#MINDRMAMA Evelyn Levisohn is a mum, story-lover and beach bum. She spends most of her time singing Wiggles songs to her son or brushing sand off every part of her person. She believes in and advocates for equality in education and literacy, and also - the way to her heart is via donuts.
Hi Mindr mamas! I’m Evelyn, and I live in Sydney Australia with my husband Uri, our son Joshua (2.5 years) and another boy cooking (32 weeks). I was delighted when Sarah asked me to share a few things I love about where I live, and raising a family on Sydney’s sunny shores.
This is the most obvious one, isn’t it? Sydney has some of the world’s most lauded beaches – we live right near Bondi Beach, but I would suggest its neighbours like Tamarama are just as (if not more) fun. And the flat beaches and harbour inlets are also beautiful. Living near the beach is a lifestyle perk I wouldn’t quickly give up (even though it means we have to live in a teeny tiny 2-bed flat!)
When our son Josh was really little we would put him in the ergobaby & walk down to laze on the beach as he sprawled out on a towel. Then, when he could walk/was more active, we realised that the beach is basically the perfect child entertainment zone. They’re instantly & continuously entertained by sand, water, buckets, spades, rockpools, shells, beach patrol buggies, seagulls – the lot. And it’s free!
I guess this one only applies if you’re a fan of being perpetually sandy (and I mean, your person, your car, your home, your handbag, inside your child’s ears…).
2. Flexibility - the old ‘work/life balance’
I went back to work full time when Josh was not yet 6 months old. But I consider myself so lucky to be able to have done that - I was getting decent sleep (please don't hate me), and my employer allowed me all the flexibility I needed for an accommodating transition back. My husband and I both work ‘flexi-hours’, which means we start early and finish early, allowing us to pick up Josh and be back home together every day by 4:30pm, so we can play and do things (like beach trips) before bedtime.
I’m aware that I’m in a really fortunate position with my job. I work for an education technology company, helping students have a better chance at a better education, and the nature of my work and the culture of the company mean that I have had a very easy and supported transition back to the workplace, after maternity leave.
Not everyone has that luxury, although the concept of 'work-life balance' is quite prevalent in Australia, in my experience. I lived in London for around 9 years in my twenties, and the phrase is not really heard much there. Here, the pace is slower and people put more of a priority on 'lifestyle', even in the major cities.
Despite all that, it can still be a 'juggle', I still feel guilty, and I still don't think there's such a thing as 'having it all'. It's more like, sometimes you have some, and then you have some more; then you have less, then you rally & have some again.
3. Pursuing passions – education & disadvantage
Having a baby has changed my perspective, and my drive, with regards to my work. I've always strongly believed in the power of education but even more so now, and in a different way, as I learn more about child development and the advantages and opportunities afforded to literate households. That’s why I also do sporadic volunteer work with the Sydney Story Factory, who run free creative writing and storytelling workshops for young people, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds.
People will tell you that you have to make sure you don’t ‘lose your identity’ when you become a mum – one way to do that is looking for little opportunities to contribute towards community causes you believe in or feel passionate about. Sometimes it feels like you don’t have the time/energy, but I find that it’s actually super energising to put yourself out there & give something back.
4. The focus on healthy living (e.g. avocados, the outdoors)
Don’t get me wrong, Sydney has its fair share of cronuts and mega-milkshake fads, but there’s also lots of hype around kale, acai bowls and aerial yoga (or at least, there is in Bondi!). As a parent you’re automatically an early riser - and I love the fact that, no matter how early you get out the door, you’ll see joggers and tai chi classes in the park and sun saluters and, of course, hordes of surfers all starting their days at the same time.
The weather here allows for a pretty outdoor-centric lifestyle, which is wonderful (despite the incessant and perpetual applying and re-applying of sunscreen).
5. Mothers’ groups
I’m told this is not necessarily a ‘thing’ in other parts of the world, which I find crazy! When Josh was born, the hospital gave me the details of our local mothers support group, where you could go along with all the other new mums in the area whose babies were born around then, and sympathise with all their unique yet parallel stories of birth and navigating newborn-land.
A smaller group of us broke off for regular weekly meetups & created a WhatsApp group for 24/7 opinion-gathering and panic-soothing and disgusting-photos-of-rashes-sharing. The online world means you can easily connect to like-minded people anywhere, but having this local #squad you could duck out for coffee with or head to the park with for an hour was unbelievably beneficial, I found.
Since then, these women have inspired and impressed me constantly, and some have become dear friends to our whole family, for which I’m so grateful.
I’ve loved being a part of the Mindr community, even from as far afield as Sydney, because I honestly believe in the mission of Mindr - that mothers need to be able to easily connect, lift each other up and collaborate to make valid room for themselves in this world. So please, reach out, say hello, let me know what’s awesome about your neck of the global woods. I love making new friends and meeting inspiring mamas, especially via Instagram. :)