parent opinion

'My kids are my sun, not my world. This is the difference.'

I was at a mother’s group with my second child when I first realised my children were my sun, not my world. 

Until that point, I probably would have described them as my world. In reality though, there are many things that make up a world - my world - and those things revolve around my children. My sun. 

When I had my first baby at 27, I left my job as a television reporter to stay home with him. I loved my job, but was one of those people who relished stay-at-home parenting, (despite the three hours of sleep per night and intense levels of reflux). But parenting was what I did, not who I was. Back then, I didn’t contemplate the possibility of being stereotyped for my choices. I was blissfully ignorant. 

When my son was a toddler, I did all the SAHM things. We went to playgroup one day, a play-based music program another. We went for walks, played games, read books. My world revolved around him.  

During this time, while I did lose touch with popular music (Wiggles anyone?), my interests didn’t change, nor did my innate personality. I loved fashion and kept up with trends, (all dressed up with no place to go), I had my hair done (mobile salons for the win). My love of news remained. I watched and listened, when I could. I was passionate about current affairs and social issues. I had opinions, and wanted to share them, wanted to hear them. My son was still a baby when I dipped my toe back into journalism, writing the occasional story, while he slept. 

Obviously I gushed about him to friends and family, but I talked about other things too. At least, I wanted to talk about other things. Most of my friends hadn’t had children yet, so they had plenty to talk about too. I still felt 'normal'. Tired, but normal. 

WATCH: In this episode of No Filter, Mia Freedman talks with Phoebe Burgess about Identity, Motherhood & 'Getting on with it'. Post continues after the video. 


When I had my second baby, I joined a mother’s group. I’d moved house, some distance from friends and family, and was feeling touches of isolation, despite my love of motherhood. I thought a mother's group might be a nice way for me to meet some new people. 

I lasted one session. 

The only other topic of conversation - apart from detailed descriptions of every aspect of their child’s personality, sleeping patterns, and eating habits - was whether the husbands liked cheese on their spaghetti, and the various amounts for those that did. I honestly didn’t realise it was possible to analyse your husband’s pasta preferences quite so thoroughly.

My children are my sun. They sustain me. I shine when they shine, I’m dark when they are dark. 

My world, though, like the actual world, is made up of many things. Parenting might be the Pacific Ocean, taking up the bulk of my mind-space, and almost all of my time. But there are countries and islands scattered throughout, some big, some small. There are storms, and icebergs, and volcanos, and rainbows. The same is true of my heart and mind. 

Since that mother’s group, I’ve had another child, and being part of a blended family, have two bonus children. Even though the youngest is now 9, the eldest 14, my world still revolves around them, though I have a little more time. 


I’ve chosen freelance and flexible working to be available to them when they need me, to engage with them, and be part of their daily lives. I make their lunches, drive them around; we hang out. They’re on my mind most of the time too - you’re only as happy as your happiest child, they say, and it’s true. There are health issues, and emotional issues, and life issues; there are birthdays and celebrations and teaching moments and bonding.

The Pacific Ocean. 

The sun. 

But the countries and islands, and all the rest, remain. And when I stop swimming in the ocean, I want to visit those places. I want to talk about them, read about them. I want to write about them. I want to nurture and protect that part of my world too. 

It takes effort, especially within a society that struggles to view mothers beyond that role. In the evenings, when my husband and I throw ourselves exhausted onto the couch, I check myself, or him, if I realise we've limited our conversation to scheduling issues and parenting. When I speak to my mum or girlfriends, and I've dumped my parenting load or proud mum news on them, I quickly pivot to the other parts of my world, the world. The parts that make it varied, and interesting, and fulfilling - not just for me, but for my children too. 

I don’t think I’m alone. 

LISTEN: In this episode of No Filter, Mia talks to Virginia Tapscott who prefers to be a stay-at-home-mum instead of doing paid work... and she is sick of being judged for it. Post continues after the podcast.  


When I catch up with my mum friends, while we do of course, swap parenting updates, and talk through any issues, most of us aren’t keen to waste our precious and rare adult time talking about toilet habits, food preferences or bragging about how amazingly talented our children are at sports, or study, or singing. 

"Many of us have had to put our hobbies and careers on hold and may have drifted away from friends and acquaintances who might not fully grasp the depth of our motherhood journey. This isn't a choice we make lightly; it's a sacrifice made for the love and care of our little ones," says growth advisor and mentor Karina Nagel.  

"We yearn for conversations that extend beyond baby talk. We want to share our experiences, express our doubts, celebrate our small victories, and share our dreams for our children's futures, but we also want ‘adult’ conversations that have more depth to them."

Nagal says while motherhood can be all-consuming, it's important to recognise a broader life perspective and actively pursue activities and interests outside of the motherhood role. Doing so allows you to embrace a more well-rounded and enriched life, but it's good for your children too. 

"It reminds you of who you are and what brings you joy, which is essential for your overall well-being. But it also sends a powerful message to your children. It shows them that pursuing one's passions and nurturing personal interests are important aspects of a fulfilling life. 

"As they grow, they'll carry this valuable lesson with them, understanding the importance of balance and self-expression. Keeping on top of what brings you joy and fulfilment will make you a happier and better parent."

Image: Supplied.

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