Inslee Fariss

The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?

I love cooking at the end of the day and find it positively indulgent to cook dinner for myself and my husband, which we then eat silently while watching TV, pretending just for a moment that we're just 20 somethings without kids who eat dinner on the couch at 9 pm. We're in the midst of teaching our three-year-old son Jackson to eat dinner at the dining room table with the family. So this means a lot of "safe" menus and mealtime conversations that involve bribery and counting to three with threats of what will happen if we reach three before he gets back in his chair etc... So the act of waiting to cook an adult meal until after he's asleep is a real "me time" luxury these days.

What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed? 

The Willow Pump! I can't believe how much easier it is to deal with than the one I used with my first breastfeeding experience.

What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother? 

My sense of humor. Mothering is the most humbling, terrifying, empowering, heartbreaking experience... but it is first and foremost hilarious.

What’s the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you? 

Jackson is a total extrovert. I was a much quieter and shyer child and even as an adult I don't think I can match his confidence. Also, he is a spitting image of my husband, not at all me. It makes me feel like I am getting to know what my husband was like as a little boy.

What’s the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?

I think it would be interesting to be a writer. I love story-telling.

Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine? 

This year has taught me to slow down, ask for help, embrace and celebrate the importance of family. I've also finally had to acknowledge that you really, really can actually just go to the grocery store once a week if you put your mind to it.

What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them? 

My husband is a wonderful champion of my work and has on many occasions convinced me to keep going and reminded me why I started. I think I do the same for him in a way. We both have creative jobs. I think we admire one another professionally which has to be one of the healthiest things a couple can share, after the tandem juggling act of parenting of course.

How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct? 

The arrival of our baby daughter Bennett has thrown a lot of our routines (bedtime, storytime, general availableness of mama during the day) into chaos and we're still coming to terms with these changes. One ritual seems to prevail though: The Sacred Ceremony of Weekend Breakfast. With the pressures of the workday (even the work from home day) removed, my husband and I can turn our attention to starting the day intentionally with our kids. There's magic in the planning and sharing of a relaxed, somewhat more decadent than usual meal on Saturday morning at a time of day that is usually rushed and practical during the week. Even through this weird haze of "quarantine" we've protected and celebrated the joy of weekend breakfasts as unique and different from weekday breakfasts - croissants bursting with gruyere, bagels thickly cemented together with way too much scallion cream cheese or the occasional pancake-making explosion that ends with removing all the stovetop grates for deep cleaning.

What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them? 

Thank you for reminding me that I should have professional goals! Mothering while being a creative, self-employed professional has been a huge challenge for me. I often forget entirely to set significant goals and become engrossed in achieving day-to-day tasks instead. This is of course vital to keeping the business chugging forward, but not necessarily the kind of big-picture thinking that sets the course for real career growth. So, after a moment to gather my much neglected big-picture thoughts, I'd say my goal is to create work that brings forth joy, levity, beauty, and to feel fulfilled and inspired while doing so. And to recognize and embrace that what this looks like will change again and again over the course of a well-explored life. 

What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family? 

Our home is a wonderfully finicky place. It seems that our taste is for old homes with many quirks. We gravitate to old buildings even if they are teetering on the edge of disaster, held at bay by constant repairs. The house we're currently living in was built in the 1930s. The radiators (which we built custom covers for) are a happy nod to our days living in pre-war apartments in NYC. The kitchen, still in its original 30's era footprint is pretty small for North Carolina standards so we painted everything a lacquered grey-blue, giving the space intentional cozy energy. I painted the walls of our dining room freehand this past winter (while my husband nervously watched my pregnant self literally climb the china cabinet to reach up and paint scrolling vines and leaves close to the ceiling molding) and am noodling on what to embellish next.

How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family? 

We moved "home" to the south last year from spending our young adulthood in NYC. This move has shown me here in North Carolina the immense value of a place that represents family, oldest friendships, the community engagement that can only come from having little kids. I adored living in New York, I have nothing but happy memories of our time there and often whine about how I miss this restaurant or that coffee shop. But there is something grounding and fortifying about sinking roots into a place where we can begin to settle, surrounded by family.

What maternity style or clothing item could you not find this time around that you most wish FH would create?

I had the hardest time finding a dress to wear to a black-tie wedding that actually felt truly special and like a reflection of my taste and the trends. Lately, I am drawn to bold patterns. "Black Tie" maternity dresses so often are just black or navy blue silk sacks. Just because we're expecting doesn't mean we don't like colors or patterns anymore!

Shop Inslee's Look: Ribbed Knit Sweater, Ribbed Knit Skirt