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Celebrating the Modern Mother

To celebrate Mother's Day, we sat down with four inspiring mums who all run their own business and explore what being a modern mum really means to them


Founder of Happy Melon and Mother to Andre

Masha, The Founder of Happy Melon

What do you believe is the definition of a Modern Mum? 

Modern mum is a woman with super power.  She can do it all and do it with a smile. She is kind and patient. She says: “i am going to bed, honey and on the way to the bedroom she unloads the dishwasher, changes the water for the dog, checks on the baby and make sure he is kissed Good Night for the 10th time”

What has shaped you as a Mother?

I was quite surprised by how fun it is to be a mother. A lot of people scared me, saying that i won’t know myself and how i am going to lose myself … has not happened yet. Life ‘s been very different in the last 3 years (including pregnancy) but i am enjoying it. The small moments with Andre make my day and now with a second on the way i am even more excited to play and re discover the world through their eyes

What is the best piece of life advice your own mum gave you? 

Don’t follow rules. Make your own traditions as a family and enjoy the small moments as they will never be repeated again

 How did Happy Melon come to be and what inspired you?

We opened the doors to Happy Melon 5 years ago and we wanted to demystify meditation and make it very accessible for everyone. We wanted to bring the practices like yoga and pilates under the umbrella of meditation and hoped people would stay. They did and it inspired me. Seeing people come in, slightly shy and insecure and leave as confident more peaceful humans – that inspires me

What is the most motivating thing about owning your own business?  

Seeing people fall back in love with themselves. I know it sounds Hippie but people get so disconnected thinking that other things are more important and then they get on the mat, move and breath mindfully and all of a sudden there is less to worry about, less to change, less to figure out

 Where do you see Happy Melon in 5 years?

We hope Happy Melon keeps changing and evolving with the world. As humans, we are very adaptable and can embrace change with grace so my hope for Happy Melon as a brand is to do the same. We keep listening and keep acting on what’s asked for us. We are in this together

Practice Yoga, Learn Meditation or simply find our more about Happy Melon here



Founder of Justine McNamara Art and Mother to Matilda and Bonnie

Justine, The Founder of Justine McNamara Art

What do you believe is the definition of a modern mum?

­The Modern mum is a multitasking QUEEN! (mums have always been amazing at that) I feel like certainly in my experience there is less of a divide between adult and children time, and more shared experiences and enjoyment from investing in the interests and passions of your children as much as you would in your own activities. And there are so many more ways to stay connected with each other

Whether she is a working mum or not, we are all raising our kids in an age of information, easy access to the digital world and we are constantly trying to keep one step ahead. We must have more open and honest conversations from an early age to keep kids from becoming disconnected from real life experiences. We have more information too but with that can bring more anxiety and can increase expectation that mums set for themselves to have it all under control. We all want to be raising happy healthy and engaged children

The modern mum is empowering herself to take on as much as she can, be a great role model to her kids by showing them they can follow their passions, and still have a family.  She is on that constant  search for the magic work/life balance, while she tries to eliminate feelings of guilt that she isn’t doing enough all the while,  guiding her kids to be the best version of themselves. It’s a crazy rollercoaster…you have to ride the highs and lows and be sure to laugh often and enjoy the view as much as you can

What is the best piece of advice your own mum gave you?

Ah my mum Heather is a very amazing and wise woman. She has given me so much incredible advice over the years, like: “choose your partner wisely”, and “it’s better to be kind than right”, and “it’s important to let your kids have projects that they don’t have to pack up each day to encourage commitment to a long term project and allows creativity to flow”, and that “no one ever died of a sink of dirty dishes”

But her best advice I think would have to be  ”You can’t expect to change anyone, only work on changing yourself. And by doing that, it changes things around you for the best by using the laws of attraction.”

What have your daughters taught you?

My girls have taught me so much, like how to use technology 😊 and what is tiktok hehe!!

They have taught me to look at the world from many different perspectives, and that you never stop learning. They have taught me patience, forgiveness, unconditional love and to be fearless. They have encouraged me to trust my instinct, to be more confident to speak my truth and worry less about being judged. To celebrate the little things and to dream big. But mostly they have taught me my strengths, the value of time, and pushing beyond your comfort zone allows for so much more growth in so many areas. Lastly that authenticity is the key to success

Can you tell us a bit about your story as an artist?

I guess I have always been creative, although apparently I cried when my grade one teacher told me I would be an artist when I grew up!! My mum always encouraged creativity and a childhood filled with endless time and outdoor adventures definitely nutured my imagination. Kids do need an element of boredom to allow for creativity to blossom

After studying Graphic Design at Uni I moved back to my hometown on The Mornington Peninsula and opened a Recycled timber furniture and Gallery studio with my dad Bill McNamara in the Main Street of Sorrento and it was called Overboard Designs

He made the furniture out of reclaimed piers and jetties and I made sculptures out of the off cuts and started exploring my ideas, painting on canvas

I had lots of exhibitions there over the years and established myself as a local artist. I travelled to America in 2001 and set up a studio there just North of Boston and had some exhibitions. I had a major exhibition planned for the September in New York, but it was cancelled due to the tragic events of 9/11

My dad was a builder so we moved houses 28 times before I left home at 18.  We camped at the beach every summer. I think the transient upbringing had a big influence on my interest in commenting on the sense of connection to place, and how memories can define us. I am also interested in the possibility that as a society, we choose to idealise the past, regardless of detail.  Childhood memories provide a link to sparking discussion about my theories

Dad sold the gallery when my second daughter Bonnie was born in 2008 and I moved my studio to our home, actually a spare space between my kitchen and lounge room, but It worked as I could paint while the kids were under my feet

When I became a mum, I began to reflect a lot more on my own childhood and with the passing of my grandfather, I found myself going through old photos from family camping holidays, and simpler times. My caravan series was born. I am still painting themes from my childhood

What are you most inspired by currently in your art?

For the past decade I have been obsessed with revisiting memories from my own childhood. As a way to spark conversation about our identity, growing up in Australia and what has changed over the years. I am celebrating the humble Milk bar in my latest series of paintings. My focus over the past decade has remained fixed on the role that memory plays on how the past is reconstructed in the present

Being a mother of two girls offers me the opportunity to reflect on my own childhood. I create my colourful snapshots, not just to celebrate it, but also as a way to process feelings of loss and to spark conversations with my audience about what has changed

Milk bars are an iconic feature of the Australian landscape. They symbolise community, a place to share stories, an Urban Oasis for children and adults alike.  Vibrant gelato colours in this series are used to pay tribute to the influence that Mid Century European Migrants played in shaping Melbourne and indeed Australia’s eclectic identity and culture

I am hopeful that this series of paintings will help us treasure the contribution the Milk Bar has made to our cultural landscape. I am also greatly inspired by listening to my daughters writing music upstairs while I paint, its just so good for my mental health to hear them starting to tell their own stories. They are my greatest works. Feel free to check out my eldest daughter Matilda Pearl’s music project on Instagram too! @matilda_pearl

What has been a milestone moment in your career?

Oh! That is a hard question actually as I have had some cool moments, but I think id have to say the response to my last major Solo Exhibition “Milk Bar Days” not just because the show was sold out, and I received some fantastic reviews and publicity with my artwork being chosen to be printed onto large banners to be flown through towns across the Mornington Peninsula…but because at that time, even though it was a hectic 6 months, I felt like I had the work life balance in a really great place, and those moments are the most amazing for me. I just struggle to maintain that balance ha!! It’s a constant work in progress. I also have to say, I couldn’t do it without my awesome husband who is hugely supportive, and cooks for us most nights. ( my mum did tell me to choose my partner wisely!)

What do you love most about what you do?

The freedom to express my ideas, and tell my stories through images. To create something that connects with people, and brings joy. The flexibility to set my own hours around the kids so that I don’t have to miss any of their special moments. I LOVE what I do

Explore Justine’s artworks via her Instagram here



Founder of STEELE and Mother to Asher and Tyler

Jess, The Founder of STEELE

What do you believe is the definition of a Modern Mum?

A modern mum leads with confidence and strength and knows herself innately.  She is multifaceted and authentic and knows herself not just as a mum, but as her true self.  She has choices, and whatever she choses is right for her. She doesn’t always get it right, but she tries to be the best version of herself and in turn, the best mother she can be

What has shaped you as a Mother? 

My own life experiences. Certainly your own childhood shapes you, challenges you face personally and professionally. Travel, how much of the world you’ve seen.  Many things! You grow and learn every day, constantly evolving as a mum

What is the best piece of advice your mum gave you? 

My mum taught me how to have fun and not take life too seriously. How to laugh and be silly. I’d love to pass on to my own daughters,  a sense to trust themselves and their intuition, and the confidence believe in themselves

How did Steele come to be? 

Steele is my testament to the feminine spirit, created on a whim. Whilst working as a brand manager in the wholesale side of fashion, I dreamt up a dream wardrobe that nostalgic yet captured the essence of the modern sophisticate.  The next minute it was a reality and I switched from working for a brand to owning a brand

Why did you create the brand? 

I created s t e e l e from a drive to create my own personal dream wardrobe, it was heavily influenced by classic 70’s silhouettes and much of my process was challenging myself to reinvent nostalgic shapes in a modern way. Colour and bold graphics have always been a key source of inspiration and strength through femininity at the core of my design process

What inpspired the name; Steele? 

My vision for steele was always for it to be brazenly feminine. I wanted a very strong name to contrast the softer aesthetics within the brand, hence s t e e l e

What is the most challenging thing about owning your own business? 

Balancing motherhood and family with the needs of the business, and the fast paced nature of the fashion industry. Blink and you miss an opportunity or change

Explore Steele here


Co-Founder of Hunter Lab and Mother to Louie

Celebrating The Modern Mother

What do you believe is the definition of a Modern Mum? 

In my experience, the modern mum wears so many hats in her role within the family; she leads by example, and provides support and inspiration to her family on a daily basis. She teaches through action and example, setting the tone and in turn fostering a great level of respect and love within their family. The modern take on motherhood is that she can make time for her passions; showcasing that you can have both; a career and being a great mum 

What has shaped you as a Mother?

As a mother I am constantly in awe of the amazing mums around me, in particular my mum and Elliot’s mum. They are both strong, influential leaders within their own families, who have worked hard to provide a wonderful upbringing full of fun, laughter and most importantly love. They are my inspiration as a mum

What is the best piece of life advice your own mum gave you? What lasting piece of advice would you like to pass onto your children?

Mum always said that if you work hard the returns will come, and has always emphasised that as a modern woman that I can do anything I set my mind too, with no limit to my success if I remember to dig deep and believe in myself. I hope that I will always encourage Louie to follow his passions, attack everything with courage and conviction, with kindness and acceptance in his heart

How did Hunter Lab come to be? Why did you create the brand and what inspired you?

I’ve always had a huge passion for skincare and inspiring brands; we saw an opportunity to create the best natural skincare brand in the world that delivered incredible results, made right here in Melbourne. We’ve always had a clear vision of the brand and the products we wanted to create, and thankfully that vision has resonated. Owning our own business brings us so much joy and we are more than ever determined to showcase to the world the power of this Australian made brand

What is the most motivating thing about owning your own business?  

Having the ability to create products which skin care enthusiasts truly love is so exciting and rewarding. I grew up with challenging skin and it always took a toll on my confidence, being able to provide men and woman products that they love using and see direct results brings me great happiness, just knowing they feel good about themselves and are proud to share the products with their friends and family is such a huge source of inspiration

Susie, Co-Founder of Hunter Lab