Benjamin, Mathis, Théo, Audrey, Catherine pour émoi émoi (12)Audrey describes herself in the following terms: “always very organised, energetic, and a little messy!” And she has a motto in life: “When you want, you can.” Her favourite dish will always be her grandmother’s chocolate mousse, and as for drink, it’s “fizzy water, but I also can’t resist a good white wine!”

Audrey is mum to Mathis and Théo. “Mathis is sociable. A little impatient, he’s really smiley and full of joie de vivre. Théo, after 16 months, is a real live wire. He’s curious and a bit of a clown! He’s an adorable little boy.” I ask Audrey to tell me about their names. “We wanted to give them short names. One has Hebrew origins and the other is Greek.”

Is it difficult to bring up boys? “Being a mum to boys means you have to adapt their education. It’s going to be different to the one you’d give a girl. You must be firm but never stray into authoritarianism. You have to have an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Audrey grew up in a strict family. “Academic success was very important. My parents taught me rigour and self-improvement. I would like to give my children a grounded education with limits. I want to teach them an openness of spirit and values like kindness, love, sharing, and joy. And I want them to be confident.” Mathis and Théo get on well. “They collude just as much as they conflict. Even with the difference in age, they still manage to find activities to do together.”

We talk about maternal instinct and the feeling of sacrifice which women can get when they become mothers. I ask her what she thinks of all this. “Maternal instinct is a feeling which develops over the course of the pregnancy, and when the child is born it grows and intensifies with time. I don’t get that feeling of sacrificing something because the desire to be a mother was always so present. For me, it’s more a kind of frustration in some situations, but that fades quickly.”

Benjamin, Mathis, Théo, Audrey, Catherine pour émoi émoi (5) - portrait

Audrey has been in a relationship since she was 11 years old. The secret of a lasting couple, in her opinion? “A bedrock of love, communication, common interests, respect for your partner and their freedom. It’s this handful of boundaries which allows you to face life’s difficulties hand in hand.”

Our mother hen is a nurse. This fascinating profession, linked to her role as a mother, requires outstanding daily organisation. Audrey, what are the three essentials that every mother should have in her medicine cupboard or handbag? “Unquestionably, it’s paracetamol, arnica gel and plasters for your little daredevils!”

When she has a spare moment, Audrey relaxes. “The nights are short and interrupted, so siestas have become part of my routine when I find myself alone with my youngest.” But she also goes sale shopping. “My style is pretty casual. I go for a classic and modern look. The dream item that I’d love to have is a pair of Louboutins, the Pigalle design in nude!”

When she feels the need to recharge her batteries, Audrey goes to Montceau-les-Mines, “the town where my partner grew up. It’s just south of Bourgogne, where they love good food and conviviality. For 11 years now, I’ve been really attached to this place and we like to go there regularly, in summer and the coming winter. My husband’s grandparents also enjoy seeing their great-grandchildren grow up.”

Audrey genuinely loves her in-laws, especially her mother-in-law. “Despite the stereotypes, the exceptional woman who I admire most in the world is none other than my mother-in-law. I respect her for her determination, her ambition, and her perseverance. Her life has been dotted with pitfalls, and despite these difficulties, she’s always come back stronger and with a fighting spirit. Two years ago, she took up studying again in order to realise her childhood dream of working in medicine. Today, my mother-in-law is qualified and excels in her job as an assistant nurse. I am so proud and moved by this mum who warmly welcomed and adopted me 11 years ago. That’s why I wanted to share this beautiful family shoot with her today!”

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