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Amy Molloy on her secret to happiness

Why we all need a dose of this mother and author’s approach to life

Imagine being widowed at 23 after nursing your Dad back to health from cancer at 17, then throw in surviving anorexia, marrying again and divorcing all before you were 30. How would you cope? Author and journalist Amy Molloy, who is now a happily married mother of two, isn’t only coping, she’s thriving. And not in the annoying, ‘holier than thou’ way, but one that’s grounded in wisdom.

“Even some of the closest people in my life think I am naturally a happy person, but it’s not like that. Multiple times a day I will have a choice to go down this pessimistic path or an optimistic path and I will have to flip my mindset to the optimistic,’’ Amy says.

“The other day I had this conversation with my best friend, who assumed I wake up happy every day, that it’s just who I am. I said, ‘Absolutely not! You’re hilarious, you’re my closest friend and you’ve been walking around thinking I wake up underneath a big rainbow’. I actually have to put the hard work in.’’

Amy’s ‘hard work’ includes cathartic ‘oversharing’, like when she posted the birth of her daughter on YouTube. She also wrote a real-time journal following the loss of her first husband to cancer that became her first book, Wife, Interrupted. And more recently, after the birth of her second child, she says it’s time spent in a cafe writing on her laptop (with her baby son in a sling), sipping sweet tea that helps her cope on “emotionally fragile’’ days.  

Here’s our chat with our current favourite earth mother and former Collective Hub magazine editor about overcoming adversity, the flatmate who introduced her to living sustainably and how that translates into family life.

You’ve overcome more obstacles in your 33 years than most people have to deal with in a lifetime, how do you cope?

I’m realising that we can learn to handle a lot more than we thank we can. Some of the most resilient people I spoke to for the book The World is A Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity, Joyfully don’t necessarily call themselves naturally resilient people but they’ve been very proactive in finding coping mechanisms to support themselves at particular times in their life.

What’s one of the tools you use to be happy?

My life coach taught me to ask myself every day, ‘what do you need to do to feel good right now? Today, that meant going to the gym and actually running on the treadmill. Other days, it might mean a walk, yoga, or it might be nothing.

You’re a former fashion magazine editor, how different is your life now?

I grew up in London with high street fashion and being able to walk into a store and buy a top for five pounds. It never crossed my mind how they were made. My mindset changed a few years ago, just before I met my husband. I shared a flat with the founder of Responsible Runners, a Bondi based running group who pick up litter as they run. He (Justin Bonsey) is just this super committed eco-warrior. We came together as these two clashing personalities and I ended up meeting him in the middle. You might just begin with buying the reusable coffee cups and then suddenly you’re doing beach cleanups, meeting wonderful people!

AMY M (79 of 143)

Your husband’s an environmental scientist, how has that helped with your family’s sustainable journey?

He has continued my education in a very grounded, realistic way. We definitely are not perfect. We try and find a happy compromise and do what we can but he’s also quite realistic in the fact that you can only do what works for your life.

Tell us a bit more about that

We have a diesel car because we have a four-wheel drive, so that’s not ideal, but it enables us to go off into nature and explore incredible places that feed our passion for the planet. We use reusable nappies for our baby, which is a really important thing for us. We have solar panels on our house, we upcycle and recycle everything we can but then we absolutely fall down in other ways. I feel like some of our fashion is a bit cheap and probably a little bit questionable and I never thought I would feed my child those single-use yoghurt tubes but she is so fussy, I just want her to eat!


AMY M (85 of 143)

Have there been any changes you’ve made – or wanted to make – that you haven’t stuck with?

I was very clear that I was going to make my own baby wipes before having a baby. So, that happened. I had fabric cutouts ready to go. Then, the baby arrived and I said, ‘Oh, my god, no.’ So, we buy biodegradable baby wipes instead. I think it’s about picking your battles, not trying to be perfect, just doing as much as you can, and not making your own life too hard.

Amy Molloy birth4 copy

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