Today’s Muse: Alison Mazurek

We loved our city. We loved walking everywhere. We loved our street with cute coffee shops, store and restaurants so we are never bored. And we loved our 600sqft 1 bedroom apartment with high ceilings and big windows.

Then we had a baby….

And everyone said we had to move…. but we didn’t. And so far so good. Doing our best to live small and thoughtfully in the city with our toddler Theo and and baby Mae.

Full Name please and date of birth

Alison Mazurek. Aug 16 1982 

Full Names of children and age

Theodore (Theo) Kooshtee Mazurek Aug 2 2013, Mae Eshko Mazurek July 6 2016 

My husband’s heritage is half First Nations and we chose to have their ceremonial given names by his tribe’s Elders be their legal middle names.

Where are you based?

Mount Pleasant, Vancouver 

If you could describe yourself in one sentence.

A city living, small-space dwelling mama with a love for design, travel, and community. 

Tell us about your life before motherhood.

Oh gosh big question… before Motherhood I was dating my husband Trevor since I was 19.  We’ve basically grown up together. We had the most wonderful wedding 6 years ago in Portland in the forest followed by a reception at the Ace Hotel where most of our guests stayed.  It was completely dreamy and I look back now and can’t believe we made all our family and friends travel so far just for us (especially our friends with kids!!). 

For my work… after university, I worked my way up to become a Project Manager for Design and Construction in the restaurant industry, a very male-dominated field and I’m proud of what I have accomplished in this field. I love helping to create beautiful spaces and organizing, planning and preparing for worst case scenarios comes naturally to me.

I’ve lived in Vancouver my whole life but have been lucky to travel quite a bit, we especially love beachy surf towns with good food like Tofino, Sayulita and San Sebastien. 

Tell us why live in 600 square feet?

Living in 600sqft started out as an experiment for us to see if we could actually live small with a child but it has become integral to our life.  Living small helps focus us in a way we love. Things (physical possessions) have become much less important in our lives than experiences.  Staying small and having fewer things frees us up for more time together and for more experiences like Travel. Living in the city also means that we have a walk able life where most of our activities and chores are within our neighbourhood.

Biggest challenge as a family of four in a smaller space is?

Clutter… 4 people make 4 distinct messes and in a small space those messes can feel overwhelming.  I am constantly picking up and putting everything back where it belongs so I don’t go crazy from clutter and mess. If I notice a surface is being covered with clutter for a while I look at those Items and determine why they don’t have a proper home. If they don’t, they have to go or maybe something else in our home has to go to make room for the things that don’t have a designated spot.  It may sound extreme but I love how our small space stops us from consuming mindlessly. We don’t shop for entertainment anymore and we have to think very carefully before bringing something new into our space because most likely another item will need to leave. Also you don’t really get any alone time in a small space with 4 people. You have to get out of the house to get some alone time. 

Can you share your best space saving secrets with us?

Mostly it’s about letting go of preconceived notions of what a home “should be” and instead being grateful for what you have. Kids don’t need a playroom, they just need a place to play. You don’t need a bedroom, you just need a comfortable place to sleep. Once we started questioning what was really important to us, our space seemed much bigger and better than we initially thought. Everything in our home is used for more than one purpose. For example our dining table is also our craft/art table, and desk. Our dining table also expands for dinner parties and a side table in our living room doubles as an extra seat. 

Our Living room is also the playroom and our everything space.  Having an obvious and easy way to put things away to transform our space to our needs is the best way to make our small space livable.  We use a canvas baskets for toys and enclosed cabinets for electronics etc. Clean up is quick and easy so the space can be used for the next purpose. Also our Murphy Bed was a game changer for us.  There’s really no way we could stay in our small space without it.

 

What / Who inspires and motivates you?

It may be an obvious answer but my kids motivate me.  I see the way they watch me and learn from me and I need to be sure that I am being the best I can be.  I want them to see a strong woman who loves them and would do everything for them but also has goals and dreams for herself. I want to lead by example, if I’m not happy how can I expect my kids to be? If I don’t practice what I preach, how will they ever listen to me.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m currently on maternity leave and have both kids home with me full time.  Most days are spent either taking Theo to a classes in our neighbourhood like Hip Hop or Sport ball or Collage Collage or to Science World and then hopefully outside to a park in the afternoon. My husband uses the car for work, so we are on foot everyday, which means it takes longer to get places but everywhere we go is an adventure for us. I prefer walking everywhere and it’s one of the reasons I love our neighbourhood so much. As the younger sibling, Mae gets dragged around and has learned to nap on the go but some days I try and get one of her naps at home in the crib. A few days a week I’ll meet friends or family for coffee with the kids (sometimes we stay at the shop and sometimes we have to get to the park, ha!). I’m not the best cook but I make dinner most nights and try to blog a bit after the kids go to bed.  Recently, I’ve been fitting in a few workout classes a week which has been really great but in this season of life I don’t get much time for myself. The days are long but the year has just flown by and I’m grateful for this time at home with both kids.  

What were the first few items you got rid of after realizing you were going to live small?

Umm everything? Kidding! The first thing that went was my husband’s turntables and house music record collection (not joking) then we donated the majority of our books, keeping only the most meaningful or useful ones. The rest has been a slow and deliberate process of questioning whether something was truly useful and beautiful and if we had used it in the past year. If not, it has to go. We also moved a lot of things to digital storage like saving DVD’s on a hard drive or scanning documents to limit paper storage.  All these little things add up to less storage and clutter in our home.  

Favourite cafe?

My go to is Elysian on 7th and Ontario, it’s a beautiful bright space, great coffee and everyone there is sweet to my kids. When the weather is nice I like to walk up to Marche St George which is also beautiful and kid friendly with outdoor space, toys and backyard chickens.  Coffee is very important to me.  Sometimes it feels like the only thing I do for myself in the day is having a coffee so I really like it to count.   

Describe being a modern mother.

I think being a modern mother is strange and wonderful.  I don’t think any generation before us has had so much information and knowledge to help them parent.  But all this information and sharing on the Internet and social media can make us feel alone and like we are failing. We are overwhelmed by information and opinions.  But I think we need to find a way in this strange world of too much information to still listen to our intuition and instincts.  And use the Internet and social media to build support and community not comparisons and inadequacies.

Favourite quote/ saying?

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful – William Morris 

Can you give a quote about that you think of Mother Muse?

I love how Mother Muse celebrates and honors Mothers. In this short time I have been introduced to many inspiring women and mothers through Mother Muse Mag.

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