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Creative Director Miyako Nakamura on Motherhood, Her Work, and How the Two Influence Each Other

May 10, 2018 | Filed in: miyako's mood board

Here at MM, we’ve loved watching our co-workers become mothers over the years. In honor of Mother’s Day, we chatted with our brilliant creative director Miyako about how having her daughter Koh (who is now two!) changed her perspective on work, her childhood, and her relationship with her own mother—who happens to be the namesake for our beloved Etsuko dress

How did you feel about Mother’s Day before you had your daughter?

I joke sometimes that I was a bad daughter—I wasn’t always very enthusiastic about celebrating anniversaries or holidays like Mother’s Day. I wanted to be able to get a gift for my mother whenever I wanted to get a gift for her, not because it was a specific day to celebrate her that someone else decided on. But motherhood has changed my perspective.

I grew up feeling very well-loved, to the point where I almost took it for granted—of course mothers love their children, right? I never thought deeply about what that means or what it feels like from the other side. Now, after having my daughter, I know how powerful that love is for your child. I know what kind of anxiety that brings to you, and what kind of happiness that gives you. Through motherhood, I feel like I finally understand what it’s like to love another person so deeply, and that gave me a whole new perspective on the love and care that my mother gave me my entire life. Having my daughter has also brought me and my mother much closer in our communication. It has definitely made me much more considerate of my mother’s feelings! Now, I make a much more conscious effort to keep in close touch, and we communicate a lot more.

miyako nakamura on motherhood

Miyako and Koh hard at work—on a new collection, perhaps?

Your daughter will be two years old this year. How has her second year been different from her first?

I’m sure every parent says this, but I think she’s very, very unique. From the time she was very little she was a really difficult baby. I still think she is a little crazy! She can be very temperamental, but she’s definitely interesting in the way she interacts with the world. It’s an incredible experience to see your child develop their own personality.

When I was growing up, I was told that I cried a lot as a baby, but I never thought that I was all that temperamental. So when I had my daughter, I would think to myself, “Where does she get this from?” But then my mom would be watching and she’d say, “Wow, this brings back a lot of memories. You two are exactly the same.”

Tell us about how your mother inspired you in your career. 

My relationship with my mother is a big part of what brought me to MM. I grew up in a part of Japan where none of my friends left home, and she always encouraged me to think a bit bigger. In her generation, a lot of women weren’t financially independent, and I think she didn’t feel liberated because of that. So she would tell me, “Being independent is your freedom. You get to choose how you spend your life.” I have always held on to that lesson, and I felt a sense of responsibility to make my life into something meaningful, because she always gave me that support.

miyako nakamura on motherhood

Miyako and Koh at the beach–one of the sources of inspiration for our summer collection, A Certain Ease.

How do you think motherhood has impacted your work?

Before I had Koh, I would stay very late at work because I felt like I needed everything to be done a certain way—and I needed to do it myself. Now, I’ve learned to focus on what matters most and to delegate the rest. It’s interesting—at the same time I had my daughter, our design team was growing. I was able to hand off a lot of work that I had previously been very hands-on about. So it was kind of a beautiful progression from me—moving from doing everything by myself, into actual teamwork. Having my daughter helped me to make that transition more easily. Now, I still feel connected to the work. I just get it done differently, and with more help from my team.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?

I will be spending Mother’s Day just hanging out with my daughter!

Photographs by Takahiro Ogawa.

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Sarah Devlin is the former Director of Content for MM.LaFleur. She's worn many different hats over the course of her career — from writer and web editor, to social media editor and marketing strategist — but her hardest-won title is Kardashian Historian. Read more of Sarah's posts.

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