"My husband and I have always wanted to have kids since the day we met," says Gray Malin, the photographer who's turned his colorful prints into a full-fledged lifestyle brand encompassing everything from wallpaper to journals to pajamas. His latest offering, the just-released coffee table book Gray Malin: The Essential Collection, is a retrospective marking the 10th anniversary of Malin's work.
Around his home, it's two, not 10, that's the most significant number. In December 2018, Malin and husband Jeff Richardson welcomed twins, daughter Dove and son Max, via a gestational surrogate. Now 2 years old, the blond tots appear frequently on Malin's personal Instagram feed, often sporting mini fashions featuring playful prints created by "Daddy Gray."
Here, Malin opens up about having twins and how they keep his work young at heart.
Your twins are now toddlers. What’s that like?
It’s wild! Having two kids at the same age is fun, entertaining and some days it is definitely a challenge. I can’t believe how quickly they are growing. It has been incredible watching them develop and hit all of their milestones, from crawling, to walking, to talking and now they have their own unique personalities.
How would you describe your parenting style?
My parenting style is constantly evolving. I really like to assess the situation and see what is best for my kids in the moment and for their growth.
What’s the biggest challenge and greatest reward of having twins?
The biggest challenge is that there are two of them! Especially being a first-time parent, going from zero to two kids is a big adjustment, but I’m so thankful that my husband and I make a great parenting team. It is extremely rewarding to see them absorb everything around them and even teach each other things. They have a special bond that only twins can really understand.
Your work is so joyful. What brings your family joy right now?
Our family loves being outdoors. Our kids love going to the park, swimming in the pool or playing in the sand at the beach.
Has being a parent inspired your work?
Becoming a parent has really affected my business in terms of product offering more than anything. Naturally, being a dad I’ve become more interested in children-focused products than I was before and it’s been fun incorporating these into my business. For example, I’ve launched a baby photo album and prop card set, I did a collaboration with the beloved brand Bugaboo and I’ve now released two kids' books... I would love to release more kids' books. Making Be Our Guest and A World of Opposites was such a joy and they were received so well among parents and kids.
Are there any kids’ books or parenting resources you would recommend for LGBTQ parents?
My best resources were my support system and the community that I belong to. For any parent, regardless of your situation, it is important to set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with people in your life who will be there for you when you need them most.
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