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During our teen years, many of us seek to distance ourselves from our mamas as MUCH as possible. It's only through our post-teenage tantrum eyes that we really start to treasure and appreciate all the beautiful things they passed down. Whether it's a love of the ocean, a wildly creative streak, or a recipe for the world's best lasagne, we've all got something special from our mamas.
In the lead up to Mother's Day, we caught up with the free-spirited Helen Janneson Bense - the ethereal beauty behind Gypsy Lovin Light - to talk all things motherhood.
We often live vicariously through her dreamy sunset shoots and bohemian braids, but here she opens up about seeing the world through her children's eyes, the best kind of gift, and that it's ok (if not enviable) to turn into your mother!
You travel to the most beautiful places. Has being a mother changed the way you see the world?
Absolutely it has. Children see the world from such an honest and joyful place, and remind us how magical life really is. My children are my biggest teachers. They show me daily how to simply exist in each moment through presence and revel in that bubble of joy.
I’ve found that no matter where we travel, my children have taught me that true beauty exists all around us; we simply have to open our eyes and heart to it.
Have you ever had an ‘I’m turning into my mother’ moment?
Oh for sure! There have been many moments like this and most of these happened after I had children. The majority of them are really great, as my mum is pretty much a saint in my eyes.
I’m definitely the same perfectionistic, creative, playful, childlike, hard working woman that my mother is. In Finland they would describe her has having a lot of ‘Sisu.’ This roughly translates to one’s ability to follow the path of their will with resolute determination, even amongst adversity, regardless of the odds. When I think of all that I’ve accomplished in my life I often think of my mum, and the ‘Sisu’ in me.
Name one trait that you hope your children inherit from you.
That would have to be self-sufficiency. I am so grateful to have learnt how to take care of myself, how to entertain myself, and to enjoy my own company. From this place came a lot of confidence and trust in my ability to thrive and create the life I wanted to live. And now I’m living it. I’m happy to say I can already see this in my children and I love how empowered, creative and confident they are.
- What is one thing that you do for yourself everyday (or as often as you can!)?
Count my blessings! I find that focusing on all that I’m grateful for each day has changed my life. It’s a daily ritual that I practice to retrain my brain to focus on all that I have, rather than what I don’t. This shift in focus brings about so much happiness and peace. It’s a little way I show myself some love each day. I use daily mantras and one of them is “Breathe in Love, Breathe out Gratitude.”
Best hand-made gift you’ve ever given/received?
Oh so many to count! My dearest children go to a Waldorf school which encourages handmade everything! I’ve received so many precious gifts throughout the years from both my son Jacob and daughter Jade. They crochet, paint, bead, knit, and create beautiful pictures and cards for me that are the most treasured things I own.
Where else is on your ‘to travel to’ list?
This year it’s Finland. My whole family is from Finland and I haven’t been back since I was 4 years old. The pull to reconnect with my heritage and my family has become so strong this past year, that I can no longer ignore it. I’m really excited to learn more about the culture that has shaped me in such a huge way and explore this unique and beautiful country.
What’s your favourite thing you have from your mama?
I would have to say, her heart. All the beautiful treasures she has passed onto me pale in comparison to this gift. My mum is such a warm, generous, sensitive and compassionate woman. I’m so grateful she is my mum, and that she taught me all of these qualities.
Tell us how your style changed when you became a mama?
I became a little wilder, a little more eccentric, and a whole lot more playful and free with my style. The journey through motherhood has been very empowering for me, awakening in me a deep sense of self-love and acceptance. This has enabled me to truly express myself without worrying about what anything else thinks. I basically wear whatever takes my fancy, regardless of how impractical it might seem to others. If I’m in the mood for a sparkling maxi gown on a Monday morning when it’s time to drop the kids to school, then that’s what I’m wearing haha! It feels amazing to embrace my inner child and reignite the fun I had playing dress ups as a kid.