balancing series: Mechelle

I am so happy to introduce my next guest in the series: Mechelle of More Than Twelve Short Stories. Shell is such a special soul to me. I know I'm gushing, but I hope I grow to be as gentle, loving and creative a mother as she! We actually had a serendipitous first meeting - I remember her coming into the tiny italian paper shop where I worked at the time, and just having this feeling of liking her straight away, I'm sure her bright jewellery, curled haired husband and all those bonny and smiling faced children accompanying were part of it. We got talking about music and life, then exchanged emails and blogs and in the four years passed visited each other's cities, shared grief and great happiness, faith, births, marriage, travel and more. I feel extremely blessed to be her friend; to have heard her sing in her living room; to have held her babes close.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family
I am a self taught singer, songwriter, performer and poet!  I have been lucky enough to work as a songwriter writer, vocal performer, and recording artist for the last eleven years under the band The Tullys, which consists of my husband and brother in law and various guest musicians over the years.  

My husband and I were married young - giddy and in love, we were only 18 and 19 years old at the time!  Throughout what is nearly 16 years of marriage now, we have remained best friends and still very giddy with excitement for one another. We have been blessed to have had 5 children over the years - my oldest, Emma is 15, Campbell 12, Sean is 7, Tara 6, and Oliver is nearly 2!

My family means so very much to me, and I have had great support from my husband's family over the years which has allowed me to balance a music career and a young family.

2. What things in life inspire you most?
I love to find beauty in everything, and to make beauty where it was otherwise lacking.  Whether that is a posy of flowers brought inside from the garden, or singing to my children at night, laughing when things come crushing down, or dancing through a storm - my songs are usually about the deep and difficult things we face in life, so in a way putting them to music finds beauty in hardship.  So it's the pursuit of beauty in all things, and especially the most unexpected places that keeps me being inspired.

3. How do you currently manage mothering, home, life and working on personal (and or) work projects? 
I have always been very conscious of the balancing act that parenting and managing home, personal and work projects presents.  I just try to give everything a fairly equal share of my time so that nothing, and no one goes unattended for long!  My husband and I have always homeschooled our children, so we work hard together to keep everything in balance.

This last year, I have been on a personal health, wellness, and weight loss extravaganza!  I get up early each morning to workout for about an hour, whether that be going for a run, or doing circuit training at home.  My older children help the younger ones with breakfast while I'm working out, and when I'm finished we all have a cup of tea and clean up the house together.  I also work for myself part time as a property manager, so when I go into work I can usually leave some of my children at home with my sister in law who helps me with lessons etc, and I take the baby and my oldest to work with me which is great to be able to do when you are your own boss!

I am also part of the local musical theatre society here in Canberra, Australia so at the moment a big portion of my time is spent at rehearsals, and my husband supports me doing that and has been doing special projects with the children while I am off doing that.

4. What do you like best about your current set-up?
I get to be my own boss.  So I take all the risks, and the buck stops with me, if something goes wrong with the business, ultimately I have to sort it - but when things go well I can pat myself on the back!  I also get to feel proud of my weight loss which, when completed in a few months time I will have lost around 50kg (which is approx 110 pounds)!  My children are my greatest fans!  They have been so proud of me being able to participate now in so much more than I used to be able to!  So what do I like best about my current set-up?  Being fit enough now to take it all on with energy to spare!  And I look good too! : )

5. Are there things you'd like to do differently/better? If so, what are they?
I do panic sometimes that my children are growing up so fast, and I question whether I have spent enough one on one time with each of them? (being that there are 5 of them)!  I try very hard to make sure that they each know how immensely I love and cherish them for who they individually are, and that they each know how special the bond is between myself and them.

6. What is the favourite part of your day?
I love the mornings, as I am an early bird and I usually have the house to myself for a little while at that part of the day to workout or just to sip tea and read blogs in the quiet!  I also love meal times with the family, and catching some late night television with my husband when all the children have gone to bed - bliss!

7. What advice, if any, would you give other mothers about finding a good balance?
It may be the thing that a lot of people say, but I truly believe that mothers need to take care of themselves first, in order to serve their families best.  I make sure I get that walk or run on my own so that I can clear my head and prepare my mind and spirit for the day ahead.  Not everyday is it always possible, and it doesn't have to be in the morning of course - but that is what usually works for me.  Once I have taken care of myself, I am so much more willing and able to take care of everybody else!

The other thing is to take care of the marriage.  My husband and I always make time to spend with each other everyday to discuss everything or nothing together!  But for the purpose of feeding our relationship so that we are the strongest and happiest union to take care of our children and the rest of our extended family.  

So I suppose it really is all a balancing act, which sometimes means we drop things and make mistakes.  I try to learn from what I get wrong and let life teach me everyday how to be better, keep finding the beauty, making the art, and loving more.  For love can never fail.