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We stepped into conversation with ave.nue101 co-founder and fashion photographer Tess Leopold, to seek her wisdom on motherhood, life balance strategies, navigating the challenges of modern day mothering whilst celebrating the joys that make it all worth it. Plus we got her top picks on gifts from ave.nue101

Here's what she said:

What do you feel your most important needs are as a mother? 

"A morning coffee! But mostly, to remember the things you love and not lose sight of valuing yourself. To know that nothing is too serious... but this is soooooo much easier said than done."

Any tips or strategies on balancing mum life and work life?

"Gosh, a big one! I try to designate days so that when I'm working, I'm working and when I'm with the kids I'm purely with them and remain present in what we are doing that day. Sometimes this is super hard because there's so little time balancing things so at times they do intersect. So being kind to yourself is super important and trusting that it will get done one way or another is a must."

What did your work life look like before motherhood, and how has that changed?

"Work life for me before my kiddies was pretty fast, I felt like I was really hungry for growth in my photography business and to keep pushing to new levels for myself and the jobs I was taking. I was super motivated to refine my identity and aesthetic within the photography world. How that has changed now is more or less the way in which I work.. I try to work smarter and employ more help on site when shooting so my take home work isn't as great. I'm still motivated to grow and challenge myself in my field although I would say I'm more content now as I'm equally as happy standing still with my little ones and watching them grow while I remind myself that they won't be with me forever." 

The biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a mum? 

"The challenge has been in redefining who I am and how my identities of being a mum and my former self collide. For me it's been hard finding a happy medium in doing all the things I wish to achieve professionally and personally yet understanding I'm not that person anymore because my whole makeup and way of thinking has changed. I don't want to be my former self by any means because being a mother to my girls fulfils me like nothing else."

If you were to gift yourself or another mumma anything from ave.nue101 what would be your picks and why?

"Oww this is a hard one! I think I would have to go for the candle sticks or vases. Purely because fresh flowers are simply one of the greatest pleasures of life. Or the candlesticks because having a bath at night time and lighting a candle is just such a wholesome lift to yourself, especially as a mother." 

What are your plans for mothers day and what does it mean to you? 

"Plans are a slow morning walk on the beach, and then off to frozen with our eldest daughter and nana! So we're in for a fun day! Mother's Day to us means getting together with all the generations and having many cuddles throughout the day to remind ourselves just how lucky we are to be called a mum and to have our own mum's teach us how to be a good one at that! "

Who is the most inspirational mother you know and why? 

"Gosh, I would have to say my own! She's taught me so many things, things that I have adapted into my life. Day to day I think, shit.. what would mum do? or "Oh gosh.. I sounded just like my mum". But one of my favourite things about my mum is her willingness to give things a go. Her courage to say what she believes and to try new things. Her strength to get back up even if things didn't quite work out just as she had hoped. And her joy - she finds so much happiness in her days. She's pretty bloody great."

What’s something you want to take up or explore this year outside of work and motherhood?
Any adventures or hobbies you’ve been longing for?

 "I would really LOVE to get back into my art more.. Just that free expression to create without a destination or purpose. And I would really love to get back in the water and start surfing again.. It's been years and I would truly love that!"

Best mum advice or guidance?
"Don't be too hard on yourself. You are perfect in every moment in all of your forms and you're just doing your best! Try to laugh.. try to keep it light and smile through the chaos."

Favourite thing to do when you have time off work and time off mumming?

"Wine and dine baby!!! Some people say that might not be good.. But I looove it! "


You can find Tess' top mothers day picks here. Candlesticks, vases.