For Mother’s Day we spoke with Dan and Sam Rookwood who live in Portland, Oregon with their three children, twin girls Indigo and Rosie (who are celebrating their fourth birthday on Mother’s Day this year), and baby boy, Alfie (age eight months). Dan is Senior Global Editorial Director for Nike and a member of the MR PORTER Style Council. Both originally from the United Kingdom, Sam and Dan met in 2003. Since then, they’ve lived in London, Sydney and New York before moving to the Pacific Northwest. Read on as the family shares how they plan to celebrate this Mother’s Day while they create new traditions and memories at home.
What are you and your family doing to stay busy during this time aside from work? Have you done anything new and creative?
Sam: We’re lucky to live in Portland which is full of beautiful spots where you can be in the middle of nature and not see anyone else. The girls are learning to ride a bike and it’s nice to have time to do that. We’ve been doing some family work-outs with Joe Wicks to try and stay active and start the day on a positive note.
Dan: Our neighborhood is extremely lush and green and people really look after their gardens so we regularly go on nature walks and collect wild flowers and leaves. We’ve been learning the names of all the spring plants. (We bought a book and have downloaded an app called Picture This to help us identify various plants and trees.)
Sam: We’re also doing a lot of baking at home. Absolute chaos but lots of fun.
How do sound and music play a role in your family or work life? Favorite songs for productivity? Favorite songs to sing with your children?
Dan: I start each day by putting on my headphones and doing 10 mins of Headspace meditation.
I don’t have a home office (yet!) so noise-canceling headphones are essential when working from home in a house full of three kids. I’m a writer and listening to music helps me get in the zone. I tend to choose something fairly ambient like Tame Impala, Khruangbin or Kaytranada.
I wear wireless earbuds when running my daily 5K – I usually listen to the New York Times’ podcast The Daily or maybe an Audible book. I just finished Haruki Murakami’s excellent memoir ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’ which is about the parallels between long distance running and the creative process.
Sam: Music is a big part of our family life. If we sense the mood needs to be lifted or some energy needs to be burned off, we might have a “one-song disco” in the kitchen. And every night before lights out, the girls each get three songs to sing along too.
Dan: This is my favorite part of the day. The girls have pretty good taste in 80s classics. Current favorites are Sade, Prince and David Bowie. Rosie is quite shy so prefers just to listen but Indigo is quite the extrovert. She’ll often sing herself to sleep and I record it at her door. I’ve started putting these recordings on my Instagram Stories in an occasional series called ‘Covert Karaoke’. She’s not the most tuneful singer if we’re honest, but she has a good memory for lyrics.