Australia's leading businesswomen share their ideal Mother's Day -- and what drives them nuts

Kate Vale. MD of Spotify.

Mother’s Day is today, so it’s a fitting time to see what it means for Australia’s leading female executives — and what drives them nuts about the day too.

For many, it’s the simplest things that matter including a sleep-in, coffee in bed as well as breakfast cooked by the children and spending quality time with the family.

Business Insider asked some of Australia’s leading female executives about what they like — and loath — about the day.

Here’s what they had to say.

‎Naomi Simson, founding director of RedBalloon

Naomi Simson.

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

Coffee in bed, then a long walk with Dexter (my pooch). When I arrive home my children have surprised me with my favourite breakfast — we then go to the local farmers’ market, buy the ingredients for an Indian feast… then the family cooks together preparing the complex recipes… My parents join us for the Indian feast dinner — and the extended family… with lots of laughter — after dinner we play “heads up” or “cards against humanity”.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

I think they are all very clever, and funny — so when ever we are together around the table the conversation is vivid and interesting. We love watching movies together — we had the whole family go to Eddie the Eagle recently — and we all thought it was great…

Is there a gift you really want?

I’m always up for a massage (and preferably one that comes to me at home)

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

I know from all my time at RedBalloon that many Australian Mums will get a “roast chook” for Mother’s Day which means it is their night off from cooking dinner… how great it would be if it was the day that the kids cooked (that Mum was pampered all day) — really what Mum wants more than anything is your time and to be with you.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

I suspect that I am the worst person to try to answer this question — I might keep fit and I do eat well and look after myself — but that’s about it. I believe that the term “work life balance” was invented just so I feel bad about myself — I have to be very deliberate about making sure that I have time with friends… otherwise it is Christmas again and I’m saying we must catch up next year.

Kate Vale, managing director for Spotify Australia & New Zealand

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

My ideal Mother’s Day would start just like any other when I am home with the family. I love being woken up by the pitter patter of little feet and giggles next to my bed, followed by cuddles and a little lie in, perhaps even breakfast in bed! Then we’d all head out to a nice, long, cruisy lunch in the sun close to home (somewhere on the northern beaches). Then it’s home to watch a movie together and early to bed.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

My husband has lived in another country for the past 18 months with work, which has been incredibly challenging, and I travel a lot for work as well, so what I love most is having my family all together. We all share the love of the outdoors — the beach, the park, bush walks – so being together doing what we love makes me really happy!

Is there a gift you really want?

I do get spoilt on Mother’s Day — my husband always does a great job of choosing something nice on behalf of the kids. I love jewellery and/or a nice bag (you can never have enough).

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

Nothing really. I would prefer to spend the day with my mum as well but she lives in Melbourne.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

Family must always comes first. It’s easy to make decisions if family is always at the top of your list. Also, invest in help if you are in a position to afford it. We have a live-in au pair who helps with everything relating to the kids, and without her help I’m not sure how we’d manage as best as we do.

Photo: Liza Noonan.

Liza Noonan, executive manager of innovation for CSIRO

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

A long sleep-in interrupted with my 3 children carrying in burnt toast and garden picked flowers. Brunch and a walk at Balmoral Beach followed by an afternoon with the extended family and plenty of good wine, children performances, music and a cracking roast cooked by the men!

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

Their boundless energy. Their behaviour in shopping centres that compel complete strangers to tell me “it will get easier”. Their unconditional love and support.

Is there a gift you really want?

An enthusiasm for exercise and the bravery to take my little ones on a plane trip that lasts longer than two hours.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

No, I love it all. The pre Mother’s Day breakfasts at schools & daycare, the Mum’s Night Out celebrating the occasion, the adorable handmade crafts. It’s my new silly season!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

Accept all help when offered!

Kate Morris, founder & CEO Adore Beauty

Kate Morris.

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

Breakfast in bed, a drive in the country with lunch somewhere, and a chance to put my feet up and read the weekend papers.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

Lots of hugs!

Is there a gift you really want?

I’d be happy with the breakfast in bed and a homemade card.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

I really hate some of the “gift ideas for Mum” that reinforce traditional gender roles. I don’t know any mums who want a sandwich press or a handheld vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

You can have it all but you can’t do it all, and neither should you have to. Your time is just as valuable as everyone else’s so it’s only fair that your partner does their fair share of the parenting as well as the housework.

Connie Mckeage.

Connie Mckeage, CEO of OneVue

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

I would like everyone to just get on with their lives -– as it is how we treat each other every day that matters most not “special” days and in that way I am blessed. I do like getting a call though just to have a chat. But we get together every second Sunday anyhow.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

I just like being with them. I love my family and I like them too. I just like doing basic things — it doesn’t need to be special. Like watching a good movie together or taking my granddaughter to the park or hearing everyone laugh at what someone did or the roles everyone plays in order to get Christmas lunch across the line each year. It’s being there for each other rain or shine.

Is there a gift you really want?
No, I genuinely don’t need anything — time is the thing we cannot buy but is the most valuable gift we can receive or give.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

People everywhere, hard to park if you need to go out, and seeing families who wish they were really somewhere else trying to do the right thing on the day.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

It’s hard to balance everything. And once you realise this it gets easier. The one thing I have learnt though is to be present wherever I am. Don’t be at home and still be at work. Don’t be at work and half at home. You can be happy juggling it all and delegating what you need to. I am, so if I can be others can be as well. At least it’s not a boring life!

Photo: Jackie Brian/ LinkedIn.

Jackie Brian, acting country manager for Intuit Australia

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

A morning walk in the sunshine along Palm Beach and up to the Lighthouse with my hubbie and kids, Toby, 10 and Lily, 9.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

They love me when I am at my best and my worst; they surprise and inspire me every day; and they always make me laugh!

Is there a gift you really want?

More time in the day would be nice.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

School Mothers’ Day stalls — don’t need anymore “stuff”.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

Be kind to yourself. To paraphrase the inspiring Dame Quentin Bryce, “You can do everything, just not all at once”.

Rebekah Campbell, co-founder of Hey You

Rebekah Campbell.

What’s your ideal Mother’s Day?

This will be my first Mother’s Day as a mother so I’m really looking forward to it. I expect it will be like experiencing Christmas for the first time! My ideal day will just be spending as much time with my baby as possible; feeding her and looking into her eyes in amazement, and just enjoying being altogether as a new family.

What’s the thing you enjoy most about your family?

I love that there is always someone who is on your side. No matter what happens, if you’ve had a the worst day, you can go home and someone is always behind you. You’re always part of a team and it makes me feel completely accepted and supported. Building a great family has made a great difference to me — it has made me much stronger and gives me the right balance to help me make much better decisions.

Is there a gift you really want?

With having a 10 weeks old baby, what I’d really like for Mother’s Day is some sleep, if I’m honest. Even if it’s just a few more hours on the morning of Mother’s Day, that would be perfect.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about the day?

Not really, I really enjoy both Mother’s and Father’s Day. They’re both days that our family has always readily participated in. I love the extra excuse to celebrate the hard work they have done for me. Recently becoming a Mum myself, I’ve developed an even stronger appreciation for them and love that I now play a different role in this special day.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to women balancing work and family at home?

Something that I’ve realised very quickly is to become more focused at work and to not drag your work home. I used to be more fluid between work and home, often not switching off. Whereas, now I try and stay slightly longer to make sure everything gets done so that when I’m home I can be present.

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