In this instalment of our Mama Spotlight series we’re getting a rare peek into this creative household on the sunny Queensland Sunshine Coast.
That’s where freelance photographer, Stephanie Barnes, and her musician husband, Jackie, are living the dream with their two gorgeous daughters, Bella and Zoey, and the latest addition to the family, 8-months-old baby boy Kai.
Not surprisingly, you’ll often find this sun-loving family soaking up the rays on their local beach or watching daddy take centre stage at a live concert.
Music is a true family affair. So much so that Stephanie has started learning the guitar to unwind after an often full-on day with the kids.
We had the absolute pleasure to chat with Stephanie about her parenting journey and some tried-and-tested tips she can share with the Cushii community.
Stephanie, can you share with us how you’ve experienced the early days of motherhood?
“I feel like I hit the jackpot in that department, because my mum spent most of her life as a midwife. Her knowledge and wisdom has helped me incredibly, from the entire birthing experience to breastfeeding and the general "Holy moly, am I doing this right and what do I do now?!".
So for me, the transition into motherhood was enjoyable and I really hope I can pass all of that wisdom on to my children too. I definitely still have days where I think I may lose my sanity altogether, but I've accepted that it's a big rollercoaster. Amazing moments for the most part and the kids spice it up and throw in some crazy for a bit of flavour!
Life would be bland if it was perfect all of the time, right?”
Can you share some favourite mama moments with us?
“I love seeing them grow in confidence and give new things a go.
It's the best feeling when they smile, cuddle me tight & tell me that they love me. And that I'm the best mama in the world! Hopefully they never stop doing that!”
What has been the biggest eye-opener that you simply weren’t prepared for?
“The mess! I would love a magazine spread, tidy, minimalist home! But my girls are creative which also means constant mess in our house!
All that mess is so worth it thought when I see their little creations. Proud mama moments right there.”
Now, let’s talk all things Cushii. How have you made the Cushii Lounger a firm part of your daily routine?
“I am obsessed with how light, soft and portable the Cushii lounger is.
I take it to the beach with me so Kai is not covered in sand. Miraculously, the sand just glides right off the lounger when I give it a little shake!
Kai really loves chilling in the Cushii lounger at home, and it's been such a great addition to all things newborn!”
Can you share your top 3 tips with us that any new mum NEEDS to know for the first few months with bub?
“I know it's a hassle, but pumping and saving milk in the freezer so you can introduce baby to taking the bottle early will mean that mama bear can duck out to the shops while a family member feeds baby at home! A little burst of alone time out of the house can do wonders for your sanity!
Also, make sure all of your precious photos and videos are backed up on your computer or the cloud. Funnily enough, I need to practise what I preach. I think mine are all on the cloud, but I have not checked in a while.
At the end of the day, do what works for you and your family. All the advice is great to get, but don't be disheartened if you are doing things differently to everyone else.”
Looking back on the first few months with each of your 3 tiny humans, what are the 5 newborn essentials could you not have survived without?