My home is… in Palm Beach.
My family is… I have a wonderful husband Liam and two beautiful boys Buddy and Owen. We also have a lovely big cat called Ellie.
I can’t live without…umm…right now I can’t live without coffee… and wine... and the ocean, family, and my ladies.
I feel whole when… Life is slow, we are all together, and I have been able to squeeze in a bit of down time for myself.
I find my inspiration…In all the beautiful women in my life. They are fierce yet gentle, strong yet soft, honest and graceful during the tough times and generous with the good. Their support, love and humor are a continual source of inspiration. My heart also beats a little gladder when I’m surrounded by people who are living and doing what they love. Passionate people can be so contagious. Finally, my boys inspire me daily. I constantly want to be the best version of myself, for them and because of them.
Best book you’ve ever read…My favourite book I have ever read would have to be East of Eden by John Steinbeck – it’s an epic story and I love his work. I also really love anything by Murakami… and I was recently gifted with some beautiful poetry books – my favourite is Salt by Nayyirah Waheed. Oh and one book that I recommend to all mumma’s to be would be ‘The first 40 days: The essential art of nourishing the new mother’ – it’s a lovely gentle reminder to take it slow and nourish yourself and your bub during that 4th trimester and beyond.
The music that never fails to make you feel good…I love nostalgia so I would have to say Van Morrison – I can’t listen to him without being taken back to the farm from my childhood, colouring in rocks with my sisters. I really love Mazzy Star, listening to them always puts me in a good mood. Actually most 90s music puts me in a pretty good mood! And the one song that always makes me happy - no matter how many times I listen to it – is ‘This must be the place’ by Talking Heads. If I had to choose a favourite song this would be it.
Daily rituals…My daily rituals are shifting as our family grows. Our morning ritual used to be to watch the sunrise on the beach with Buddy and then get coffee. But now he’s started to sleep a bit longer so we often miss the sunrise… morning coffee is always a ritual though – whether it be filter at home or to one of our locals. And although it’s not a daily ritual - we usually end up on the beach most evenings before dinner – it’s one of my favourite ways to end the day. I also try and fit in at least one meditation a day.
Favourite thing to do as a Family… We all really love heading down to Brunswick heads. It would definitely be our favourite day trip to take. Torakina beach is so beautiful, its relaxing for us and fun for the boys. Then the boys are usually so worn out from a morning playing in the ocean and exploring that they nap while we have lunch and a few drinks at the pub. It’s so simple but we always have the best day and feel like we’re on holidays when we are there.
The evolution of a Mother. Describe it in your own words. I think it’s something that has no end. Mothers seem to be in a constant cycle of transformation that ebbs and flows. I often find myself in wonderment of women going through this. Becoming a mother and witnessing it in others has to be one of the most beautiful things in the world. It’s also probably one of the most challenging and selfless things. Your heart breaks and expands a thousand times a day. Other parts of you contract and some drop away. Your ideas change, your values are reassessed, you collect a thousand more worries and you acquire guilt over the most ridiculous things. You start to listen from your heart over your mind and your intuition gets louder. Time speeds up and slows down in a way that you haven’t experienced before. It is also now shared and time alone becomes a commodity. There are pockets of boredom and sometimes isolation. There are waves of grief. For who you were, for your relationships, for your life before responsibility and codependence. Your sense of purpose is redefined and you experience love and joy in what feels like its purest form. It really is an honour to experience it.
Those hazy newborn days, they are as beautiful as they are exhausting. Nothing can prepare for you the cocktail of overwhelming love and pure joy mixed with the feelings of sorrow as you mourn your old self, not to mention the moments of intense vulnerability as you navigate this new part of yourself. It is a rebirth. How has motherhood healed you and challenged you?
The first year of motherhood was such a rollercoaster for me. I was so in love with my new baby that it consumed all of me... But gradually as the months rolled on and I began to adjust to the sleep deprivation and the absence of ‘me’ time I started to feel a little bit lost. My sense of identity and all the things I thought had defined me - had shifted. My career and business were no longer a priority, I felt so far from my carefree twenty-year-old self, and to be honest I really missed the freedom of having no responsibility and all that time to myself. I was so in love with my new family and I liked the subtle changes that were happening to me - but at the same time I felt like I could no longer relate, I felt anxious and isolated from myself. In hindsight my sense of identity prior to motherhood was probably the catalyst to my struggle – I had defined myself by roles and achievements rather than who I intrinsically was. So I guess that has been the biggest challenge – letting go of who I was and embracing and being comfortable with who I had become. Like learning to love yourself all over again! Oh and if I am completely honest – the sleepless nights that I experienced with Buddy nearly broke me. I physically felt like my body was shutting down. There were lots of tears. But also lots of support, and that was a really important lesson I learnt straight away – to be able to ask for help and slow down and look after myself.
What has surprised you most about becoming a Mother?
The overwhelming unconditional love for my babies, and our capacity for this love to expand! It really is amazing and it definitely took me by surprise. Also our capacity to adapt and change is really beautiful.
And all those moments that take your breath away… that leave you feeling like your heart is breaking open and expanding… time slows down and you know that those seconds, minutes will be imprinted on your memory forever. Treasure these.
How do you switch off/slow down/reconnect with yourself?
I try and practice Vedic meditation twice a day, and find I’m a much calmer and grounded person for it. A solo walk along the beach early in the morning also makes me feel pretty great for the rest of the day! Or if I’m feeling really burnt out I find the sensory deprivation float (at the Freedom Float Centre) is amazing and forces you to take an hour all to yourself. It’s also really wonderful at easing all that back pain you get from carrying, feeding and co-sleeping with your baby.
You are currently on maternity leave from your PhD in Developmental Psychology, has your experience as a Mother altered your research direction?
My research topic is related to parenting and children’s emotional development so becoming a mother has been very relevant! I won’t bore you with the details but my experience has kind of supported the ideas behind what I’m researching rather than alter them. I want my project to help highlight the importance of finding the best fit between parents and their children so they both have the best opportunity and skills to navigate the complexities and difficulties in understanding, managing and regulating emotions.
You have also started a small business, could you tell us a little bit about it? Just before Christmas my mum and I started a small business making and selling natural playdough which is scented with different organic essential oils. My mum has always made Buddy really beautiful playdough and it’s so lovely to play with – and it’s really great for their creativity and sensory play - which we both love (mum nerds). It’s also just really special to be able to go through the process and spend all that time with my mum x The Natural Playdough Co.
A piece of advice you would give a Mum-to-be.
Surrender. To everything. To the pain of birth, to the exhaustion that will follow, to your messy home, your mountain of washing, the extra hour it takes to leave the house, your ever changing body. Surrender and if you can, embrace it. Take time to heal, adjust to your new world and get to know your baby. Don’t leave the house for a few weeks. Have someone prepare and deliver you food. Even though you might feel incredible and invincible, slow down and lie in bed with your baby. It will eventually catch up on you. Soak it all in. Know that the hard times pass. And in hindsight you would do those hard times a thousand times again to see those chubby little hands and feet and feel your beautiful little baby heavy against your chest.
Most importantly, trust yourself. You know your baby best, you know when something isn’t quite right, you know when something’s not a good fit for you or your family. And give yourself a break. The guilt of motherhood is relentless and often completely unjustified!
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