather flats.
HAS to be comfortable. HAS to be easy. I love outfits/pieces that are no brainers. That pair of tights that always looks good with a plain white tank. That maxi that you always feel amazing in and looks beautiful worn in many ways! LOVING the ankoa wrap dress/duster! At first, I didn't think I'd wear it much as a wrap dress, but Oh My, it is amazing. Loving pairing it back with jeans too, wearing it as a coat with a heeled boot.
What I always come back to is how I FEEL in something - if it feels good, if I feel confident, if it's a quality garment, if I love what I'm wearing (whether it's tights or a dress), I'm going to have a great day!
'Self confidence is the best outfit, rock and own it.'
Has it changed since becoming a Mother?
I don't think my style as such has changed, but I'm probably more confident in myself. I care less what others think of my style, and care more about how I feel about myself. So perhaps I've given myself more room to just be myself and wear what I want when I want - unapologetically!
Who do you admire?
So many people, for so many different reasons! I've never been one to gush over celebrities, or get hugely excited about that person that I've seen on SM (who I don't actually know) that seems to have it all. I'm a bit more of an everyday girl! I love to admire those around me. Other mamas, treading a similar path. Women around me who seem to face adversity with grace and humility. Mum's who speak patiently and mindfully to their kids. Friends who are generous, adventurous, and live their lives with humility!
What are you looking forward to?
Many things. I am very much a 'home is where the heart is' girl. So it's not a European adventure or extravagant holiday that I'm looking for (although a little of that wouldn't go astray). It's self development, the relationships around me, adventures of motherhood, and watching my babies grow that excites me the most! I love seeing the little people that my kids are developing into, seeing those personalities unfold. The here and now, the people around us, and our connections is really ALL we have. So that's what I look forward to, more of THAT.
What was the last thing you ate?
I don't know that I should answer that truthfully! But I will. It was actually some Green and Blacks 85% dark chocolate, with an inch thick layer of Pics peanut butter slathered on top! Treat of choice: don't try it, it's addictive. Highly addictive.
What's your mantra?
Ok - I have a few - but here are a couple!
'Inside the chaos, build a temple of love'
'Real happiness isn't something large and looming on the horizon ahead but something small and numerous, and already here.'
Keep this in mind though - these are my mantras! Things I try to live by. I also have my days where I'm throwing profanities round like wildfire, loosing my mind, and am exhausted beyond anything! On these days, I laugh at my mantras, and think 'yeah right, what anti idiot!' I have my moments where I loose my cool, and speak harshly to the kids, and don't act as I would like. Mantras? GONE - out the window. BUT, they are still my mantras, and I always come back to them. They give me a focus point to pause and reflect, and a way to set an intention moving forward.
Anything you wish you were better at?
Presence. That's all. Motherhood these days is such a challenge. We have pressure on ourselves from ALL angles. To maintain a functioning household, relationships, friendships, careers/jobs, own businesses, social media accounts, the list goes on. I find there is SO much distraction. There are so many times every day that I put the kids down, or ask them to wait 'whilst I do this.' So, I would like to be better at letting that all go. Checking my phone less, checking my email less, being at peace with the mess of life. Being here. ALL here. Right now.