Life coach, Marketing Manager and mum of four Emma Lagerlow talks to us about the challenges of raising teenagers, how she finds sanity and the side-hustle she is passionate about!
Where and how long have you lived in the Sutherland Shire and what do you love about it?
I have lived in the Shire my entire life, apart from a couple of years backpacking around the world. I currently live in Burraneer, but I grew up in Jannali and lived in Cronulla before I got married and Caringbah for ten years after that. I love that most of my family lives in the Shire and I have lots of friends as do my children. It is a great place to raise a family, with so many beautiful beaches, sporting fields and parks to choose from, the residents are super friendly, and it is very picturesque.
Tell us about yourself and your family:
I am a life coach and work as a National Marketing Manager for a local compounding pharmacy that makes medicine for animals. I have a side-hustle that I am very passionate about called Mummaste. It is a blog and community for mums who are raising teens to find greater purpose, connection, and wellbeing.
I am also a mum to four, almost all teenage children, a fabulous son and three gorgeous daughters. My husband loves taking the kids surfing as much as possible and he also coaches the kids’ footy teams. I loved coaching my girl’s netball teams when they played too.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day, when we are not in lockdown, is busy with four children. A few days a week I like to get up early and work out with a girlfriend. We share a personal trainer and train at the gym, doing weights and cardio. I also like to do yoga and walk. Then it’s busy getting the kids off to school before I head to work.
My job is during school hours, which is great as I am around for them when they are not at school. This invariably involves dropping them to sport or work for the older two most afternoons and trying to prepare dinner and lunches for the next day in between. We usually all eat dinner at different times depending on the schedule. I might try and spend an hour or two on Mummaste and then watch some Netflix or Stan with the kids or my husband before bed and get ready to do it all again the next day. I am loving lockdown for a little respite from this routine, let me tell you!
Favourite park and why:
I would have to say the National Park is my favourite park now the kids are older. I would love more time to go on bushwalks. We are so lucky to have this treasure in our backyard. But Cronulla beach and surrounds is my ultimate favourite place.
Favourite thing to do with your bubs/kiddies and why:
I love a Sunday night BBQ with my family. Our weeknights are always busy with after school activities, and we are all generally occupied with sport and socialising on weekends (when we are not in lockdown!). But on Sunday nights we often come together for a BBQ. We go around the table and talk about our favourite part of the weekend, and it feels nice to know my kids are all safe at home, relaxing and eating good food in preparation for another week.
Favourite kid-friendly cafe and why:
We love the Burraneer Bay Bakery, on Woolooware Road. It is close to home, the bread rolls are fresh and doughy, the sausage rolls and pies are a winner, and their signature chilli chicken wraps are delicious. A big family such as mine can be expensive to feed and to eat out in particular. But Burraneer Bay Bakery is affordable and there is something for everyone. You can eat in too, for that eating out feeling that doesn’t break the bank. We all love it there!
Favourite restaurant or favourite night-spot and why:
My favourite restaurant is Sealevel. The staff are all so friendly, it has arguably the best views in the Shire, the food is delicious, it is affordable, and it is BYO. I never fail to have a good time at this establishment, it always feels festive and fun.
What do you like to do when you have time to yourself:
Carving out time for oneself has become a pillar of Mummaste. I think it is so important for mums to prioritise their self-care. It is also something that I feel can be neglected by mums, in the busyness of life and looking after everyone else. If I have time, I like to start my day with a 10-minute meditation, write in a journal and finish with writing three things for which I am grateful. Exercise is also a mainstay, as is reading, listening to podcasts or audiobooks and I love taking a bath.
Work or SAHM (Stay at Home Mum):
I was a Stay-at-Home Mum for the first eight years of motherhood, which I am so grateful for and absolutely loved! I have worked part-time for the past eight years, building up to 30 hours a week. I am also a life coach and have my passion project Mummaste which I work on whenever I get the chance. I love that I am helping mums who are raising teens. It is a tough period of motherhood, when teens are looking for independence and testing boundaries and there is not a lot of support for mums.
Motherly advice on how to stay sane:
Take at least 10-minutes a day just for you. Give yourself permission to take time-out to exercise, relax, connect with friends or be pampered every so often as well.
Funny mum moment:
My kids reminded me of this moment after our recent trip to the snow. There was much discussion about helping my younger ones to dismount the chair lift as it is always a bit precarious. Well, I find it scary too, with snowboards everywhere and there is always a slippery slope to navigate. So, it was the first chair lift of the holiday, and we were preparing nervously to get off.
The exit started OK, with us all holding on to each other, but it quickly went pear-shaped, and it was every man for himself. With me pretty much pushing my charges away. My daughter went down, and I crashed into her. We landed in a tangled mess and the kids have continued to remind me that my duty of care was nowhere to be seen. Although it was funny for the rest of the family who witnessed the debacle and luckily nobody was injured at that point…
What is your guilty pleasure?
Where do I start…? Chocolate every single day is my guilty pleasure. Right now, I am crushing on Milky Bar, the sweeter the better.
What makes you lose your shit?
When someone messes up what I have just cleaned, sand in my shower from the beach or muddy footprints in the foyer after I have mopped. Keep your dirt away from Sadie the Cleaning Lady!
What’s something not many people know about you?
Writing a book is on my bucket list! Watch this space!
Favourite local shop/online store or Instagram business:
I am not a massive shopper, but I do love Roar in Cronulla. Beautiful clothing labels, jewellery, homewares, and beauty products.
What’s the best product/service you can recommend since becoming a mum? (for baby/kids or you)
I have just purchased a Thermomix and I am loving experimenting with healthy family-friendly recipes.
What’s your “can’t live without” beauty product?
I love my Biodroga serum from Bliss Day Spa, it makes my skin feel amazing and I love that it has anti-aging properties too. If Bliss Day Spa was a product, I could not live without them either. Dani has been my skincare and pampering saviour for years, I love her and her angel hands!
How have you changed since becoming a mum?
Before motherhood, I was an amazing sleeper, I would drop off easily and not wake till morning. Motherhood changed all that for me! My firstborn didn’t sleep through until he was 6-months old and then it was sporadic at best. I have never slept as well again. But it has all been worth it!
Apart from that, motherhood has been very rewarding. I have become less selfish as the well-being of my family is of the utmost importance. More recently, I have learnt that it is important to continue to have a purpose as a mum and to prioritise my own self-care so that I am the best version of myself for my family.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced since becoming a mum?
I have found it most challenging as my children have become teenagers. No longer are they little people who adore me and go everywhere that I take them. They are now young adults, but without the maturity of adulthood. It is difficult to know the correct boundaries to uphold around how much my kids go out, the time they spend on devices and social media, their bedtimes, and friendship groups. As a parent, I sometimes feel like I am losing control and losing them.
Although I can still remember feeling physically exhausted when my children were younger. I had four kids under six years of age, so it was busy.
Perhaps I have forgotten the challenges of each stage and can only focus on present difficulties. But I try to be accepting, understanding and loving rather than authoritative and angry when it comes to my children. I have learnt the hard way that it’s the best approach when it comes to raising my teens. Staying calm as much as possible and doing what feels right for my family and not worrying too much about what others might be doing or saying is working well for us right now.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
It is so important for mums to not forget about themselves at every stage of motherhood. If you would like to talk about prioritising yourself or your goals as a mum, you can find more info, connect with other mums (especially those raising teens) or contact me via Mummaste.
Would you like to share your local #mumlife with us like Emma?
If you would like to feature as our next ‘Local Mum’ we would love to hear from you! Please tell us about yourself here.