May 09, 2014

heart to heart: mel tonzing

Today's Heart to Heart is with the gorgeous Mel Tonzing of Loved Handmade, a mother of four beautiful children and master behind the crochet hook. In this chat with Tamara she shares her experiences of starting a business (and balancing it all with family!), her delicate mantra of "let go", and how she found little blessings in disguise while overcoming some difficult experiences. Set within the parameters of Facebook messenger, here is the unedited, unscripted chat between two mothers - enjoy!

Mel Tonzing
mother, blogger, owner of loved handmade shop  | 

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Tamara: ok… just arrived home…internet playing funny buggers!! Lets see how we go! So nice to have you be a part of Wholehearted Mel… How are you? I realise the answer to that question can change within minutes on any given day… but sincerely… how are you today? 

Mel: I'll be 2 minutes, just giving the kids food.. 

Tamara: ok!

Mel: sorted! ok. I'm good thanks for asking. You're right, it can change drastically! Right now, I feel so glad the term is over, and it finished off with a crazy day of dragging olive around from one school event to the next!

Tamara: But there all settled now? oops they're!

yes, the boys are all showered and having an early dinner while watching a dvd. How old are your children Mel? Btw. Love early dinner and showers;)

Oh it's the best, even I'm in my pyjamas! Harvey is 12, James is 9, Eddie is 7 and olive just turned 1. I keep going to say eddie is 6 and in grade one when people ask, I can't get used to him getting older.

I know not far off the teenage years! This is broad question I know… but is motherhood on reflection what you expected it to be?

I'm nervous about those teen years, I'm very glad to have this wise level headed man by my side doing it together. I'm far too emotional and irrational when it comes to the 'big' stuff. All I ever wanted was to be a mum. I think I had an idea, but nothing really prepares you. The lack of sleep when they're babies to the toddler tantrums to the WAY more challenging issues as they grow older.

Oh yes, the lack of sleep and lack of instruction book… its a tricky combination! Can remember how long it took before you felt like you found your feet?

Oh, wow, I'm not sure you ever do! That's a big question actually. I think you become very capable of the day to day things fairly quickly because you have to. You pull together a routine that works for you, though I think, especially with the first, you feel everyone is judging your parenting and everyone has an opinion. After a while you learn to do whats right for you. I think things were getting easier and I was finding my feet until we found out we were having olive! Also there were other big changes going on so now I'm back to square one..that's life!

Its true… I'm not sure whether we find our feet as much as find our own rhythm… Was Olive a surprise?

Yes you're right, it's more of a rhythm that moves with the changes in your life. Yes, Olive was certainly a surprise! A delightful one though,we're all completely smitten.

You mention other changes also… are they something you can share with us? Delightful surprises are always welcome;) x At least you have someone to crochet for too!! Big bonus.

Yes always! Oh I'm so excited to make for her, I hope she loves it more than I did when my mum would make for me! Changes..there was a lot going on when we discovered we were about to have baby number four. After a few years of contemplating, my husband made the momentous decision to leave his corporate career and we'd just started our own business together. So we were a bit freaked out at the thought of another child and how on earth we were going to manage that. At the same time, our eldest was going through a very difficult time which kind of flipped our world on its head. I truly believe that olive was a little blessing sent to us for him, I really do.

Life can be like that can't it? So unexpected at times. In what way has Olive been a blessing for Harvey? So my internet has died again:(

That's a story I so want to share. Actually, I feel as a parent that I have an obligation to share it with other parents, but at the same time its his story too, and I'm not sure how putting it out there would go. Its a tough one. Having Olive though was a wonderful distraction for him. She made him smile, she still does, every single day and he has all the time in the world for her.

We would love you to share it with us... 

I will. I don't think time will allow right now

That's okay... Can we pick this up another time? Maybe later tonight when the little people are asleep? This really is motherhood right here! A constant juggle:)

it is, isn't it! That's ok, everyone is reasonably settled now. It's a pretty long story, I've written about it, perhaps its time I hit publish. My hearts racing at the thought.

Sharing stories is really really hard... It showing something of yourself and that can be scary... There is no pressure here. Only if you are ready.

Its really scary. I've written a few personal posts on my blog, but they are experiences I've wanted to share. I think I need to find a way that is gentle for him.

I wonder... Do you think that sharing via social media can sometimes come across as insincere? I chatted with Kate last week about the fine balance between showing your vulnerabilities and oversharing... What do you think? Some issues are sensitive and need to be handled accordingly. Kate (Foxs Lane) btw

I think a forum like wholehearted is a wonderful place to share personal stories. You would hope that only like minded people are interested in reading these stories and they help you to feel like you're not alone during difficult times. Having said that though, I have hesitated lots of times through fear of insincerity that might be perceived.

Fear. It inhibits us in so many ways as mother don;t you think? It gags us. when we need to speak the most. Fear of judgement. Lack of empathy. I'd love to know what you do for yourself to ease the fear? Crochet?;)

Absolutely! It's funny, I will write a post sharing a very personal story and it doesn't worry me so much that people I don't know read it as much as the fear of the people I do know reading it! haha, crochet is certainly a way to relax me

Do you think that's because you think they already have a 'set' idea about who you are? Fear of disappointment maybe? I can write that because I used to feel exactly the same way!

Maybe. I'm really quite a private person, so it's interesting that I even have a blog where I share so much.

That is interesting. What made you start blogging then? Motherhood? Craft?

My mantra for this year is 'let go'. it was originally to just let go of the routine a bit and learn to relax, let the kids stay up later and not fuss if things are not done. It;s become a whole lot more than that though. Definitely letting go of fear is something I am really trying to do. I started blogging about craft, then my world opened up to this amazing group of beautiful inspiring women. I'd be a bit lost without it..their friendship.

Thats so wonderful… I love your mantra… it sounds so freeing

It's challenging! But yes, freeing.

It takes practice right? What have you learnt about yourself that took you to this space? The need to 'let go'?

It sure does. My husband will remind me of it regularly, when he can see me hesitate... I am a ridiculously organised person. I want to take more time to not worry about routine, and spend more time just letting the moments happen and going with the flow. I want our kids to have memories, and I worry that I can be too rigid. This summer was a wonderful start though, and (usually) later dinners all together, spending time.

It sounds like you are making a good start… its obviously something very important to you. Time… it i something we have to consciously create, no matter how big or small our family is. I'd love you to share your proudest Motherhood moment with us? No matter how big or small… could you?

I know they'll have some pretty wonderful memories. I just read that back and it sounds like they're being stifled! Thats not so. They spend every waking hour playing and losing themselves in their imaginations, they've always been good at that. Leaving them to just play is important... Oh gosh that's a tricky one, let me think...

It doesn't sound like that at all!

They fill me with awe and pride everyday. They're all so vastly different. When you see love between siblings that's pretty incredible. When they're in bed and Nick and I share stories of them, little things they said or did, that's when my heart fills with pride.

That is incredibly beautiful… the everyday moments, they are precious. I have kept you longer than I promised… Thank you so much Mel.

It's been so lovely to chat with you, I could put on the kettle (or pour us a glass of wine) and talk all night! Thanks so much for having me Tam, I feel honoured to be a part of this space..x

We can do that at the craft sessions maybe?;) xx

yes! x

All photos courtesy of:  Mel Tonzing


  1. Mel just radiates motherliness, i adore that about her. xx

  2. Such a beautiful post with a beautiful lady. x