One big family
On an early sunday morning we visited the Karstad family in their summer cottage in Asserbo – for breakfast and for a talk about being a family of six. Camilla was only 22 and Mikkel 25 when they had their first child. And today all the children are gathered: Oscar at 23, Alma at 18, Konrad at 16 and Viggo at 11.
The Karstad family: Mikkel Karstad: Chef and cookbook author / Camilla Milsted Karstad: Executive Secretary / Oscar Milsted Karstad / Alma Milsted Karstad / Konrad Milsted Karstad / and Viggo Milsted Karstad.
Mikkel in Penny Family Knit Dark Brown and Oscar in unisex pyjamas.
Guess that many people look with admiration at your family because it looks so harmonious. Why do you think you have succeeded so well as a family? (because it seems like you have).
Konrad: “I think we have some good habits. When I was a child, Oscar took me to school, and now I take Viggo to school. I guess we are good at helping each other.”
Alma: “As siblings we differ much from each other, so I use my siblings for different things.”
Oscar: “We are good at being together, but we can also be together in smaller groups, without anyone being jealous or annoyed.”
Mikkel: “We have always made an effort out of our family community, while also leaving room for the small internal family ties. For instance, Camilla and I have an annual trip with one of our children to pay extra attention. Everyone understands that and know that their time will come as well.”
Camilla and Mikkel, you are quite young parents. How was it to become parents for the first time?
Mikkel: “When we got Oscar, Camilla was 22, and I was 25. It was not common in our social circle – and my friends couldn’t understand it at all. When Camilla and I got together, she said to me after two days that she wanted to have children and I thought well, that is really fast. However, after half a year I thought that we could start as it would probably take some time. And then Camilla got pregnant right away. I think it has been amazing to get children in a young age. To be able to do so much with them and to have so much energy as a parent. I still feel quite young even though we have had four children.”
Camilla in Edgar Shirt Sandshell
“I don't think that everything must be in place before getting children. In a way we have been shaped by our children during the years - and we are still as the role as parents requires that you are always in movement, adjusting to the situation.”
To be young parents may also reflect the family dynamics?
Oscar: “I think it means a lot to have young parents. In fact, I want to be a young parent myself. I like the idea that you can somehow grow up together with your children.”
Camilla: “When Oscar was born, we lived in a two-room apartment with a toilet on the back stairs, and a shower in the basement, and I was still studying. I don´t think that everything must be in place before getting children. In a way we have been shaped by our children during the years - and we are still as the role as parents requires that you are always in movement, adjusting to the situation.”
Mikkel: “It also goes for us as a couple. We can hardly remember how it is to be a couple without children. Getting children has definitely shaped us as a couple.”
Camilla: “We never made a plan. Never. We just took it step by step. We have never talked about how many children or when.”
Mikkel: “But we have always known that we wanted more than one child. I have siblings myself but was raised alone by my mother. I have always thought that having siblings was a tremendous gift. When I look at our little crowd, I think it is funny that they all come with the same background, but have turned out so different. Oscar and Viggo are alike even though Oscar is our oldest and Viggo our youngest. Alma and Konrad have always been close as there is less than two years between them. On the other hand, it can also be complicated between them because they are so close.”
Alma in Ingeborg Cardigan Off White and Claudia Pants Stripe.
Are there any values from your childhood that you have wished to pass on?
Mikkel: “Well, I know that the children think I am quite strict. There are some rules to play by. There were not many rules in my own childhood. So perhaps this is why I feel it is so important. Also, food and nature have always been an important part of my life and something that I have tried to pass on to our children.”
Camilla: “I have learned from my parents to always be inclusive and open towards others. At my mother´s house the door was always open and for Christmas Eve we had people coming over as my mother did not want anyone to be alone on this evening. This concern for others I have tried to pass on.”
Camilla in Edgar Shirt Ruby Red Stripe
The greatest learning as parents?
Mikkel: “That all our children are different, and you need to act with that in mind. Along the way you get wiser and realize that you cannot just do a copy paste.”
Camilla: “I agree. I often have to stop myself before saying well, I remember that Oscar did this or that… The world is constantly changing, and you need to adapt to that, also in relation to raising your children.”
You often work together as a family. Mikkel: Why have you decided to involve your children in your work?
Mikkel: “Yes, my work is part of our family because we sometimes involve our children. Sometimes because I ask them, and sometimes because it is a great way to be together. It is a combination of obligation as well as pleasure. From an early age Oscar helped me so it has been a natural part of our family for many years, and the others help me as well. I see it as part of raising our children but also as a great way to strengthen our family ties.”
Camilla: “You get hired for a job and then you have the responsibility to make it a good experience. To make sure that everyone is having a good time. This approach has always been an important part of raising our children. Also, when we get a job, we work closely to make it work. I think it has strengthened our family ties.”
Oscar: “I think this situation can be translated into other aspects. For example, that you have to make an effort every day.”
Alma: “Well, I don´t see it as a job – rather as an opportunity to have some great time together.
Camilla: “Actually we have a family box that allows us to save up for family trips. We just went to Scotland and will soon go to South Korea. When the children help us, it is also about learning to save up together.”
Alma in Franky Parka and Viggo in Dello Jumper Brown
Mikkel in London Coat
“To make sure that everyone is having a good time. This approach has always been an important part of raising our children. Also, when we get a job, we work closely to make it work. I think it has strengthened our family ties.”
“When we all eat dinner together, I am sometimes almost about to cry. I get so touched – I am so proud of our children.”
Alma in Sophie Knit
Konrad in Skall Robe Optic White and Bath Towel Sand
Camilla in London Coat
When do you succeed the best as a family?
Alma: “We have some small traditions that I think are very important. For example, we all go for a walk and afterwards eat kebab on the 25th of December. And we are very good at supporting each other. I take dance lessons, and when we have our show, the whole family will attend.”
Viggo: “I also like when we are here in the summer cottage or when we are helping dad with his work – then we have a good time.”
Konrad: “Or just by sitting here at the table and talk.”
Photographer Katrine Rohrberg: “Well, can I please move into this family…”
Camilla: “When we all eat dinner together, I am sometimes almost about to cry. I get so touched – I am so proud of our children.”
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