There are many columns written about how having children will change you. It changes how you work (with super-powered efficiency). It changes how you see the world (with great empathy and care). It changes how you move about in the world (where’s that stroller ramp?)...
I’m a single mother of two teenage boys. I’m also Queensland’s Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business. I’ve just spent a week travelling all over the state talking to Queensland small businesses about being connected and digitally savvy. I’ve been thinking about the new economy language we use. It resonates with me as a mother. Be collaborative! (Believe me, I reach out to others.) Be adaptive! (I’ve changed my weekend habits as my boys outgrow trips to the playground for drama rehearsals.) Be ready for the digital revolution! (I’m on Snapchat. Of course I’m stalking my sons.) This month, my commitment to new economy-style flexibility is being tested. My youngest son has declared he’s a vegan. I work very long hours when Parliament is sitting. I travel far and wide for work. My weekends are often taken up with electorate commitments. The least I can do is raise a carrot stick to support my youngest as a vegan for the month of June.
Australian Politician Leeanne Margaret Enoch with her sons and mother
So I search vegan hashtags on Instagram and find Brisbane’s KBSugarfree. After drooling over her flourless, vegan protein brownies I bounce to her blog. I make a mental note to download her e-book. Her Healthy Brisbane links take me across to vegan cooking classes at Putia Kitchens. I jump across the Banyo-based pantry on the Yelp app. How did mothers tentatively explore veganism before smart phones? A hyper-connected world is happening right now for small businesses, for mothers, for all of us. After a long, rewarding day of meeting with constituents, entrepreneurs and startups, I receive the boys’ school newsletter on my phone. I cross the threshold of my home to find my youngest buying the week’s dairy-free groceries online and the other chatting with our relatives up north on Facebook Messenger. (I’m the eldest of 42 cousins; there’s a lot of family to catch up with.) My children have changed me. And the world around us has changed our family. Innovations keep coming. Apps need downloading. The software on my phone needs updating. Technology has been good to me and my boys. As a parent, I remind myself of the words I use in the small business and innovation space: to be flexible, adaptable and be open to change. Veganism, for 30 days, here I come. The Hon Leeanne Enoch MP is a proud Quandamooka woman. She is the first Indigenous woman member of the Queensland parliament. She is State Member for Algester and Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy; and Minister for Small Business. Holding image: Nikole Ramsay