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Mother's Day

May 10, 2023 10 min read

Mother's Day

In honour of mothers all around the world this year, our Founder & Creative Director Zoi Vafias celebrates some of her closest mum friends and finds out what motherhood means to them. These are their stories.

 

Michelle B

Tell us about yourself/your story. Where are you from, when did you become a mother?

Well, I love talking until it’s about myself! I’m originally from Zimbabwe but have called Australia home for 22 years, which means my entire adult life has been spent here. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and lawyer by trade, and cherish each of the many hats I get to wear, but motherhood has got to be the most fulfilling.

 

Tell us about your little ones, their ages, what they love to do.

I have 3 boys aged 8, 5 and 4.5 months so to say I have my hands full is probably an understatement, given they’re your typical high energy, sport loving, cuddly boys.

 

How would your kids describe you?

One says - she’s a good mummy and loves holidays. The other reckons I am kind, generous, I like going on walks, loving, caring, hardworking and beautiful.

 

What is something you are loving right now? It could be a fragrance, a song, anything you are obsessed with.

I am loving being back at the gym and exercising after a year off, being pregnant and having a baby! We are often our own harshest critics and it’s great to be moving again.

 

What is something about motherhood that most people don’t tell you about?  

It’s hard work! But it is also one of the most fulfilling things you will ever do.

 

Tell us about an event in your life that changed you, that you were never the same after.

Gosh, it would have to be the stint in ICU after having my second bub. It was terrifying, but a stark reminder of how life can change in a blink of an eye. Having recovered completely, the incident will forever remind me to never sweat the small stuff, focus on those things which are truly important, and never take the gift of life for granted!

 

Name something about your mother/ or mother figure – that you try and model in your own life.

My mother is and has always been a beautiful, confident, strong, loving and giving woman. She is my biggest supporter. I am who I am because of her. I strive to always be as strong as she is, always advocate for my children, love them unconditionally, be their safe place and guide them to be their best version of themselves.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Live in the moment, travel, experience life and explore different cultures. Never be afraid to go after what you want!

 

How do you spend your ‘down time’ or those short moments of alone time?

I love going for walks, where I can be alone with some music and my thoughts. There is something rejuvenating about being outdoors - it’s almost cathartic.

 

What’s a rule you secretly love to break?

No eating in the bedrooms. My husband and I have been known to sneak chips or chocolates in bed - when the kids are sleeping (shhh don’t tell!).

 

Do you have any family traditions that you love?

Birthdays are a big deal, and we always celebrate as a family. On a smaller but equally important note we love our “best three” - we have dinner together most days and will sit around the table talking about the day’s top three highlights.

 

What’s one moment from motherhood that you’ll never forget?

I am not sure I can only pick one, but something that absolutely makes my heart smile is listening to my children playing together and happily giggling away. It just fills me with pure joy.

 

Eleni Di Bartolo

Tell us about yourself/your story. Where are you from, when did you become a mother?

I’m Eleni. I am almost turning a milestone birthday this year, which still shocks me that I’m nearly the big 4-0. I am Greek-Australian and very proud of my heritage. I met my husband Ross (who is Italian-Australian) when I was in my late twenties, and we were married less than 2 years later.  

I became a mummy at 32 with my first baby girl, Valentina and 35 with my second girl, Gabrielle. I always wanted to be a ‘girl mum’ and am so grateful to have that dream come true. However, I may regret that dream in a few year’s time when they’re both teenagers. This year Ross and I will be celebrating our ten-year wedding anniversary. 

When I’m not being a mum/personal taxi driver (for my girls) I am a primary school teacher and have been working for over 17 years in a profession that I am so passionate about. However, just this year I decided to take, a work pause to be more available for my family. I’m enjoying this change as I’m always wishing time would pause, as my babies are growing too fast. 

 

Tell us about your little ones, their ages, what they love to do.
I am blessed with two beautiful, strong girls. My eldest is Valentina. She is 7 years old. She is my sensitive, kind and my sporty and animal loving gal. She is a mini me and loves nothing more than to cuddle us and play with her cousins and friends. She has so much spunk, she makes us laugh with her weird ways. She’s the coolest person I know!
My baby girl is Gabrielle. She’s in 4 years old. From day one, she has been my girl with sass. Just like her father, she has endless energy and is confident, fierce and independent. We call her our pocket rocket as there’s nothing she can’t put her mind to that she won’t achieve. She’s a tutu obsessed, twirly, fairy princess. 
 

How would your kids describe you?

I asked both girls and their answers are just a perfect reflection of their personalities. Valentina says I’m kind, beautiful, smart, and helpful. Gabrielle tells me most days that I’m bossy and mean because I guess not letting her eat chicken nuggets every night for dinner, wear tutus to kindy or wearing high heels to the park. 

 

What is something about motherhood that most people don’t tell you about?  

How many people you will add into your life. As you have your babies, you find these unicorn mums that have the values, priorities, same aged kids, and parenting style that you draw closer to. Very blessed to have found amazing mums in my life thanks to my babies. 

 

How do you spend your ‘down time’ or those short moments of alone time?

Is there any other way but to sit in silence, minding your own business and watching your favourite shows with snacks.  

 

What’s a rule you secretly love to break?

I don’t break rules. Self-confessed rule follower here. Unless I don’t agree with the rule, then I’ll happily break it, like not wearing the ‘Bounce’ socks to Bounce.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

I only have one regret in life and that is to have lived overseas - so to take those risks that make you feel uncomfortable and trust your gut more. Otherwise, I believe you are always on the exactly right path in life. Everything happens for a reason. 

 

Do you have any family traditions that you love?

Being Greek and marrying an Italian, we have lots of family traditions which we love to carry on and show our girls. One of my favourites is my village’s Paniyiri. A Paniyiri is a huge, festival where the main saint of the villages in Greece are celebrated with lots of food, music, dancing, and family. I’m looking forward to be able to show my girls this tradition this year in Asklipio.  

 

Tell us about an event in your life that changed you, that you were never the same after

Is there anything like motherhood to change your entire being. Going from zero to one baby was the hardest for me. Giving up my independence, work, routine and sleep, amongst the rest of what motherhood brings, was a steep learning curb. I am definitely not the same person I was before kids. 

 

What is something you are loving right now? It could be a fragrance, a song, anything you are obsessed with.

One of my current favourite things right now is camping. I am still yet to camp but am very happy that my husband loves to take the girls camping and have this special time together. 

 

Name something about your mother/ or mother figure – that you try and model in your own life.

I have the best mum and role model. She definitely has shown me the importance of family. To show up and help each other, no matter what. I’d also like to say she has shown me how to be the best cook. I mean, I’m still to learn how to cook in general, let alone like her, but something I will always try and live up to. 

 

What’s one moment from motherhood that you’ll never forget?

There are so many to choose from but the most recent was, as I was doing my youngest daughter’s hair. I wanted to put it a certain way and she didn’t agree with me. I was trying to convince her saying “It will look so pretty” and she turned back to me and said “I don’t want to look pretty, I want to look like myself. Why can’t you just let me be me.” And she was so right! I couldn’t have been more proud of my strong girl. I hope she never loses that fire. And of course, she got her way in the end!

 

Steph Kassos

Tell us about yourself/your story. Where are you from, when did you become a mother?

I’m a 37-year-old mum of three from Brisbane. I’m the third daughter of Greek-Australian parents, and when I’m not mum-ing, I’m a physiotherapist and business owner. I became a mum in 2017 to twin boys, and my daughter was born in November 2022.

 

Tell us about your little ones, their ages, what they love to do.

I have Nathan and Eli, who are 5 ½ year old fraternal twins and a 6-month-old baby girl, Giana. My boys are in prep and are obsessed with school, reading, Lego, and Bluey. Gia is definitely a daddy’s girl, and she’s obsessed with her big brothers.

 

How would your kids describe you?

I asked the boys how they would describe me, and the first word they said was “lovely” which was sweet! They said I’m friendly and happy but can sometimes be serious when I mean business. They said I’m the best reader because I do all the voices, and that I’m a good cook (but not a great cook – room for improvement perhaps?). Gia can’t obviously talk yet but I’m the one who gives her milk and her solids, so she thinks I’m pretty great.

 

What is something you are loving right now? It could be a fragrance, a song, anything you are obsessed with.

  • Matching sets
  • Hazelnut mochi
  • The Imperfects podcast
  • Campari and grapefruit juice

 

What is something about motherhood that most people don’t tell you about?  

No one told me about ‘mum guilt.’ That feeling of dropping them at day-care when you don’t have to go to work that day, asking for babysitting so you can get your hair done for the first time in 6 months, or going to a work conference and feeling bad that you’re putting people out to look after your kids. Mum guilt is real.

 

Tell us about an event in your life that changed you, that you were never the same after.

When I went to see my specialist for our very first scan after a positive pregnancy test. My doctor is pointing out the various details he can see on the ultrasound saying here’s the gestation sac, and then he stops mid-sentence, and goes oh wow… and here’s another! Congratulations – it’s twins! My husband laughs when he gets nervous and believe me there was a lot of laughter (and happy tears!) in the room!

 

Name something about your mother/ or mother figure – that you try and model in your own life.

My mum is someone who would move mountains to help her family. She is a selfless and compassionate person, and she is someone I can confide in without fear of judgement. I hope to be this kind of mother to my own kids.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Vulnerability isn’t weakness. To not be so serious. And to not be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone, because its often here you’ll find the greatest growth.

 

How do you spend your ‘down time’ or those short moments of alone time?

Watching a good tv series, going for a run, or drinking a coffee in one go without reheating.

 

What’s a rule you secretly love to break?

Ha! I break these daily – the ‘no more than 2 coffees a day’ and ‘no coffee after 3pm’ rule. Who am I trying to fool? 

 

Do you have any family traditions that you love?

A few years ago, my boys became obsessed with flicking through the Women’s Weekly Birthday Book. They decided that they can choose any cake we want when it’s their birthday, and it’s up to the rest of the family to work together to make it for them. It makes the lead up to their birthdays very fun as there’s lots of planning and constructing involved!

 

What’s one moment from motherhood that you’ll never forget?

The moment when my obstetrician placed two babies on my chest after they were born was a moment no words could do justice to describe. I think I gasped, realising those tiny humans who were minutes ago still in my belly were now looking at me, and I was looking at them. And then I got to experience it all again 6 months ago with Gia. There is no way to describe it other than pure, instant love.

 

Michelle, Eleni and Steph all wear looks from Sea Change, Part Two 



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