mamma: Kelly Müller
kid(s): Two daughters - Sunny, 5 and Ari, 18 months.
where is home right now: Lennox Head, NSW
photographer: Bridget Wood
tell us about your family?
We’re a beach loving family of four living in Lennox Head. My husband Josh and I are originally from New Zealand but we’ve been living in Australia for almost a decade now. We spent six years in Sydney – where our first daughter was born – and we’ve been in Lennox Head for three. We wanted a place to raise our children that gave us many of the comforts of New Zealand - but with better weather. We juggle work life and family life, mostly chaotically, in order to spend as much time with our daughters as possible.
what do you love about where you live?
We ended up in Lennox by accident, but we truly can’t imagine being anywhere else. Before we moved up from Sydney, we checked out a few different suburbs (Lennox not included) - South Golden, Bangalow, Suffolk – but none of them felt quite right. We’d never been to Lennox before but as our move date got closer, we expanded our rental search to the area after we realised it was only 15 minutes out of Byron. We came across a house that fit what we were looking for and we moved up without ever seeing it in real life.
It worked in our favour. We were three streets back from the beach and quickly learned that Lennox has a beautiful, slow, easy pace - similar to that of which Josh and I both grew up with. The pharmacist knows your name, your local coffee shop (hey Shelter!) starts making your order before you even step in the door and it has a real community feel. It’s still old-school in many ways, but it’s filled with young families and it’s starting to grow and evolve.
We’ve just bought a block of land and will start building our first home at the end of this year.
what do you do professionally and tell us about your journey to get there?
I own KMC (Kelly Muller Consulting), a brand, marketing and PR consultancy that specialises in building and elevating brands. I worked in a range of strategic roles within PR, Marketing and Digital Marketing before KMC, which I launched when my first daughter Sunny was four months old - that also happened by accident.
I’d never dreamed of owning my own business however, after I had Sunny, I realised I could never work the 60-hour weeks I had been doing before (at least not for someone else) and I wanted more flexibility and autonomy over the tasks I was doing and who I was doing them for.
My friend Pip Edwards was about to launch P.E Nation and we had a chat about me helping her “with a bit of brand positioning and the PR launch”. That turned into a much, much bigger role which eventually led me to starting my business. I worked as the PR and Marketing Consultant for P.E for two years from launch before taking on additional clients and eventually handing over the reins of P.E to a larger in-house team.
After moving to Lennox, my husband did a complete career 360 (he’s a scientist!) and retrained so that he could run a digital advertising arm of the business rather than us having to outsource. We have an amazing PR and Marketing Manager, Erin Huigens, and together the three of us work across nine clients at current offering bespoke services. We work as external Marketing Directors in a way – but we do the execution as well. I didn’t just want to offer strategy; I love doing ‘the doing’ and bringing our own ideas to life is where the magic happens.
since becoming a mamma, how have you navigated your professional career with motherhood? Any tips for readers!
I’m not going to sugar coat it, juggling work and motherhood is really hard, because I truly want to give the best of me to both - and some days that’s just not possible. I had to learn that perfect wasn’t as important as getting it done. Being honest with clients from the get-go and setting boundaries up front were very important. Almost all of my clients are parents as well, so they understand (and empathise) the juggle entirely. They also know, there is no one better at getting shit done than a multi-tasking mum!
It’s not until you become a parent that you realise clients / bosses / colleagues… they’re all humans juggling an array of different balls too. If they don’t respect the work that you do alongside the family you’re raising, they’re probably not people you want to work with anyway.
Some days I don’t feel as organised as I’d like to, and I forever feel like I’m chasing my tail, but I am more productive and efficient than I have ever been. We don’t have any family in Lennox (or in the country really) so it’s on Josh and I to make it all work. The pressure of your business being your only income can be compounding some days, but I am very selective on who I work with and where I put my time. If it’s going to take me away from my girls, it needs to inspire and challenge me so the fulfillment outweighs the stress most days.
who inspires you?
I am lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible humans. My best girlfriends all challenge my thinking in so many ways. My friend Tash (featured on an earlier journal entry) has inspired me to be a better mum. She is so in tune with her kids and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to early childhood. She has reminded and reassured me of so many things and I am forever grateful.
My mother - I didn’t realise it until I was older as we are very different people, but the sacrifice and selflessness that my mum has shown me is beyond inspiring. I hope I can be even half the mother that she is.
My husband – the coolest, calmest, kindest, most considerate human I have ever met constantly inspires me to be a better person.
your mum/nan/gran’s best advice? (first that springs to mind!)
My gran is my hero – she has taught me so much throughout my life and I admire and adore her. I don’t think it’s been direct advice, but she has taught me to always be kind, to never forget my manners, to trust myself and to listen to my gut.
something your kids have taught you being their mamma?
That I am capable of more than I could ever have imagined.
the perfect Sunday morning entails?
An early Pilates class followed by coffee with my family at Shelter before a long morning at the beach. My favourite Sundays are in summer when afternoons turn to evenings at the beach and we end the day salty, sandy and so so happy.
what does a ‘modern mamma’ mean to you?
I think Anna Harrison sums it up better than I ever could.
“Every mother – every woman – is the hurricane and the rainbow, the ordinary human with the badass superpowers”
Her beautiful, relatable and empowering essay has been saved in my bookmarks tab since she wrote it in 2019.
3 words you’d want your bubba(s) to remember you by?
I asked my five-year-old if she could help me with this. I asked her how she would describe me and I prompted her with a range of words – “kind, fun, grumpy, loving”….
She said “You always have your eyes on us. You always concentrate on us. And you’re always tired”. Haha, she kinda summed it up perfectly! I would love my girls to remember me as being present, loving and inspiring.
I love ALL flowers (well, except carnations) - they make me so happy! Sunflowers have long been a favourite. I love dried natives (because they last forever) and I am partial to the good old Eucalyptus - we had it on our tables at our wedding and the smell always reminds me of that day.
how to you make time for yourself & what does that look like? (when it does happen!)
I find this both essential and debilitating. Of course, I need time to myself but I truly am happiest when I am with my kids and my husband so I have to really force myself to take a minute. Being away from them leaves my tummy in all kinds of knots.
Exercise has become a big part of ‘self care’ for me and it’s a ritual in itself. I drive 25 minutes to Bende in Byron for a 45 minute class. The drive there and back is filled with podcasts or phone calls to my family in New Zealand or my besties in Sydney and it just gives me a chance to breathe. Because I own my own business (and my kids don’t sleep), nights are never my own. I never switch off, especially working in the industry that we do, so this drive, and then the class, are really the only time I have to myself and my thoughts.
we speak of bon bola being made to nurture ‘connection’. how do you connect with your bubba(kiddos)?
I’ve always been conscious of having one on one time with them, especially since having two. Josh and I split our weeks with working days and kid days. We each have a day at home with Ari on her own and then a day with both girls. When Ari sleeps, we try to make that time all about Sunny and we do something that she wants to do.
We haven’t had a TV in our house for about two years – not because we’re anti-TV, but because it broke (lol) – so we’ve been forced to fill the days with activities. We do a lot of reading, playing and lately, a lot of Lego.