Take Root, the theme for our new AW21 collection designed in collaboration with Clare Therese, honors this season of nurturing and the sacred responsibility of a caregiver to establish roots for their little one. Let’s dig a little deeper into what that means to Solly Baby Founder Elle Rowley (and find out her favorite colorway from the collection.
What does “taking root” mean to you in relation to motherhood/parenthood?
Love. Predictable, I know, but no less true. Love is at the root, or at the foundation, of all things meaningful and it is definitely what makes mothering and parenting verbs. Otherwise we’d just get their little bodies out of our bodies, take a shower, and move on. It’s the love that creates the connectedness. It’s why I love babywearing so much. They are a part of us for this little sliver of time, right on our chests as our feet are rooted in the ground until they can walk on their own, feeling our love that gives them the confidence to one day root themselves.
But I also believe stories matter.
Years ago I read a NYT article about a study that had been conducted, showing how connected the stories that we tell our children from our past and our ancestral past are to their own sense of resiliency, confidence, and belonging. What struck me was how it was important that we tell them stories of trials that ended in triumph (“this was hard but we overcame it by…”) rather than just positive stories (“we did it all right and we lived happily ever after…”). The study found that purely positive stories were harmful and, as you might guess, negative ones led to unhappiness as well.
I thought it was fascinating that the positive stories functioned only slightly better than the negative ones. I love it because it validates, just a little bit more, the uselessness of perfectionism. We think we’re helping the world and ourselves by doing it all just right, but it’s actually destructive. Our little ones seeing our flaws and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable enough to own those flaws and work through them, out in the open, is actually helping them gain confidence and skills to overcome the difficult tests that they will most certainly face in their own lives.
What type of “roots” do you hope to give your baby/children?
Stories rooted in love that tell of courage tested and challenges overcome. I want those stories to act as roots stretching deep in the earth and shooting right out of the ground for them to grab hold of, giving them the confidence to climb to higher and higher branches and to grow their own, knowing that those stories from the people who have come before them will be supporting them.
If you’re up for sharing, what’s something you’re working on beneath the surface?
Oh man, so many things! Validating my own feelings has been something I’ve been working on. It’s easy to judge myself when I feel negative emotion so I gloss over my own feelings often to get to the more “favorable” or “acceptable” ones. The other day I was upset about something, but all day I tried to be positive about it, without even realizing it. Finally that evening while talking to my husband it hit me and I said, “I’m really mad at this person.” And then I just sat there. Not stewing over the anger, but just letting myself feel it without judgment. Then, within about 20 minutes, it was totally gone and I could handle it from a much more peaceful place. But I had to have that moment of total presence with how I felt before I could get there.
Share an example of how you’ve grown stronger through motherhood.
There was a piece on NPR comparing early motherhood to torture tactics used in the military and it was the most validating thing I’d EVER heard as a mom. I mean, we should all be taking notes on our daily lives and submitting them to the military for ideas, right?? Stuff like, “Keep them up for three days straight with a crying baby who they feed every 2-3 hours from their bodies, then have them bake and decorate 24 butterfly sugar cookies for a kindergarten class party, come up with and present five new campaign ideas to their boss, and then, right as they’re finally falling asleep, poop all over them.” I guess what I’m trying to say is: strength is motherhood. We can’t do it without it.
What’s something you do to nourish yourself?
I’m already boring myself with my answer but it really is my daily routine. It seems like it’s an above-the-surface thing (and I get real bored by details and logistics), but I can’t deny how much the rest of my life falls apart when I’m not doing the little things. So I guess that means they’re beneath the surface, right? For me the little things are: sleep, drinking lots of water, prayer/meditation and really moving my body every day (code word for exercising). When I’m doing those four things then my emotional and physical bandwidth is expanded exponentially and I can pretty much handle most things that come my way. But when I drop them it’s an uphill battle all day.
What color or print from our AW21 spoke to you most and why?
Without a doubt it’s Harvest. I’m endlessly obsessed with florals and foliage in nature and in art and my wardrobe is really simple so I love a wrap that pops. But there’s also something deeply beautiful to me about wearing a mother’s art on a wrap created by another mother that is then worn by a mother to hold their baby. Lots of good vibes there.