Over the years I have really come to value simplicity. To a certain extent I was always a little that way - more minimalist in my aesthetic. But it has really become relevant over the past 5 years.
When I work as a designer, stylist and photographer, it always helps to keep things simple. It's when I overcomplicate a project that my vision becomes clouded. Not only that but I love negative space in design. An image with room to breath. I find it uplifting and quite often it leaves me mesmerized.
For practical reasons simplicity really helped when my son arrived and I was still trying to fit in food styling and photography work. A hungry or tired baby waits for no one. So I had a small window of time to get the shot. Not to mention the little guy nearly pulling my tripod over on several occasions. Keeping my style simple in a tight time frame really helped.
Simplicity helps at home too. Life with children can be chaotic so simplifying helps the day flow. Simple meals, being conscious of our social calendar so we're not overloaded with activities, and keeping our gatherings casual so I'm not in the kitchen all day. By simplifying it means we have more time to enjoy each other's company in a relaxed way. And the less stressed my husband and I are, the more calm our children are.
While I have always valued simplicity to a certain extent, life wasn't always so simple.
In my mind I complicated everything. I was, and still am on occasion my worst enemy. I often overthink and overanalyse a situation. Obsessing in my mind whether I've made the best decision. I'm anxious by nature and have been for a long time.
Complicating my thoughts affected my health. I had hypothalamic amenorrhea (loss of period) for about 6 years, I had a lot of trouble conceiving both our children, I developed a rare autoimmune disease through my pregnancy called Pemphigoid Gestationis which lingered for years after my son was born. Google it. Or don't as it's pretty horrid. And in general just felt like my mind was going crazy with anxious thoughts a lot of the time.
It really became a priority for me in this past year to simplify my life. Within a three month period we moved back to Australia, said goodbye to my mother, and had our second child. Perhaps it was how I coped with everything - to simplify in any way that I could to get through what was an incredibly difficult time.
So what did I do?
I reduced. I cut back my wardrobe by 80%. Like many of us I had items hanging in there that I didn't wear for well over a year, but kept 'just in-case'. I donated the lot. And created a capsule wardrobe of sorts focussing on basics that could easily be be mixed and matched.
I went through our apartment with a minimalist eye and got rid of anything that really served no purpose. Those things that didn't reflect our personalities. Or that simply got in the way of creating a flow through our home. Did I feel conflicted and like I was wasting money? Yes. But we barely miss those things, let alone remember what they were. Now whatever we bring into the home we question if it's really needed.
I organised. Everything that remained had space to breath and was kept tidy. Our refrigerator contents are minimal with only those ingredients that we need for the week. Our pantry similar. Our children's toys I reduced and organised in baskets and boxes. Easy for them to access but tidy so they didn't overcrowd their rooms and overstimulate their minds.
I simplified my diet and cooking. I 'try' to ignore the stream of advice by strict diet advocates and keep to what I believe is a heathy diet for our family. Focussing on quality ingredients, prepared simply. With an emphasis of sharing time together around food.
And above all, I began to accept that my role at the moment is simply being a mother to two beautiful children who need me, and a supportive wife to my husband. And doing my best to create a comforting, safe home for us all to enjoy and be happy.
Trying to be superwoman wasn't doing me any favours, and can't be sustained long term. It's still something I struggle with. I'm a doer. I like to be independent and not rely on anyone for help. But I realised I can't be there for anyone, including myself, if I push my body to its limits.
And how do I feel now?
Light a weight is lifting. Like the fog which clouded my mind for many years is reducing and I'm gaining clarity. I feel more present for my family, and content within myself. And like I'm not easily distracted by the noise that quite often surrounds us.
PS. Last month I got my period back. It was a love/hate moment.