Parenthood has definitely changed me. Health and time are precious commodities, and I value every minute I spend with my family. I’ve realised how lucky I am, and how precious life is. I’ve also become a nervous driver – ha! There’s nothing like driving with a newborn in the back of your car for the first time.
Before I became a mum, my days were a lot less structured. I probably didn’t realise just how much freedom and choice I had. Work was full-time, and I had as long as I needed to get any job done. Honestly, motherhood is very different to what I thought it would be – however the happiness it brings supersedes any other feeling I’ve ever experienced.
What’s surprised me the most about motherhood is how it’s woken me up to how the world around me is, and what kind of future lies ahead for my children.
It’s made me care a lot more about our country, community and environment. I want to make sure the world my kids grow up in gives them the same joy and opportunities we had.
Booking in some me time and realising that no one is perfect helps me parent well. My amazing and supportive husband also helps, as does seeking advice from my parents, books and my mothers group, and applying what works for me. I also found that after I gave up breastfeeding, a routine helped me so much. If I was unsure of why Maxie was upset, knowing what stage of the day he was at usually helped me fix the problem. I also found it helped him sleep a lot better, and gave me structure to the day.
The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to enjoy every stage. Knowing that babies are resilient and they’re allowed to cry also really helped. A good friend also said to me once, ‘You know how they say on airplanes, put the oxygen mask on you first and then attend to your child – that’s what you need to do.’ It resonated with me, because if mums don’t look after themselves in the form of eating, sleeping and time out, then how are they supposed to look after their own child? Don’t feel guilty if you put yourself first once in a while, as hard as that is. The best book I was given was Save our Sleep by Tizzie Hall.
The best creative advice I’ve been given is to surround yourself with art and inspiration in your home, office and life. To constantly explore exhibitions and books, and open your eyes to the world around you – wherever you are.
I went back to University to study photography when I was 26. Prior to that, I had worked for six years as a chartered accountant. My experience, to get to where I am now, was a two stage process. Initially, working as a chartered accountant, I realised that the hours I needed to work in the financial arena to succeed were not going to be conducive to my idea of a healthy family-life balance. I decided to take a leap and go back to university to study photography, which was a hobby of mine at the time. While working as a photographer, I met some amazing creatives – Jess and Marissa – who were looking to share a workspace. After spending many hours together, the concept of One Fine Collective was born.
Travel is a huge inspiration. Every time I travel and experience new people, scenery and food delights, ideas are generated and it reminds me of what life’s all about. My son Maximilian makes me realise that life is simple, beautiful and should be celebrated. I bring that into my work as much as I can.
I definitely include Maximilian when I am working on One Fine Baby. The concept originally came to life because we actually had babies of our own. I can safely say that everything we do at One Fine Baby is reflective of what we believe, buy, and do for our children.
I learnt very early on that it’s important to have mummy time as much as I had baby time. I went back to work two days a week when Maximilian was nine weeks old, and I realised how important those two days were for my sense of self. As he has grown, I have gone back to full time, with day care three days a week, and my mum looking after him one day. Fridays are Maxie and mummy days, and when he sleeps I’m able to check in remotely at work. I’m really happy with the balance, as I work 8am to 3pm and am able to pick up Maximilian, pop to the beach or park if we have time, and then share our dinner, bath and reading routine together every night.
My advice for other mums is that it’s important to make time for yourself and organise some help to ensure you can focus on your work. Be careful of letting guilt overwhelm you, because at the end of the day, a happy mummy makes a happy child. It took me over a year to realise that!
I feel extremely lucky to be able to do what I love. I have flexible work hours and can be there for my child every day. I realise these years will go by so fast and I want to teach Maximilian to do what he loves, as he only gets one shot at life.
Nadean Richards is 32 years old and a chartered accountant, photographer and co-owner and director of One Fine Collective. She lives with her husband and toddler son, Maximilian, in NSW. Visit her at One Fine Collective, Photography By Nadean and follow her on Instagram at Nadean Richards, One Fine Wedding Fairs and One Fine Baby.