To spend 35 minutes with Robin Bailey is to spend it in excellent company.
The woman is a whirl of colour and movement, of jangling jewellery, brutal honesty, of loud laughter and astounding wisdom.
Robin co-presents the breakfast radio show on Brisbane’s 97.3FM. She’s also a regular on the Today Show, a host and speaker who has three, mostly teenage boys.
And, she’s also famous for becoming a widow in sudden and terrible circumstances when her husband Tony Smart took his own life 16 months ago. It’s a notoriety that no-one wants. For almost a year and a half now, Robin has been raising her three sons alone, under no illusions of the trauma she is guiding her family through, and the severity of its fallout.
She barely sleeps, she never, ever lies on the lounge to watch TV and her day begins at 2:45am. But, despite her brutal schedule, Robin says she doesn’t “do it all”, she’s not even close. And she doesn’t think that any of us should be trying.
“It was hard [to make the decision to hire an aupair for her sons] but my mum told me, ‘It doesn’t matter who is loving your child… as long as someone is’. She was right.”
Listen to Robin describe her average day, here. Warning, it’s exhausting.
Listen on iTunes here.
“I need to ask for help for the things that just keep our lives going. So when Tony died I put a team of people around me to get me to the next spot… I just gave out the stuff I didn’t know how to do and said ‘help me.’ When it comes to the kids now — I surround myself with people that will get me where I need to be with them, logistically.”
“People want to help you, so let them help you. You don’t have to have all the answers. If someone is offering to come into your world and make things easier, you haven’t failed. In fact, what you’ve done is bring someone else into your mix who makes your world brighter, may teach your children something. As long as they’re not a serial killer, of course…”
On I Don’t Know How She Does It, Robin also talks about what the hell “white-lighting” is, and why she does it every morning. She discusses why the second year of grief has, in many ways, been tougher than the first, and why she’s happy to be that parent on the phone to the school principal and the soccer coach, pumping them for information. After all, as Robin says, teenage boys don’t like to talk. But communication is crucial.
As I say, Robin Bailey is wise and witty and warm. Spend 35 minutes in her company. You won’t regret it.
I Don’t Know How She Does It is Mamamia’s fortnightly podcast for every woman who’s ever looked at another parent at the school gate, on the television, on the radio, and wondered, “How do you DO all that?” Holly Wainwright talks to a different woman about the ridiculous reality of The Juggle. Subscribe to it HERE, and you’ll get the episodes the moment they’re released.