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Mum vs Life: It’s never too early for your kids to know what’s expected of them

Welcome to the latest installment of our brand new series Mum vs Life. Each week we’ll feature a prominent Aussie mum and take you through her day.

This week we hear from Australian plus-size model Ljubenka Milunovic. She sees herself as a role model for ‘real’ women. We love her.

Ljubenka with her children Mila and Levi

Ljubenka Milunovic

WAKE UP

I usually wake up at 7am if I’m at home because that’s what time the kids wake up. If I’m traveling or on location I can wake up from 3.30am although that’s going to change now that I’m in Australia and our daily routine/life has changed too.

The first thing I do when I get up is check my phone for emails and correspondence then I head to the kitchen to start on breakfast and my daughter’s school lunch.

I’m not usually a morning person although I’m going to work on that. Attitude makes a huge difference to how you start your day and how your day pans out.

I wear a cute nightie/negligee in the warmer months and a PJ set of pants and top in the colder months.

BREAKFAST

I eat breakfast. I think it’s a very important meal of the day. It kick starts our metabolism and provides me and my brain with well needed energy and fuel.

I try to make my smoothies in advance so I can easily sip on it whilst busy getting the kids and household organised and out the door on time. If I’m well-rested, organised and prepared as much as possible it enables me to get off on the right foot and to ensure we get to school and work on time without too many dramas.

Unless there is sport or somewhere we have to be first thing in the morning on our weekend, I tend to let go of the routine so we can ease comfortably into our day. Weekends are our days off to enjoy and relax. We need the balance in our lives.

BATH vs SHOWER

I’m a shower person and always have been. That said, the handful of times I’ve checked in to an amazing hotel with a serious bath tub, then I’ve had a bath.

I tend to shower morning or night as it depends on when I’m traveling, working or simply needing to be ready. There is no rhyme or reason.

My showers are usually fast and automated rather than luxurious. When I’m working a lot, I have to wash my hair more frequently than I normally would so that is a routine I have down pat.

I sometimes get interrupted although so far, I’ve managed to co-ordinate my showers in my husband’s and until recently, our nanny’s presence to avoid such instances.

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GETTING DRESSED

I usually organise my outfit the night before. I’m pulling out an outfit for the gym (if at home) or an outfit for work (when traveling or shooting that day locally).

My process is quick and lacking a bit sometimes as it depends on the time I have to myself and what’s inspiring me at the time. If I’m not sure, I’ll pull two outfits out and decide which way I go in the morning.

I love wearing jeans, cashmere sweaters/turtlenecks, scarves, jackets and boots or ballet flats in the cooler months. In summer I love dresses and cute heels, ballet flats or sandals. I also love capri pants with a loose fitting top with a burst of colour or print.

At home, I like to wear comfortable clothes that still look cute if someone popped around unexpectedly... So I feel like I ‘dressed’ for the day. At home, I’m seen wearing harem pants and tops or black capris with a striped top. I love stripes and red lipstick. It doesn’t take much.

WORK

I can leave for work as early as 4am depending whether I’m catching a plane or driving to location for a shoot. My times vary depending on my call time. No day or week is the same.

A typical day has a light breakfast provided although I have a smoothie before leaving home then snack on fruit, eggs or nuts. I sit in the hair & make-up chair for approximately 90mins then get changed into my first outfit. I slip in and out of different outfits all through the day (sometimes as many as 30 times). Lunch is typically provided and after 30-45 mins I get a quick touch-up in the hair & make-up chair again before shooting till the end of the day (studio day is 8 hours and location can be up to 10 hours a day).

I love my work. I enjoy meeting new people, traveling and sharing life experiences with friends that I’ve made in the industry. I enjoy the creative process and variety of work too, from editorials, catalogue, runway, media to TV.

When I’m at home, I’m at home. I definitely switch off and am ‘mum’.

FOOD AT WORK

Lunch is usually provided at work. The crew tends to stop shooting and we eat together.

I snack during the day on nuts, fruits or cut up veggies when hungry.

I do love my coffee although I try to keep it to one or two a day. My weakness is a Turkish coffee I make at home. When I’m on the road, I drink a long black coffee or a green tea. No sugar or milk, just black.

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EXERCISE

I try to exercise every week although when you’re on the road and traveling from place to place 3 - 4 days a week like I do, it’s hard having a regular routine. I go when I can and when I’m at home which is sometimes 2 -3 times a week. I don’t beat myself up about it.

I enjoy exercise and plan on fitting more of it into my life as my children go off to school and I have more time for me.

CHILDREN AND WORK

My kids are used to me working and traveling. They notice and feel my absence most when I’m away for more than a week at a time.

I’m not sure they really understand what I do. It’s been a while since they came to work with me (they are 3 and 5 years old). That said, they will be coming to the studio this weekend so perhaps they might feel differently.

I hope they are fulfilled, happy, successful and at peace in whatever field or industry they choose to get into. That said, one can always choose a different career path in life and I don’t believe you have to stick to one thing unless you want to of course. The sky is the limit.

EVENINGS

We usually eat in during the week and will eat out at least once over the weekend. I try to mix it up and typically include veggies, a protein and a carb. We tend to eat together and usually the same thing. I don’t have time to make different meals all the time. It simply depends what we are having.

I end my day either in the home office (usually the case), watching a TV show or DVD. I wish I ended it in a deep bath tub surrounded by candles and yummy scents.

HELP

Up until recently, our village was my husband our nanny and me on a day-to-day basis. Now it’s my mother, husband and me and during family get-togethers which are frequent, the entire family which is so divine.

We had a nanny whilst living in New York for over three years. We had no family around and both my husband and I worked odd hours and days with no week the same. I never felt guilty for hiring help - we could not have had careers or worked without our nanny’s help. It is typical in New York for working parents to have a nanny.

BEDTIME

I love sleep and don’t always get what I want and need I’m afraid. I tend to get anything from 6 - 8 hours a night (depending if I’m traveling or not and what I have to achieve before I go to bed). I would ideally love around 8 - 9 hours a night and function best with a good night of rest.

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My routine is a mix of reading, TV/DVD or work in the office. I like to end my day with a hot cup of water with fresh lemon in it. It’s so refreshing and soothing.

On weekends, my husband and I have been known to alternate naps on Saturdays and Sundays (now that our kids have stopped napping). Even an hour makes a wonderful difference.

TIME MANAGEMENT

I set the table the night before and have all lunch items on hand ready to go. I also have the kids and my clothes/outfits out ready to slip on in the morning and I make sure I get my daughter’s approval the night before so there are no fashion meltdowns. It really works.

I think it’s important that all family members contribute to the morning routine which can be manic and stressed with the best of intensions. It’s never too early to have your kids understand and know what’s expected of them and have we work together as a team who are on the same side.

Australian born and bred Ljubenka Milunovic is the face and brand ambassador for the EziBuy clothing label Sara and has also appeared in The Australian Woman's Weekly and Woman's Day as well as shoots for Myer and David Jones. She was signed to Ford Models in 2002 and has featured in advertising campaigns for Avon, Bloomingdales, Victoria Secret, Levis and Tommy Hilfiger. 

Ljubenka has also worked as a runway model in America on the CBS Morning Show and other events throughout the states.

Keep reading our Mum vs Life series here:

Sally Obermeder: "It's a tough balancing act as a parent"

Meshel Laurie "My children are just starting to resent my work

Jackie O "My daughter loves to pretend that she works too"

Amanda Kellar "I have help and I choose not to feel guilty"

Mrs Woog: "I live my life in chaos

Lindy Klim "Two of my kids are fantastic eaters but my son is shocking"

Rebecca Judd "Gone are the days when I wear heels"

Lisa Williams "How I teach my son not to be afraid"

Miki Field "When Anthony is home, it is a little more chaotic"

Angali Rao "Dinner time with my son drives me to my wit's end"

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