Say hello to Holly – mother to Honor and Ayla, wife to Emil, nurse, adventure lover, crafter and lover of life
What elements of your home do you think support the ethos of simple living?
I love home. There is nothing like walking through the doors of your own home and feeling that sense of calm and relief because of being in the familiar. In saying that, I believe home is where you make it, and home for me is wherever my family are.
Simple living to me means taking the pressure off. Since having two children, I have always struggled and felt pressure to keep my house consistently clean and tidy. One way I found that helped me in my struggle was to have less to clean and less to tidy! So for a while now, I have been slowly emptying our home of the “excess”. It’s a slow but worthwhile journey. So many examples but one thought that came to me was, “Why do I need 50 mugs? I have never had 50 people in my house drinking coffee!” So things like that have gone (now I have 10 mugs) and I honestly feel the “lightness” and simplicity at home, now there is less.
This also applies to the girls, I have a general rule that all of their belongings must fit in their bedroom, otherwise something has to go (they share a standard size bedroom)! This is easy now at the ages of 3 and 1, where they are mostly happy to oblige, however I’m sure I’ll need other strategies as they grow!
Are there things that you have let go of so that you live a thoughtful and simple lifestyle?
A big one for me personally was letting go of expectations. I think everyone to a degree feels pressure, from a combination of sources including ourselves, others, society, etc., to fulfill certain expectations. And it’s not necessarily that I felt all this pressure and succumbed to it, but more like, I just thought this was the way my life was supposed to be lived, and so I just went with it.
“if I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?”
An amazing book I read at the start of the year talked about “saying no, so you can say YES”. This has totally stuck with me, and as I look at my life and all the “things” that arise and try to take my attention. I always come back to this, and the question of “if I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?” It’s a great question to ask to ensure I am living thoughtfully! In regard to motherhood, I now have a huge freedom when I say no to things! Because ultimately when I’m saying no, I’m saying yes to the things that are the most important. For a people pleaser like me, it’s huge to have that in the back of my mind.
I suppose the most obvious physical “thing” that I have let go of, has been the television (I actually would love to not have one altogether, but my husband would never let me!). I used to use it as my “chill” time, but after our recent holiday where we had no television at all I really made it my mission to continue that trend when I got home! My chill time now is used for reading, or working on my little projects, and I hope to never revert back! I still watch the occasional movie with my husband as we do enjoy that time together, but I spend way less time watching the TV screen these days.
How do you encourage and foster family connections and interactions?
On a usual day at home, my girls spend most of their time playing together (although not always as lovingly I would like!), and they also love being outside with our dogs. We also love to be creative together, we will often do painting or craft together. I love that I get a little more insight into their personalities when they get to be free and creative, it’s a cool way to do something fun and bond at the same time.
I try most days to really engage in a real and deep conversation with Honor, finding out how she is feeling, what she is thinking, what she loved about the day we have had, what she didn’t love. I feel like my children can be a bit of a mystery at times and I would love to feel, and for them to feel that I truly know them.
For the four of us to have uninterrupted quality family time we usually have to leave the house! If we are at home my husband cannot get past the list of jobs to do, and he can do most of his work from home, so to get him away from those distractions we will go out! Our favourite things are the simplest, coffee/babycino family dates, scooter rides along the lake, beach days, and we love going for long drives outside our usual spots and exploring somewhere new outside of our city.
I love to teach my girls, that you can always learn something new.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I do work two days a week and going back to work after having each of our daughters actually helped me to prioritise and make the most of the days we are together. I have the mindset of “I get to be fully with you 5 days out of 7, so let’s make the most of it!”
Something I am still working on is making time for me. Going back to work also made prioritising alone time and husband and wife time a lot harder. Between raising children, work, being a wife, and general life, it doesn’t leave much time for self-care. It is so important though and for me, a little bit of alone time does wonders for my soul. Of course, as a result I’m a happier and better mum, wife and human!
Follow Holly and her family on their adventures The Escaping Kind