Maude Arsenault has led a #momlife full of surprises. It started in Paris over 13 years ago when she found out she was pregnant. She eventually decided to come home to Montreal to begin motherhood surrounded by family and friends. Over time, she became a single mom while finding success as a fashion and commercial photographer. (Her CV includes major titles like Flare and Chatelaine and clients such as Lise Watier and Simons).
“I’m a very active person and super energetic, but I still ask myself: Is it possible to do as much as I want, even with three kids?”
Even though she was already juggling the demands of commercial and editorial photography—which includes last minute re-shoots and bookings—with the endless to-do list of motherhood, she also pursued a career in New York, jetting back and forth between Montreal and The Big Apple. She admits, “Things were tough. I was a single mom and I was convinced I didn’t want more children”.
This was before another happy accident happened. She fell in love again and is now married to director Eric Tessier.
Today she’s a mom to three children, Maxe, 13, Billie, 7, and Romain, 3. “I never would’ve imagined that I would have a big family. I’m an only child and I know I can be self-centred and I know I’ve always needed quiet time to be creative. I miss my me-time but I also love my life, I love my kids and I love my family. I’ve never experienced so many people together all the time. It’s completely chaotic yet a beautiful thing.” She trusts her solitude will return one day but until then, she’s tweaked her career so she can be with her children while feeding her creativity.
SNAPSHOTS: MAUDE’S PERSONAL STYLE
Which brings us to the story of her fourth baby The Print Atelier, an online gallery featuring contemporary art photography she personally curates. (Just an FYI: I just bought a print by LM Chabot that’s cheered up my walls). “The gallery launched the same month I gave birth to my youngest. With a newborn, it was easier for me to launch this project than trying to go back to the hectic schedule and travel of shooting.” Opened in 2013, The Print Atelier not only gave her the space to be a mom but it also helped her rediscover her passion for art photography and collecting. “Deep down I was always interested more in art than fashion. I found a whole new community I had never met before. I loved meeting artists, collectors and going to art fairs and travelling for short trips instead of long shoots. I was also learning all about branding and digital marketing. It was really exciting to do something new and see a new way of doing everything.”
Never one to sit still (during her third pregnancy she was ordered by doctors to take it easy which naturally, she translated into staying at home and launching a gallery), she’s currently pursuing a degree in art history and recently debuted her work at Occurrence Espace d’art et d’essai contemporain. “I’m a very active person and super energetic, but I still ask myself: Is it possible to do as much as I want, even with three kids?” By her own example, the answer is evidently yes.
A DAY IN HER LIFE
Let’s just say her children can often start off the morning in high spirits.
“I take a regular morning walk in the park near my house. It’s so calming and inspiring to be by yourself in the middle of a forest in the centre of the city.”
If it’s the weekend, her daughter Maxe will help out and make crepes for the family.
Her son can often be spotted at work. “We are all quite artistic, but Billie is the typical artist. He’s an amazing musician, painter, sketch artist. It comes most naturally to him but of course, he’s seen his parents express themselves since he was born.”
Her treasured work zone. “My office is ‘my space’. It has beautiful light that comes through two big windows that look over the garden. I keep it clean and tidy (which is not always the case for the rest of the house). I find it very calm and peaceful. Having a big couch in this room reminds me to slow down and even take my calls or do some reading lying down.”
She treats herself to her favourite homemade eggs benedict with smoked salmon, once a week. (Because you can only have so many soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch when you work from home).
Part of Maude’s day often includes a stop at her printer’s to ensure her client’s works are made with love and attention.
The kids can be found having a snuggle together. About introducing her daughter to a new and bigger family she says: “My daughter is an old soul. She is such a loving and accepting person, which is something we teach all our children. We send them to an international school where acceptance is part of their learning.”
This mom makes time for homemade goodies (and memories). Romain gets the jars ready for prune jam.