For Nadine Bush, gratitude and motherhood go hand in hand. With two sons aged 31 and 29, the Sydney-based creative reflects fondly over her time as a mother and says perspective is the key to not letting the hard times get in the way of appreciating the good. “We lose perspective on how blessed we really are and how comfortable our lives are by comparison to mothers in third world countries or war-torn countries, for instance. I think some of the time we just get stuck in a negative rut – we should have more of a mindset of what a privilege it is to have our kids to look after and bring up.”
As a self-confessed “hustler,” Bush is the quintessential example of getting better with age, having recently discovered modelling and even obtaining her celebrant license so she could marry son Josh and his partner Hannah at their recent wedding. It’s no surprise then to learn that self-love is all about acceptance for Bush. “I have struggled with body image in my youth and in the early years after having my babies when my body changed quite a lot. But as I’ve gotten older, my perspective on life is a lot broader and deeper and I’ve realised that I am what I am, and what I am is pretty damn great actually. I love my body for being healthy, enabling me to enjoy my life, give life and love to my children, and just be alive on this beautiful planet.” Read on for more inspiring words from Nadine on motherhood, career and home… Photography: Julie Adams | Videographer: Sam Hastwell | Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe | Words: Marisa Remond | In association with Sportscraft
WATCH THE BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO
How did you determine the names of your children?
I chose Zac’s name after watching an old black and white cowboy film late one night when I was pregnant and couldn’t sleep. This cowboy walks into a saloon and the bartender says “Howdy Zac!” – and that’s how I chose Zac’s name. I looked at other biblical names after that and really liked Joshua and Josh.
Did you appreciate your mum more after having children?
Yes, you can’t help but appreciate your mum more once you become a mum yourself and you understand all the things your mum went through with you.
We’re often rushing. Do you ever sit back and feel proud of yourself?
Yes, I try to stop and appreciate everything in my life. I try not to take anything for granted, including letting myself have the time to appreciate myself and my achievements and feel proud of what I do. I also try and thank my body and be grateful for providing me with this great home for my spirit… for enabling me to operate on this plane of existence and live on the earth and experience it with my body’s senses.
“ We lose perspective on how blessed we really are and how comfortable our lives are by comparison to mothers in third world countries or war-torn countries for instance. I think some of the time we just get stuck in a negative rut – we should have more of a mindset of what a privilege it is to have our kids to look after and bring up ”
What clichés of motherhood do you think are unfair?
The cliché of mums complaining of being tired, not having any time for themselves, being exhausted. I hear a lot of mums complaining about what a huge job or chore it is to care for their kids. Yes all of that does happen and it’s not the easiest job and it can be incredibly gruelling and challenging at times, but I think we have it pretty cushy in Australia.
What clichés of motherhood do you think are true but wish they weren’t?
They always say that when children move out of the home, you grieve the empty nest. That’s very true. When they finally move out, it hits you that your babies have grown up and that amazing stage of your life, and having these darlings with you all the time, that’s gone. For good. And you grieve. At least, I did. And I think it’s important to have that process and look back at the years you had them with gratitude.
How does the #metoo movement effect raising boys and girls today?
The #metoo campaign is about empowerment through empathy and it has raised another huge level of awareness and how big the problem of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse is prevalent in our culture – so this has a huge impact on how we should be bringing up our boys and girls. More equality, less stereotyping and objectivity, taking the ‘creep’ factor out of being a male. I’m a great believer in co-education rather than segregating the sexes… boys and girls should grow up together as friends and learn to respect each other and have each other’s backs.
What advice would you now give to a first-time mum?
Trust your own instincts.
How did your approach to body image change after you had kids? How do you approach self-love?
Life is very short, I’ve lost loved ones and I just don’t take life for granted anymore. Just to be alive and breathing right now is awesome. It is the most precious gift. Don’t waste time picking yourself to pieces, be grateful for what you have – focus on the pros NOT the cons.
You wear many hats from celebrant to creative director and model, how would you define what you do for a living?
I hustle for a living. I do a bit of this and a bit of that. I think of myself as a conduit to bring about the best result for all involved.
How do you structure your days and weeks to combine your different areas of work?
I plan my week ahead on Sundays and I carve out time for each of my projects. I have to be very disciplined and systematic, I’m quite good at that most of the time. Every now and again it gets a bit chaotic and I have to reign myself in and take stock. I write everything I have to do in a paper diary… I write lists of what I have to do in order of priority. And I love the two-minute rule. Any task that I need to do that would only take two minutes to do – I do that straight away without procrastinating. I dislike procrastinating. I like the feeling of clearing the deck or desk I should say… so that I can then truly relax and kick back and have some recreation or relaxation time.
How did your approach to your career change after you had kids?
Life became much more complicated and a juggle when the kids came along and I had to work as well. You just get on with it and get good at juggling!
How torn did you feel between building your career and raising your children?
I do remember feeling torn at times between the kids and work… it’s all part of the territory. I was so lucky that I had an understanding boss when my kids were little, she would let me bring the boys to work with me when they were on school holidays, etc. She was quite amazing. As long as I got all my work done and on time, she didn’t mind how I divided my time or if I worked from home.
SHOP: Nadine wears Sportscraft Anamaria Print Shirt, $179.99 and Sportscraft Felicity Pull On Pant, $129.99
What do you do when it all gets too much - what are your coping strategies for when you feel overwhelmed?
My coping strategies are yoga, meditation, spending time with my dog and being outdoors a lot.
What’s the most essential way to turn a house into a home?
Comfort, character and cosiness are the key to turning a house into a home.
In terms of homewares, what do you suggest scrimping and splurging on when decorating?
Scrimping: I love buying second hand and vintage things when it comes to kitchen and dining items; glassware, crockery, cooking dishes and utensils etc…anything with interesting colours, shapes. I love the nostalgia that comes with old things, plus I prefer the quality, colour and shapes of older items a lot of the time. Splurge: On beautiful textural, tactile fabrics that add luxury and quality, comfortable furniture and bedding.
When it comes to home-style, how do you suggest avoiding trends and focusing more on timeless, forever pieces?
Avoid trends and just choose things you would LOVE to live with. If you choose and put together your space only choosing what is beautiful to you and what you love, your home will bring you a lot of joy. The mere fact that you’ve chosen things you love will be the thread that weaves all the elements together and it will all hold together.
What’s your decorating philosophy?
Surround yourself with things that connect to your heart.
Your boys are now grown up, how does the mother/child dynamic change as children turn into adults?
I’m so glad I had my boys when I was quite young, we are very close. Even though they are grown men now and have their own homes, Josh is also now married and just celebrated his first anniversary. He and Hannah asked me to marry them so I studied to become a celebrant, got my diploma and then applied to the Attorney General’s Department to get my license as a registered celebrant – that came through two weeks before the wedding and I had the thrill of marrying my own son. It was an amazing thing for me to marry Josh and Hannah – I loved it!
SHOP: Nadine wears Sportscraft Flora Raglan Knit, $189.99, Sportscraft Lara Slim Denim Jean, $149.99 and Sportscraft Rae DB Coat, $379.99
How would you describe your relationship with your sons today - do you talk all the time, have weekly catch-ups, live close-by…?
I speak to the boys all the time and see them very often. I’d describe us as a close-knit family, including their father as well. As a family we like eating at restaurants, getting together with the extended family as well, going to the movies.
What are some traditions you put in place when the kids were little that have impacted them today as adults?
I always got the boys involved in cooking and preparing meals, we always had music playing in the house, they always had their chores around the house and jobs that each of them were responsible for. They were allowed to decorate their rooms and dress themselves any way they pleased – they were very creative. They also had to help look after the dogs.
How will you be spending Mother’s Day?
Mother’s Day will probably be spent with my mum as well, probably at my brother’s house, maybe a lunch.
TV or book?
Books – The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.
What would we always find in your fridge?
Fresh chillis, turmeric, ginger.