Autism, kids, adventure and food is stuff Seana Smith knows and writes about well. The mother of four has penned three books to date including Sydney for Under Fives, Australian Autism Handbook, and, Beyond the Baby Blues. Her sites: http://themumsdiet.com/ and http://www.seanasmith.com/ are also fantastic resources for parents and scribed with dialogue as rich as her Scottish accent. I grabbed her for a wee craic (that’s chit chat in Scot).
How do you find the time to write so much and mother four children? “It’s all done with smoke and mirrors, plus the odd cleaning lady thrown in. I’d love to be writing something big, but I just can’t. It’s been good to accept this mothering life’s limitations as I’ve got older and not to jam too much in. The whole family suffers if I’m over busy”.
“I am pretty efficient though. When I sit down to concentrate on one thing at a time, I can get a lot done pretty fast. But that is the key – just need to concentrate fully on one thing and totally ignore everything else, phone off, Twitter and Facebook too. And luckily, I’m applying the ‘good enough’ philosophy to every area of life”.
What are you passionate about? “If we put the bairns (kids) and the International man of Mystery (husband) to one side for a moment…. I’m very passionate about exploring the world. This means travelling in Australia and overseas, but it also means going to any new place. So all the playgrounds and cafes on my places-to-visit list fill me with excitement. This quest for travel comes from spending many frustrated teenage years in a small Scottish village. I was desperate to get into the big, wide world”.
“I must confess, although I know this is very environmentally unfriendly, that I just love, love, love airports and flying. I would love to do more travel with the boisterous bairns, but maybe one or two at a time as their ages are so diverse, it’s hard to find places that both five year olds and 14 year olds will enjoy”.
What do you love about motherhood? “Looking at my sleeping children. Truly, it’s the best. I think it’s an essential thing to do as children look so angelic when sleeping and you can feel all emotional and loving. This builds up the love tank for when they are being obstreperous by day”.
“I’m really glad I got to have a go at motherhood, I’d have been so distressed not to. But I am sure I will be a MUCH better granny than a mum”.
What I know about autism spectrum disorder… “is that our family, as it turns out, have been let off pretty lightly. It’s a devastating diagnosis but it doesn’t turn out to be a life sentence of misery for most. The children who get a lot of good quality early intervention are bloody lucky! Every child deserves it, but not all get it at the moment”.
Charity of Choice? Oxfam “I like their Oxfam Unwrapped gifts. Have also recently started donating to the Alola Foundation. ‘Alola is a not for profit non-governmental organisation operating in Timor-Leste to improve the lives of women and children. I like the idea of donating to a country in great need that is close to Australia.
Anything else? “Just that I have to admit that my almost 15 years of motherhood has been very mixed, lots of downs and lots of ups too. I didn’t mean to have four children at all, it’s all been very accidental, but that is life, is it not? I am not complaining. We have an easy life in so many ways. And I must say that family life gets much easier as the children get older. Phew”.
“It’s a harsh thing to bring up children far from our families. I don’t know whether I’d do it again, knowing all I know now… and I so miss my mum, sisters and brother and nieces and nephews. But we love living here, and Australia is a marvelous place to bring up a family. The outdoor life, the open doors and windows; that’s who I am now, and my children are active, sporty Aussies through and through”.