Super happy to interview Hana from A Happy Adventure. Please enjoy meeting her and please visit her site. She’s truly an Awake Mama!
How do you seek out meaningful moments in your everyday family life?
Sometimes it’s really hard, and I get stuck in the hectic chaos of running here and there and ‘Getting Things Done’… but I find that the more I grow as a Mama, I am really conscious of making sure my internal dialogue is positive, and that I am making my family a priority. If I keep it in the front of my mind that my priority is to be intentional and make meaningful moments – then it’s easier to make sure it happens. It’s funny too, because often the most meaningful moments aren’t the ones that have required a lot of thought or preparation, but simple moments of connection because I’ve been able to be present. I love that we can be doing something relatively tedious – cooking, doing the laundry, grocery shopping… but if I make sure I’m really present with the girls then it can still be a highlight of our day. I guess in the end, it’s all about how you frame a situation.
Can you give us an example of when you’ve had to parent from your heart rather than being an authoritative parent?
When Ava was a baby, Barry (my husband) and I were completely lost. We had never been around young children and had no clue what we were in for. So as I have done throughout my life, I sought the answer in books. I remember quite clearly reading books that told me that Ava should be sleeping for X number of hours, that I should never feed her to sleep, that she should self-settle, and being so anxious because none of it seemed to be working. I read about how we needed to teach our babies independence because that’s what society expects from them. During those first few months, I’m not sure who cried more – Ava or me! It took me a long time to believe in my abilities as a parent enough to be able to trust my heart, rather than what some ‘expert’ recommended. I’m happy to say, those books (which were well dog-eared during those first few months) haven’t been touched for years – and you know what? I don’t think there is a ‘right’ way to parent anymore, I think most parents are just trying to do the best they can for their families – and I think as long as you follow your heart, you can’t go too wrong really.
What’s your most magical family moment?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. I think Christmas will always be my favourite time of year. I love the excuse that Christmas gives me to make real magical moments for my little ones – watching their excited anticipation is awesome… and I just love the spirit of the season. With that being said, I love the rituals that we have built that are meaningful to our family. I love that as our family grows, we are writing a story all of our own, that involves our own terminology and in-jokes – things like ‘Pancake Sunday’, bedtime rituals and secret handshakes – you know?
How do you take care of yourself so you can take great care of your family?
I’m a real introvert. I need time to myself to re-energise. Once the girls go to bed, I really treasure that quiet time to read and create uninterrupted. That is my refuelling.
What does living fully in this world mean to you?
Oh man, sometimes I have one of those moments when I am just blown away that I am alive – that I am here and the world is at my feet (OTT right?! – but true!). This is my life. My chance. We talk a lot about living fully in this world. We want to make sure that every day we are making decisions that are intentional. We know what our goals are, and we can work towards them, but also we know that we can’t just live for those big dreams – we have to try to make every day as amazing and memorable as we can – because it’s all those ordinary days that make up our lives.
What do you love to create and how in the world do you find the time to do it?
Creatively speaking, I’m all over the place. I think of almost everything as a creative enterprise. My three big creative loves at the moment are sewing, cooking, and blogging (which is a huge catch-all, really). As I mentioned earlier, once the girls go to sleep, that’s when I really get to spend time pursuing my creative passions, and I’m often up to the wee hours re-energising in this way. As they grow, we are also able to spend time on creative family projects. We recently finished making cushions inspired by their artwork … and it’s really lovely to be able to help them take a creative idea and make it a reality. So I guess, in many ways I fit my creative pursuits into my day in many different ways – that’s how I get my fix! We believe that being proud of EFFORT is the key to success.
Give us an example of a time when you praised effort over achievement.
I really like to see the girls try new things. Even if it isn’t their cup of tea, it’s so cool for them to give it a go – and there’s always the chance they will discover something really amazing. They’re so little, they don’t always get things done the ‘right way’ – but it’s wonderful for them to have the opportunity to have a go. They often help me around the house, in the kitchen or folding the laundry – and it might not get done the way I would do it, but they always feel so proud, like they are a real contributor to the family unit. I feel as though it’s really important to praise their efforts and not undermine them by re-doing something that they have worked hard on. I think that if I was to do this, it would discourage them from making an effort in the future. Something that you are so happy you said YES to in your life. Hmmmm… I’m terrible at narrowing down my answers to something specific like this. What can I say? Life is pretty hectic but I’m so happy to have said yes to this chaos! Some people look at me like I’m crazy – three girls under five – and sometimes I feel like I am a few sandwiches short of a picnic… but really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter what sort of day we’ve had, when we get to the end of the day and we’re reading a story in bed, I feel extraordinarily grateful for all that I have.
How is your family living authentically?
It’s hard, but we are trying to live our own adventure. We are trying to make decisions that are right for us – to be intentional and not just follow the footsteps of others because that is easier or ‘normal’ or expected. We don’t always get it right, but we are trying to be present every day, and be true to our beliefs and dreams. I guess that’s all we can do.
Hana is a stay-at-home Mama to three sweet gals – Ava, Lola and Belle. Her family lives in a house on a hill on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand. She’s on a mission to raise curious, imaginative, confident, happy and wonder-filled children. She blogs all about her quest to make magic every day at A Happy Adventure. You can also find her (quietly obsessed!) on Pinterest!