Motherhood : A Candid Talk With Hannah Carpenter
All clothing: Velveteen and Laura.Egloff by Velveteen. Photography: Angelina Lopez.
Your husband Heath is a writer and a college English professor. How has this enriched your life and the life of your kids?
I'm so glad to get to talk about Heath. He doesn't get enough mention in my online existence, and you know, it's really a shame, because he's quite a cool individual. Heath is smart and I honestly didn't know that when I married him. I mean I knew he was smart, but he's like, really smart! And well-rounded. He can discuss critical theory and fluidly rap along with Q-Tip with the same tongue.
We work well at inspiring one another I think. For me, that's an essential component for a lasting relationship. And the fact that I have no doubt our relationship will stand the test of time, THAT enriches the lives of our children. They are secure and confident in our relationship, even though they know Heath and I can't stand each other 10% of the time (because, duh). And you know, while we are in no way intellectually superior or anything like that, we do have lots and lots of political and theological, and just life conversations in our house, around and with our kids. Heath always says that his girls are probably going to rebel against his academic influence by marrying some guy who just wants to watch and talk about Nascar. (No offense to the Nascar lovers.)
You are a mom, blogger, illustrator and somehow have time to still homeschool your kiddos. Why did you choose to homeschool and how do you balance it all? Do you have any tips?
It's so difficult to answer this question because the answer is not simple. First and foremost, I do not balance it all. I desperately don't want to give the illusion that I do all of these things with ease, and that I have some super-human ability to accomplish all the things and still raise brilliant children. It's flipping HARD! And I feel like I might be losing my mind and failing at everything a lot of the time. I'm human, not super-human; there's only so much I can do and still maintain a happy, healthy life. I'm always searching for the balance. Aren't we all!
As for why I have chosen to homeschool, my oldest asked to be homeschooled when she was going into 4th grade, 4 years ago. As an aside, but an essential aside, Heath and I each came to our marriage with a child, he with Tristin and I with Silas. So when Tristin asked to be homeschooled, I saw it as a potential opportunity for us as a family to work toward creating even stronger connections with one another. More than anything, I wanted my kids to feel secure in our family, and I saw homeschooling as an avenue for establishing that security.
No matter which schooling route you or I choose as a parent, there will be pros and cons to each. We remain open to other options. In fact, I recently told my kids that I will only continue homeschooling them if they form a family band over the summer! Ha! I feel like it's a win/win. Either they form a family band, and, well, AWESOME, or they don't and go to school, and, well, that might be awesome too ;)
You are the mastermind behind Little Biscuits. How did you come up with the idea of drawing other peoples kiddos to make personalized stationary? When you have free time and doodle what do you like to draw?
Actually, I am only half of the mastermind behind Little Biscuits. My friend and business partner, Heather Thrash, actually approached me with the concept of creating portraits of kids. Truthfully, I never enjoyed portraiture. I found it somewhat stressful, the pressure of capturing a likeness, but I thought it was a cool idea, and because I respect Heather's creative instincts so much, I knew we could create something special. Together, Heather and I further developed the Little-Biscuits concept into what it is now. It was quite a process or trial and error, but it's been super fulfilling. It's interesting how much people love seeing themselves or their children or pets in illustrated form, especially if their true essence is captured.
With four kids in the house that means a lot of different personalities (fun)! How do you keep the peace in your home especially after a long homeschool day? Any tricks or tips to share?
HA!!! I just have to laugh. I mean, we're a normal family. I lose my cool on the regular. We all do. And with four kids, I keep the peace by threatening their lives ;) And my friend Nicolette once told me she sings her frustrations to her kids. I loved that so much. So sometimes when I want to freak out on my kids and yell at the top of my lungs, I sing it to them instead, and it's pretty hilarious.
You live in Arkansas. A lot of people don't know anything about this state. What is something you would say you most love about it and what do you want others to know about it?
There's great food and music and art in Arkansas. It will surprise you. We aren't all red-neck, Donald Trump supporting yokels. But probably my favorite thing about Arkansas is its family-oriented, small-townish essence. Even in the larger cities like Little Rock, where you see a lot of diversity and progressive-leaning social and economical opinion, you still get that small town, family, community feel.
If someone from out of state came to visit where are the top 3 places you think they should consider seeing?
1. Eureka Springs for the eclectic, diverse, creativity.
2. Bentonville for a world class museum, creative food scene, and all the Ozark Mountains have to offer. If your outdoorsish (which I am not) there's a lot to enjoy in Arkansas; hiking, fishing, biking, camping. And there are some beautiful landscapes in these parts. But I'm not into bugs and lots of sweat, so I choose not to take advantage of all of that very much. But it's here!
Maybe Mountain View for a taste of folk music.
Motherhood is HARD but you just seem to portray it so well. Your life through your instagram feed seems so fun and real. Why has it been so important to keep your life through pictures 'real', fun and humorous?
You know, I want to be inspiring yet relatable. I used to feel bad about wearing a padded bra because it seemed like I was portraying something other than the truth. I know, ridiculous. But in some weird way, Instagram can be like a padded bra. And while I "pad" reality some in my Instagram posts, crop out some of the mess, dress my kids in clothes I couldn't afford if it weren't for Instagram collaborations, I still want others to know they aren't the only ones flat chested underneath the padding. We're all just doing the best we can, no boobs, saggy boobs and all in between.
Enid is your little singer in your family. What are the top 5 jams you tend to keep on repeat at your house?
1. We've been crushing pretty hard on Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats lately. His song I Need Never Get Old can turn my mood around immediately.
2. Trick or Treat by Otis Redding.
3. Enid is a Top 40 fan. That stuff gets her up and moving, especially Megan Trainor.
4. Another of Enid's favorites is the 60's song Surf City by Jan & Dean. I don't understand it, but it just speaks to her.
5. We're All Young Together by Walter Martin.
What is one thing you hope your children learn from you?
We don't know it all, and that's okay.