Hey folks! This ‘Hey Mama’ is all about a very insightful woman who is full of life and full of love for her family. Danielle is a mum of two, a wife, a beauty therapist and a travel writer with her own blog titled, “Are We There Yet?” She loves to travel with her family, experience new things and learn alongside her kids. She is selfless, beautiful, charismatic and young at heart, not to mention she has a passion for writing that shines brightly through her words.
She is the kind of woman who just gets in and get’s shit done. On Danielle’s recent trip to Vanuatu along with her family, she was giving medical treatment to cyclone survivors in the morning, fixing roofs by lunch time then taking the afternoon to go snorkeling with the kids. She’s a really hands on kind of chick, setting a wonderful example for her little ones. Make sure you read some of her traveling tips before you go on your next adventure, she might just save you your sanity. Mamas give it up for Danielle!
Tell us about your gorgeous children.
I have two fantastic kids. Ethan is about to turn 16 (eek!) & Lara is almost 11. Ethan is a real adventurer & fitness freak. He is incredibly fit, healthy & driven & puts us all to shame! He has been working part time for a couple of years now & steadily saving for a car, he will go for his L’s in a couple of weeks after he gets backs from work experience with the Australian Army in Singleton.
My Lara is a little firecracker! She is a 25 year old trapped in the body of a 10 year old. She is a talented dancer & has been dancing since she was 4. It is just fabulous to see her achieving her dance goals & to watch her confidence bloom. She is excited to be heading to L.A. for dancing in 2017 & is doing all she can to raise the funds to get herself there.
She has a taste for the finer things in life (just like her mum!) & is a lover of travel & adventure. She wants to see the whole world! She is also a talented writer & is just starting to think about writing her very own travel blog. I am very close to both my kids & think they are both just fantastic people.
Hmm, not an easy question to consider in my 30s but I would have to say being a mum has been a very strong pull for me for as long as I can remember. I became a mum at a very young age & although at times it has not been an easy road, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love the fact that I have been growing up WITH my kids & I hope they have learned a lot by watching me evolve & learn about life & myself as I have gone along.
I always felt judged as a young mum. Even by people who didn’t know me, or know how hard working & driven I am, how important my children are to me & how I wanted to give them a great life & have always prioritized bringing them up the best way I can, no corner cutting. I certainly haven’t always got it right but I have always put my whole heart into it.
How has this shifted over the years?
I guess as my children are getting older I have had to learn to think more about myself. Time has just flown by & I had a real realization this year that I have been a mum my entire adult life! This caused a shift in me & I found myself driven to find more of a balance. I started to think about life after the kids leave home & what will my life be like. I know I will be a very sad empty-nester but also a very young one & I don’t want to just sit at home waiting by the phone & crying. My plan has always been to motivate & inspire my kids to live a full life & I want nothing more than that for myself & my husband. I hope lots of travel & exciting career opportunities, things that may have been a bit of a distant thought when the kids were young.
Tell us a little bit about your recent trip to Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam and how that has had an impact on you and your family.
Our last trip to Vanuatu was in April of this year. It was our third trip there as it is a real favorite destination for our family. We touched down just under 3 weeks after Cyclone Pam swept through & we were very unsure of what to expect. Our first concern was for all the beautiful families we have gotten to know during previous trips, so we set about collecting supplies to take with us. Many people were concerned about us taking the kids into such a situation but we were in constant contact with DFAT & our local contacts in Port Vila & felt sure that we would all be safe if we took the right precautions & were well prepared. The minute we arrived we knew we had made the right decision & the locals were so pleased to see the first lot of tourists return. Over the 2 weeks we were away we had a good balance between work & rest. We helped re-build family homes, bought supplies for families in need & provided first aid when it was required. We all pitched in & it was an amazing thing to be part of as a family. I was incredibly proud of my husband & children, they all have such a generous, giving natures & I really saw the kids change & become mature well beyond their years, plus they really got a good dose of reality. It was great for them to see how happy the Ni-Van people are despite all they have been through, how little they have & how hard life can be. The kids barely argued the entire trip!
I have been a beauty therapist since I was 16 years old & my perception of my career has changed a lot over the years, as my life has changed. I feel very privileged to be part of so many amazing women’s lives, I have had so many of my clients for such a long time that each appointment just feels like a catch up with a friend. It’s funny, each woman is different but yet I have found we all tend to have the same worries, thoughts, desires, goals, fears & insecurities. I am always blown away by the inner-strength & balance that women seem to have in spades. Most women are juggling work, kids, a partner, an extended family, running a household & still seem to find the time to wax their legs. RESPECT!
How do you find a balance between being a mum and a business owner?
It is never easy to find a balance, especially at the moment, as I am launching into a different career path, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. I am very much a list-ticker & anyone who comes into my house will tell you there is a serious amount of post it notes! I like to be highly organized & need to write a lot of things down, as we are a very busy family. My husband is a very supportive person & recognizes when I am becoming overwhelmed. We all chip in & pull our weight to get things done & we all have set tasks that are our responsibility as part of this mad house. My children are my priority, as I know that they will not be under this roof forever & I want to look back & say I was part of everything I could be. I am lucky to be in a position where I am my own boss & can roster off time to be with my family. Balance is something I have always struggled with & have been known to run myself into the ground & take no time for me. I am definitely getting better at saying NO & prioritizing!
If you never had to work another day again, what would you do with your time?
TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL!
I love experiencing new things, new adventures & meeting new people. I certainly haven’t travelled the whole world but that’s the plan. I have always lived by the mantra “young mum, old backpacker”. Writing is something that I was always encouraged to do, my Dad is a professional writer & my family has always been very encouraging of my creativity. I haven’t written for a very long time but I do remember my year 10 English teacher telling me that I should follow that path & that I would regret leaving school to wax people’s eyebrows! It is not a regret I have ever had, but I do love how organically & easily writing has found its way into my life. I was given an opportunity to put my writing out there this year & I really enjoy writing my travel blog ‘Are we there yet’. I hope to grow this aspect of my life & would love to make travel, adventure & writing a big part of my future.
What inspires you?
My kids are a source of motivation because I want them to be able to say ‘My mum is really inspirational’. My husband is a very inspirational person. He is honest, hard working, driven, generous & caring & a great supportive partner & dad. He had a terrible accident when he was just 18 years old & has a huge amount of injuries as a result of that. He died several times in the immediate aftermath, was in a coma for several weeks & had to learn to walk again, over a period of several years. None of this has ever held him back in life. He is fit & has a physically demanding job. Although I know it is getting harder on his body the older he gets, he never complains & has spent his life achieving his personal goals despite the set-backs. He is a true inspiration & we are lucky to have him in our lives. He is also great at pushing me to achieve my goals.
Occasionally when I am forced to relax & take time, I will book a massage, or acupuncture treatment. Most days I do buy a nice coffee & sit for 10 minutes & enjoy it. I always need a travel project to focus on & work towards & I find I am at my happiest & most relaxed when I am traveling.
What is the most important lesson you hope your kids learn from you?
- Treat people how you wish to be treated.
- Fill your life with people who enhance your life, not bring you down.
- Work hard to live a life you will be proud of.
- Don’t give up on your dreams.
- Never let people judge you & don’t judge others.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Never be afraid to put your hand up & ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
- Stretch your mind as often as you can & experience new things.
My favorite new mantra ‘A mind that is stretched can never return to its former dimensions’
I would say, “Your life is going to be very different to what you expected. You are going to have some very, very tough times ahead, You are going to find yourself catapulted into a very grown up life, way ahead of your time. You are going to have to work very hard & you will cry a heck of a lot. You will have to be stronger than you ever thought. But you will get to a point where you look back & love where you’ve come from. You will have a real sense of self & pride. You will learn so much about yourself & the people around you. YOU WILL REACH A POINT WHERE YOU FEEL SO BLESSED, LOVED, LUCKY, ACCOMPLISHED & TRULY HAPPY & YOU WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING.”
What does it mean to be a woman in your family?
My Mum, Grand mothers, Aunties & now my daughter all have similar strong, no non-sense, coping mechanisms in them. Some of them have had seriously big challenges to deal with in life but have always just got on with things. They always appeared strong & capable, even if they were falling apart on the inside. I am forever inspired by the amazing women in my life.
My Nan was a big influence the whole way through my life. We had a real affinity with each other & so much in common. She became a mum at 16 & has always been strong, motivated, forward thinking & independent. She lived an amazing full life, she worked hard, travelled, laughed a lot (she snorted when she laughed, I really miss that sound!) & I have many happy memories. We spoke several times a week & I feel like we became even closer over the past few years. I feel like I left nothing un-said with her. I really miss our chats & it has left a big hole in my life. I am grateful to have had her influence in my life for as long as I did & I am grateful for all those conversations. She also made killer caramel tarts!
What does success/ failure look like to you?
I think your life & how you feel about it & yourself is a good way to measure success. You cannot lie to yourself, you know if you are living a successful life & being true to yourself, there is nowhere to hide. I think success looks different to everyone & can also vary in size & change each day. I always try to think, if I am at the end of my life, will I look back & be proud of what I see, the person I am & the life I have lived? That is great motivation! Some days success may be that the house is tidy, you & the kids are happy & it’s been a great day, Or you managed to find 5 minutes to have a coffee or a shower. I enjoy looking back & seeing how far I have come & that gives me a good perspective on success. I still have many goals & ambitions & there has been (& will continue to be) failure along the way but success means to keep going!
What gets you through the toughest days?
EASY…My brilliant family!