If you don't know Kristen Mittler from following her blog "moonschooling eleanor" or her Instagram "@oldjoy", you are in for a treat. The Ohio-based mother of three (daughter Eleanor and sons Wolfgang and Rufus) is a stay-at-home mom who reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously. Sure, raising tiny humans is a BIG responsibility, but it can also be a blast if we choose to make it one.
After following along on Kristen's journey through motherhood, we couldn't help but be curious about how Kristen became the mom she is today– hilarious, down-to-earth, and filled with love to give. So we spent the morning with her and her scrumptious 1-year old son Rufus to learn more. So grab a cup of Jo or a pot of tea and prepare to be inspired by this fun loving mama...
1. What does healthy living mean to you and how does it influence how you raise your kids?
To me, healthy living is as simple as, “are you happy?” … “are you fulfilled?” … “are you flourishing?” I wake up everyday with one main goal. How can I make them smile more and feel loved and to love life.
2. Okay...what does the name “Old Joy” mean to you? Tell us everything about how “Old Joy” came to be?
in my early twenties … when I first met my husband … we both fell madly in love with a musician. his name is will oldham. anyway, he was in this film titled, Old Joy … and in the film, Will says, “sorrow is nothing but worn out joy.” and that always stuck with me, I guess. shortly after, well years after I guess, I opened an IG account and couldn't think of a name and then Oldjoy popped into my head and there ya go. Kind of silly, but that's the story nonetheless.
3. Did you always know that you wanted to be a mom? Tell us more about your journey to motherhood. How has life changed for you since having 3 littles?
Absolutely. Like, I never questioned that, really. I always knew I would be. i had a baby doll until I was in the sixth grade. His name was Blake and I took him everywhere. My mom took me to yard sales so I could get real baby things for him. my room looked exactly like a nursery. sounds kind of weird, really. Ha! anyway, yea I always wanted to be a mom.
4. What we love most about following along on your life journey with your kiddos is that you seem like you are having loads of fun together. A lot of stay-at-home moms talk about how being at home with the kids, while very rewarding, can be lonely at times. Can you tell us what your mentality is on this and some tips on how to make everyday a dance party?
I guess the older I become, I am realizing that we will never ever get back today. I can spend my days drowning in loneliness or I can choose joy. yes, motherhood is lonely as hell sometimes, but I can't dwell on ... So I turn the music up real loud and dance with my kids.
our number one house rule is “always speak plainly and be loving with your words.”
we wake up at 7, get Eleanor off to school by 7:45. I make coffee, have some oatmeal, feed the boys breakfast and begin morning chores … which include laundry, emptying the dishwasher and making beds(sometimes).
7. The changing of seasons has us all reflecting on our goals, especially when it comes living a healthier life. Can you tell us more about some of your healthy living goals for yourself and the fam?
For us right now it is eating at home every night .. this is something we used to do all the time. we hardly ever ate out. Like, I cooked all the time, but for the past two years I haven't been as much and I really wanna get back to it. I mean, I still cook, but sometimes I'm like, just go get chipotle or whatever.
8. You do a really great job of taking the time to find “the pretty” in life. Can you talk to us more about your journey to happiness and any tips you have for picking yourself up and out of the funk that can pop up in life sometimes?
I love how you put that … “Your journey to happiness” … it is a journey, isn't it? for someone who is prone to depression, I find that distraction is key. if I am feeling funky, the first thing I do is go outside. Maybe a walk will do the trick or maybe I need something more like a trip to a greenhouse. and with finding pretty .. I don't know, some days it's like i see beauty all around me, but then other days I have to search for it. Part of being human, I guess.
after dinner and before bedtime … Which is funny because it's also the craziest time of day. We go for a walk or play a board game. I love it because we are all together and just enjoying life.
The misha and puff line. Omg. All the knits. the colors are so autumny and rich and glorious.
11. Anything else? Our readers are envious of how you make motherhood look so simple. Do you have a piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout this journey?
Motherhood is not simple, but love is. whenever your child is getting the best of you … hug first, discipline last. more times than not, the hug was all they needed.
“hug first, discipline last”……words to live by. I needed this today. Thank you!!
She’s awesome and crazy mama. I love following her stories on instagram and Snapchat..
Hope you get a new house Kristen, God bless ur family
Love from Canada,
“Hug first discipline last” lOve! Am a huge lover of kristen, she has made being a new mum easier to figure out and enjoy!
Huge Kristen/@oldJoy fan here – or, as my husband likes to say, “Are you creeping on that Ohio lady, again?” Yes, I am, and I heart her. Thank you, Kristen, for being you. your simple insight and witty humor makes me find joy as a new mom. Rufus and my son, Luke, are very close in age.
Thinking of you and your family as you journey to find a new home.
“Hug first, discipline last” is amazing., Thank you!
I, too, am one of many followers of Kristin’s. I absolutely love her simplicity. I think she’s found one of the secrets to living a joyful life in the idea that less is more and family first. I am a mother of soon to be 10 sweet children and needed this example and reminder to get back to the basics and live more simply. Also, i love the adorable clothes on this site! I’ve had fun looking through them ♡
Damn, that’s a huge baby!
“Hug first”…you’ve got me in tears. (The good ones…)
I follow her on snap chat and i can tell she is an awesome, fun and loving mama.
Her babies are so cute!!!
Thank you for sharing these lovely answers from Kristen, I am one of her thousands followers and I really love her simplicity in life, Thank you Kristen for sharing.
p.s- that glorious smile of rufus sitting on the bed with his chicken, I literary made me laugh out loud a couple of times. way too adorable!!!
-ohio mom of 6 month b/g twins