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The Best Of Our Family Column in 2019!


Featuring an incredible cross section of super inspiring parents, from AFLW star (and single Mum of two) Sophie Abbatangelo, to comedian / author Catherine Deveny, to singer / songwriter Clare Bowditch (!) there were so many brilliant insights in our family column this year.

Here are some of the best pearls of wisdom they shared!

2nd January, 2020

Clare and her husband Marty at home with her twin sons Oscar and Elijah (12) and daughter Asha (16). Flowers by Babylon Flowers. Plants by Hello Botanical. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Sally Tabart
Thursday 2nd January 2020

Clare Bowditch On Overcoming Self-Doubt + Being Your Own Kind Of Girl

What do you find works best for you in overcoming your self-doubt? I know you named your anxiety ‘Frank’, which is great.

‘Frank’ is an umbrella title for a feeling of foreboding. I came up with it during the very early recovery stage of my breakdown, when I didn’t really know how to separate my emotions. Now I know it was just anxiety that needed training. Reading Jack Kornfield helped a lot, as did a really practical little book by Dr Claire Weekes called Peace from Nervous Suffering. She was a stalwart of the Australian post-war veteran field. She helped people deal with anxiety before it really had a name. Slowly, slowly I was able to work past it, but it took until I was 27 to have the guts to put my own songs in the world. I’d been building that courage from age 21. I still have self-doubt, but these days it can motivate me. It tells me I’m onto something. My songs have always sat in me like pets. I can’t rush them. They come when they’re ready and my job is to make room for them. So I just keep showing up with my pen and paper.

Revisit our original interview with Clare Bowditch here!

Anthony and Catherine have ‘become tedious, active seniors’ hitting the gym at 6am! Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Catherine hopes her boys to embrace the notion of logical, not biological, family. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Author + Comedian Catherine Deveny On Raising A Trio Of Boys

You’ve written on what you term ‘the narcissism of motherhood… the competition and judging each other from labour to Year 12 results to grandchildren.’ It’s so true, but why? I imagine you have an excellent approach for dealing with this or calling it out?  

Sometimes I say, ‘That’s amazing about your high achieving, good looking, well-balanced kids – congrats! My kids play computer games, watch porn and make bongs.’ I won’t enable their competition parenting. When they ask, ‘What school do your kids go to?’ I respond, ‘What difference does it make?’ and flat out refuse to answer until they give me a rational answer. They never do.

Revisit our no-holds-barred interview with Catherine Deveny here!

With artwork for his latest exhibition The Space Into Bicheno opening on September 18th. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Artist Julian Meagher On Creating Through The Parenting Fog

Has fatherhood influenced the way you paint?

One of the biggest challenges in painting, or any creative outlet I would imagine, is to not overcook it. Fatherhood has forced me to let the work live and breathe on its own. I am painting with a lot more freedom. When I start a work I feel like I am actually now taking a run-up before I jump off the cliff. Fatherhood has forced me to accept that I’m not in control of anything at all, and nothing is really about me, so I feel more comfortable taking risks. I’m making a lot more failed paintings than I used to, but I’m making a lot more really successful ones too, I think.

Revisit the original story here.

Chloe Brookman and her family at home in Byron Bay. Photo – Lisa Sorgini.

The Co-Founder of Olli Ella Talks Business + Babies

What have you learned about yourself across your parenting journey? What do you need to be the most effective parent you can be?

To keep a sense of humour and to not try to be perfect, because it’s impossible. You will make yourself miserable in the process. I’ve learned to really sit with the chaos and the mayhem, to not wish away a second of it because it goes by too quickly.

Revisit the original story here.

Meika, 3, also started kinder – it has been a big year for the family! Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co. for  The Design Files.

Hendrix, 5, started school as Sophie began her debut AFLW season this year. Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co. for  The Design Files.

Meet AFLW Forward And Mum Of Two Sophie Abbatangelo

It’s been said that sport has the power to effect cultural change and advance gender equity. What does it mean to you, and your daughter Meika, to be a part of this?

I grew up watching men in my family play football, from my Dad and brother to my uncles and cousins. Even though I preferred to kick with the boys, I was still supported when I wanted to play competition.

I have always been passionate about equal rights and recognition, not just for athletes but for women in general. If Meika grows up to love sport as much as I do, I feel confident that she’ll be encouraged and accepted within any sport she chooses to play. And if she does aspire to play football, it excites me to think how amazing she could be with the talent and growth that is coming through now. I just hope she uses her strength and ferocity in competitive sport rather than on Hendrix and me!

As for following in my footsteps, I hope she feels empowered to challenge herself with things she might find difficult and if she does choose a sporting pathway, listens to her coaches and finds herself a great group of friends.

Revisit the original story here.

Que and Alfie (4) at home. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Que Minh Luu Talks Parenting Through Producing, Class Systems + Grief

What’s your experience with self-doubt? Any advice on how to not let it stop you doing ‘The Thing’?

I think age really helps. I’m in a job now that gives me some level of agency to make some kind of change, but for years I was highly anxious and full of self-doubt. I had a really great partner and he was my cheer squad, critic and fellow brainstormer. All through my 20s, I just couldn’t visualise where I wanted to be and how I was going to do it. He helped me to be strategic, rather than just focussing on whatever problem was in front of my nose. I spent a lot of time being afraid of looking like an idiot and now I’m okay with being an idiot.

Revisit original story here.

John, Augie and Alison cruising around Collingwood. Photo – Sarah Collins.

Alison Bell On The Joys And Humiliations Of Working Mum Life

How do you work through the guilt that comes with being away from home?

I am no role model there. It’s really, really tough. One consolation, and this is going to sound overly earnest and ridiculous, is that I believe in the work that I’m doing. I know not everyone has that luxury. I’m in a very privileged position where I get to practice my craft and make something I believe in. It does help to acknowledge that fact and recognise this great opportunity I’ve got. I can’t pretend that the feedback doesn’t help. That probably sounds ego-driven, but I don’t want to make work that doesn’t speak to people. I don’t want to put all of my creative/work energy into something that no one connects with.

Revisit original story here.

Royce is the Creative Director of VICE Australia, where he’s been working for the last 11 years. Photo – Sarah Collins.

Kalu and Royce make RIDICULOUSLY cute kids! Photo – Sarah Collins.

VICE Australia’s Creative Director Royce Akers On Dad Guilt + Life In The Suburbs

What’s your experience with Dad guilt? Is it a thing?

I feel guilty about constantly talking about them. I feel guilty when I’m not with them. When I get mad at them I feel guilty afterward. So without googling Dad Guilt, I’m pretty sure I get it from time to time. I’ve had other Dads tell me they feel guilty watching Bluey. The Dad on that show has become a low-key role model, which is hilarious and awesome.

Revisit the original story here.

The family pictured with the newest addition, Veda (4 months). Photo – Sarah Collins of Work + Co.

Stripping-Down The Family-Business Juggle With Pop + Scott

Moving across time, how might you like the girls to remember you to their own families – what do you think your parental legacy will be?

I’d love for them to remember us as a team! That their Mama and Papa were equals, and that their roles in caring for them and the family home were shared.

Revisit the original story here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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