Having children invites chaos into your life. 

So if your work focuses on minimalism and simplicity, how do you align those themes with the bedlam of being a mom? 

For Erin Boyle, she says she seeks out the simple moments: The time spent reading stories to your kiddos at bedtime. The moments when your child is calmly eating cantaloupe. The five minutes in the morning you spend sitting on the kitchen floor with your three-year-old, drinking a smoothie. The entire day isn’t simple, but parts of it can have calm and peace.

Erin Boyle is the writer of and editor of the lifestyle blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. Based in Brooklyn, Erin spent time living in a 173-square-foot apartment which inspired her path towards a more minimal, and beautiful, lifestyle. She believes that the elements of living simply are beneficial and accessible to us all, no matter the circumstances.

Now that she is the mother of two children under the age of four, with a six-month old in the house, simple moments are even more precious to Erin. Today she shares how her background in history and public humanities led her to explore the idea of ‘living small.’ I ask Erin about her gentle approach to self-improvement and how she defines courage within the context of being a parent. Listen in to learn how getting comfortable with uncertainty a big part of parenting, why she cautions against speaking about pregnancy in universal terms, and how you can embrace the ‘idyllic and beautiful’ moments in your life.

The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #009

Some quotes from the episode:

  • “What I’ve found helps me [in] finding those moments that truly are simple… In our family we read stories before bed, and that is a moment in my day where you just kind of melt into it.”
  • “I want the message to be that we’re able to choose simple moments … and that they’re necessary for our days, without also saying that every moment is simple and tra-la-la, I have no worries.”
  • “We literally sit on the floor, drinking our smoothies—my daughter and I—with straws, just hanging out together. And it’s not long … but it is five minutes that changes the whole tenor of the morning.”
  • “I think sometimes we live in this expectation that it has to be all or nothing: ‘Every single moment in a day must be idyllic and beautiful, or else!’ Just a few moments can be idyllic and beautiful, and that also gets you along.”
  • “There’s that idea that you can set a goal for yourself and chip away at it, just do your best when you can. But having the goal feels good to me.”
  • “One of the hardest things—and also ultimately the best things about parenting—is that, for me, it feels like a moving target.”
  • “I think being comfortable with things being uncertain is so much of what parenting is … and learning to embrace that and not get too worried about it.”
  • “There’s so much rising to the occasion that happens in parenting that’s a little bit miraculous: ‘Huh, I didn’t think I could do that, but I’m doing it.’”
  • “I feel like the only thing I really know [about parenting] is that I don’t quite know.”
  • “Just having a beating heart come out of you, and suddenly you have to let it go? What is more courageous?”
  • “All feelings about [pregnancy] are valid. You can hate it one day and love it the next… It’s your body and you’re allowed to have an opinion about it.”
  • “It’s been astounding to me how much we are still in the relative dark ages in terms of equitable parenting… Advocating for yourself and your family and getting a partner on board is crucial.”

Learn more about Erin Boyle:

Erin Boyle is a minimalist who loves a good story. Her approach to living simply recognizes that life isn’t always simple, ‘but the curtains can be.’ She grew up in a very old house on the Connecticut shoreline and developed an interest in what life looked like in the past. Erin studied history as an undergrad at Sarah Lawrence and went on to earn a master’s in public humanities from Brown. A background in cultural preservation informs her desire to cherish what is ‘beautiful, useful, and meaningful.’ Erin is the writer and photographer behind the well-known blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, and her first book, Simple Matters, hit shelves in January 2016.

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