You might know Amanda Jane Jones as one of the founding designers of Kinfolk or for her dreamy instagram feed, but what you may not know about Amanda is how she is able to juggle the challenges of motherhood with her successful career. The truth is, she lives her life with gratitude and joy for her babies and the work she puts out into the world.
Drawn to Amanda's genuine zest for life, we just had to share with you a day in the life of Amanda Jane Jones and her family recipe for happy, healthy living.
I’m a full-time mama and I work part-time as a freelance graphic designer and art director. I have a small home office that makes it easy for me to get work done late at night or while the kids nap to maximize time spent with them. My husband is a student, so he has a flexible schedule like I do. When I’m working, he’s with the kids and visa versa. We know that’s a luxury, and we’re grateful that we get to be with our children so much.
I’m the founding designer of Kinfolk magazine. Issue 13 was my last. I’ve recently launched a new magazine called Define. We’re about to launch our home issue in June and are very excited about it. So many beautiful and thoughtful contributions.
2. What does healthy living mean to you? How does that influence how you raise your children?
Healthy living to me is all about simple choices- meals together with the family, early morning stroller walks to the beach...I’m a big fan of making easy healthy habits a part of our everyday life.
3. You work from home. How are you able to juggle work and motherhood? Any suggestions?
It’s a never ending learning process. I feel like the big thing I’ve learned is to lower my expectations for myself (meaning I can’t expect myself to do everything all at once) and to be flexible. Kids are so unpredictable - sometimes they nap for three hours and sometimes they nap for half an hour...or no nap at all! It’s all about going with the flow. Also, as a mother, your time is SO valuable. I’m a true believer in only taking on projects and working with people that you genuinely enjoy.
4. You describe yourself as a bit of a neat freak. How in the world do you manage to keep the house neat with two kiddos? Do you have a maid, a clean-up day or time, a laundry time, a creative way to hide the clutter?
Haha, this made me laugh out loud. I’m am a neat freak, but since Miles arrived, I’m having an extremely hard time keeping my house straight. We don’t have a maid - we did have a cleaning lady come once every two weeks when I was pregnant and I’ve been tempted to bring her back. ;) We try to involve Jane in the clean up process, but it usually doesn’t get very far. So, generally Cree and I will do a massive straighten up each night after the kids go to bed and we also often fold laundry while we watch a show together. We’ve found that wooden boxes, vintage tins and woven baskets are our best friends lately. Every toy has a place or a box and that’s really helped us stay organized. But honestly since we’re packing right now, my house is a complete mess.
5. How would you describe your design aesthetic and how has that influenced what you spend your money on, from furniture to clothes for the kids? Do you have any general rules or guidelines for what you bring into your home?
I love simplicity and clean lines. We aren’t afraid of colors, but we like to keep the basics pretty neutral. We’re practical buyers and hope to use things for years to come. As for how we pick? We just love really well made and thoughtful products. And we only get things if we really love it. If we don’t love it, we’ll wait until we find just the right one.
6. Despite living in a chilly city, you seem to always be out and about. Do you make it a priority to get some fresh air? How often are you able to get outside and walk with the kids? What are some of your favorite outdoor activities to do together?
Oh my goodness yes. I get bunky very quickly. I’m always slightly peeved when people make comments to me about taking my children out in the cold chicago weather - I truly believe getting fresh air is whether it’s cold or warm is so so SO important. I even open the windows during the winter on occasion to get some fresh air in. As long as they are bundled, they’re fine. We’re lucky to live next to Lake Michigan - it’s an easy walk to make with the kids. We’re out usually once or twice a day. The kids love to go pick up daddy from school and Miles just became big enough for our bike trailer, so we’ve been riding around town in the that this week.
7. Your instagram feed is dreamy and we love seeing snippets of your day on snapchat. Do you have any rules when it comes to social media use? What is your definition of a healthy relationship with social media and how have you been able to strike a balance, or have you?
Thank you! I enjoy instagram a lot. I don’t have any rules per say, except that if there is someone that isn’t being kind on my feed or unkind to another commentor, I block them and I love it that I have that ability (thanks instagram!). I try to be kind and I want to surround myself with kind people. I think thumper says it best - if you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.
I don’t get too personal on instagram and I have many healthy relationships outside of social media with people that don’t even know I have an instagram account and that’s important I think. As for a balance? Instagram and snapchat show about 3% of my day (unless I’m doing a campaign with a brand then it take much more time, but I do those during my work hours). It’s really very minimal. I’m always taking photos - not with the intent to post, but with the intent to document my children’s lives. My mom did a beautiful job of documenting my childhood with photographs and I’m trying to do the same.
Lastly, I think the big thing about social media is that you can’t compare with others. We keep (we’re not as regular as we used to be) a blessing journal and it’s been one of the greatest decisions of my life. We write and talk about what we’re grateful for and it really puts your life in perspective. It makes you so grateful and happy for what you do have and helps you to think less about what you don’t.
8. Your photos of your family are filled with genuine smiles from every person in your family. In our mind, laughter and love are very important for our overall well-being. Do you share this same belief? How have you managed to pass down this genuine zest for life to your kids?
Oh my goodness, my family makes me happier than anything else in the world. We love being together and I’d always choose them over anyone else - hands down. One of my deepest desires is for my home to be a safe and happy place for my children. I want them to always feel cherished and comfortable and peaceful at home. I want our home to be a safe haven for them. Our world is changing so much everyday, I want home and Cree and I to be a constant.
We start every single days with cuddles. Cuddles and kisses and loves. We end each day the same way. I have so many faults as a mother, but as long as they always know that 1) I love them with all my heart and 2) that I’m trying my absolute best to do what’s right, I hope and pray that’s enough in the end.
Jane has a genuine love of life. Since she was born, she wants to be on the move, exploring— the smallest things bring her so much joy and I absolutely love that about her. When she’s really happy, she loves to give hugs and she has absolutely no stranger danger. She thinks everyone is a friend (which is both endearing and terrifying. ;)). As for Miles, he smiles all. The. time. This kid is just a pleasant little guy. Even if he’s sad - he’ll smile through his tears. He’s my cuddler. I think he’s a bit of a mama’s boy and I’m certainly not complaining. They both have me wrapped around their little fingers.
9. You probably have a million hopes and dreams for the world that Jane & Miles grow up in. Do you have one in particular that stands out? Do you have a favorite mantra that you say to yourself or them on a daily basis?
I just want them to be happy. I want to teach them to work hard so they can achieve the things they need to do and want to - whatever those might be. And the only thing I say regularly on a daily basis are the words “I love you.” I say it more times than I can count - just to make sure they know it.
10. You just finished the Whole30. How did it go and why did you decide to give it a try? Did you learn anything from doing it and how has it changed how you shop for food for yourself and your family?
It went great! I lost 12 pounds which felt like a complete miracle because I’m nursing and always so darn hungry. I loved the whole30 because I ate until I was full and ate good food. Breakfast was the best - eggs, potatoes, fruit. I started because when I’m pregnant, I throw just about everything up until I'm 20 weeks and even then, most foods make me nauseous - most of all meat and anything green (spinach especially!). I literally live off of popcorn, bread and almonds for almost 9 months. I felt like I needed a detox and this was the perfect way for me to do it. It has helped me to be more thoughtful about what I eat and to be more thoughtful about planning meals ahead of time.
11. What's your daily uniform? What is Jane & Miles' daily uniform? What are some of your favorite pieces from Noble Carriage right now and why?
My daily uniform usually involves something black, something with buttons or separates for nursing...but always with cute shoes. I love shoes. I get dressed everyday, BUT I very rarely do my hair. I just air dry and scruntch.
Now that it’s warmer, Jane is usually in some sort of dress or romper. Something easy she can take on and off herself (she’s very independent these days). Miles is always in a onesie and something easy to take on and off as well - we’re still in the blow-out phase with him - so easy access is always a plus.
My favorite pieces at Noble Carriage right now are from Gray Label. They are so soft! I love Jane’s gray peter pan collar dress because it’s great for playing in and taking a nap in. It is durable and doesn’t really wrinkle so I don’t have to iron it. For Miles, I love his black sweatpants. So cozy and soft!
12. Anything else? We are envious of how you make motherhood seem effortless. Any additional tips, tricks, or words you want to offer?
Oh goodness - I hope I don’t make it seem too effortless - as I type, I have cheerios spilled across my kitchen floor and a big snot streak across the arm of my sleeve from a two year old that didn’t want to say goodbye to her daddy this morning. I also think I forgot to brush my teeth. ;)
Before Jane was born I remember asking almost everyone I knew for advice on parenting. And the one piece of advice that stood out to me the most, was ironically not to listen to advice. She told me, “You’ll know your children and their needs better than anyone on earth.” I always remind myself of that whenever I’m in doubt.
Beautiful interview, I really enjoyed reading it.
best wishes from Prague.
Martina June 01, 2016