We all know mums who are hard working, tough cookies – heck, most mummas are! But for my lovely blogging friend Suzy (we co-host a weekly blog link up called Hump-Day Hype! Make sure you check it out HERE), she juggles running a business with her husband, practically full-time blogging and being a mum to 2 energetic kids. How does she do it, you ask!? Find out in our interview below – she’s one amazing, juggling real mum!
Hi Suzy! Thank you for joining us for another week of our #RealMums series. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Hi Fi! Thanks for having me and letting me join in! Well I am 38 years old and live in Sydney, Australia. My husband and I run a business so that and spending time with our 8 year old boy and 4 year old girl keeps us pretty busy!
How do you spend your time – both for work and “for fun”?
We try and be outside as much as possible. In between swimming in the pool and bike riding around the neighbourhood we also love having a good family movie night. We also love a good bbq with our friends and family. We are also really good at being super silly and making up silly sentences and silly names for each other. I get to work with my husband so most of the time it is pretty fun and we have a good laugh in the office. Other times we wish we had a divider between the desks! Ha ha! For me personally I love a good dinner with friends and I have a great fitness group that we always have a great laugh and get to work out at the same time with breakfast afterwards!
How did the idea behind “In the Lyon’s Den” come about?
I had thought about writing for a while. I wasn’t sure if I would be any good at it. We have been in the process of potentially building and moving over to New Zealand so it started off as a way of documenting the change for our family from Sydney to New Zealand. As the process has been long and we haven’t known whether it would come into fruition I decided to write about life, parenting and just generally still working out how to be an adult at the age of 38!
How do you juggle your time between work, family and blogging?
Sometimes badly!!!! It is hard and blogging has definitely added to an already busy schedule but I love it too much to let go! I’m hooked! My husband and I share the mornings with the kids to get them ready for school while the other one goes to the office, plus we both alternate a day each week that we look after our youngest. We both try to “schedule” and I mean that word schedule, exercise in. Somedays that is hard but we both like to keep fit so we try and alternate how we do that most days. The key is that my husband and I work together as a team, particularly in the evenings. After school sport and our exercise, he will cook dinner and I will do homework, bath and preparation for the next day. We find that if we both work together then everything gets done and it means that us and the kids are happy. I also have an enormous to do list and this keeps me in check everyday. I would forget everything without it!
Blogging then happens once the kids are in bed. I have had to sacrifice many a tv show for this to happen (but thank you Foxtel for the record option) but this allows me time to sit down and relax and try and get some writing done. It also means now I go to bed very, very late!! I have always thrived off a busy schedule though and do love the chaos.
Mind you it would be nice to have a tidier house, we just like to refer to it as well lived in. 🙂
Tell us about how you made the transition from motherhood to work when it came time for that decision?
As we ran a business and it did require both of us to be involved in it as it was too much for just one person, it wasn’t really an option for me. We had help for the first 6 -9 months with both kids while I only worked a little from home and 1 day a week at the office but eventually I always had to come back. It would have been nice to have more time off but with both children I got to work 3 days a week for around 5 years. I found it a reasonable balance and meant I still got to spend loads of time with my kids but also could still be thinking and using my brain. Although I am sure I made loads of mistakes! It helped that the help with the kids was with the grandparents so I always felt okay that they were bonding with family if it wasn’t us. My priorities definitely changed though and after having been fairly career driven and orientated most of my life I did find that it really did take a back seat and my priority was to my kids. I don’t think it will ever change now. Both my kids will be at school next year so I am incredibly grateful for all the days I had with them while they were little and that I got to work part time. If I could stay working 3 days a week forever I would have as I felt that I then wasn’t compromising or losing out too much. When I had to come back more I did emotionally struggle with it for a little bit and did feel a little bit bitter about it. I missed them. It is also hard as a mum giving that control over to someone else. I wanted to be the one who was there for everything, but I did need to learn to let go of that. Eventually we have to anyway, but learning to let go a little isn’t a bad thing so I tried to think about it in a positive way. But I also liked that the kids see me and their father working hard in order for our family to have a good life and that it does take hard work. As my parents always said “money doesn’t grow on trees”!!
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a mum?
Realising at this point that so much of what I have done has been as influential as it has been. So many times when they are little you think they won’t notice this or that, or that part of you they won’t pick up on. Now with a 7 and 4 year old I see exactly what they have picked up on! Some good and some not great! My son has a short fuse like me and I see that he has seen me like that. You get told that they are watching and absorbing everything but it becomes evident that hey, I should have listened to that awesome piece of advice! Some things I wish I had done differently but then I realise, I have been me and some of those things I can’t change and I couldn’t have done differently. But some things I hope they are the way they are because of me.
What has been the biggest challenge?
I would have to say is realising that my kids have their own identity. Learning to let go and stop being in control. While they are little you guide them, show them the way and then they start getting their own opinions and listen to their friends and you see them starting to see for themselves who they are and question it all. I want to foster that and I want them to be who they are and be proud, stand up for what they believe in and question everything. But at some points it is hard not to be protective. Each year you have to slightly let them go a little (only a little!!) and I know eventually they will be off in the world and doing things their way. I don’t have any expectations of what I want my kids to be other than happy but if I could follow them around in a little bubble and jump out when required well I would. Unhelpful but it would make me feel better!
Do you have a “best moment” of motherhood?
The times that I have seen them both struggle with something but then conquer it. The other day my son climbed up this huge slide that went forever at a fun park. You could see him deliberating it at the top, and we shouted encouragement. He then started coming back down. I was slightly disappointed but wasn’t going to pressure him. Half way down he turned around and walked back up. I was super proud of him and told him about 17 times! I love it when they conquer something and achieve what they wanted to. They had a go and took the chance. These moments really fill my heart. My daughter has had some similar experiences with learning to ride her bike and now she is just so proud of herself. I love that moment and the smile to match.
What piece of advice would you give to new or prospective mums?
When I was first in the hospital, there were so many rotating midwives and each of them gave slightly different advice, because motherhood is different for everyone. This absolutely overwhelmed me at first that I didn’t know the answer. My advice would be to take everything everyone says on board. Take it all in and then work out your mind the bits you feel comfortable with and what you are happy with. You then come to your own way of doing things. There are so many books and people to tell you how to do things, but between all of that information and your own gut instinct you will be the mum you should be.
Thank you for joining us Suzy! To hear more of Suzy’s HILARIOUS, honest and open stories on motherhood and life (seriously, there is a post about Soccer Mums!), visit her blog HERE, her Facebook HERE or her Instagram HERE.