food

Julie Goodwin: "Leaving my kids to be on Masterchef made me a better mum".

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Thanks to our brand partner, Telstra Smart Home

Julie Goodwin was a micromanager.

In a big way.

At work, at home, in the kitchen and even in the laundry.

“I would peg [my kids’] clothes on the line in size order and colour order and make sure the pegs matched the clothes”.

But everything changed when she was selected from 7000 applicants to appear on Australia’s first season of Masterchef eight years ago.

She won the competition. And she had a win at home, too.

“When I was on Masterchef and [my three sons] were in primary school, it was tough, that was really, really tough to be away. But now the logistic things are easier. The hardest logistical thing now is who’s going to be home for dinner!”

Julie Goodwin talks about raising her three boys on the latest episode of I Don’t Know How She Does It…


But back then, her boys – in Years 5, 6 and 7 – were confronted with no choice but to ‘grow up’ while mum chased her dream.

“I was gone from home for four-and-a-half-months. Prior to that: micro-manage.”

“I’d make sure everything they wore was clean and everything they wore, matched. And that they were dressed appropriately for their occasions.”

“I got home [from Masterchef] and none of them had pneumonia, none of them had been expelled, none of them had lost all their friends.”

But ‘letting go’ didn’t come easily. Once Julie returned from the competition, it took her a while to realise that home had changed and she needed to change with it.

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“I would hear myself nagging [at the kids] and going, “put a cardigan on, put a jumper on before you go outside, it’s cold out there”. I could hear myself and I thought that voice has been absent for all that time and they’re ok so just let it go and stop sweating the small stuff because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.”

This is a vast change in gear for a woman who was constantly “needing perfection in things … setting the table … I like things to be a certain way. What I’ve let go of, is [that] other people don’t have to do things a certain way.

“With me not freaking out anymore … Now, they do their own washing. It’s quite liberating.”

“You can’t worry about minutia when there are too many big picture things in your life.”

Julie certainly has a few of those. These days, she’s co-hosting a breakfast radio show, running her own cooking school, keeping across the family’s IT business, writing her columns for the Australian Women’s Weekly and of course, pulling together her most delicious, scrumptious recipes into top-selling cookbooks.

“What Masterchef showed me is that life takes some pretty serious dog leg turns when you least expect it.”

Indeed. Her micromanaging was brought to a halt by the show that changed her life. She’s relieved it did. She can cope better, love more. And much to her surprise, do more. Her advice to other mums is that they let go, too.

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“Forgive yourself. Go easy on yourself and just love your kids as best you can. You spend a lot of time as a parent worrying about things that are never going to happen and it’s the stuff that you don’t even think about that might blindside you.

“All my life growing up, I thought the ‘mother bit’ would be the biggest, longest bit but it’s not going to be is it? Because I’m there. I’m done.”

But it’s certainly not over yet, with all of her kids – plus one of their girlfriends – still living under Julie’s roof, where she serves Australia’s favourite meals (last night it was a beef stroganoff, oh, and a risotto) for family dinner. Every night.

As for setting the table?

“I really don’t care … You have to trust other people … As long as everyone’s in the room and we’re all enjoying ourselves”.

Listen to the full episode of I Don’t Know How She Does It here: 

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Telstra Smart Home.

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