The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward - Episode 167 of The Slow Home Podcast

The thing that struck me immediately upon reading Helen Hayward’s blog and books is the way she writes about seemingly small things with such depth and attention to detail. Her words are so intentional, I couldn’t help but feel the carefully considered weight of each and every one of them.

And while her most recent book, A Slow Childhood: Notes on Thoughtful Parenting is, obviously, about parenting and raising a family in a very slow and considered way, so much of what Helen and I speak about in today’s poggie applies well beyond motherhood and parenting in general. We talk a lot about what it means to live an examined life, and why, as we’ve both discovered over the past years, those little things really are the big things in life.

One of the most common questions I’m asked, and can rarely answer with any kind of surety, is how to get (or keep) older kids on board with a slower pace of life. And while Helen’s two kids (17 and 20) have grown up with slow-ness at the centre of family life, Helen talks at length about the benefits of that, which I really enjoy digging in to.

Helen and I also talk about one of my favourite bug-bears: the myth of work-life balance and why she’s not even sure that long-term balance is a possibility, but rather requires an endless process of tilting – always in to one thing and away from another. To be honest, it’s pretty rare to talk to someone so willing to admit that balance is not only elusive, but often damaging to pursue, and I found myself wonderfully disarmed chatting with Helen!

I hope you enjoy the episode.

This week’s poggie is sponsored by our friends at ettitude – makers of ethical, organic bamboo bed linen (and now pyjamas!). Head over to and use the code “sleepbetter” to get 10% off your first order.


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5 Responses to The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward

  1. “not even sure that long-term balance is a possibility, but rather requires an endless process of tilting” – Yes!! Earlier this week, I was creating a presentation for my students, talking about wellness being a balancing act, but with an emphasis on regular adjustment…that wellness isn’t a static ideal, but a dynamic process that changes – often more than we’d like.

    Blogger and entrepreneur Michael Hyatt compares seeking balance to walking on a tight rope – something that constantly requires adjustment and tweaking. I really liked that analogy, because what feels balanced today likely won’t feel balanced tomorrow. That’s life, and the sooner I wrap my brain around it, the less stressed I’ll be!

    • Thanks Lee! I totally agree with you on the whole tightrope analogy. I’ve written about it a bit here and am so down with the idea that balance isn’t a one size fits all solution, but rather a constant renegotiation of time and priorities. And the sooner we all learn to stop thinking that we’re failing if we’re “out of balance” the better. :)

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