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Sally Smith, Mornington Peninsula local, founder of children’s social enterprise Ocean Thinkers and mum-of-three, talks to us about what being a mother means to her.

Charlie, Lulu and Rose

Tell us about your three little ones; Charlie, Rose and Lulu?

Charlie, our eldest (8) is growing into the most determined, kind and outgoing boy. His love for adventure and animals is exciting to watch. He loves telling stories and sharing strange facts about the world (90% of which I have no idea if true or not!), he’s a very caring big brother and he has just found a new love in surfing.

Rose (5) is our fierce power woman. Calm and considerate yet fiery – she will give anything a go and I love that about her. Rose has just started school, so our relationship has naturally shifted a gear. My little baby is more independent and I’m now nurturing a tired big schoolgirl at the end of the day. I feel so happy for this next part of her journey - it’s beautiful watching her curiosity of everything new in the world explode!

Lulu (1) is hilarious! A cheeky toddler who adores her older siblings and playing the harmonica to our little chicks. I am still feeding Lulu and treasuring every moment, I find the connection and quiet moments spent nestled up with her so special.

Sally and Stuart in their coastal backyard with Charlie and Rose.

Life is full for you...Working on a start-up and also in your partner’s business, not to mention being a mum, a daughter, a sister and a friend. How do you make time for sacred connection with Charlie, Rose and Lulu beyond the daily grind?

I really believe these moments can be found in so many little ways and it also evolves as they grow. Our weeks are pretty full, so I try not to commit to too many extra things as a family. Living by the ocean, we spend a lot of time with our toes in the sand and swimming in the water together – these are the simple times that I treasure most.

That said, I don’t think I ever feel like I get enough time with them, but I make sure I relish in all the small moments. Dinner together, books in bed, cuddles and little conversations. I focus on what we have and try to let go of the bits beyond that.

Looking back, what advice would you give a new mum-to-be?

This is an easy one – do not listen to advice…! Of course, seek help, support and nurturing in all the ways you need but trust yourself and be gentle during your uncovering.

Go slow, find your own way, less is more. And, on a practical level, travel while they are new babies!

Also, something I wish was told to me… Your boobs are going to leak (!) and if breastfeeding is a part of your journey, you’ll likely be wearing breast pads day and night for months. Side note… Juem have a great maternity range, including the softest washable breast pads (not sponsored!).

What does being a mum to your little tribe mean to you?

It’s like stepping into a euphoric love bubble that has so many layers. There is the strongest pull of protection and unconditional love. You become a teacher, a supporter, a listener, a scapegoat, a negotiator, and it’s all balanced out with simple moments of unwavering friendship, holding tiny hands and learning along the way, together.

Making memories by the ocean.
Sally and Rose.

Tell us about the most special part of being a mum...

Watching them experience things for the first time has got to be my favourite. The awe! The wonder! It’s innocent and joyful and so special to witness. Early on it happens daily (tastes, smells, textures) but as they grow you have to put a bit more effort in to find it.

And, the most challenging?

I love being a Mum and it comes before anything else for me, which can also be testing on my relationship with my partner. I couldn’t love him more, and admire him as the beautiful Dad he is, but our time alone is limited and so finding space for us to enjoy a dinner together or do something fun is not always easy, it’s a continuous work in progress and evolution.

Cuddles with Lulu.

Motherhood serves many lessons. What’s your biggest so far?

That we are responsible for our own care too. We really need to look after ourselves and other mothers/carers around us. Mother’s need nurturing too.

Parenthood is a tough gig, relentless and incredibly testing at times. Without the love and support of those around you it can be hard to look after you.

Taking a break to work out, cook a healthy meal (and eat it!), get creative, phone a friend in peace or go for a walk in the fresh air is such valuable, juicy, soul-reviving time and can put extra weeks of energy back in the tank. These times get me through and allow me to reenergise and reset so I can continue to give.

Three generations: Rose, Sally and Margie.

How did your own mum influence or inspire the way you mother?

Oh, so much! She still does, weekly! I consider myself so fortunate to continue to have a mum who is emotionally and physically present for myself and the kids. She is a true giver, of time, of love, of fun. We were raised knowing we had a supportive family but were also given the freedom to make mistakes and learn how to get back up on our own two feet.

Without realising, this is an approach that my partner and I have carried forward into our own little family today.

"And, while we have no broken bones here yet, we have plenty of falls".

Sally's 'fourth child', Ocean Thinkers, is a social enterprise on a mission to inspire the next generation to learn more about our oceans, create positive impact and be part of a hopeful future. To learn more, head to the website here.

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