We take a candid step into the nature filled world of down-to-earth mama Nicola aka @glasshousemama, and her family - husband Pete and three boys Noah, August and Louis.
Rolling hills, a luscious deep green jungle backdrop, roosters crowing and trees to climb, not to mention a community of neighbours that feel like family - a little slice of paradise nestled in the Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland's South-East is where they call home.
Nicola's open and honest personality, from life's highs to lows make her posts extremely captivating and relatable.
My typical day looks like … us spending the day at home, playing in the garden with the chooks. Listening to the native birds and the summertime call of the cicadas. Just letting the kids run around naked, getting dirty, playing with sticks and whipping up a feast in the mud kitchen.
Right now I’m loving … my menstrual cup! I’m a cup convert! I never thought I would be, I was a huge sceptic and now I’m 100% sold.
I’m happiest when … I’m sitting in the garden, listening to the squeals of delight from my children knowing that they’re growing up with the childhood I’ve always dreamed of.
I’m inspired by … all the amazing mothers around me. We all do things so differently, and we definitely don’t always agree, but we do everything with the common goal of being the absolute best we can for our children.
I’d advise my younger self to … stand up for what I believe in more. Speak up when something isn’t right, stop being so submissive and self-sacrificing. Also, not to sweat the small stuff (‘Don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff’ by Richard Carlson. Read it, it will change your life).
Motherhood is … a daily struggle and so much harder than I expected but the best gift on earth.
My words of wisdom are … It will all be Okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
Word | Moist *collective shudder* I’m joking! At the moment it’s ‘Metsulfuron’. Not sure why, it’s just stuck in my head. It’s a herbicide for anyone who is about to google.
Sound | Whip birds.
Smell | Freshly ground coffee in the morning.
Place | The top of Mount Ngungun (one of the Glass House Mountains).
Food | Sushi or Indian.
Time of day | Mid-morning, when everyone is well fed, I’m on my second coffee and the shit hasn’t quite hit the fan…yet.
What made you want to share a snippet of your life on social media? I had a private Instagram page set up with maybe 100 followers and when we moved to the Glass House Mountains I constantly had friends saying “You NEED to blog.” I had friends commenting on how idyllic our lives were and how much they loved following our daily adventures, including the highs and lows of motherhood. After about 3 months of people telling me I should blog I started ‘Glasshousemama’. It was so nerve-racking in the beginning, I was sure no one would find us interesting enough to follow, I was full of self-doubt. ‘Glasshousemama’ is now almost a year old and I am constantly blown away at how many people follow us, even though we are still tiny by Instagram standards. I also notice the same women interacting with me daily (yes, I see you!). It’s so beautiful to feel surrounded by such lovely people. While I do have an actual blog site for ‘Glasshousemama’ I find that I focus more on sharing ‘mini blogs’ in the captions of my photos. Sometimes it’s just a funny caption. Other times it’s my deepest thoughts. And sometimes it’s my shortcomings and struggles are a parent. But its always real and authentic. I’ve always been a chronic over-sharer. I just love sharing everything with everyone. I find it cathartic. I also think that showing your vulnerabilities and being real and raw is what brings people closer, helps people form deeper connections and brings out the best in everyone. I also love showing my struggles because I know there is a mother out there somewhere going through exactly the same thing as I am, and if she reads it she might not feel quite as alone.
At a youthful 26 years of age, what would you say are the joys of being a young parent and what challenges have you faced? In the beginning I had a lot of criticism. I had family members tell me they were disappointed. A very close family member even told me she, and the rest of the family hoped I would have a miscarriage. I had elderly women in the street stop me and tell me I was “far too young to have a baby.” I even had a nurse in a hospital tell me I wouldn’t “be a good mum” because I was “too young”. That was all really heartbreaking. It really shook me to the core and made me question and doubt everything. I obviously had supportive people around me as well but the negative side was deafening at the time when I was already filled with so much self-doubt. I sort of made it my mission early on to show everyone who doubted me, openly and behind my back, that I was going to be a really great mum. I loved my baby from the moment I found out I was pregnant and I knew that being young wasn’t going to define me as a mother. I don’t speak to a lot of my biological family now, due to various complicated reasons. But I hope that when they hear about me they hear that I’m a loving, patient, energetic, tolerant and caring mother who devotes everything to her three boys.
What drew you to a life in the Glasshouse Mountains? We’ve only been here for just over a year now. Before we moved here we lived in a tiny box of a house in suburban Western Sydney. My husband grew up on the Sunshine Coast and I grew up in the Hunter Valley. When I was 9 my parent sold our 150 acre farm, we moved interstate and bought a boat. We lived on the boat -my mum, my brother, my sister, our dog, my pet rabbit and me. We were home schooled while living on the boat and it was just the best experience ever, although I’m not sure my mum would tell you the same thing! I just remember feeling so carefree and wild. We ended up buying another farm that we moved onto and we kept the boat for weekends and summer holidays. Growing up on the farm and on the boat shaped my childhood. I wanted something like that for the boys and we both knew that an overcrowded, shoebox, high-paced city like Sydney would never offer that. We wanted a quiet town, with space for the boys to run, yell and be wild. But also somewhere close to the ocean. As soon as I saw this property for sale I fell in love with it. I knew it was perfect for us. The stars aligned and here we are now, living in complete and utter paradise.
Life must be busy with three boys, how do you find time for yourself to unwind? Late last year I was actually having quite an identity crisis. I didn’t even feel like I was ‘Nicola’ anymore, I just felt like ‘Mum’. It was a really hard time. I felt like I was giving 100% of myself to everyone else and leaving myself with nothing at the end of the day. I really like to paint while the children sleep during the day. I’ve always wanted to fill my house with art, but I could never afford anything I liked. So, I started painting. I find it so therapeutic. I kind of go into a trance and realise that two hours have passed and it feels like five minutes. I’ve also found that mindfulness has helped me a lot. You can do 5 minutes or 50 minutes; it still has amazing benefits for your mindset. It kind of just shuts off that conveyor belt of thought that is constantly going on in your mind. I’ve also made a New Years Resolution to do a least 3x 30 minutes of yoga a week. I’ve only been doing it a week or so, but I love the positive mindset it leaves me in. I just feel refreshed and ready to go. I used to feel guilty about taking time for myself, but if I’m not happy then no one is. It’s really something I’m going to prioritise more in 2018.
What is one thing you hope to teach your boys? I want to teach my boys to treat everyone the same. I can’t stand discrimination, whether it be due to race, religion, sexuality or gender. You can’t teach people to be ‘blind’ to them, so to speak. Children see colour, they see religion, they see difference. You can’t expect them not to. And I don’t want them to look past all those facets of a person. I want to expose them to as much ‘difference’ as I can and show them the beauty in all of it. Difference in skin colour, difference in religion, difference in sexual preference, difference in who you might pray to, or whether you pray at all. I am hoping to raise boys who see all of those things and acknowledge them and appreciate them, rather than pretending to be blind to them or even worse-using them as a wedge to divide people.
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Follow | @glasshousemama on Instagram.