Parenting, and especially motherhood, can be one of the most rewarding and tough gigs all in one. It seems that once you are on top of a particular stage in your child’s life, they grow up and develop and the learning starts all over again. And all the way through, whether you’re a stay at home mum, a working mum, a celebrity mum, a single mum, a mother of one or a mother of 10, there’s always times of second guessing and ‘mummy guilt’. We talk to a number of savvy local women about how they tackle motherhood and their tips on how you can too.
Chloe Maxwell // TV Presenter, Model, Founder of Charity 4 ASD Kids. Mum to Max (9) and Phoenix (8) as well as step kids Jack (19) and Skyla (16).
It was in 2009 that Chloe and rugby league personality husband Mat Rogers went public with their son Max’s autism. With so many strings to her bow already, Chloe turned her lemons into lemonade by forming the charity 4 ASD Kids, to support kids like Max. She says one of the biggest lessons she has learned as a mum is to “never deny children the privilege of struggle”. “Having a special needs son, this has been the hardest for me,” Chloe explains. “But I have seen my son ourish by being pushed out of his comfort zone and not being a slave to it.” Chloe believes we can mollycoddle our children to the point where they become helpless in the world, unable to do simple things for themselves and so reliant on others. “Our children need to make mistakes to learn, they need to fall down, to feel pain and rejection. It’s all a part of growing up. I don’t mean push your kids o a cli or anything, but rather allow them to make mistakes and find their way naturally.”
Marissa Bowden // Co-Founder, The Village Markets. Mum to Stevie (5) and Pepper (3).
Marissa Bowden admits she has always let her intuition guide her on parenting decisions. It’s a formula that worked for her own mother back in the day, and one that has Marissa thoroughly enjoying the motherhood experience. “I’ve always just kind of gone with my gut and tried not to stick to too much of a routine, or read too many books, or put too much pressure on myself – so it hasn’t been too stressful for me really, to be very honest.” Marissa says motherhood is such a gift but one that travels way too fast. “Sometimes I wish time could just slow down a little!”
Margaux Parker // Wife of Brisbane Broncos captain Corey Parker. Mum to Memphis (6), Wylei (5), Jagger (2) and River (3 months).
With a big family and a very busy husband of Brisbane sporting royality, Margaux Parker has her hands full most days. But it’s especially the case right now after baby daughter River blessed the Parkers with her presence at the end of January. Margaux describes her pregnant-self as “emotional and up beat” and jokes when she tells others contemplating a big family to “enjoy them while they are little” but just “don’t have more than two!”.
Kath Rose // Director, Kath Rose & Associates. Mum to Matilda (15) and Jack (12).
Kath Rose lives and breathes PR and communications. Her job will have her hosting media at night-time events in downtown Brisbane and then in regional Queensland on the weekend. It’s more-than-a-fulltime job that she combines with her more-than-a-fulltime gig as mum to teens. We asked the communications guru how she communicates with her kids and what those personality-filled cherubs have taught her… “I’ve learnt I’ll never ever get a good night’s sleep, I’ll never fit into my True Religion jeans I wore pre-babies, that my makeup and wallet will always be left open and empty and that the bathroom will always look like the aftermath of a dance party,” Kath laughs. “I’ve learnt eye rolls can be very very scary. I’ve learnt that ‘olden-time music’ now refers to Rick Astley and The Culture Club. I’ve learnt that full conversations can now be had in abbreviations. But I’ve also learnt that a bear hug will never go out of fashion, that manners maketh the kid (especially now) and that there’s nothing I would rather do in the world than be a mum to my two kids and three dogs.” Eloquent, as always, KR.
Tiffani Wood // Singer/Songwriter and Owner/Director of Tiffani Wood Singing School. Mum to Lillian (9), Harvey (2), Beau (17 months) and Ryder (1 month).
It’s interesting to consider how our mothers enjoyed motherhood in their era compared to how modern-day mamas enjoy the role. With four kids, including a brand new bundle of joy born just last month, Tiffani Wood believes neither generation had it easier or harder. “As time has gone by, I think some things have gotten easier for us (eg. better access to help if needed and health care for our kids) but it’s also harder in others (eg. the pressure to do it all, such as be a home mum and work mum),” she says. “Both generations had/have the responsibility to raise their kids the best they know how by putting food on the table, giving them a loving home and clothing with a good education. When you look at it that way, there’s probably not much difference as both generations try to do exactly that.”
Emily Jade O’Keeffe // 102.9 Hot Tomato Breakfast Presenter, Writer, Marriage Celebrant. Mum to Millie Valentine (4).
Emily Jade O’Keeffe remembers her one and only pregnancy (so far) with joy. Dealing with fertility issues, EJ says her and husband Gerard were “thrilled and thankful” to be pregnant. With one child, and the hope of more fading, EJ admits that raising an only child comes with its own share of terms and conditions. “We are dealing with a little girl who is totally doted on by everyone around her. For her it is wonderful, but she doesn’t hear ‘no’, or have to share, or learn compromise with other siblings. So she can seem spoilt when she is in a bigger gathering of kids. If they want to play with her things she can get overwhelmed by sharing, or if she wants to do an activity and they don’t, she doesn’t cope well with the alternative. We decided to do respite foster care to give her a chance to know what it is like to have siblings, and also to help other little people in need. It really does seem to be working out for everyone.”
Kavala Williams // Founder, Tilly & Otto. Mum to Jordy (16), Cooper (11) and Sebastian (7).
Kavala Williams’ award-winning business, Tilly & Otto, is all about the prettiest, laciest, most delicious luxury baby wraps around. So it’s ironic to note that she shares her northside household with six males. “My brother is a single dad with full custody of my gorgeous nephew, Mekhi (12),” Kavala explains. “Unfortunately, he had a terrible accident which meant he was unable to walk for nearly a year or care for his son. The good news for me was that he and my nephew moved in – and there they have stayed! The whole ‘it takes a village’ theory is proving to be so true of our household. My sons not only have a wonderful father but another amazing male role model in their uncle. Plus my sons have gained a brother, in their cousin.”
Leeanne Enoch MP // Member for Algester. Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy. Minister for Small Business. Mum to Ethan (15) and Callum (19).
As a politician, Leeanne Enoch is never far from the public’s eye. Many people see her as the local member and the minister with many portfolios. But, after hours, Leeanne is just like many of us – she’s a wife and mother. You’d think it must be hard to keep on top of private life when so much of her life is spent being accountable to the public? “It’s a constant juggling act,” Leeanne says. “Fortunately I have the wonderful support of my extended family who are always there to help me or my boys. I make a conscious effort not to feel guilty about taking some time for myself. If I am not strong, I cannot be strong for my kids. Obviously, there are certain times in life that it is not possible and I’ll admit that it has become easier as they have gotten older.”
Kelly Burstow // Be a Fun Mum Blogger. Mum to Adelaide (14), Mackenzie (12), Jamie (10) and Harrison (8).
Kelly Burstow knows a thing or two about mothering. Not only is she pretty successfully raising four well-rounded children, she also spends her days helping women across the nation engage with their kids and families through her blog, ‘Be a Fun Mum’. With more than 222,000 followers on Facebook, she’s obviously doing the right thing. Although Kelly lost her own mum when Kelly was new on the parenting scene, her mum taught
her the significance of small moments and the importance of patience. “She taught me about the joy of investing in others, while still retaining a strong sense of self,” Kelly says.