Introducing our Motherhood Muse for January, Amy Fraser - mother of Rawiri (4) and Ryleigh (4 months). We chat to Amy about managing her career, motherhood and taking time out for herself.
Tell us about Rawiri & Ryleigh and what becoming a mum has taught you
My son Ra is 4 years old, and my daughter Ryleigh is 4 months old. Becoming a mother is the best thing I’ve ever done–it has taught me about joy, patience, resilience, love in the purest form.
What advice would you give yourself in the early days of motherhood?
For my first baby, I remember my own mother telling me: “Start again tomorrow.” I repeated this to myself when I was overwhelmed and exhausted and everything was falling apart, which felt like most days. I was a single mother for the first 6 months of my son’s life, so for those who might be struggling in a similar scenario, just know that the strength you’re building (which at the time feels like insurmountable stress) will serve you in ways that you can’t see yet. Single motherhood was a period of my life that I’m most proud of–it taught me that I’m capable of more than I could have ever imagined. Now, having had my second baby with my fiance and learning the ropes of 2 kids vs 1, I find myself having to stretch again outside of what I thought was possible. On rough days I remind myself not to wish this time away, that life is seasonal, that everything has its time.
Biggest challenges vs biggest rewards of motherhood?
I’m a business owner as well as a mother, and I’ve found juggling both work and motherhood really challenging. I’m still (yes, still!) getting used to the lack of freedom that comes with having children–the whole shift of not owning your time anymore. I thought I had this all figured out, then had my second child and understood what everyone warns you about when you go from one to two.
The rewards, however, make all of it worth it. Your baby laughing or reaching for you, your toddler telling you about something he learned at kindy–you would do all of the hard things, a thousand times over, for those small moments that your children give you.
Motherhood is one epic role, but like everyone says, it takes a village; who are some people who are part of your village that have helped you be the awesome mum that you are?
My mother (who has 5 children of her own) has been hugely instrumental. She helped to raise my son in his first several months, and has continued to be an invaluable village matriarch! I met my partner Ben when Ra was 6 months old, and his support has been the most surprising and beautiful gift. All of my girlfriends who are always there whenever I need them. I truly believe that powerful women ask for help and that motherhood is a role where we need it most.
Tell us about Ben and what you love most about life/parenting with him
Ben and I have had an interesting relationship in that from day one, we’ve always operated as parents. We’ve never known a dynamic where it’s just been us. Typically that would strain a couple, but we’ve managed to overcome any obstacles along the way–despite the varying parenting styles we both bring. We have the same values which I think is foundational to successful parenting, and Ben is really dedicated to the children, and this shows in the bonds they share.
Tell us about your career and how you manage both that and motherhood
I’m still figuring that one out. My career is a huge part of who I am, and while my kids are my priority, I don’t feel like myself if I’m not working. So I’m in a constant battle between wanting to do great work and fulfill my ambition, as well as be a present, available mother. It’s the thing I struggle with the most.
What has surprised you the most about motherhood?
That I am one? Of two, no less! I can’t believe I have two children when I still feel like I’m 21.
What are your favourite things about Rawiri and Ryleigh?
Ra’s sense of humor is sharper than most adults I know. Ryleigh’s sweet, wide open smile every time she sees me in the morning.
What do you do to take time out for yourself?
I love to train / work out and I love to read, and you can find me in the bath with a glass of red most nights.