Mum vs Life: "My children are just starting to resent my work"

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. Everyone from working mums to stay-at-home mums will relate.

This week we talk to Meshel Laurie, comedian, blogger, author, TV host on This Week Live and mum of twins Louis and Dali.


WAKE UP: "I'm nocturnal by nature..."

I wake up about five minutes after my children do.  That's a guess because I'm not sure exactly how long it takes them to stretch and scratch and come looking for me, but if I'm awake before them I'm furious at the lost minutes.

I'm definitely not a morning person.  I'm nocturnal by nature, so I find it difficult to get to sleep at night and depressing to get up in the morning. Getting up in the early afternoon isn't quite so troubling, from memory. Stand up comedy was an ideal profession for my body clock, but now I have kids and jobs with bosses, my natural, well-rested self is a distant memory.

I should say in their favour that my kids have always been good sleepers. I won't usually hear from them before 7.30am, and occasionally they'll hang in bed until 8.30am.

MORNINGS: "I get to go to the toilet, although never alone..."

The first thing I do when I wake up, (or more correctly am woken up,) is run around the house for about half an hour to an hour, fulfilling the wishes of my 3 year old twins.  They "need" everything from fruit loops to Tom and Jerry, to crocs, to cuddles on the couch and a myriad of other things, and they need them all immediately.  There are also 2 dogs and 2 chooks waiting impatiently to be fed. I'll do all of that on a full bladder.


Once everyone else has been seen to, I get to go to the toilet, although never alone obviously, and then put the kettle on.  The demands will keep coming and the squabbling will start, but eventually I'll hit the couch with a Luke warm instant coffee and my iPad for a quick check of my emails and the news.  I'll try to peruse the dozen or so international websites I trawl for material for the radio and television shows I work on.  When I see a story I like, I'll email it to myself to read properly later.

Most weekday mornings, the kids and I have somewhere we need to be by 10, and getting the three of us dressed and ready for the day is a big job, so the couch time lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.  Then it's a shower, supervised teeth brushing session, finding clothes, putting them on, an attempt at a tidy up, an argument over jackets and the long process of loading everyone and everything into the car.

BREAKFAST: "I don't eat breakfast..."

I don't eat breakfast, apart from the tepid instant coffee and the occasional sneaky spoonful of soggy, abandoned fruit loops.  I just don't really have the time or the interest. I try to drink a bottle of water while I'm getting the kids breakfast.

My ideal start to the day is a hot coffee and a long sit on the couch with my iPad while my husband runs around after the kids. We spend about half the week apart at the moment, (long story) but he's very helpful on weekends.


BATH vs SHOWER: "I'd love to be a bath person..."

I'd love to be a bath person, but due to time restrictions I'm a shower person.  My children interrupt every shower.  Just the other day I noticed one of them peer around the bathroom door to check if I was still in there and I wondered to myself if the dread of what they were up to in another room was a worse interruption than the screaming and hair-pulling at the shower screen.  It's like asking which Kardashian sister is less pointless I suppose.

GETTING DRESSED: "I'm rebelling against fashion..."

I have been on a mission for about the last 12 months to minimise my wardrobe actually.  I'm rebelling against fashion.  I enjoy looking at fashion, as art, but I'm bored to death with perusing it personally. I wear a variation of the same look every single day. Always black, pants or leggings, tunic to just above the knee (I love a tunic), comfortable walking shoes in the summer, long black undershirt and flat sued ankle boots in the winter.  My dream is to hit upon the perfect tunic and have someone sew up a dozen of them.  I'll wear the exact same outfit every day, like Stalin.

My home uniform is light, black cotton pants and a long black t shirt. And when I say "home" I mean the shops too, but no further than the shops.

WORK: "Most days I get home by 7 to see the kids..."

Life is particularly hectic at the moment.  I leave home at about 9.30 week days.  Drop the kids off either at kinder or at Nan's and head to Channel 10 or back home to work on material for the radio and TV shows, write a bit more of a book and/or do some publicity for one of those projects.  Publicity can consist of a phone interview, writing a piece for a website, or meeting a journo and photographer somewhere.


The radio show, Meshel, Tim and Marty heard nationally on the Nova Network from 4-6 weekdays, takes the least amount of prep, but I need to be at the station by 3pm every day to do it.   Whatever I'm doing, I need to drop it at about 2 and hit the road to the radio station.  Then on Wednesday nights I go straight from the radio station to channel 10 to do This Week Live, which is indeed live at 9.30 pm.

Most nights though, I'm home by 7 to see the kids, who'll have been picked up from kinder by our nanny.  I'll try to spend a relaxing hour with them before tucking them in at 8pm.  I'll go directly to bed myself, have a last sweep of the emails, email myself a lot of notes about not forgetting to do things and try to go to sleep by reading.

FOOD AT WORK: "Unfortunately radio stations are magnets for "gift" foods..."

I usually buy something to eat on the way to the radio station, and it's usually reasonably healthy, whatever that means at this moment in time.  A salad sandwich or wrap is most common I guess, and a nice hot coffee from a shop.  Unfortunately radio stations are magnets for "gift" food.  I'd say at least once a week I reach my desk to find a decorative box filled with this crazy cup-cakes with towering icing (which I bloody love) that's designed to draw my attention to something.  Whether its a launch, a party or an event on the invitation in the box, I'm sorry to say that the message behind the cup cakes is rarely heard above the moans of the people eating them.


EXERCISE: "I haven't exercised in literally years...:

I haven't exercised in literally years. I used to go to the gym every single day, (pre kids) but now I don't have any time, and honestly, I haven't got time to justify the fact that I haven't got time.  I'm sure when the kids are a bit older I'll get back into a routine, but for now I'm not beating myself up about it.

I drink coffee. Two a day. One crap one at home and one nice flat white from a shop. I'm back to skinny flat whites with 2 equals at the moment.  It's gross but better than nothing.

CHILDREN AND WORK: "My children are just starting to resent my work a little..."

My children are just starting resent my work a little. They don't know what it is, only that I have to go away and do it a lot, and they'd like me to cuddle on the couch more.

While I'd never try to start a career for them, I'd be thrilled if they pursued a career in the arts. I do love the entertainment industry, and the people in it and I'd love for them to feel the kind of joy and freedom that it brings me.

EVENINGS: "Schnitzels, soups and goulash are in high rotation..."

The kids have usually eaten dinner by the time I get home, but will often have another nibble with me.  We have two Hungarian nannies, who work alternate days and they cook dinner for us too. Schnitzels, soups and goulash are in high rotation.


BEDTIME: "My brain is well and truly drained by the time I get to bed..."

My brain is well and truly drained by the time I get to bed.

I try to avoid TV because it seems to keep me awake much later.  I read most nights, after the emails to myself, and usually have a couple of books on the go.  At the moment I'm into The Stalking of Julia Gillard by Kerry-Ann Walsh, The Australian Moment by George Megalogenis, and First Circle by Solzenitsyn.

"Meshel Laurie's memoir THE FENCE-PAINTING FORTNIGHT OF DESTINY, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99, is on sale now"

Keep reading our Mum vs Life series here:

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"