The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
I can’t remember the last time I felt like everything was done. The defining factor of my ‘me’ time is proactively carving out and taking ‘me’ moments. Sometimes after back to back to back calls, I’ll take ten minutes, make a cup of tea, and put a pen to my journal. After a long week, a good soak in a hot bath with the lights off, candles on, and music or a meditation playing (I love listening to Tara Brach) is deeply restorative and calming. When I really need to recharge, I need to be alone. It’s hard to step away; it’s hard to practice self care, but I always return feeling so much lighter and excited to play.
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
This one is a tie between a bracelet and a hat. The bracelet is a simple string of aquamarine stones. Named for the sea, aquamarine represents exhilaration as well as relaxing calm. It is thought to protect and purify your energy, helping you become more aware of the world around you and yourself. The hat is less structured than my norm (I love a good, classic hat.) It’s a soft oatmeal felt, a little floppy, and has a cord that gives it western flare. It’s big enough to cover my hair whether or not I’ve combed it. I’ve been living in both.
What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother?
Presence. An ability to be present with him. I’ve been working on this one for years - I am far from perfect at it, but I’m improving. I love that I can be with him on the ebbs and flows of emotion, that I can support him and love him, and that I see and guide the light he is.
What is the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you?
At seventeen months, Ollie is a super inclusive connector. I’m not a huge fan of big groups; I prefer one on one conversations. Ollie shines in social situations and is not happy when someone steps away. He does this thing which we call ‘soft, soft.’ He takes his hand and gently strokes the side of your face. It’s very sweet, his version of a hug or a kiss. If he does it to one person in the room, he has to do it to everyone. No one can be left out. If he gives mommy a piece of pasta, daddy is getting one next, and then grandma, and then grandpa. If he nuzzles one teddy bear, the whole bunch can expect a cuddle. He naturally spreads love and joy without judgement or hesitation. I think this one comes from daddy.
What is the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
I think that’s where I am today. It’s been a long, winding journey. I went from Wellesley to Goldman Sachs, hopped the pond for culinary school, became a pastry chef on both sides of the equator, called off a wedding and returned to the USA for my first love, and found solace on a yoga mat. After teaching for a few years, I stumbled into beauty via a chunk of cocoa butter. It sounds cliché, but every step, every detour and unexpected path, brought me to where I am today. Formulating the Body Stone and starting Kate McLeod is truly the culmination of my non-traditional journey. Our products embody everything I love, everything I have learned, and everything I want to share.
Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine?
Quarantine forced me to develop a routine and stick to it - without it, I would have gone mad. I go to bed early; I wake up early; I get out of bed; I move my body; I step outside and take a deep breath; I greet my little one with a bottle; I make a warm drink; I get dressed; I brush my teeth (definitely forgot this step a few times) and I sit down to work with purpose. At the start of this, there were days when I didn’t take off my pajamas - I still have a few of those here and there - but they are the exception, not the rule. My routine is an essential part of my self care.
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
After years of working at it, we’re both learning to listen to one another without suggestions, criticism, or unsolicited feedback. We’re learning how to hold space and how to create safe space where vulnerability can thrive. He’s my biggest cheerleader, and I’m his.
What are the three beauty products you always have in your rotation? We always love to know someone's go-to lipstick color too...
A Body Stone (Naked or Grounding); Atelier Westman Blush Stick; gold glitter.
Where is the place where you feel like your best self - your happy place?
In the mountains. We were married in Crested Butte - it snowed ten inches the morning of our wedding - I couldn’t think of a more perfect place.
How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct?
As I mentioned earlier, my routine is an essential part of my own self care. Little things like properly washing my face morning and evening and taking just a few moments to massage on a Body Stone are critical. It sounds so silly, but I truly start to fall apart if I skip this. My mood changes, I become reactionary, and sooner or later my lack of self care will come out sideways and ‘bite’ someone around me.
What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them?
In the past, I changed career paths because I hated not loving what I was doing. Not being excited about how you spend your day is terribly deflating. It felt soul-crushing. My professional goal is to do work that is in line with my truth, with my purpose.
What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family?
Home is so much more than a place; it’s an energy. There were so many shifts, unexpected flips, turns, and changes this past year - it’s ungrounding and can easily lead to quarrels and moods. I’ve found that when I have the courage to sit with my emotions, to breathe through things, observe them rather than explode and search for comfort from another, things pass. And the fewer emotional reactions and explosions, the safer the space feels. Kindness and acceptance lead to vulnerability - and that makes anywhere home.
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
Community is essential to our partnership and hence to our family. This truth wasn’t easy for me to learn or accept. I have deep fears of abandonment and for some reason my inner child used to perceive groups, friends, ‘community,’ as a threat to my relationship. As if someone was going to take it away... I know this isn’t rational, but my fear wasn’t rational. But it was real; it was strong; and it was deeply felt. Anyway, what I have found to be true over and over again is that community strengthens our marriage and hence our family. When we have other places to turn to - to vent, to be silly, to work through strong emotions - we come back to one another healthy and happy and ready to deepen our bond.
What maternity style or clothing item could you not find last time around that you most wish FH would create?
I think FH is doing a wonderful job - if I had to add anything I would say more basics without bulk. lighter sweaters, turtlenecks, and a tailored pair of overalls.