Come and meet Melissa - (otherwise known as Liss)
Creator of Frills in the HIlls
Can you tell us a little about your background before your children…
I grew up in Manly, Sydney and am the eldest of 3 girls in my family. All my family cook… it must be in the DNA but I can’t remember not being allowed to cook or not participating in preparing food in our family. I travelled extensively both for work and pleasure before settling down with my ‘import husband’ who is from the Riverina district in 2003. We’d met whilst both living in Canberra in 1997 but didn’t get our act together in the romance department until 2001..
Frills in the Hills – love the name by the way – how did this come about and why?
Well I live in Terrey Hills and I have 3 girls of my own, clearly wasn’t thinking my blog would be food based when I named it
How do you juggle working, cooking, blogs and a family?
When I started my blog over five years ago, I wasn’t working – so it was my hobby – blogging to me has never felt like a job as such – I’ve made income because of my blog (writing off the blog) but my blog is ‘my place’ and I think that if I made that commercial, I would lose my attachment to it.
Since going back to work, the posts are fewer but my love of the blog hasn’t diminished and in fact it’s super useful as my cookbook – my husband and kids use it when I’m not there! Managing a balance between home and work is a challenge at times but I make my weekends count .Though the week my life is mostly about work, and I travel frequently with my job, I’m very lucky I can work from home a few days a week when not travelling so that is super helpful to maintaining a good work/life balance. I make time for my blog when I can – it can be a 2 minute Facebook interaction here or making and photographing recipes there and then blogging later another time.
The number one tip I have for working Mums out there is that you can’t have it all but you have to be happy and make the most of what you have, and that in itself can feel like ‘it all’.
Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?
Yes and no. I think parenting now is more strategic, we think through every risk, every possibility. I find I’m terrible at letting my girls have the independence they need because I want to protect them so passionately… but this is where my husband is the better stay-at-home-parent because he supports their independence and it’s making our girls better people. I had a lot more independence and was exposed to a lot more risk as a child – and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just different.
We also (and I’m working on this too) tend to give our kids everything we think they want and I think we need to pare this back a bit because we have to learn things just don’t happen and we have to learn we can’t have everything and do everything.
Have your own self expectations changed since having children?
I thought I’d be more a ‘friend-parent’ but I’ve found I’m more effective as a ‘fair-parent’ where sometimes you have to draw that line and see through the hard lesson no matter how hard it is for you to administer it.
And twins as well – that is a huge undertaking for any family!
The first few years were a struggle, initially we had 3 under 2 with nappies (MCNs!), bottles, dummies, washing, washing, washing with very little sleep. It was a good test for us and made us the really great parent-partnership we are today. At this end of the scale (our girls are 8.5, 8.5 and 10) it’s great – we generally can cater to similar interests and the baby stages are long behind us. No regrets now!
What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent …. and now do? J
I swore ironically that I would never swear in front of the kids, big fail on that one!
Can you walk us through a typical day for you…
During the week I live a typical ‘Dad-day’. My husband is the stay-at-home parent (and at this stage of our girls’ life he’s better at it!) So my weekdays are really centred around work. I get up, get ready for work, commute to work. Tetris-like-schedule, rush lunch at my desk, either work late and taxi home (missing my girls dinner and bed time ) or come home, quick family dinner – catch up on the day’s events.. then usually more work whilst watching telly. If I’m lucky, I’ll blog! On days I work from home I usually manage to squeeze in some cooking and a little more 1:1 time…
What is one resource that has kept you sane and helped you on your journey of motherhood? Eg book, person, website
Definitely my husband, he came into this crazy journey with a willingness to partner and share the load. He’s completely awesome. The other must-have is a sense of humour – if you can’t laugh you have to give up!
And one tip for us all on keeping it real…
Focus on the friends in your life who don’t place conditions on your friendship. The best friends to have are the ones that still love you even if you haven’t bothered to pick up the phone for weeks or months.
Find out more about Liss and Frills in the HIlls
And check out this no-coke chocolate slice that Liss shared today on her blog – I am so making this with my boys tomorrow. YUM