“People say never work with your friends but I’d never have it any other way now.” Radio presenter Katie “Monty” Dimond (you'll know her from the 3PM Pick-Up radio show) knows a thing or two about sharing the workload with like-minded women, in fact, she’s made a career from it...
Show + Tell, the all-encompassing website on parenting and mum life, was created when founders Monty Dimond, Brooke Campbell Bayes and Stacey Morlang Sullivan wanted an outlet to create candid video interviews of women simply chatting about all things motherhood and life. “We launched four years ago and our focus has always been on video. The big point of difference of our site has always been the authentic filmed interviews with incredible women where nothing much is off limits”, explains Monty. The three women juggle motherhood with running different aspects of the website all whilst putting family first and not losing sight of what’s most important. “Too much work and not enough time makes me feel stressed, but I have learnt that I need to put my hand up when I have too much on my plate. I hate having to ask for help – I always have – but I know now if I don’t it will come at a cost to my family, and I can’t have that. My time with my husband James and daughter Edie is too important to me,” says Brooke, who recently relocated to New York with her family. It’s a sentiment that Stacey also shares. “I’m not sure anyone has the balance completely right but finding contentment and being kind to ourselves as women and mothers is one of the biggest challenges of being a woman. We remind ourselves daily that ‘we can’t do everything, if we can swing it we will, but if it’s too hard and too stressful we just leave things alone’. It works well for us with the site and in supporting each other.” We caught up with the dynamic women to chat careers in media, the motherhood juggle (and struggle) and what success really means to them. Words: Marisa Remond | Photography: Anthea Nicoll | Go to www.showandtellonline.com.au
L-R: Stacey, Brooke and Monty
What's the best advice you’ve been given about motherhood?
Brooke: Even though the days can seem long, appreciate them because they go so quickly. This is so true. I’ve gone through so many periods when the days have felt so long but then you turn around and wonder where they went and why you wished any time away. It sounds so cliche, but they really do grow so quickly. Stacey: I have a very strong-willed second child and I’m conscious of always being on his back… I ran into a lady that just happened to be a child psychologist and she said ‘be careful you don’t break the spirit of a strong willed child because they can quite easily go from a great leader to a bad follower.’ I keep that in mind every time I’m about to choose my next battle with him.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
Brooke: I grew up about an hour from Melbourne in a small town called Geelong with my parents and two older sisters and it was a hoot. We were a close family and I adored my big sisters. Monty: My parents separated when I was five so I had one of those families that had siblings everywhere. To others, it was confusing but I just grew up with half siblings and step siblings and it was totally normal to me. My mum was a single mum for a long time and we were very close to my grandparents. Stacey: I had a great childhood. I grew up in Williamstown, Victoria. My childhood was full of love, fun, family and sports. I moved to Baltimore, USA when I was 17 to take up a lacrosse scholarship and I stayed for eight years and met my husband the first year I was there. It was a success!
Where did your love of media begin? Have you always been ambitious?
Brooke: I think admitting to being ambitious used to be a dirty word, but I’ve always been ambitious and I have no problem saying that now. I have always wanted to work in the media. I only ever wanted to be a journalist. As a teenager, I would volunteer anywhere and everywhere I could to get experience. I went to Bendigo, Ballarat, Warrnambool and lots of other country towns to write for their newspapers and even wrote regular book and movie reviews for the local Geelong paper! Then as I got to the end of my teen years, I would head to Sydney during my school holidays and do work experience for the magazines up there – that’s where I wanted to be. Monty: I have always loved radio. As a kid, my sister and I would call up the radio stations and try and dedicate songs and win prizes. We would get so excited when we would see the radio station promotional cars and make our parents follow them (sounds crazy, probably is crazy). Then when I was 21, I got a job as one of the promo people at FOX FM in Melbourne and soon realised that I wanted to be on air so started working behind the scenes and then eventually moved to behind the microphone. Stacey: I have always had a strong interest in media topics but my background has always been in marketing, sociology and leadership. I have always had a strong will to be challenged and push my mind and body so this site has been perfect for that.
Can you talk us through your career path? Did motherhood change the way you felt about your career?
Brooke: In my last year of journalism I persisted enough and got a gig at Who magazine in Sydney for three months helping out over the Christmas period. I took a punt, packed my bags and moved to a new city on my own at 20-years-old. I never looked back! After working in magazines in Sydney for about four years, I got a job in as ACP’s NYC correspondent and moved to the big smoke – I felt like a real life Carrie Bradshaw! After moving back to Melbourne, I got into producing and produced on shows such as Hamish and Andy and The Circle and loved it – but kept on freelance writing to satisfy that part of who I am. It was when The Circle finished that the idea of Show + Tell was born. Now I work on Show + Tell (basically 24/7!) and also produce The 3pm Pick-Up on Kiis which is hosted by Monty, Bec Judd and Yumi Stynes. Motherhood hasn’t so much changed the way I feel about my career but if I’m going to be away from Edie, then it has to be for something I love doing. Monty: I was SO focused on my career before I had my first son. Almost obsessive. I didn’t feel like I had an identity outside of being a radio host before I had my kids. I don’t feel less ambitious after becoming a mum, if anything I am just the same although I don’t attack things with the same intensity or pressure. I enjoy everything a lot more because I realise there actually is a lot more to life than work now. Stacey: I first started my career as a full time lacrosse coach in America and came to start a new career in brand management until we started Show+Tell. Motherhood certainly changed the way I approached working. It didn’t change the fact that I needed challenges and stimulation. I would say my ambition has remained the same. It’s important to me that my kids see me working and thriving as well as looking after them full time.
Can you tell us about the launch of Show + Tell? What inspired it and how has the site grown since you launched?
Brooke: Show + Tell started when the show I was working on, The Circle on Network Ten, was cancelled. I loved it and was devastated. Monty was guest-hosting regularly at that time and we decided to get together and re-create the ‘gold’ that was The Circle – which wasn’t any of the bells and whistles but just the women on the couch talking about their lives – that’s what people loved about it, that they could relate to the women and felt like they were their friends. That’s where it began. Soon after we started we realised we couldn’t do it on our own – and Monty and I need someone to reign us in – that’s where Stace came in! We are so proud of the site and the amazing women we’ve had join us ‘on the couch’ and open up about their lives. We recently started doing live podcast events in Melbourne (we will take them around Australia soon!) and the response has blown us away – we had 260 women who bought tickets to come along to the last one and it was MAGIC! Monty: We launched four years ago and our focus has always been on video. The big point of difference of our site has always been the authentic filmed interviews with incredible women where nothing much is off limits. We were set up from day one to produce video and it is our favourite part so we are lucky that with the rise of video we were already set to go.
What, in your opinion, are some of the challenges working mothers face?
Brooke: The guilt… the dreaded guilt! We are all our own worst enemies when it comes to the guilt factor. We feel guilty when we’re not with the kids and we feel like there’s work we should be doing when we are, sometimes you can’t win. We want to be everything to everyone and sometimes it’s just not possible and as much as you’d like to, you can’t always work in the same way you did before you had children, we have to be easier on ourselves. Monty: The guilt that courses through our veins. Sometimes I feel guilty cause I bloody love working and find it wayyyyy easier than looking after my kids. I also find it challenging the expectations that are put on mums. My partner is a really hands-on dad and is told daily how great he is by other people. I do the same as him, but it is just expected of me because I am the mum. I work two jobs and raise our boys, but never am I told how incredible I am. It is a funny thing that we often chat about in our home. Stacey: The guilt of your own expectation and the strong societal expectation that we as working mothers often feel. I’m not sure anyone has the balance completely right but finding contentment and being kind to ourselves as women and mothers is one of the biggest challenges of being a woman.
What do you remember about that period when you first became a mother?
Brooke: The overwhelming love and protectiveness for this little person that you just met! But also, I remember it being bloody hard work. My little lady had reflux and cried a lot. The first three months were really tough and there were days I didn’t know if I could do it. But of course, you do, and it passes but at the time it can feel like it’s never going to pass and you’re never going to make them happy. Monty: I didn’t feel that instant love with my first born for about 10 weeks. I felt protective and loved him, but I wasn’t wildly in love. I loved it though, that baby bubble the first time round is so incredible. I remember the endless mastitis and sleepless nights but also the new bond I had with my partner and how proud I felt about my baby. Stacey: Worry… I remember falling pregnant for the time and that’s when my lifetime of worry started. It was simply incredible, but with having number two and now number three, I’m glad I now know that everything passes with time and although the worry never ends, you have to be kind to yourself. So far so good.
How did you handle the sleep deprivation?
Brooke: We got a sleep expert in as soon as we could (around 10 weeks) and she changed our lives, I recommend it to everyone! I am someone who needs a routine and she helped put Edie on a routine so I knew when she would be sleeping and for how long and it was a game-changer for me. Monty: I would nap when my baby napped. That is the only way I got through it because it is SO EXHAUSTING. Stacey: Yikes – that’s one of the things I’m most worried about this time around. How to manage the craziness of the day with a third child and two other kids that require A LOT! But, I always say… ‘it all ends eventually’. I have an incredible husband who sends me for naps whenever possible so I can manage pregnancy and newborns and without that I think I would be in a real pickle.
What are your time management tips – how do you juggle it all?
Brooke: I feel overwhelmed all the time! But I’m definitely learning to be easier on myself. I have a to-do list each day and try and set my day up really clearly so I know what needs to be done and when – in order of priority. I try and not cry myself to sleep if everything doesn’t get ticked off! Monty: My radio show is on 3-4pm Monday-Friday and Brooke also produces that show too (we are very inbred) so we often dabble in Show + Tell during radio hours as well. It is a blurred line there. Everything is really flexible with both jobs so although it sounds like a lot, I can still do school drop-off and exercise and fit other things into my life. Sometimes it is very full on, but other times it just works. Neither job is 9-5 so that kind of flexibility helps with having young kids. Stacey: Be SUPER organised. I have 600 to-do lists going at the same time. I never let my inbox get out of control and sometimes I have to do late nights so I can sleep comfortably and enjoy the next day. There are times of course when I feel overwhelmed, but I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can – no one’s life is in danger and everything will be okay… then it disappears (most of the time)!
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
Brooke: This is SO important. If your health and wellbeing is off, then so is everything else. Only you know what works for you, whether it’s a walk each morning before your day gets too busy (this is what works for me), a yoga class or meditation – you have to find what works for you and look after yourself. Monty: My health isn’t great at the moment, I suffer from shocking migraines so have to live a pretty clean and boring life. I have just started meditation and yoga classes to help slow my mind down, which races like a real ratbag. Food also affects me so I try to minimise sugar but I have to have one vice because I don’t drink really either. Stacey: Exercise – it is my lifeline. If I exercise 3-4 times a week, it’s all I need to feel balanced and in control.
What makes you feel stressed? And how do you unwind and relax?
Monty: I don’t stress about work anymore. I used to a lot and then my mum got cancer and everything became every real very quickly. I don’t stress over things with work I can’t control but I do worry about things like are my kids getting enough of me, is my mum’s health ok etc. I try to do a guided meditation daily, I also exercise for the endorphins or I would be in fetal position rocking in the corner often. Stacey: Sometimes the constant list of things to do can be a bit stressful. As a parent of three kids, there is just always something that needs to be done. Perhaps I find that annoying more than stressful.
What do women need to be more open about?
Monty: How hard it can be. I think we are all getting better at this but being a mum is hard and sometimes batshit boring. Stacey: How they feel. We realised when we started our site that the main factor connecting our audience was honesty and truth. We were telling women how we felt… the REAL parts of being a woman, mother and everything in between. It’s what connects women and the more connected we are the more amazing the world is.
What did your own mother teach you about life and motherhood?
Monty: So much. My mum was a single mum so she taught me everything. She worked full-time but I don’t remember her not being there. My mum taught me fun. She is always up for a good time and I love that about her. I want my boys to have fun with me too. I think because mum was like that we really respected her and didn’t want to disappoint her.