Justine Clarke

Justine Clarke

Well known to young audiences as one of ABC's PlaySchool presenters, Justine Clarke is also mum to two children, a talented actor (in television, film and on the stage) and is becoming increasingly known for her fun children's music.

Her first album I Like to Sing has been a hit across the country and her latest release Songs to Make you Smile is sure to do the same.

How many children do you have? What age / sex are they?
I have two great kids. A boy and a girl aged five and six.

What has surprised you the most about becoming a mother?
Motherhood is always surprising me but it still amuses and surprises me how much satisfaction is derived from watching my children eat their greens! 

Do you miss anything about your life prior to having children?
Having long conversations with my husband. When you're a parent your constantly being interrupted.

What is the hardest part about being a mum?
Trying not to judge myself too harshly.

How has your relationship with your partner changed since becoming parents?
We didn't muck around. We basically met, got married and had kids and we haven't stopped since. So our relationship is always changing. We do talk in short hand now, so we make time to go out together and get those long conversations going. It's better than ever for sure.

What advice do you have for new mothers or mothers to be?
Exercise while you're pregnant. If you're able, just a little bit!  It'll help you through the birth. Don't be embarrassed about not knowing what to do, go to parenting classes. They can be much more useful than birthing classes. Drink lots of water and get lots of sleep and enjoy it while it lasts! It can be the most wonderful time, and pregnant women are so beautiful!

What are you great at?
Cooking spaghetti bolognese.

What are you terrible at?                                    
Paper work.

How has your attitude to work / career changed since becoming a mother and how do you manage the juggle of family and work?  
I am much more focused about my career, I think it's because there is only a certain amount of time to get things done so I want to be ticking those boxes. I've never worked so much in my life! And it's work that I love doing too - I'd fall in a heap if it wasn't for the help of some seriously devoted mothers/grandmothers and a great husband who has flexible hours like me which really helps. I'm trying to do work that fits around them a lot more these days. I think it will always be a juggle though. It's a fast paced life at the moment which is fun.

What do you think about "me" time?  Do you practice it, preach it or have you resigned yourself to the fact that you will have to play catch up later on?
I go to classes at the gym. That's my time. At the moment that is at 6 o'clock in the morning but hey! I'm getting it where I can.

Who do you admire? Why?
I admire all women who are working at raising a family or working AND raising a family and trying to give their kids and their families their best or just working! Women are amazing!

What kind of 'Australia' do you hope for your children's future?
One where the arts are considered an essential part of education and life! I look forward to seeing what my kids can offer this great country and what it offers them.

How do you know of the Essential Baby community? Is there anything you would like to say to them?
Come to my show, I'm touring from around Australia. I'm so excited about getting on the road and bringing live music to you. I've got a great bunch of musicians touring with me, sing along with your kids and come and say hi after. I'd love to see you there.

Finally, a question all mums must face (no matter who they are!) - What are you feeding your child(ren) for dinner tonight?
Chipolatas (little sausages), honey carrots, mashed potato and something green for the sheer satisfaction!