Through compiling our Mother’s Day series, we’ve loved hearing from inspiring women about their unique stories, family rituals and how they manage the inevitable juggle that motherhood brings. For Belinda Everingham, Founder of Bondi Wash and mother of 3, finding balance is about spending time on the things that matter, rather than worrying about the less important stuff like filing paperwork and sorting odd socks! Belinda’s approach to life and parenting is one to admire and we know you’ll enjoy hearing about her journey.
Who makes up your beautiful family?
My husband Pete, children Jemma (20), Sascha (17) and Harley (14). And Roger the spoodle (11).
What does your perfect Mother's Day look like?
Time with the whole family makes it perfect. I’m not a breakfast in bed person but do not love cooking. A day spent avoiding the kitchen would be divine.
What do moms really want for Mother's Day?
The older (and busier) I get I spend a lot less time shopping, so I want everything I do buy to last. I don’t buy new linen very often, a new duvet cover (in CULTIVER Blush) would be a nice addition to our bedroom. I enjoy the pleasures in life like chocolate and wine so I’d be happy with a box of Koko Black and a Mornington Peninsula pinot gris. Most of all though I would like a hand-made card drawn and written by the kids. I get one every year and they often compose gems that I treasure and keep close in my bedside table.
How do you find balance while juggling children, career, relationships, household and everyday life?
This is a question I get asked a lot and there are no easy answers. Spending time on the things that matter – or prioritising ruthlessly - is one thing I try to do. Usually there is something falling off the rails – it definitely is not easy to juggle it all and feel like you’re succeeding in every area. Taking time out to do a yoga class or two each week helps me feel like I am achieving balance, even if the rest of the week is crazy. And I try not to rush. The to do list is long, but I give my attention to whatever I am doing and don’t panic if something gets pushed to the next day.
Do you ever wonder how some moms make it look so easy? Have you talked to other women about how they manage the juggle?
It’s a great question and we probably don’t talk about it enough. I think when we get together as Moms, talking about the juggle is the last thing we want to spend time on, so it doesn’t often get airtime in conversations. I think we all know how hard it is so we are always there to help out another mother in picking a child up, driving them somewhere or having over for a play or sleep over. I really don’t stress these days about the less important stuff. I’d much prefer to spend time working on a new scent than filing paperwork or sorting the odd socks. There is no doubt that having a supportive partner is one factor that makes a huge difference to women’s working lives. As mothers I think we all have a big responsibility to bring the next generation of men up so they step up in all the household tasks that traditionally have fallen to women.
Motherhood is never predictable. What have been some of the more surprising or funny parts of motherhood for you?
When kids are young and you’re exhausted you feel like it will never end. But time passes really quickly – and seems to get faster every year. Now I am wistful of those early years and even feel a little sad when I walk past families with toddlers and babies knowing I can’t go back.
When the kids were little they were constantly making us laugh with their behavior and words. I have a book in which I wrote funny stories about the kids. For example my daughter Sascha at age 8 developed a fascination with Japanese Kimmi dolls. One morning before school she showered and slicked back her hair, and then drew black texta around her eyes so she could look like one – and off she went to class. My son Harley loved telling jokes at age 4, most of which were so unfunny they were funny. We have a long list of them in the book.
What influence has your own mother had on the way you parent?
She was part of the Doctor Spock generation. He was an American paediatrician who espoused parenting based on common sense, trusting your judgement and giving kids lots of love and attention – and not much more. So she was a very relaxed Mum, trusted us to do the right thing and basically let us do whatever we wanted. I think I am pretty similar in approach. I don’t like to push the kids into doing things they don’t want to – the antithesis of the Tiger Mum. And other than trying to get my son off fortnite and read more, I am constantly trying to encourage them to do less, not more. There is so much pressure on them at school to do a raft of extra-curricular activities. Time doing nothing is undervalued in our fast-paced society.
Has your relationship with your mom changed since becoming one yourself?
Not really, we have always been close. What has changed is my appreciation for all she did. The workload of a mother in that generation was immense, and thankless, yet she never complained.
Do you have any family rituals?
Aside from the usual Christmas with Santa sacks, Easter egg hunts and family birthday celebrations, every New Year’s Day we sit down over lunch and compose a list of questions to answer in 12 months’ time. We start by answering the questions we posed 12 months prior. The questions are wide-ranging and can be personal, about major life events or political or sporting in nature. Things like ‘Will x find a new job?’ or ‘Will y enjoy his new school? or ‘Will Malcolm Turnbull still be Prime Minister?’. We also include some predictions, where everyone guesses something like who will win the grand final. We now have many years of questions to look back on to see what the big questions were each year.
We also have a super competitive extended family footy tipping competition. Coming from a long line of Essendon supporters, and with more time on his hands to study the form, my Dad always wins.
What advice would you give to new moms?
Don’t get influenced by how others are parenting or milestones other kids are reaching relative to yours. There is already way too much competition in life – go gently on yourself and your kids. One story I love is a brilliant friend who as a child, missed all the speaking milestones; she didn’t say a word until she was 3. But later in life she became a successful lawyer, even topping the bar exam when she was 8 months pregnant with her 4th child.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton and next up is Becoming by Michelle Obama.