Courtney Adamo: Photographed by Easton (15) Quin (13) Ivy (11) Marlow (7) and Wilkie (3)
Name: Courtney Adamo
Place of birth: Pacific Northwest, United States
1. What do you love about being a Mama?
I grew up in a large family - I’m the eldest of five kids - so I feel like I’ve been Mothering for my entire life. There are photos of me, two-years-old, with my baby sister, and you can see how much I loved ‘Mothering’ her, even as a young child. I remember when my youngest brother was born, I thought he was the best thing that ever happened in the world, and my Mum jokes that she only ever needed to feed her baby and I did the rest! I guess it’s a role that feels very natural to me, and I love the comfort it brings. I also love the journey of motherhood - the self-discovery, the constant learning and the lessons, the chaos in the house, and the amount of love that flows in every direction. I guess one of my favourite things about being a Mother is witnessing the love my children have for each other.
2. What do you find the hardest thing about being a Mama?
I think I struggle the most with patience. I have this vision/hope of being a really calm mum. Someone who is responsive rather than reactive. Someone who breathes and composes herself before responding in anger when the kids misbehave. I often remind myself to be patient and to manage my expectations of the kids. I usually start my days being really patient and calm, but it’s such a challenge to keep that composure all day long (especially on days when it feels like all the kids are throwing curveballs to test my patience). Thankfully my partner, Michael, is really patient, so the kids get a balance of patience and ‘passion’. :)
3. What are your go-to beauty products and favourite brands?
I’ve been a longtime fan of the Sans Ceuticals products - I love their shampoo and conditioner, as well as their body and face oil. I also love the Mukti Organics products - their vitamin elixirs smell so good and feel really nourishing on my face. I also recently discovered the Rohr Remedy range and am loving their products. For my hair, I swear by the Aveda Brilliant Universal Styling Creme. I rub a dollop through my hair when it’s wet and it dries - helping my waves feel defined, without looking like I have product in my hair.
4. How do you manage to stay in shape?
We are lucky to live so near to the ocean. I try to get out into the surf at least a few times a week if I can. Surfing does so much for my mind and my body - it just makes me feel so balanced and happy. If ever I start to get ‘heady’ or feel negative, I know I just need to get out into the ocean. On the days when I can’t go surfing, I try to squeeze in 20 minutes of yoga or simple stretching on a mat in my bedroom. It just feels good to stretch my body!
5. How do you find time to rest and relax?
I’m not a good rester. Even in college, after pulling all-nighters studying for exams, I couldn’t take a nap. But surfing has a relaxing effect - even though I’m being active, I still feel so much calmer when I come in after a surf. Also, I make sure to go to sleep early so I get enough rest.
6. Where are your favourite places to go in Byron?
We love spending the mornings at the beach, either The Pass or Wategos, and then grabbing lunch at The Top Shop. We live in Bangalow and love our Saturday farmers market and local shops and cafes - it’s such a charming little town. In the summer, we also love swimming in the Tea Tree Lakes (Lake Ainsworth), though being a family of surfers, it’s always the second best option after the beach. It depends on what the waves are doing!
7. What are your favourite things to do together?
Surfing! Am I sounding like a broken record? Haha. I’m so thankful it’s a family passion because it really does make the ‘what do we do today?’ question an easy one. We also love cooking and eating together. Weekend mornings are always spent in the kitchen - making pancakes, drinking coffee, listening to music. It’s my favourite thing ever!
8. Any travel tips with small children or a new baby?
I don’t know if I have any life-altering travel tips, but I do think it’s good to remind other families how wonderful it is to travel with your children. The travel days (long flights or journeys) are never easy when you have young kids, but it’s always worth it. I think travelling with kids is so rewarding because it forces you to move at a slower pace, to adhere to your natural rhythms in a new place, to notice the mundane, and to notice the real-life things about a new place. You can’t as easily dash from one sight to another doing all the standard touristy things - you are forced to just ‘be’ in a new place. I love the feeling and excitement of being somewhere new, discovering new customs, meeting new people, and trying new foods. It’s such a joy to watch your kids make these same discoveries.
In terms of actual tips - bring lots of snacks, always have colouring pencils and paper, pack a few paperback books in your carry-on bag, listen to audiobooks on long car journeys, always have your kids use the toilet before boarding a plane, don’t pack more than you absolutely need, remember you can always buy nappies or baby food or laundry soap wherever you’re going, adapt quickly to your new local time to avoid jet-lag lasting longer than it should, reach out to the locals immediately for the best tips and insight, and enjoy the adventure!
9. Where is your favourite place to vacation with your family?
While we love discovering new places, we also really enjoy returning to the same special spots year after year. It’s so nice to return somewhere that feels like a home away from home, where the locals welcome you with hugs and cheek pinches. Positano, Italy, is somewhere we’ve returned to year after year since before we started having kids. It’s a very special place for our family, and you honestly can’t beat the food!
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the USA (between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada). We love returning to that beautiful corner of the US. My family has a cabin on Bainbridge Island, WA, and even though the beaches are rocky and the water is freezing, it’s still one of my favourite beaches on the planet. It’s so special watching my kids relive my childhood memories.
10. What is your signature style and favourite fashion brands?
Living here in Byron where it’s really warm year-round, I have become quite lazy when it comes to fashion. I just throw on a dress and some sandals and off I go. In the winter, we all get excited to finally wear jeans, and I’ll often wear a pair of vintage Levi’s and a t-shirt, but in the summer, I’m usually wearing a dress I can throw on over a swimsuit. My favourite brands are: Ace & Jig, Christy Dawn, Doen, St. Agni, Jesse Kamm, Venroy, and Babaa (for when you need a wool jumper!).
11. What are you currently working on right now?
I just finished hosting an online course about pregnancy, birth and the first year of life. I launched the course in May and ran the course for three weeks. I really enjoyed connecting with a beautiful community of women from around the world - all of whom are in that special season of their lives awaiting or welcoming a baby. Now that the course is finished, I'm taking some time off to be more present with my family. I'm also committed to educating myself and my family on the important issues of systemic racism and oppression of black and indigenous people. I have been speaking with my children about our privilege and about the responsibility we have to actively stand up against racism if we want to re-build and create a better future for everyone. I've enjoyed listening to the Scene on Radio 'Seeing White' podcast series as well as the Brene Brown podcast interview with Ibram X. Kendi on ‘How To Be An Antiracist’. I keep recommending these to everyone I know.
Courtney wears Verse Love Letters EQIMW necklace in 18k solid yellow gold.
Film photography: Easton (15) Quin (13) Ivy (11) Marlow (7) Wilkie (3)