#WĀHINEWEDNESDAY: Emily Holdaway
Balancing motherhood, blogging and making a difference
Emily Holdaway is a multi-talented woman born and raised in a sparsely populated part of the Far North. Her latter teen years saw her transition from Northland to ‘The Big Smoke’, where she attended Auckland Girls’ Grammar. The juxtaposition of a school on ‘K-Road’ with her small town high school was something of a culture shock, and it was at this stage in her life that the Straight A’s made way for ‘fails’ and ‘non attendance’. Her life started down a path that could have seen things end with a very different story.
Post-high school years saw Emily bouncing around various homes and cities and then, at 21, she made the call that ‘something’ needed to change. So, she and her partner at the time bought one-way tickets to Perth - which saw her relationship dissolve but was also the beginning of a decade-long career in the travel industry.
Fast forward 15 years and Emily lives in Hamilton with her two young children and ‘found on Bebo’ partner of the past 13 years. The travel days are behind her, instead she balances motherhood with running and creating content for her various online platforms. These platforms have a range of material from raw and real parenting experiences to information on her non-for-profit organisation, The Good Fund, which seeks to eliminate period poverty through sustainable period products. Emily has a busy and varied day-to-day schedule, which she squeezed us into to share more about herself and causes close to her heart.
I see you run a number of different and very popular online platforms, what do these range of platforms cover and what is their purpose?
After being asked many times by friends and family to ‘start a blog, start a blog’, I started ‘Raising Ziggy’ which shared my experiences raising my firstborn, Ziggy. At the time, there didn’t seem to be many other New Zealand based bloggers talking about the things I was talking about (mastitic, hemorrhoids, babywearing, bedsharing) and the page started to grow. Ziggy was a real learning curve for AJ and I, the ‘mainstream’ parenting hacks didn’t seem to work for him, but fortunately, I stumbled upon the world of babywearing and ‘attachment parenting’ and everything changed. I decided to share my experiences, using this model of parenting, in the hopes of other mothers finding help and content that resonates with them and their child. I also am co-founder of a not-for-profit-organisation which I will elaborate on in more detail later.
Through your use of social media, what’s been the most rewarding or memorable positive outcome to-date?
It’s incredibly rewarding to receive encouraging messages from mums who have found my blog both reassuring and helpful. I also get a lot of feedback and questions about my non-for-profit organisation - which has positively influenced a lot of people to try to use reusable period products, as well as providing a space for women to talk more openly about their periods and the effects of birth, lack of adequate postpartum care and information on their bodies.
You’re a busy mother of two, with an online business and many other projects and commitments in your life. Is it possible to achieve balance with your many varied interests and commitments?
It has taken almost 4 years to find a measure of balance! (laughs). At the beginning, when it was just a simple Facebook blog and one baby, it was easy. But as the platform grew, and I added the garden blog, instagram, a second baby, a not-for-profit, Patreon etc - the juggle became a lot harder! Last year was a big fat mess, however, this year we have worked very hard to find structure. I have two days a week where the kids are in daycare. I base and use those days to write content for my online platforms. I also have chosen to have a day with each child on their own, a day with both children and weekends are family time. So, it’s taken a long time to get there and achieve balance, but it’s possible with support and time.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues that women are facing today?
My opinion comes from a mother’s perspective.
I think one pressing issue faced by women is the isolation that can occur during motherhood.
I also think an issue is the lack of postpartum physical and mental health focus, education and funding. For example, women need funded education around pelvic pre and post-birth exercises, as well as physio appointments for recovery. We need to place more value on women’s bodies. Lastly, period poverty is an obvious issue which my not-for-profit organisation is seeking to address and hopefully eradicate.
Life contains many twists and turns, highs and lows, good days and bad days. What practical tips and advice would you share with someone that is in a season that is testing or challenging?
In challenging moments, I think it’s important to acknowledge and say “life is hard right now.” It’s important to let yourself feel what you're feeling, have that big cry, write something down but don’t pretend everything is okay. Admit something is going on. Letting the people in your life know that something is up but communicating that you want them to know, but that they don’t have to “fix it” can bring a measure of reassurance. And then, once you’ve identified those emotions, and where you need help - take that first step towards it.
Below are some of Emily’s various online platforms, where you can follow her journey and be a part of the conversation:
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