This week we’re super excited to introduce you to our latest That Mama, Audra Morrice! As a mama of 2 boys and a contestant on the latest series of MasterChef Australia (she made it to the final three!) Audra was born in Singapore and is well acknowledged for her ability to both cook and bake (she was a favourite to win!). We chat to Audra about finding time for yourself, while running a busy household and keeping your cool in the process.
1. How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
A little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way! I find keeping my working space organised and free of clutter helps as well.
2. I wish I had more time for…
Playing sports, tennis in particular.
3. I always feel saner after….
A run or a massive clean-up.
4. Favourite activity with the kids in Singapore?
Heading to the hawker centres to feast! My boys love to watch the prata man flip roti prata. Obviously there’s also Universal Studios, which if given the choice, they would want to visit every single day.
5. Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Singapore?
Most hawker food centres are pretty kid-friendly. Our favourite place to go to is The Daily Scoop for fabulous ice cream. Alex goes for choc mint, Andre goes for strawberry and I always have coconut.
6. Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
We love going to Bali. We are planning to head to Vietnam and Chiang Mai next. Although now that we live in Sydney, Singapore has become a holiday destination for us. Good food, fun parks and family, what more would you want?
7. Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my kids love it?
8. Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Giving your relationship the attention it deserves is incredibly important. A happy marriage = happy family = happy kids! We try and go on weekly date nights where it’s just hubby and I. It gives us a chance to talk without distractions from the kids. You’ve got to make an effort!
9. Favourite date-night restaurants?
We love trying new restaurants! A real stand out in Singapore for us was Lolla at Ann Siang Road. In Sydney, we adore Toko in Surry Hills — beautiful food!
10. Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
Pre-baby career days were all about work. 12 hour days in the office were not uncommon. Cooking for two was also pretty easy!
Life obviously changed dramatically when my first child came along. I returned to work on a part-time basis (3 days a week) when Alex was 4 months old. Due to the nature of the job, I ended up working most of the other 2 days from home as well. With no one to help on the home front, life was a massive juggling act between day care, work and home, and often I was racked with guilt. I had Alex at day care from dawn till dusk, before coming home to cook him a nutritious dinner and getting him into bed at an early hour, in addition to managing a household and a very demanding job!
It took me a good 9 to 12 months to settle into a routine and accept the nature of being a working mother. I moved into a 4 day week about 12 months after returning to work.
Having number 2 seemed much simpler. I was comfortable with the balancing act and I accepted the demands of running a household, working in a full time job and giving the kids a happier mother. I sometimes felt guilty when I was late to pick the kids up from daycare or school but I managed my time and emotions a lot better second time round.
11. How has having kids changed the way you define work?
My children come before anything else. While I’m at work I give it 110% but when I’m home with the kids, they get my undivided attention. My days are structured so that I work after my kids have been dropped off at school until when I pick them up in the afternoon. It’s then their time until bedtime after which I often work again till late.
12. Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Singapore?
I think it’s incredibly important that mothers maintain their identity, so finding a passion or interest and turning that into a business is great. I’m all for it. Past generations have made sacrifices by giving up their career and basing their entire life around their children and family. An unfulfilled passion often leads to resentment.
So my best advice to aspiring “mamapreneurs” is to create some discipline in your life, structure your day appropriately, manage your time and allocate time for work and time for family. This will help you maintain a good work life balance and avoid unnecessary stress and tension. Most importantly it will provide you with empowerment, a sense of purpose and your own individuality.
13. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Don’t beat yourself up and do the best you can!
14. As a mama I wish I were better at…
Making sensational looking battleship cakes with intricate decorative detail! My last attempt at making a standing rocket ship cake wasn’t that great (it wasn’t standing!), luckily with the help of a whole lot of smarties, the kids didn’t notice.
15. My most humbling mama moment was…
When my oldest son told me during the shooting of a Masterchef episode (in front of everyone) that he was really proud of me. It made be realise that I was indeed a good mother and I was proud and humbled by how much empathy and pride he had.
16. What’s your favourite family ritual?
Sunday morning brekkie with the family.
17. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
What I’m going to cook for dinner for the family the following night!
18. Bedtime is always smoother when…
The kids are settled and not over stimulated. I try to always stick to a routine.
19. Even when my child has a family of his/her own, I’ll still…
Be there for them 100%.
20. One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
Quality time with my kids.
21. My favourite moment of the day is…
When I hear my kids having a chit chat with each other about events that happened during the day, it’s so cute and always makes me smile. Next thing they will be talking about is which girl they’d like to go out with…
Ages/Genders of Children:
2 boys, 7 turning 8 in December and 9 turning 10 in September.
These lovely photos of Audra and her family are courtesy of Lifetime Asia.