This Mother's Day I am hoping to get a lay-in, a cup of tea in bed and the thing I look forward to the most is my daughter waking me up in the morning (not too early I hope!?) and her chubby little hand giving me the beautiful treasures she has made me for me at daycare. I am a total sook and can’t believe I waited until my mid-30s to plaster my kitchen with my daughter's artwork! If only her daycarers knew how much their hours of patience doing painting, glueing, sticking and glittering means to us mums!! 😉
Now it's your treat! This Mother's Day I have interviewed six fabulous mums who I truly admire for their hard work in both their career and as mums, and it has been a complete honour to learn about each and every one.
Some I have to admit I was so nervous I couldn't talk for stage fright when I met them!!!
I will publish one each day over this week leading up to Mother's Day and hopefully, once the kids are asleep, you can find five minutes to put your feet up with a cuppa and enjoy reading them too!
Tomorrow we'll learn about a mother, and grandmother, who for most of us Mums is a household name and must have at least one of her books on your shelf or goods in your cupboards!! Can you guess who she is?
While meeting these women and asking them questions, some have asked the same question about me, so…
They encouraged me to share my answers with you for day one, so today you get a little old me!! Enjoy 😉
What inspired you to start BabyDrive?
It really was as simple as wanting to help other parents and I'm so glad I did, as the number of parents I have helped to find their family car and the baby products that fit in it really does make it so worthwhile.
At the time I had driven a different car nearly every week for seven years because of my husband's work as a car journalist, so it had always been fun deciding where to take each car for the weekend. After having our daughter, the cars took on a whole new meaning as suddenly I had to fit strollers, shopping, child seats etc and all the other apparatus that was required for the tiny, beautiful new person in our lives.
The noises I previously didn't even notice a car make, were suddenly like sirens, trying to wake my baby or we couldn't fit the three of us into a ‘family' SUV! I noticed a shift when we were with friends, it wasn't the usual engine size car talk any more, it was mums and dads asking my opinion about which car boot would fit which strollers, or how many child seats fit, shopping, dogs etc.
I helped many friends decide which car would best suit their families needs, which I really enjoyed, and they urged me to start writing everything down about the cars I was testing so I could share it and help other parents. My daughter was about one year old and I was desperate to start using my brain for learning new things so a year later and with A LOT of hard work, cars, outtakes and grey hairs, BabyDrive was born!
It feels really good every day to be able to help other parents make an informed decision that is the best choice for their family. No parent can take their children, child seats, strollers etc along to all the dealerships and try all the cars out for size so I do it for you.
I hear car salespeople say to everyone who walks through the door that buying a car is the second biggest purchase you will make in your life after your home, so naturally you want to know all you can about it before you commit, especially regarding whether it is the right one for your family and everyone you will want to put in it. It's not rocket science! You wouldn't buy a house without knowing it had enough bedrooms for all your family to sleep in so you wouldn't buy a car without knowing it has enough usable seats, space, top tether and ISOFix anchorages to fit all your family in too.
What does it mean to you to be a working mum?
It means a lot to me; my mum worked extremely hard doing something she cared strongly about throughout my child and adult life and I have always admired her for it.
She gave me a strong work ethic and belief that I can do anything I want to if I work hard at it and I want my daughter to have the same. It does mean a lot of late nights on my part but I try and keep three days free for oodles of quality family time together.
How many children do you have?
One beautiful three-year-old girl, Tulsi. She is an absolute joy and has extremely strong leadership skills!!! 😉
She is disappointed every week that the car I am testing is not pink!!
What is your current family car?
A 2004 Subaru Forester.
Does your car have a name and who named it?
Gump! He's part of the family and we all enjoy getting away and camping in the roof tent on top of him! Tulsi LOVES it!! We have asked so much of this car and it never fails us (touch wood!!) Moreton Island, Cape York, the Savannah Way, you name it he's taken us there! People we meet always say “you can't take that car there” and we still do!
What are your family's funniest or biggest car disasters?
Bahaaaa!! We have so many and it's something that probably quickly united me and my husband when we first met!
He might kill me for this but when I first met my now husband had a VW Golf that had the bottom of a cordial bottle for headlights! We were fresh out of Uni with no money and his front light broke and he couldn't afford a new one so he cut the bottom out of a cordial bottle and used that instead, it was a perfect fit!!
Many years ago we came to Australia as backpackers and drove around Australia in a 1974 VW Kombi we called Bessie. Having travelled all the way from Perth, she broke down just across the WA border into the NT. A kind couple we flagged down towed us 300km to the nearest town, where another kind man put Bessie onto his road train and we got to ride in the road train all the way to Darwin where the driver said we could stay at the boat club where he lived on his boat while Bessie was being fixed! We experienced a lot of kindness from complete strangers and had a fantastic adventure!
On a recent trip to Fraser Island, we misjudged the tides and times and ended up driving back in the dark across a VERY rough corrugated track, I thought I'd go fast just to get it over with… until our daughter vomited everywhere! And then it was a very slow and smelly drive, with all the windows down!!!
A very recent one that is still a little bit of a sore point, was getting completely bogged on Moreton Island and having to dig the entire underside of the car out TWICE with our hands and a three-year-old! My chest still tightens when I think about it!! (These two kind young men came along after a few hours and helped us get the car out!!)
What was your first car?
My first car was a metallic green, Vauxhall Astra (Holden here), I called her Bertha! She was my freedom machine! Having been a passenger in my parent's cars for 17 years, I'd always imagined where I would get to if I just kept going and finally on my 17th Birthday I could do that!! I loved car journeys, things you see out of the windows, conversations you'd have with anyone else in the car, music, the weather, changing seasons, wildlife and the people and places you ended up was always a new experience or adventure.
Because of all this love of cars and travel, it was traumatic for me when my daughter screamed every time I put her in her child seat from day one and so I gave her an iPad to watch cartoons on when she was about two for a few weeks to try and placate her and it worked. However, I realised she was no longer noticing the journey so I took it away again. It's taken three years of painful journeys but now we can drive and talk about what's out the window, most of the time!!
What car did your parents have when you were growing up and do you have any fun memories?
My parents had a lot of different cars when I was growing up. They had an old red MG when I was born, and they used to put me in the footwell, apparently! Safe… NOT!!! That made way for a string of cars for my mum that used to break down all the time and my Dad used to have a more modern and reliable car!! Which is funny now I come to think about it because he was just transporting himself to work and back whereas my mum would break down with three small children to deal with!
I remember me and my brother and sister were always dreadful to my mum while she was driving and would wind her up the entire journey until one day she snapped, stopped the car and made my brother get out and she drove off!! She did go back and pick him up, don't worry! But it did shut us up for a few minutes!!
I used to like driving with my Dad, he used to have a certain part of a Bruce Springsteen song that he would drive the car with his knees and wave his arms saying look no hands, I used to think it was the best thing!
What do your children say about your car or your driving?
According to my opinionated three-year-old, Daddy goes much faster but mummy's the better driver?! She does have a lot to say when we are driving. I think because my husband and I discuss the car while we're driving she thinks it's normal and joins in!!
If you could wake up on Mother's Day and have any car what would it be?
Just before I gave birth we had a string of very nice sports cars, the Mazda MX-5, BMW 640i and Aston Martin Vantage, so I would very happily have any one of those!!
What does Mother's Day look like for you?
I am very lucky this Mother's Day weekend! I have a dinner with my wonderful Mums Group at night, who I am soooo grateful to for their friendship and support over the last three years! I would LOVE my daughter to sleep past 5:12 am the next morning, please! She is regular as clockwork!!
Excitingly I do have a Tesla Model S to test that weekend!! So I have requested a family drive through our stunning hinterland, a long walk to some local waterfalls and charge the Tesla while we have lunch at a friend's cafe!! My mum life is not normally so exciting so I am going to enjoy this one 🙂