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Erin Boyle is the founder of Reading My Tea Leaves, a blog where Erin writes about slow, simple living in a big city. She is also mom to Faye, who just turned five, and Silas, who’s two and a half.
If you live for carefully chosen things and thoughtfully considered words… and if clutter hurts your soul, then you’re going to love Erin Boyle. Side benefit: This episode is probably going to inspire you to finish your most recent Konmari-ing attempt.
- 2:05 – The story of how the birth of Erin's first child inspired her to do her own thing and start blogging full time.
- 4:38 – For those of you who wonder like I do, this is what it actually means to blog on a full time basis.
- 11:40 – Why Erin's reticent to be too prescriptive about how to do anything.
- 17:00 – Why parenting forums aren't Erin's speed.
- 19:24 – On listening to one's gut and why Erin doesn't consider herself an anxious parent.
- 26:22 – How becoming an aunt before becoming a mother prepared her for her first.
- 28:10 – How minimalism came into Erin's world. (“Oh there are words to describe what I was already doing?”)
- 34:10 – Why Erin loves having little kids in a small space. For real.
- 36:55 – How Erin curates what makes it into her home and what doesn't.
- 44:07 – Erin's number one piece of advice: JUST START WITH LESS.
- 50:20 – Despite living a life of less… these are thing things Erin loved during the baby stages.
- 51:54 – Why buying a double stroller felt somehow counter to her values, but turned out to be exactly in line with her needs (and therefore, values).
- Reading My Tea Leaves – Erin's blog, where she celebrates a practical and purposeful approach to simple and sustainable living. (I love her weekly newsletter, Tea Notes, and I genuinely look forward to receiving it each week.)
- Sleep with Two Kids in One Room – Erin's blog post on the subject.
- Simple Matters – Erin's gorgeous book on simple living. (Think Marie Kondo minus the strange sock folding thing.)
- “The Perfect Mother” SNL Skit – Okay, the bare ass bit was hilarious, but the general tone of this was overall too “Scary Mommy” for me personally. What did you think?
- Simple Birthday Parties – Erin's blog post on throwing birthday parties with less junk and more of the stuff the kids actually enjoy, like free play and fairies.
- Bill Nye – “The planet is on fucking fire.”
- Buy Nothing Project – Do you have a buy nothing group in your area? (Read Erin's post about finally joining in.)
- Manual Breast Pump – A game changer for Erin.
- Umbrella Stroller – Because sometimes you don't need a behemoth stroller.
- Double Stroller – Because sometimes you do need a behemoth stroller.
- @readtealeaves – Where you can find Erin (and her simple space and her wonderful family) on Instagram.
What Erin Said
When you're putting little portions of your life up for public consumption, it's hard to know how people will interpret that. I have people who are very surprised that I work full time. I have other people who are surprised that my kids are not with me while I'm writing. Other people are surprised there's not a team of us. The suspension of disbelief goes both ways. “Oh, she's doing this with two kids on her lap!” Or, “Oh she's doing this all with three other adults!”
In parenting it hits you with such stark relief that you really know so little. You're an expert at yourself, but you're not an expert at anyone else.
I don't think there is a unicorn. I just think you try and you try again and you find something that works for you.
It's okay to just sit with yourself. And I don't think that's a message young parents get that much, which is to be like, “You know what? Trust your gut. Go with your instinct. Most everything is going to be okay. You are equipped to do this.”
I love having little kids in a small space. When I'm at my mom and dad's house—which is a much bigger an old colonial farm house, I'm like, “Where is everyone?” Here, we're always all together. I can see them—and hear them—all the time. But that's okay! I really like it.
We are definitely doing things that are a little wacky. Just a little bit off the beaten path. And for me that feels good.
My number one piece of advice which literally almost never gets printed—and I say this all the time and then people interviewing me for an article are they're like, “No, no. That's great. We'll definitely print it and then someone cuts it at the end…” The key is truly, truly just start with less.