Mother of The month
Heidi Hollis -September
1. What’s your name, and your children's ages and names? Where are you based? What kind of making do you do or dream of doing?
Heidi Hollis. I have twin girls aged nearly 7. We live in Yatton outside Bristol. I am a writer and dramatist. I also deliver coaching and training to individuals and groups of all ages.
2. How do you do it?! How do you make it work?
I work at odd times! Like right now on public transport at 6.30am. I juggle meetings around family duties. Some of my most productive work time is late at night after the kids are in bed. I recently took my kids with me to a meeting about a local heritage project. As none of the older generation in the family are local, I call on friends to help (and make sure I help them in return). I have been the primary breadwinner, and my husband has some flexibility in his job. We live simply.
It's not easy! It's unpredictable and every week there are logistics to solve. I'm careful not to promise more than I can deliver, and I can't stress enough the importance of prioritising my own health and regular exercise – this fuels a strong mental space from which to operate.
I also make sure my kids get high quality contact and communication from me as often as possible. Then when I do take them to a meeting, they understand it is not their time and that I have to give my attention to someone else. They also know I'm available if they need something.
3. How has your mothering impacted your making?
Having children ignited my creativity and took me into new directions. I gave up security to pursue more making, but often feel frustrated that I can't do all that I want to do. The kind of creative work I do isn't easy to achieve quickly – it takes long-term, consistent and dedicated attention, just like mothering. I find many parallels between helping a child to grow into themselves and creating an authentic and human storyline, or a project that changes perceptions. It often feels as if these are all the same kind of activity. Being a mother has taught me to find even more flow through all the unexpected things that happen moment to moment.
4. And vice versa?
My making has absolutely made me a better mother. I've learned to really listen to my kids and not prejudge them but instead dig under their responses and deeply understand them as people. Of all my creative activities, creating space for them to express themselves and seeing them thrive is the thing I'm most proud of.
5. The best thing? The hardest?
The best thing about being a mother-maker is there is always an opportunity to be creative – solve a problem, engage in a conversation, try it a new way. Many, many times every day!
The hardest part is the lack of consistency in income. And timescales can get drawn out. Where possible I build in margin for a child to be unwell, or recovery time after a bigger project.
6. Future dreams?
I'm considering getting my kids directly involved in some writing/creating which we do together. I don't know where that will go or if we can produce something as exciting as I dream it could be, but I do have great faith in combining our creative powers. Their instincts are more 'connected,' so remembering their energy and listening to their dreams is all part of the inspiration for my journey.
Heidi runs the Mothers Who Make hub at Bristol Old Vic.
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