Unfortunately, fortunately, or somewhere in the middle, my daughter Elle has been born into a family that is, at times, in the spotlight.
When I first fell pregnant, I questioned what this meant for my daughter. I chose this life, she didn’t.
Would I share her childhood on social media? Would the attention impact her in finding her sense of identity? How will she react when she’s old enough to understand?
I’m sure this is something all mother’s grapple with, regardless of living in the public eye or not.
However, for the short time I’ve been a mum, I’ve learnt that the noise of the spotlight is just that, noise. The best thing I can do for Elle in these precious years is surround our family with people that I trust and bring value into our lives.
And I truly have learnt from the best of the best.
My mum, who has greatly influenced my parenting style, never tried to control or dictate the type of person I would become. I learned so much of my core values from watching her in motion. She was the type of woman I wanted to become. A woman I’m still working on becoming.
My co-parent, husband, and partner (in every sense of the word), Tim, is my rock during rough seas. Becoming parents exposes parts of each other you never knew about, and it’s now as we approach our work and lives as a family, not just a couple, such as with our new partners Nature One Dairy, that we really see ourselves as a team. Each other partners in parenthood, trying to do our best every day.
We learn from each other, teach each other, and raise each other up to be the best parents we can be.
There’s no handbook (I wish), but spotlight or no spotlight, there are things I want Elle to learn from us, and the community around her, that she can take into her future.
Some I wish I knew when I was younger, and some I’m still learning today, and everyday.
So, darling Elle—here’s what I want you to know:
Be a strong, empowered woman. To me, this is about taking control of who you are and not letting other people bring you down for being you. What makes me feel good from within empowers me the most. Know what you’re capable of, and the endless possibilities of being you.
Don’t be ashamed of who you are. Most of my life I’ve cared way too much about what people think of me. It has hindered me forming relationships, my self worth, and it has held me back. I didn’t think I was good enough to thrive. What’s so great about being you are the things that make you different from everyone else, these should be championed, not concealed.
Treat others with kindness. The people I surround myself with, for me, are the essence of life. We are all equal and deserve to be treated that way. It’s about acknowledging the importance of difference, and celebrating our uniqueness in our own way.
Surround yourself with the right people. People have come in and out of my life from my early childhood and as I’ve grown, the people around me have varied, for good reason. I’ve changed for the better. You need people who will support you no matter who you want to be, and they are the ones who can be a catalyst for getting you there. Positive and varying role models are key to becoming you.
Don’t be confined to who people believe you should be. Find out who you are and who you want to become. It’s okay for this to take time. I’m still trying to work it out myself.
Don’t compare yourself to others. With the likes of social media and everything that is to come in your future, it’s hard to not compare yourself to others. It all comes back to knowing the importance of you and your self worth. Once you’ve got that sorted, all the images you see and the stories you hear will not affect where you are in your life.
And finally, lead by example. Whether in the spotlight or not, I lead by example everyday, showing Elle the importance of being kind to others and equally as important, being kind to yourself. Just like my mum did to me, and just like I now raise my own daughter. To pave the way for Elle to be the Elle she wants to be – with her light shining brighter than any spotlight will ever be.
Anna Heinrich is the mother of 18-month-old, Elle Robards. Herself and husband Tim Robards are Nature One Dairy Australia ambassadors, helping parents across the country recognise co-parents as each other’s ‘Partners in Parenthood’ – enjoying the ups and tackling the downs of parenthood together, every step of the way.