• mahabis interviews // olya hill

This week, San Fran mother of six, creative director, ballerina, and model Olya Hill talks to the mahabis journal. If there were anyone deserving of some downtime, we reckon it’d be Olya. But despite juggling multiple roles and a busy household, Olya still makes time for me-time during the day. 

Sharing her experiences and research into the modern family, her publication Living Notes was created to enrich the lives of parents across the world.   

With the help of modern technology, distance learning systems, and a well practiced childcare balance with her husband, Olya’s work is ‘never strictly work’. Whilst some 9-to-5s are a chore, Olya describes her full-on work schedule as often ‘therapeutic’, with ’the more work, the better'. We ask her how she balances downtime as a modern mum, and find out how intertwined her businesses are: from the dance studio, to the home, and the office. 

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, and the path that led you to where you are today…

About myself: I am Ukrainian-born and raised, but I've spent exactly 1/2 of my life in the US now. There's not really one simple answer to this one. When I saw the US for the first time, I felt like it was the place for me to be at; the desire to study techniques from the greatest dance masters was a dream that I wanted to make a reality.

I met my husband almost 5 years after moving to the US, and after we got married the stars aligned perfectly for us to have our first child. He wanted a big family, but I did not know how it would be possible for me. When we had our first son, my life completely changed in all the best ways possible. Difficult as it is at times to be a mom, I have discovered a new, unknown and an amazing side to life that words simply cannot fully describe. As I went on to continue dance with my son often tagging along (we traded during the day with my husband) who'd be sitting in the rehearsal studios and coloring or making faces in the mirrors, I could see how more children could be possible. But it was only when our third child was born and seeing the three of them cuddled together, something shifted inside of me and I realized that more children is definitely a path I am willing to take.  

Every little child is unique, has his or her own personality, brings something new to the family puzzle and makes it more colorful and more fun, but each of them need a unique and individual approach to keep them happy and to keep the balance of the family. That was the reason behind the desire to research and discover lots of interesting things, sparked a passion for it and planted a seed to share all the findings with others as well. 

A career in dance often means that you get to do a lot of other interesting projects, which connected me with modelling, and that in its turn lead to working with/assisting to some of the greatest photographers and discovering a passion for that art of my own. My father is an exceptional photo-artist. As a child I spent many days on sets or in the nature with him, and the feeling of something magical happening became deeply rooted. When we were discussing the ideas for UrbanCrusing/ LivingNotes to launch, the role of creative director/photographer has naturally fallen to me. So, here I am today. 

 

How do you balance motherhood with dancing, running your business and writing your blog?

Probably, first and foremost it needs to be said that all of the above are so closely intertwined, it is difficult for me to see myself without either one. I love the full - maybe too full for somebody else's taste, but just right for me - life, and I look forward to every new day. Honestly. 

Children unlocked an entirely new niche of emotions inside of me that I didn't even know existed that directly affect everything I do professionally. 

The "Motherhood and dancing" combination is the simplest of all: the kids loved coming with me, and still do sometimes. I was very lucky to have great people I worked with who also loved kids and had families, so they encouraged me to have children early on and bring them along with me when possible. That most definitely was a big factor as well as my husband's support in that journey. As I grew professionally and changed to a freelancing artist, it has become even easier. 

As far as business, as Urban Crusing/ LivingNotes grew, we acquired new team members to help with logistics to ensure all runs smoothly. It was (and sometimes still is) difficult for me let go of everything and not to micro-manage, but it's a "must" if you want to grow. Having trusted team members take care of important details allows me to keep focusing on the creative side of LivingNotes, interact and directly respond to followers and balance that well with family.

Thanks to the mobility modern technology offers, I can work anywhere and use every minute I have productively. 

 

What motivated you to launch Urban Cruising/Living Notes?

Several things: personal experience, love for parenting and passion for the arts and artistic expression.

Urban Cruising is just one part of our main platform LivingNotes, which was created to enrich lives of modern parents, bring the newest research and information to help ease the decision process when it comes to all things/ products/ themes baby and family related, and to inspire and encourage to go after one's dreams and live the life to its fullest potential. 

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

What does a typical day look like in your household? 

My morning starts around 5am,  +/- 30 minutes or so. I use this time for myself to refocus, get ready and check on work-related things and re-fresh on the tasks for the day. This time is a "must" for me to have a day run smooth. 

Kids wake up around 6:30-7 ( except for the babies) , get ready-make beds-clean room and have breakfast. I usually take the little ones out for a morning playground time while my husband is still home to supervise the rest of the crew. 

During the school time, somewhere around 8 or so is when they will open their daily plans (we have a distance learning system , something similar to an online school). They all have individual teachers and daily plans are set by the system for them, but it allows the flexibility of learning , encourages personal progress and gives the ability to learn from home and use time very effectively. Their school time is my big focus on work as well, which makes it very convenient: I can ensure that everyone stays very focused while completing much of the work myself. Usually they complete their daily plans by around noon (depending on how early they start and how much they need to do) and we head off to supplemental activities: museums, science academies, galleries, etc. I try to plan things to gauge the activities to current interests of the kids to keep them involved. Some days they also have class-group meet-ups in such places as well. 

I continue to work on the go (thanks to modern technology and my large stroller that carries my camera and a computer always) and due to its nature it fits very organically into my days. Everyone has lunches packed with them, we take a few minutes' break to eat and little ones nap in the stroller as we go about our day (which is why a good stroller is a must for me).

If there are classes scheduled for the day - we head in that direction. I try to schedule all classes for all to attend at the same time and as close in location as possible. Thankfully, the city life makes it easier. Usually the littlest ones conveniently take a second nap during that time which gives me an hour or two of uninterrupted email time and an ability to respond to ongoing questions. We hit a playground or a library sometime in the late afternoon. We meet up with my husband in the early evening and either head home, or I "transfer" duties and head to rehearsal/class, a studio for the current projects I have, or some work-related meeting. If the latter, then I won't get home until about 11pm or so and Justin takes care of the kids while I am away. If the first, then we walk and talk on the way back - this is one of my favorite times for me.

Then it's dinner-wash-prep for bed and bedtime for the kids, and Justin and I finish up work, re-evaluate checkpoints for the next day and spend some time together too. I hit a pillow around midnight. This is a general "stencil" for the day, but it does vary in the afternoon from day-to-day. Sometimes I have an in-studio scheduled time, so the kids come with me. Other times, I have a day meeting with the team, and then other times we maybe go outside of the city or to the beach - so afternoons definitely vary, and so do summers and weekends, of course. 

 

What does being a 'modern mum' mean to you?

To me, being a modern mum is living the life to the fullest with the little additions to the family and enjoying the journey of parenthood while continuing on the path of personal development and growth.

The modern mum today has so much at her fingertips in comparison to what even our moms had; we are really lucky.

I see a "modern mum" as an interesting and an accomplished woman, who at the same time loves going down the slide with her toddler, has just as much fun sipping a cup of a hot chocolate with a 3 year old at the cafe as a cappuccino with girlfriends, and is awfully fun to hang out with at the park. 

 mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

How important is downtime for you? (With six children, do you manage to find time for yourself and to relax?)

It's very important and yes, I do try to make time for myself every day.  Early morning is an important time, but also evenings after I hand over the "mommy-duty" to my husband. My sacred "bath ritual" does wonders. Sometimes getting away for a cup of coffee alone is very needed after a hard day (they do happen, you know! Babies are babies and toddler are toddlers :) and Terrible Twos do exist). I love to get a cup of almond cappuccino and just spend some time looking through and editing pictures. Maybe work too, but it is so therapeutic to me. And when doing it on my own, it's definitely a rest time :)

 

What is the ideal way that you spend your downtime? Is there a favourite place you go to (either alone/ with family) to relax… 

A weekend at the beach with everyone is ideal! I love picnics, so we do them often. We recharge by the ocean, although we definitely did not make it enough this year! San Francisco has been very cold last few months. A favorite French cafe LeMarais is another one. They opened when we first moved to SF and we grew to love it dearly. We often make our way there on the weekends for a calm breakfast and good family conversation.

 

When do you slip on your mahabis? 

Every minute when I am home! (if no-one else stole them before I was able to put my feet into them).

Early in the mornings when I take my little ones to the playground, I just add the soles to my mahabis to go outside.

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

Which mahabis colour combination did you go for, and why? 

I liked the light grey and borgen blue combination, although all of the options are beautiful. But this particular one appeared very soft and feminine to me , and that's what seemed to be the very right fit at the moment of choosing.

 

Are there aspects of your job that are relaxing (from ballet to photography), or is it strictly work? 

My work is a part of me, so it's never strictly work. When I step into a dance studio or pick up a camera, I transform to another world: the world without worries, the world free of limitations, the world full of unknowns to be discovered, the world where magic happens. It's therapeutic in many ways, and without it I am not myself. Without a busy schedule I simply wilt, so the more work the better. This is probably why we have 6 children too. 

 

If you had a 25th hour in the day, how would you spend it? 

15 extra minutes cuddling everyone, 15 extra minutes outside discovering new things with a camera in hand, 15 extra minutes reading and 15 extra minutes with my husband. 

I need a 26th hour too: for more interesting reading, and a little more sleep would be a great idea too. 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

This week, San Fran mother of six, creative director, ballerina, and model Olya Hill talks to the mahabis journal. If there were anyone deserving of some downtime, we reckon it’d be Olya. But despite juggling multiple roles and a busy household, Olya still makes time for me-time during the day. 

Sharing her experiences and research into the modern family, her publication Living Notes was created to enrich the lives of parents across the world.   

With the help of modern technology, distance learning systems, and a well practiced childcare balance with her husband, Olya’s work is ‘never strictly work’. Whilst some 9-to-5s are a chore, Olya describes her full-on work schedule as often ‘therapeutic’, with ’the more work, the better'. We ask her how she balances downtime as a modern mum, and find out how intertwined her businesses are: from the dance studio, to the home, and the office. 

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, and the path that led you to where you are today…

About myself: I am Ukrainian-born and raised, but I've spent exactly 1/2 of my life in the US now. There's not really one simple answer to this one. When I saw the US for the first time, I felt like it was the place for me to be at; the desire to study techniques from the greatest dance masters was a dream that I wanted to make a reality.

I met my husband almost 5 years after moving to the US, and after we got married the stars aligned perfectly for us to have our first child. He wanted a big family, but I did not know how it would be possible for me. When we had our first son, my life completely changed in all the best ways possible. Difficult as it is at times to be a mom, I have discovered a new, unknown and an amazing side to life that words simply cannot fully describe. As I went on to continue dance with my son often tagging along (we traded during the day with my husband) who'd be sitting in the rehearsal studios and coloring or making faces in the mirrors, I could see how more children could be possible. But it was only when our third child was born and seeing the three of them cuddled together, something shifted inside of me and I realized that more children is definitely a path I am willing to take.  

Every little child is unique, has his or her own personality, brings something new to the family puzzle and makes it more colorful and more fun, but each of them need a unique and individual approach to keep them happy and to keep the balance of the family. That was the reason behind the desire to research and discover lots of interesting things, sparked a passion for it and planted a seed to share all the findings with others as well. 

A career in dance often means that you get to do a lot of other interesting projects, which connected me with modelling, and that in its turn lead to working with/assisting to some of the greatest photographers and discovering a passion for that art of my own. My father is an exceptional photo-artist. As a child I spent many days on sets or in the nature with him, and the feeling of something magical happening became deeply rooted. When we were discussing the ideas for UrbanCrusing/ LivingNotes to launch, the role of creative director/photographer has naturally fallen to me. So, here I am today. 

 

How do you balance motherhood with dancing, running your business and writing your blog?

Probably, first and foremost it needs to be said that all of the above are so closely intertwined, it is difficult for me to see myself without either one. I love the full - maybe too full for somebody else's taste, but just right for me - life, and I look forward to every new day. Honestly. 

Children unlocked an entirely new niche of emotions inside of me that I didn't even know existed that directly affect everything I do professionally. 

The "Motherhood and dancing" combination is the simplest of all: the kids loved coming with me, and still do sometimes. I was very lucky to have great people I worked with who also loved kids and had families, so they encouraged me to have children early on and bring them along with me when possible. That most definitely was a big factor as well as my husband's support in that journey. As I grew professionally and changed to a freelancing artist, it has become even easier. 

As far as business, as Urban Crusing/ LivingNotes grew, we acquired new team members to help with logistics to ensure all runs smoothly. It was (and sometimes still is) difficult for me let go of everything and not to micro-manage, but it's a "must" if you want to grow. Having trusted team members take care of important details allows me to keep focusing on the creative side of LivingNotes, interact and directly respond to followers and balance that well with family.

Thanks to the mobility modern technology offers, I can work anywhere and use every minute I have productively. 

 

What motivated you to launch Urban Cruising/Living Notes?

Several things: personal experience, love for parenting and passion for the arts and artistic expression.

Urban Cruising is just one part of our main platform LivingNotes, which was created to enrich lives of modern parents, bring the newest research and information to help ease the decision process when it comes to all things/ products/ themes baby and family related, and to inspire and encourage to go after one's dreams and live the life to its fullest potential. 

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

What does a typical day look like in your household? 

My morning starts around 5am,  +/- 30 minutes or so. I use this time for myself to refocus, get ready and check on work-related things and re-fresh on the tasks for the day. This time is a "must" for me to have a day run smooth. 

Kids wake up around 6:30-7 ( except for the babies) , get ready-make beds-clean room and have breakfast. I usually take the little ones out for a morning playground time while my husband is still home to supervise the rest of the crew. 

During the school time, somewhere around 8 or so is when they will open their daily plans (we have a distance learning system , something similar to an online school). They all have individual teachers and daily plans are set by the system for them, but it allows the flexibility of learning , encourages personal progress and gives the ability to learn from home and use time very effectively. Their school time is my big focus on work as well, which makes it very convenient: I can ensure that everyone stays very focused while completing much of the work myself. Usually they complete their daily plans by around noon (depending on how early they start and how much they need to do) and we head off to supplemental activities: museums, science academies, galleries, etc. I try to plan things to gauge the activities to current interests of the kids to keep them involved. Some days they also have class-group meet-ups in such places as well. 

I continue to work on the go (thanks to modern technology and my large stroller that carries my camera and a computer always) and due to its nature it fits very organically into my days. Everyone has lunches packed with them, we take a few minutes' break to eat and little ones nap in the stroller as we go about our day (which is why a good stroller is a must for me).

If there are classes scheduled for the day - we head in that direction. I try to schedule all classes for all to attend at the same time and as close in location as possible. Thankfully, the city life makes it easier. Usually the littlest ones conveniently take a second nap during that time which gives me an hour or two of uninterrupted email time and an ability to respond to ongoing questions. We hit a playground or a library sometime in the late afternoon. We meet up with my husband in the early evening and either head home, or I "transfer" duties and head to rehearsal/class, a studio for the current projects I have, or some work-related meeting. If the latter, then I won't get home until about 11pm or so and Justin takes care of the kids while I am away. If the first, then we walk and talk on the way back - this is one of my favorite times for me.

Then it's dinner-wash-prep for bed and bedtime for the kids, and Justin and I finish up work, re-evaluate checkpoints for the next day and spend some time together too. I hit a pillow around midnight. This is a general "stencil" for the day, but it does vary in the afternoon from day-to-day. Sometimes I have an in-studio scheduled time, so the kids come with me. Other times, I have a day meeting with the team, and then other times we maybe go outside of the city or to the beach - so afternoons definitely vary, and so do summers and weekends, of course. 

 

What does being a 'modern mum' mean to you?

To me, being a modern mum is living the life to the fullest with the little additions to the family and enjoying the journey of parenthood while continuing on the path of personal development and growth.

The modern mum today has so much at her fingertips in comparison to what even our moms had; we are really lucky.

I see a "modern mum" as an interesting and an accomplished woman, who at the same time loves going down the slide with her toddler, has just as much fun sipping a cup of a hot chocolate with a 3 year old at the cafe as a cappuccino with girlfriends, and is awfully fun to hang out with at the park. 

 mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

How important is downtime for you? (With six children, do you manage to find time for yourself and to relax?)

It's very important and yes, I do try to make time for myself every day.  Early morning is an important time, but also evenings after I hand over the "mommy-duty" to my husband. My sacred "bath ritual" does wonders. Sometimes getting away for a cup of coffee alone is very needed after a hard day (they do happen, you know! Babies are babies and toddler are toddlers :) and Terrible Twos do exist). I love to get a cup of almond cappuccino and just spend some time looking through and editing pictures. Maybe work too, but it is so therapeutic to me. And when doing it on my own, it's definitely a rest time :)

 

What is the ideal way that you spend your downtime? Is there a favourite place you go to (either alone/ with family) to relax… 

A weekend at the beach with everyone is ideal! I love picnics, so we do them often. We recharge by the ocean, although we definitely did not make it enough this year! San Francisco has been very cold last few months. A favorite French cafe LeMarais is another one. They opened when we first moved to SF and we grew to love it dearly. We often make our way there on the weekends for a calm breakfast and good family conversation.

 

When do you slip on your mahabis? 

Every minute when I am home! (if no-one else stole them before I was able to put my feet into them).

Early in the mornings when I take my little ones to the playground, I just add the soles to my mahabis to go outside.

 

mahabis interviews // olya hill

 

Which mahabis colour combination did you go for, and why? 

I liked the light grey and borgen blue combination, although all of the options are beautiful. But this particular one appeared very soft and feminine to me , and that's what seemed to be the very right fit at the moment of choosing.

 

Are there aspects of your job that are relaxing (from ballet to photography), or is it strictly work? 

My work is a part of me, so it's never strictly work. When I step into a dance studio or pick up a camera, I transform to another world: the world without worries, the world free of limitations, the world full of unknowns to be discovered, the world where magic happens. It's therapeutic in many ways, and without it I am not myself. Without a busy schedule I simply wilt, so the more work the better. This is probably why we have 6 children too. 

 

If you had a 25th hour in the day, how would you spend it? 

15 extra minutes cuddling everyone, 15 extra minutes outside discovering new things with a camera in hand, 15 extra minutes reading and 15 extra minutes with my husband. 

I need a 26th hour too: for more interesting reading, and a little more sleep would be a great idea too. 

  • Alice Apsey
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