Name: Karla Pritchard
Place of birth: Wellington, New Zealand
Occupation: Business Strategy & Innovation Consultant
1. Have you always wanted to be a mama?
It always felt like it would be a natural part of my journey and I have been lucky enough to be blessed with two boys. We have a big family, so family has always been incredibly important to me. I am the eldest of four siblings and was 13 years old when my youngest sister was born and loved playing second mum to her. My Dad is also the eldest of 10 children and my Mum the eldest of 3 children, so we grew up with a lot of family around us – grandparents, aunties, uncles and too many cousins to count! I am in total awe of my two Nana’s, one who mothered 7 boys (consecutively!) and 3 girls and the other who raised her young family alone after losing her husband. Both are strong and loving superwomen who I often think of when I’m having a challenging day… and my mum of course!
2. What is the last thing you purchased and loved?
We recently bought a new bed. It doesn’t sound that exciting but after having a child with chronic infant insomnia and another who is still co-sleeping with us, we needed to bring a little luxe back to night-times. This is one of those beds you dream about sleeping in, the one that those ‘grown up’ adults have. It is handmade with natural and sustainable materials with fancy things like a cashmere topper. It has a royal warrant from the Queen, so I figure if it’s good enough for her to sleep on, it’s good enough for my weary sleep-deprived body! Now I just want to curl up in bed with a cuppa while the kids are at school.
3. What are you currently working on right now?
I am currently working on a Government-led project (together with a close friend and colleague of mine) focused on designing and developing a program to support women in custody who are mothers, as well as looking at how we can make positive and constructive change in the broader corrective services system. The nature of this work has thrust me into a world that I had little exposure to previously and has given me an entirely new appreciation for the dimensions of motherhood. The vast and diverse experiences we mothers have are largely circumstantial, governed by factors such as the family we were born into, where we grew up, our cultural background or financial situation. For the women we are working with, more often than not, their background has resulted in severe systemic disadvantage, due to systems of oppression, inequality and inequity (especially for Aboriginal women here in Australia). It’s been very grounding to be exposed to such different journeys of motherhood and I can only hope that the work we’re doing will help another Mama’s journey somewhere along the way.
4. How do you juggle motherhood with work?
This is such a big issue that our society is yet to solve for. There have obviously been some positives that have come from COVID-19 but conversely, it has also increased the pressure on working mums and widened the chasm of inequality in the workplace.
For me personally, there are a few key things that I’ve learnt along the way – firstly that my career must be flexible and follow the rhythms of my family. This was a hard lesson for someone so dedicated to and driven by work, to be honest, it was more of a necessity than something I actively chose. I’m currently lucky enough to be flexible in the way I manage my work and my energy, whilst also having the stimulation and satisfaction from the type of work I’m doing. I see this as a privilege and am acutely aware that this isn’t the reality for everyone. The second but probably most critical factor is that I do not see it as ‘my juggle’ but ‘our juggle’. With two working parents we absolutely approach daily life as a team. It has taken us a while to find this flow but we kind of just do it without thinking now. My partner is also a total legend in the kitchen and cooks most nights of the week which I am thankful for every day! And lastly lists, I love lists and family calendars! But let’s be honest, the juggle is real and it's bloody hard work no matter how flexible or organised you are.
5. The beauty staple you’re never without?
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 - I’ve recently had perioral dermatitis and this bad boy is my go-to moisturiser to keep my irritable skin in check. Sunblock every day is a non-negotiable, especially with my freckly skin. I’m loving Sunforgettable Tint du Soleil Tinted Foundation, which provides an extra dose of sun protection and has a yummy mousse texture. And a bright lippie always perks me up on those struggle town days. As I get older I’m actually simplifying rather than adding more… there’s something that feels quite liberating about that.
6. What will you always find in your fridge?
Loads of condiments, pickled and fresh vegetables, left-overs, full fat milk, cream, greek yoghurt, 25 different types of cheeses, a lot of meat and smoked fish (I’m currently following a Keto based diet to help treat inflammation), dark chocolate and French Rosé.
7. How do you stay healthy? Any tips or advice? Mediation, yoga?
I don’t have a dedicated exercise regime at the moment because I’m racing around after two very busy boys. Staying healthy to me is more about what makes me feel in balance…. I love to garden, walk the coast with a podcast or my sister, on the odd occasion I enjoy a float and a massage. I’d ideally like to squeeze in more meditation and reformer pilates, but I’m yet to find those hidden pockets of time.
8. Your earliest memory of motherhood?
Hmmm, that it wasn’t just me anymore… my life, my body, every breath, every minute, even my bed was now shared with another. This came with such an overwhelming sense of responsibility but also created a bond that was so inextricably and intrinsically woven together, that it created an entirely new sense of place, person and purpose. I feel like so much of the emphasis around becoming a mama is focused on the practicalities of having a baby, not on the enormous and exquisite journey that comes after. Although I’m very much a researcher and planner by nature I wasn’t so prepared for this part of motherhood. The lovely Amy Taylor-Kabbaz has recently introduced me to the concept of ‘Matrascence’, “the radical identity shifts a woman goes through as she becomes a mother” which has helped to make sense of this intense and transformative stage of life. I’d love for this to become a more natural part of the conversation between mothers and form a key part of the preparation for mothers-to-be and their partners.
9. What item of clothing did you add to your wardrobe recently?
Stella McCartney Outdoor Boost Gor-tex Trail Sneakers – they are super comfortable, waterproof and make me feel equipped for adventure (even if that’s just standing on the sidelines of a wet soccer field!). During lockdown we found it incredibly important to spend a lot of time in nature - rain, hail or shine. The little one is 2.5 years old and a trooper, so we love finding walks that we can all enjoy and invariably seek out every puddle and muddy track. We love exploring the secret pockets of Centennial Park and have ventured a bit further afield to the national parks around Sydney and the Southern Highlands. The one we keep going back to at the moment is the Manly Dam – such a gorgeous spot, where we can go for a bushwalk and can then pretend we’ve gone camping (without having to actually go camping) cooking sausages and toasting marshmallows on the awesome little wood fire pits they provide around the lake.
10. What is important to you as a parent
Gosh, I feel like when you become a parent, you become acutely aware and sensitive to everything that is going on around your family, both close to home and around the world… and there is so much happening out there right now! What is important to me is that we create an environment where they feel safe, loved and supported, combined with a sense of fun and possibility. We’re keen to keep it pretty simple.
I’m very passionate about boys, their development and how we can ‘grow gorgeous boys into great men’ (as the incredible Celia Lashlie put it). My goal is that we parent our two boys in a way that they grow up with an innate belief that they are wholly wonderful beings in their own right, untethered from past structures of masculinity and have the complete freedom to define what that looks like for themselves. They are so different from each other already and I am fascinated to see how their personalities shine as they grow and develop.
11. The best advice you have been given, mothering, personally or professionally? Or just in general
This pearl of wisdom was shared by a good friend of mine long before having children, but I’ve actually found it even more valuable since becoming a Mama. She talked about the importance of creating a ‘community of support’ or ‘tribe of trust’ around yourself, essentially a circle of ‘go-to’ people that support you (and your family) through all facets of life - emotional, physical, social, wellbeing, career-wise etc. It was a game-changer piece of advice for me. For me this includes a tight-knit group of family and friends, close neighbours and our school community, integrated health professionals and specialists, work colleagues and coaches. I’ve recently listened to Glennon Doyle’s audiobook ‘Untamed’ and particularly like the way she talks about creating an Island for her family and welcoming only those across the drawbridge that come with love, support and respect. I am forever grateful for our tribe and our ‘island’.
Karla wears Verse Love Letters MC necklace in 18k solid rose gold.
Film photography: Max (7) Carter (2)