Mum vs Life: Kate Hunter "Why am I packing three different lunches?"

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 iVillage contributing editor Kate Hunter, mother of three children who she lovingly refers to as ‘a mob of kangaroos’.

Run us through your typical day

My kids are 7, 10 and 12. I used to dream of a time they’d sleep late. Now they do, but the irony is we all have to be up early to get everyone where they need to be. In an average school week there are three days a week at least one kid needs to be at school before 7.30am. Our son can walk to school – that makes life MUCH easier, but he still needs to be dragged out of bed.

I try to go for a walk with the dog and my friend Frannie a few mornings a week. Sometimes it happens, often it doesn’t. I enjoy walking for the conversation as much as the exercise (with Frannie, not the dog).

My husband leaves early – before 7am so I do the usual stuff – unstack dishwasher, hunt for lost socks, rant about why I am still packing three different lunches.

I take my girls to school, then grab a coffee, go home and get to work. My work involves writing for Mamamia and iVillage, as well as copywriting for few ad agencies and corporate clients. Some days I do speaking gigs at schools.

My workday is a bit of a hotchpotch, punctuated by fart-arsing about on Facebook and Twitter.

I pick up my girls at 3pm and then the downhill run to the end of the day. I like cooking and use the afternoons for that and housework.

We try to eat together about 6.30. Then I might read or watch telly while the kids do their homework. I’m not a hoverer but try to be around if they need help. I am hopeless at maths so husband helps with anything involving numbers. Words are my thing.

What are the challenges you face?

Staying focused on what I’m doing. I work on so many bits and pieces it’s easy to end up with a dozen works in progress, or great ideas, and nothing finished,

What is your favourite time of the day?

When I get home from dropping my girls at school and sit at my mac with my coffee and write my to-do list. The day still has so much potential.

When is the last time you almost lost your cool when dealing with your kids?

I did lose my cool. Last week. The rumpus room was a tip. They are like a mob of kangaroos – they’ll trash an area then move onto the next. I yelled quite a lot and implemented a You-Tube ban, which is still in effect.

When is the last time one of your children embarrassed you in public?

Honestly, they don’t. Haven’t for years – having kids the age mine are at is great. They’re old enough to behave, young enough to still want to be out with you.

Have you ever embarrassed one of your children in public?

It used to be daily, for sure. Now they are older I try to keep up with how they’re feeling. I don’t try to be cool though. Not that I could be.

How does being a modern mum make you feel? What are the specific challenges you face?

I don’t really think about it that much. I was lucky to be born with a ‘don’t care what others think,’ gene, so I don’t really angst. I’m blessed to have healthy kids who are nice to be around. They have good friends and are doing well at school. They’re far from perfect but I’ve never imagined that perfect exists.


How do you get everything done and ensure you pay enough attention to your children?

I’m not sure I do pay them enough attention. What’s enough anyway? I think my kids (and most Australian kids) live very, very well and are lavished with attention most of the time.

I’m not going to beat myself up if I tell them to leave me alone for ten minutes while I read the new Women’s Weekly.

Was it hard to go back to work after becoming a mum?

It was a gradual thing for me. When my son was one, I went back to work in an ad agency a few days a week.  That was tricky, but I remember enjoying the work. Then the other two came along and I took more time off. Then went back part time again.

The logistics and expense of childcare were difficult but I don’t remember feeling guilty.

How do you make weekends special for your family or are they just as crazy and busy as weekdays?

We exhale. The kids might skip baths. We sleep in, maybe go for walks. My husb works long hours so it’s nice having him home. We enjoy having friends over – so the barbecue is often fired up in summer.

Are you an involved school mum?

I’m on the P&F committee but don’t get involved in classroom stuff. I’m not sure whether my youngest is in 2 Gold or 2 Green.

What kind of questions do your children ask you about your work?

They are interested in my books because they’re pretty popular with their friends. I get to meet other authors and because my kids are great readers they think that’s cool.

I took my 10 year old daughter to a writer’s festival in March and she met Jackie French – that was very exciting. My kids have zero interest in my copywriting and online work.

If you could ask for any sort of parenting advice, what would it be?

How can I get my kids to be tidy without leading by example.

If you could share one thing you’ve learned about motherhood, what would it be?

Look around at the happiest families -  not the highest achieving or best organised - and do what they do.

Kate Hunter is iVillage's contributing editor and an advertising copywriter with over 20 years experience and one Gruen Transfer appearance to her name. She is also the author of the Mosquito Advertising series of novels. You can buy them here

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”