Meet Anna of Rhurbarb Jam Productions…Sing! Dance! Perform! Act! just for kids

Another awesome Sydney Mum profile – Anna Asquith is a mum of two boys who runs a kids singing, acting and dancing business –  Rhubarb Jam Productions – a company running performing arts workshops for kids aged 5-12 where they get to create a production from start to finish.

Next school  holiday workshop 10-13th April

How many children do you have? What age / sex are they? 

2 beautiful boys – Elijah, 4 and Sebastian, 5 months

What has surprised you the most about becoming a mother?

Where to start? What hasn’t surprised me? I suppose that the importance of being consistent – particularly with a child who constantly pushes the boundaries (as all kids do). The need for consistency when running on the smallest amount of sleep! I am also surprised by how well I can function on such little sleep. The other thing that I think I completely underestimated was just how explicitly I need to teach my little ones about the ways of the world. Such things don’t always occur naturally in my experience!

Do you miss anything about your life prior to having children?

The ability to be spontaneous – to pop out for a coffee by myself or meet up with a friend at an art gallery or cocktail bar with little notice or planning.

What is the hardest part about being a mum?

There are so many things!! After Elijah was born, I suffered from what I call ‘First time Mum syndrome’. I second guessed everything I did and found it really hard to trust I was doing anything right!

Aside from this, I have had many moments of heartbreak – with my eldest in particular. Witnessing his struggle when his new baby brother came home. It was a big adjustment for him. Sometimes feeling very isolated from adult interaction – when I first became a mother, I had a lot of friends that were nowhere near starting a family. Many didn’t understand that I no longer had the flexibility that I once had with my schedule. Many friendships fell by the wayside and it was hurtful, but it’s life! I am so grateful for the people in my life now.

Lastly and probably most importantly, I have also really struggled with reaching out when times are tough – something that I think I am slowly getting better at. Sometimes, being a mother can feel like ‘Groundhog Day’ and I find it hard to dig deep and find the joy in the present.

How has your relationship with your partner changed since becoming parents?

My husband and I were not together for long before becoming parents. When I fell pregnant with Elijah, it was a case of ‘meant to be’. I think our relationship has deepened greatly. Experiencing my husband fall in love with his boys and grow into even more of the soulful, sensitive and incredible man he is has been extraordinary. Sharing the experiences and laughter has enriched my life greatly.

What advice do you have for new mothers or mothers to be?

Don’t succumb to Dr Google! You know more than your realise. Trust yourself!

What are you great at?

Modelling the kind of life that I would like my boys to lead – a life filled with love, learning, contribution, adventure and satisfaction – I hope so, at least. Also admitting when I am wrong and apologising to my husband and my children for it.

What are you terrible at?

Cutting myself some slack – I get very caught up in all the things I ‘should’ be doing – and not just enjoying and appreciating the present.

How has your attitude to work / career changed since becoming a mother? and how do you manage the juggle of family and work?

Massively! I have decided that I no longer have a wish to work in a mainstream setting. Yes, I am driven and have a career path through my business – but I am focused on having a business that supports my family life and contributes something to the community. I also benefit greatly from living a creative life. The more I enrich myself, the more I can give my family. It takes a village to raise children. When running workshops, I have been fortunate enough to call on grandparents, honorary grandparents (like my best friend and business partner’s mum), husband and friends to help. It’s been wonderful to be able to do the bulk of organising for things at home and online.

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?

Recently, my ‘me ‘ time has consisted of 15-20 minutes on a yoga mat in the living room before my boys wake. It’s amazing how that little bit of mindfulness and focus can fuel my day! I also take a dance class once a week and that is my ‘me’ time. I next have to really focus on allowing my husband and I to have some ‘us’ time more often!

How do (or would) you spend your leisure time with or without your family?

Getting outdoors – bushwalking, camping, travelling. We love a bit of adventure and invigoration that nature provides. We also love cooking in our house – making all things from scratch.

Who do you admire? Why?

Hmm. There are so many – but I have many everyday heroes that I am blessed to be friends with. Those that have the confidence and courage to go after what they believe in, regardless of what society may expect. I have one very selfless friend who lives in the US. Currently, they are crowd-funding $40,000 so that they can adopt a child in need of home and add to their already beautiful family. I also have another beautiful friend who has started an organisation called ‘Murmuration’ who are changing the perception of  ‘disability’. They run all sorts of inclusive and performance workshops for people with and without disabilities. Just incredible!

What kind of ‘Australia’ do you hope for your children’s future?

Hmmm…..where to start.

I would love to see a culture where more people are driven by compassion, and not fear and a place where more people consider vulnerability to be a sign of strength rather than weakness.

In recent years, I have noticed an undercurrent of change for the good. People and families have become more interested in growing and consuming their own food. I know many people who take the time to help out others in need – who understand that a small action can make a big contribution to their local and wider community. Similarly to many years ago, people become more focused on fixing and up-cycling things that they already have rather than mindlessly consuming other unnecessary things. Slowly, people with ‘disabilities’ are starting to get increased recognition and acceptance and more and more people are leaving their day jobs in pursuit of their true passion can calling where possible.

I hope an all-embracing, selfless and kind community for my boys. All of this may seem idealistic, but I have hope.

Charity of choice?

There are so many! I can narrow it down to two:

  1. AIME – Focused on ended inequality for Indigenous kids
  2. Sydney Story Factory – helping young people find their voice through writing stories.

Finally, a question all mums must face (no matter who they are!) – What are you feeding your child(ren) for dinner tonight?

Nigella Lawson’s ‘Simply Nigella’ cook books is my food-spiration for the moment – all things are simple and tasty and great for sharing!

I will be cooking Asian style short ribs with rice and steamed, crunchy greens. Delish!

ABOUT RHUBARB JAM PRODUCTIONS

My business partner, Kim Iversen and I created Rhubarb Jam Productions 2 years ago with the intention of giving young people aged 5 to 12 years with the opportunity to produce a themed show in 5 days. We wanted our workshops to be engaging and collaborative – where the children would contribute a lot of the ideas that created the show – flexing their creative muscle as kids do so well! It’s always a lot of fun and they just have a ball singing, dancing and acting. We can’t wait to open more venues in other parts of Sydney and NSW and dream of running creative arts workshops in schools.

www.rhubarbjam.com.auSing dance act Rhubarb Jam Productions

https://www.facebook.com/rhubarbjamproductions/

Upcoming workshop: 10-13 April at Addison Road Centre in Marrickville

Author: Emma McEnery

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