Phoebe - Motherhood Journey
2nd on our Motherhood Journey Q&A series is Noonie's own cover mum Phoebe! Phoebe has 2 beautiful girls, Valentina and Siddy.
Where do we even begin - model, wife, mother to two beautiful girls, influencer, Noonie’s cover girl! How do you find balance between all the roles you play in life now??
I think finding balance is one of life’s hardest challenges. Trying to commit yourself fully and wholeheartedly to many different roles and aspects of life can be a real struggle. I try to compartmentalise and prioritise what it is I’m doing in that moment. So if I’m in mummy mode then I do my best to not let anything else distract me. The phone goes away, life admin gets put on hold, housework can wait etc. If I’m modelling then the girls go to daycare or get looked after by a nanny so I can have full concentration and focus on my job. There’s always multiple balls in the air but as long as I’m not juggling too many at once then I can (for the most part) maintain pretty good balance.
Phoebe and Valentina
How did you find the journey to motherhood with Valentina, your first born?
I was extremely daunted and excited but Georges and I were so lucky to have such amazing support from day one. His parents flew down from the Gold Coast the day Valentina was born and stayed with us for 6 weeks (which was actually heaven considering in-laws get such a bad rap) and helped with housework, cooking and cleaning as well as showing us the ropes when it came to looking after a baby. My bond with Valentina was not instant, it took several weeks to feel fully attached to her and I think having Mona and Sid was vital in assisting me in looking after her properly. Once I felt that connection it was such a joy being a first time mum. She really was an easy baby and made (and still makes) my motherhood journey such an exciting adventure.
What did you find the most difficult to adapt to?
Lack of sleep. I am someone who needs a lot of sleep. I find it very difficult to function on anything less than seven hours so in those early weeks I was a walking zombie. At night I would fall into such a deep sleep that I sometimes didn’t even hear the girls cry. I would wake up the next morning and roll over to Georges exclaiming what a great night Valentina or Siddy had, to which he would reply “she woke up 3 times crying”. He was such an amazing dad in the newborn days, he would do the night time changes and rock them back to sleep so I could rest. Hands-on dads for the win!
What was your first reaction when you found out you were pregnant?
I was over the moon! Georges and I were actively trying so when it happened after only three months I was incredibly relieved and grateful. I remember taking a pregnancy test in the middle of the night while Georges was asleep. I kept it a secret for three days while I waited for a good time to tell him. I bought a card which read on the front “Congratulations On Your New Job”. Needless to say he was a little confused when he opened it but quickly caught on when he saw the test stuck inside the card.
Phoebe and baby Siddy
Did you have a different experience with your second pregnancy?
In all honesty not that I can remember. I had pretty easy pregnancies on both accounts. I experienced mild morning sickness for the first couple of months, had very similar cravings (orange juice and pastries), similar turn offs (coffee and salad) and thankfully didn’t have any difficulties or complications either time. Sadly my memories of pregnancy are pretty distant now but one thing I do remember is that I loved the overall experience of carrying my babies.
Most exciting or memorable moment in your births?
My waters breaking. Both were a complete surprise as Valentina arrived at 37 weeks and Siddy decided to join us at 35 weeks. Thankfully they both happened at home so I wasn’t completely caught off guard but when I realised my waters had broken I was absolutely ready to meet my babies.
What did you pack in your hospital bag? And how does preparing for birth change after you’ve done it the first time?
- Baby clothes and nappies
- Hat and mittens
- Clothes and pyjamas
- Bed socks
- Breastfeeding bras
- Oversized jumper
- Sanitary pads
- Disposable undies
- Snacks (almonds, dried fruit, dark chocolate)
- Toiletries (tooth brush, face spritz, moisturiser, face mask, eye mask, noonie spray, hair brush, hair scrunchie)
When I was pregnant with Valentina I had my hospital bag packed six months out from my due date. I was super duper organised (a bit too organised perhaps) but with Siddy I’m pretty sure I packed my hospital bag about 2 minutes after my waters broke. I was much more relaxed from a practical stand point the second time around but there was a lot more mental preparation. I think because I knew what was coming I was a little more nervous. Ignorance is bliss as they say.
We love offering uplifting advice to new mothers - what’s one thing you wish you knew or figured out a little earlier?
Go out for coffee!!!! Lots of coffee and lunches and dinners! Newborns are the easiest age for you to still be able to socialise. I definitely didn’t take advantage of those early months and now with both girls in tow I’ll be lucky to have one minute of peace to drink my coffee. Enjoy those long leisurely strolls and lazy lunches, it’s not only easy at that age it’s also good for the mind and soul to get out of the house and catch up with friends and family.
As a model before and after babies, can you tell us about your relationship with your body?
My relationship with my body has, and still is, a bit of a rollercoaster. I suffered eating disorders, anorexia and body dysmorphia all through my teens and early 20s. It was a result of many factors including my work as a model. I was not so kind to my body during my early modelling years, I punished it at the gym and starved it of food. It was definitely not a healthy relationship. I have a full blog post about it on my blog modelappetite.com opening up about my journey. However, since having children I am much more forgiving of my body for its flaws and imperfections. I also believe that the inclusion of a more diverse range of models has allowed women and men alike to feel more empowered and accepting of themselves. My relationship with my body is one I will continue to work on but I have come a long, long way and am definitely more appreciative of everything it’s accomplished.
The connection you have with Valentina and Siddy is so beautiful and in today’s world, managing conscious connection is harder than ever - how do you do it?!
To be honest some days I completely and utterly fail. My head is in many places at once and I don’t give my children the time and attention they deserve. I am by no means a perfect parent but at every opportunity that I can I make sure to be fully and 100% focused on them. I take them to activities that they enjoy and that I can enjoy with them such as ballet, Gymbaroo, Hop and Bop (dance centre) and swimming, I put my phone away, I push my to-do list to the back of my mind and it’s just me and them. Georges and I will always try to priorities family time. If he’s home early from a shoot we’ll pack a beach bag, throw in some food and take the girls to the beach for an evening swim and picnic, turning the TV off during dinner time (although it doesn’t always happen) and allowing 30 minutes of reading and story telling time before bed. Making sure our girls know they are the most important thing to us, keeps us all connected.
What does 2021 hold for the family and what do you wish for the children?
Hopefully our forever family home. We bought a house on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and fingers crossed we will start renovating next year with the plan to be in by Christmas 2021. All I ever wish for our children is happiness and contentment.
How will you and the family be celebrating this Christmas after such an extraordinary year?
This year will be about soaking up as much family time as we can. Georges, the girls and I will be staying with his parents on the Gold Coast like we do every year (although this year did have a question mark over it). There is of course the obligatory family Santa photos, including a grandparent and grandchild photo, which is getting slowly more crowded each year and we always visit the neighbourhood Christmas lights and there is a particular street on the Gold Coast which is known for its spectacular, show stopping displays. Christmas Day is spent at Georges' parents with all 17 of us laughing, joking, eating, singing and dancing until finally falling into a food coma. We sit down to a traditional Lebanese lunch interspersed with western dishes. It’s a perfect way for our girls to experience both sides of their heritage and culture through the enjoyment of food.