I have known this incredibly amazing chick for quite some years now, and believe she is more than worthy of being our Featured Real Mum of the Moment.
Elly has done some amazing things just being herself, and one of her more recent achievements is the completion and publication of her book, Becoming Us.
Sooooo jealous! Yeah, sure, it took her ten years to write, but I’m still very jealous, and incredibly in awe of her for what she has created; not just a book, but the spotlight on some very real stuff that goes on within relationships when a ‘bundle of joy’ (I use the term loosely) is introduced into the household.
Anyhoo, here’s Elly …
Who are you?
My background is in relationship counselling but I quit my day job a year ago, so I’m a WAHM now. I’m married to a very cute firefighter and we have three kids, a boy 19, who’s in his first year of Uni and two girls, 16 and 11.
What does your “usual” day involve? Tell us about an average day/week. What gets you through your day?
I get up early and sneak on to facebook before my girls wake up and then close the laptop when I hear them coming down the stairs. I sneak guilty peeks a couple of times while they’re doing their sandwiches then drop them off to school. If I’m feeling motivated (like, once a month or so), I’ll go to the gym. Then it’s on the computer to write my column or other articles, talk with friends on facebook, get advice about how to do stuff on the computer, keep up with the latest parenthood research…
Who were you in a former life ie Before Kids?
I was a high flying corporate type *sigh*. I worked in recruitment, in a glass tower in the city with a great view of the harbour, travelled overseas twice a year and earned more in one year than I have in the past ten combined. Looked bright and shiny on the outside, but wasn’t happy inside. I left recruitment to start studying Psychology through distance education with the University of New England when my hubby and I were starting to think about a family. I knew I’d get bored at home with a baby and loved it, but never finished it, it got too hard for me to juggle with the kids so I switched to a counselling certificate instead.
What do you do for you? What hobbies do you have, what do you do for time out, what do you do just for you?
To survive early parenthood I had to really learn to look after myself. I take regular breaks, go outside and read a book, and read in the bath, and at night before I go to bed. We have two rescue greyhounds that my hubby and I walk every day (I’ve found exercise to be a natural antidepressant and antianxiety and I need both some on many days!) and we have a coffee on the way home, it’s our chance to keep up with each other, talk about stuff away from the kids and just “be” together. I find that when things are good between us I cope much better with everything, the reverse is also true.
Do you look like anyone famous?
Ummm…I don’t think so.
What’s your favourite “too busy to cook” evening meal? What do you resort to?
Most nights are “too busy to cook” meals in our house when I’m on duty! I lost interest in cooking when I had three little kids and they all wanted something different from what we were having and what each other were having. Some nights I had to prepare four or five different meals. Stuff that! Home made pizzas are easy: Greek style pitta bread toasted under the griller with cheese and whatever topping the kids want, usually sliced salami and ham and black olives. I also fry the pittas in a pan with a little olive oil and crushed garlic and cut them like a pizza and serve with cucumber, carrot and tomato. Or sometimes not ;).
My husband works shift work, so the nights he’s home he’ll cook up a whole BBQ of meat and we’ll be groaning by the end of the week or he’ll put an apron on and concoct some crazy combination of stuff, which mostly turn out great, but there have been some really weird ones. Amazingly, the kids eat them.
Are you grumpy in the mornings?
Only if my husband has been snoring the night before…which is most nights.
Tell us your best Real (Bad) Mother Moment…
Two minute noodles three nights in a row. Microwaved.
What tips do you have for other Real Mothers?
Life changes so much and so unexpectedly and in such diverse ways when we become parents – that we’re totally unprepared for and don’t get enough support through. Some of us are only just coping, some of us are getting by OK, but we all love our kids and if we’d had more preparation and support, we’d probably live up to the expectations we may have had of ourselves. Or we can just let them go, and the pressure with them. The same is true for our partner. Be gentle on yourself, and on them. We were never meant to do it alone like most of us have to.
It really does take a village, and that first year of parenthood is more like “Survivor” than anything else. Pull together, be a team, back each other up and you’ll find rewards you didn’t expect either.
Coffee or tea? Both. English Breakfast before lunch, Earl Grey afterwards (I’m half British) Really, really, really weak cappuccino in the afternoon.
Clean kitchen or clean lounge room? Ummm…neither.
Sweet or savoury? Sweeeeeet!
Dark chocolate or milk? Oh, this is too easy. Dark.
On top or behind (of housework!!)? Housework? What’s that?
Practical or imaginative? I subscribe to the theory that “a tidy house is a sign of an idle mind” so I guess that reinforces the above and puts me in the imaginative category.
The Boss or be bossed? Take turns 🙂
Isn’t she ace?