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Are North Shore Mums really ‘latte-sipping yummy mummies’?

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A Ku-ring-gai councillor has defended North Shore Mums after another councillor dubbed them “latte-sipping yummy mummies”- and now our North Shore Mums, who are working mums, stay-at-home mums, and every kind of mum in between, are joining forces to explain why they reject the label too. 

Writing an email about plans to rezone a Turramurra park last week, Ku-ring-gai Cr Elaine Malicki said there were many people in the area with differing needs who should be considered, not just the needs of the north shore’s “latte-sipping yummy mummies”.

In a blistering email reply, another councillor, Cr Chantelle Fornari-Orsmond – who is a full time worker and mother to two young girls –  said using the phrase “is offensive to a lot of our residents. These latte-sipping north shore yummy mummies, as you put it, are volunteers in our community” she wrote. “In schools and non-for-profit organisations and contribute greatly to our social fabric. These are the people you are elected to represent.”

We spoke to several members in our Facebook group to find out how they spend their days, and it seems our own North Shore Mums agree.

Note: North Shore Mums approached Elaine for her response before publishing our view, but she declined to comment.

So, are North Shore Mums really latte-drinking yummy mummies? We think not! Here are just a few examples of women doing amazing things, every day:

Sharon, Wahroonga

‘People are always fascinated to hear that I get up at 3am every morning to go for a run – it’s my dedicated ‘me time’ before starting work. The run includes a stop at the local bakery for fresh bread for my children’s lunches. With my business, Mayday Mummy, I’m on call from 4am to assist families who need urgent care for their children. Dinner is prepped by 6am and by 11am I have already spent hours on my business, co-ordinated school activities, visited an elderly neighbour and sent two birthday cards to work colleagues (the old fashioned hand-written card sent with a postage stamp). There’s no time for chai lattes – just a sneaky can of diet coke now and then!’ – Sharon, Wahroonga

Janine, Artarmon

‘I’m a 37 year-old mother of two boys, aged 4 & 8. I’m also a full time Chief Counsel in a government agency with about 65 lawyers in my reporting line. I am the solicitor on the record for about 100 litigation matters. Although this might sound like a significant undertaking (and it is), I think it is easier than being a stay at home mum. I respect all women’s choices to work at home, in their own business or as an employee, and I am calling out  the councillors comments that suggest that North Shore stay-at-home mums are out of touch and have too much time on their hands. That is a demeaning and inaccurate generalisation that devalues the contribution women make to our society. By the way, my coffee of choice is a skinny cappuccino which I grab on the way to dropping my son off to school each day, on my way to work.’ – Janine, Artarmon

Natalie, Lane Cove

Natalie's lunch meeting, with baby on board!

Natalie’s lunch meeting, with baby on board!

‘This yummy mummy was up at 5.30 to get some work done before the kids woke; I checked emails for work (did I mention I am on maternity leave?), checked the emails for my volunteer position fundraising and running social media for an animal welfare charity, sent a few emails for Got A Pen?, a not-for-profit charity that I run from my spare room, did a load of washing, and spent a few minutes pootling around of Facebook (me-time is important!). Then I ran the gamut of getting the kids up, dressed, fed, and organised before pausing to play a game of “trains and lightsabres” with my three year old while simultaneously scheduling social media posts for both my charity and not-for-profit. Then we did the grocery shopping, stopped in to support a local environmental group’s fundraiser, played a game of soccer, and checked the emails again. Did some organisation for a fundraising event. Set up a working bee. Oh, partook in negotiating a several hundred k business deal amidst all this (thank God for mobile phones), then rushed home to get ready for my lunch (which was a creative meeting for the book I am writing). Yeah all that was just before lunch. And I’ll have a large soy flat white if anyone is asking.’ –Natalie, Lane Cove

Henny, Chatswood

‘I’ve got three boys aged four and under. I’m also the Founder and Principal of OH Property Group, one of the oldest property Buyers Agency in Sydney. I have helped hundreds of families in the North Shore to find and buy their home and investment property. In addition, I spend a considerable amount of time writing educational articles, running seminars and speaking to the media about real estate. I’ve been a member of North Shore Mums since the very beginning, and volunteer as an admin. I also serve as a Justice of the Peace. Not much time for sleep, let alone lattes for me, unfortunately!’ – Henny, Chatswood

Michelle, Pymble

‘I’m 39, married to wonderful husband who has given me the opportunity to be a stay at home mum (although some days I reckon it’s easier to be at work then at home!). I look after our three boys (5, 3 and 11 months ) and run a not-for-profit charity with two other mums called North Shore Mums Smiles2U. My days are filled with taking my eldest to school (and adjusting to life as a Kindy Mum), my middle boy to preschool (3 days a week, the two days he is home we do swimming and speech therapy ) and my youngest at home with me every day. I visit the local hospitals (Hornsby Hospital and Sydney Adventist Hospital) often to deliver Activity & Care Packs for the Mums and Kids that come through the Emergency doors at the hospital. I’m forever collecting goods from our wonderful community who have donated so generously to us, working on our website and sending emails off to suppliers or sourcing sponsors for us to keep on supporting our local hospitals. The day passes quickly! I look at my watch and it’s 3pm and time to start the afternoon school pick up. Now everyone knows what arsenic hour is lik,e and with three boys it is certainly alive and kicking in our house, with homework, soon to be soccer training in the afternoons, dinner, bath time and getting the boys to bed and mostly solo each night! My days are non stop, busy and yes challenging at times. I’m certainly not sitting around sipping latte’s in my active wear.’ – Michelle, Pymble

Justine, Hornsby

‘I wake by 6am every day. Sometimes a little earlier, rarely later. I make breakfast, wash the dishes, clean the table and wipe up the spills from the floor. I pack my children’s lunches, drop them off and pick them up. I comfort tears, I tend to scratches, I referee fights, and talk to my kids about cement trucks, trees, emotions, doctors, relationships and a thousand other things. I cuddle my kids when they wake afraid of the dark at 2am. I read to them, I play with them, I feed their imagination with games, craft and stories. My reward? Loving, healthy, secure kids.’ – Justine, Hornsby

Melissa, Asquith

“Firstly, I don’t like coffee. I’ll drink it if it’s made for me to be polite, but it’s not my drink of choice. Am I a yummy mummy? I’m often snacking, running from one thing to the next, so yes, I suppose so. That’s what Cr Malicki meant right? She wasn’t judging me on my looks, clothes or the car I drive? Or have I stumbled into 1950 by accident where women are pigeon holed in such a way?

I’m a partner, a mother, a colleague, a friend, a mentor, an academic, a tutor, a baker, a volunteer and a coach.

I work full time as a teacher and I’m part of the leadership team of my School. Some days I’m at work by 7.30am, some days I’m at work well after 5pm. I plan lessons, run meetings, mentor new staff and read research papers on the future of education in Australia. I constantly update my IT skills so I can stay on top of the mediums that are popular with students as well as be alert to any new trends. I’m active in online educational communities both in Australia and overseas. I present at conferences, parent forums and write about education. I am both a teacher and a learner.

I’m a parent. I make lunches, cut hair (sometimes not well), sign homework books, hear reading practise, find missing shoes. I cover books for the library so that they last longer for the students.

I’m on the P and F at my children’s school, I volunteer to supervise excursions and swimming lessons. Later this term I’ll be making some meals for the homeless as part of our school’s commitment to the community. I coach Under 6 soccer for our local club; we train once a week and we play once a week. We do our best, but we’re not Man United. But we’re learning, we’re working together – not just the players and I, but the parents and supporters who show up each week to cheer us on. I make meals for people leaving crisis situations for a group called North Shore Helping Hands. I’m a collection point for people donating to North Shore Smiles2U, a group whose sole aim is to provide care packs for parents and children who unexpectedly visit our local hospitals. I give to Got a Pen?, an organisation who supplies stationery materials to children who might otherwise not have a ruler or pen. All those groups were started by local mums.

I’m active in my local community groups where advice is sought and given, items are given away and community spirit is fostered. Yes Cr Malicki, we all have different needs, based on a range of different circumstances and factors. What we all need however, is a little less ill-informed judgement, and a little more kindness.”- Melissa, Asquith

Bianka, Hornsby

“Firstly, I’d like to thank Cr Malicki for inspiring me to audit my time. Now I know why I’m always tired! OK, I’m short on time so let’s get down to business. Thanks to local traffic conditions, getting to school is a one hour round trip so if you add drop off and pick up to the hour of breakfast and getting my kid ready for school, there is three hours gone already. Speaking of school, volunteering for the school can take anywhere between 15 minutes to three hours per day. Along with that is volunteering for my son’s sport team and a community organisation. There’s another few hours per week.

I work from home, so I have the ‘luxury’ of being able to multitask some housework with my paid work, but all in all, I get around three hours of paid work done and at least two hours of housework and meal prep. We’re up to about eight hours already and haven’t even begun to look at time spent being an actual mummy – playing, bathing, educating, doing homework and tending to the needs of my kids is a wonderful thing, but not something that can be put off either.

If I’m doing the right thing by them, I’m spending at least two hours with them. Taking them to their activities (karate, swimming, soccer, music classes, kindergym etc) is a whole other story as travel time needs to be taken into consideration. If I’m lucky that’s only one hour of my day. Spending quality time with the family over dinner is important and there’s another hour but we also have to bank another hour for unexpected things that always crop up. Usually it’s a medical/health issue. Today’s is the hour spent cleaning, doing laundry and another shower thanks to a projectile vomit incident.

What else? Well there’s grocery shopping, taking care of the house (bills, maintenance etc), taking care of the extended family, and dropping everything to help a neighbour when needed. Don’t get me wrong, socialising is important for any human being but in order to make it happen, there are usually at least three re-schedules involved because we make plans thinking that some miracle bit of spare time will occur and inevitably it is snatched away. When it does happen though, I would never order a latte. Fact is that when there are grabby toddlers about, a cold drink is always the safest option. Preferably one that your toddler will drink when they decide that yours looks more exciting than theirs.” – Bianka, Hornsby

Uldouz, Wahroonga

“I am a former lawyer, mum of three boys, business owner, part time exercise instructor and business coach to mum owned start ups. I also write for the Huffington Post. I am active member of my son’s pre school and love the community that we live in. Do I like to sip a latte from time to time? Yes I do, but it is most often cold and never enjoyed in peace and quiet. Your views are incredibly archaic and out of touch. They also raise the question of whether you are the right person to be a voice for our community.” – Uldouz, Wahroonga

Lucy, Wahroonga

“The last time I had a latte I was at a meeting for North Shore Mums. A business meeting, but one where our kids crawled around our legs as we plotted and planned the future ideas for this website. It’s not my only job – I have two or three others, if you include my other paid work, authoring a novel, and parenting my child- but it’s a job I am proud to perform alongside women I count as mentors, colleagues and friends.  In fact, one of my first – and fondest- memories of my boss Rachel Chappell was when she insisted I bring my baby to my job interview so I didn’t have to juggle daycare. That’s the kind of woman I want to be, one like her. She’s accepting and real, and smart, and kind. She’s shown me that it doesn’t matter what you drink, whether you’re a ‘yummy mummy’ or a barely conscious parent doing your best. We’re all in this together, and nobody wins when women attack each other over their choices.” – Lucy (NSM Editor), Wahroonga

Kylie, Pymble

“I’m a mother of four, I run a wealth management company on the north shore, I sit on four not for profit boards and am very active in the philanthropic space and the local community. The Upper North Shore is awash with capable, passionate and inspirational women juggling work and family with commitment and dedication. Whilst I do love a latte, I reject the generalisation and judgment mentioned in the recent press.” – Kylie, Pymble

So tell us… how do you spend your days? Are you off drinking lattes with the girls, or are you juggling a million things at once? 

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  1. louisa sanghera
    louisa sanghera

    It is really offensive that she said that. I am up at 6AM every day and after dropping off the kids I work tills school pick up then back out to work at 530 till 10pm or later. I then get home and work till 1AM! I work 7 days a week and it can be up to 20 hr days often. I have 3 businesses and run one of these myself and have 2 children in 2 different schools that I have to run around everywhere with them and do all their after school activities. Then cook, clean, organise, be a wife, mum, friend and will no family in this country for support. Not only do i not have time for lattes I don’t even have time to see friends or have much of a life i work that hard. I can also tell you I have ALOT of busy clients who are exactly the same. So yes I agree this is totally offensive, would love to see her try doing my routine for just one week! Lets do a job swap and see how that goes! Oh and I’ve had 10 days off in the last 4 years too,no holidays or long service leave!and never a night away without the kids.

    16 March, 2017 at 8:12 pm Reply
  2. Emma

    I’m 38 and have a 5 year old in her first year at Kindy. I work full time in IT for large TV production company. I work long hours and sometimes I need to work late and on weekends. My partner works 3 days a week. Works well for us. No latte sipping for me. I get my long blacks iced so I can drink them super quickly and get on my day!
    EM, Wollstonecraft

    11 March, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reply
    1. Kim McGuinness
      Kim McGuinness

      OMG!! How infuriating is this!!?? Yes, I, like most others are flat out running a business, looking after clients, volunteering and managing the kids. I think I get a flat white once a week and that’s usually during a business meeting. That’s beside the point as believe me I would have more coffee breaks if could, and with friends and their kids too. Connection is CRITICAL to sanity. Mums are raising our next generation and with the way the world is at the moment, and the external forces via the Internet that interfere constantly, mums DESERVE a %^$$** latte!!!!! A happy and calm mum is the BEST gift we can give our kids. The other night there was a news article about disruptive kids in the classroom – that’s because parents (both – not just mum) are doing too much and not paying ENOUGH attention to their kids and the ipad is their go to source instead. I feel sorry for the teachers. Bring on the latte’s I say, and time to just be! Allow mums some down time – and start a movement for latte’s for Dad’s too while we’re at it. Facilitating a “present” parent is an investment in this country’s future. #Isiplattes

      I’m available for a flat white, latte or green tea anytime….

      17 March, 2017 at 10:04 am Reply

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