HERE, IT’S serene. The candles are lit, the tea’s steeping, the objects filling the shelves and countertops arranged just so. But when the Fayetteville kitchen of Nicolette Gawthrop—known as Ozark Mama Deer to her 44,000-ish Instagram followers—is at capacity, when her husband, chef/restaurateur Jerrmy Gawthrop, is flipping buckwheat pancakes, or her three kids under the age of 8 are doing homework or running amok, #itsmessy, as she says. That’s part of #momlife.

Other words that pop up in Nicolette’s hashtags? Rooted. Light. Honest. Authentic. Though the photos that populate her feed are beautiful, there’s a realness there, too—a bit of chaos tucked amongst the calm, a bit of real life mixed in with the carefully composed. (“This is a story of a failed nap, a tub as a playpen, a view from where I showered, and about how third babies don’t always get the lunch mess wiped from their cheeks,” she captioned recently.)

And that’s her kitchen, too. It’s light and bright and eminently Instagrammable, a perfect backdrop for the memories captured within it, but also a hard-working, honest-to-goodness reflection of the very real family who lives there.

“I love that the smells from all those times we cook and eat together can be noted upon entering our home, every time,” she says. “I heard somewhere recently when listening to an interview of an actor that all he wanted for his children was a comfortable home with good music and food smells, and I feel like that’s what we do. And it feels good.” 


Follow Nicolette on Instagram at @OzarkMamaDeer for more peeks inside her space.