Welcome to the latest installment of our series Mum vs Life. Each week we’ll feature a prominent Aussie mum and take you through her day.
This week we talk to Labor member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland. Ahead of the September 7 Federal Election, Michelle is busy campaigning and caring for her 18-month-old daughter Octavia. She takes us through a typical day in real time!
WAKE UP: "I wake up a few minutes before my alarm..."
Alarm - I actually wake up a few minutes before it goes off. I sleep with my BlackBerry charging on the bedside table. My body is back in the rhythm of the early wake up so it doesn't hurt as much as it did a few months ago. My 18-month old daughter, Octavia, now goes down in her cot without fuss at around 7pm each night and usually sleeps through until anywhere between 5am and 7am. I remember getting up for the multiple breast feeds during the night, I think it was the short bursts of sleep that hurt more.
I walk quietly onto the landing and feel my way down the stairs in the dark. I hear Octavia talking, it's coming from the spare front room. She must have woken while I was in the shower and my husband has taken her into bed with him. On week nights when I have an early start, I sleep by myself in our room. It means I can wake up, shower and dress without disturbing anyone. Octavia hears the safety gate click on the lower set of stairs and I hear the cutest, "Byyee!" come from upstairs. I'm smiling.
BREAKFAST: "It's my shout for breakfast at the Lebanese cafe in Blacktown..."
A good morning at Seven Hills station doing meet and greet with commuters. I've lost count of the number of times I've done this over the past 3 and a half years. I enjoy doing it outside of election periods, it's a nice way of reminding constituents - and yourself - that it's important to stay in touch. Usually I do this on my own but now the election campaign is in full swing, a big team has turned out to lend a hand.
I announce it's my shout for breakfast at the Lebanese cafe in Blacktown which makes fresh zaatar (Lebanese oregano and oil pizza, a traditional breakfast) and great coffee. A few calls to the office. A call from my husband Michael, he's nearly at work but will be finishing late. Octavia is with his parents. We used to co-ordinate her movements with Olympic precision, now we tend to go with the flow since everything is so unpredictable during the campaign. The main variable we need to control is ensuring a car with a baby seat is always available.
MORNING: "I need to buy a birthday card for my husband..."
Meet up with my mother-and-sister-in-law in the shopping centre in Blacktown. Octavia is wearing the cutest dress and red stockings, she looks like a doll. She greets me with a single command of, "Up!" (meaning she wants me to pick her up out of her stroller). I comply. She runs amok laughing at all the colour and movement of the shops and shoppers. We have a fun hour buying everything from finger paints to a new dog bed for Sash (my mother-in-law's geriatric but much-loved Maltese terrier) to a new clothes dryer. I need to buy a birthday card for my husband.