Mums Of The Commons


April 1, 2024

Member Spotlight

This Mother’s Day, we're thrilled to spotlight the incredible mums, daughters, and mums-to-be within The Commons community.

This Mother’s Day, we're thrilled to spotlight the incredible mums, daughters, and mums-to-be within The Commons community.

We've had the privilege of chatting with several women at The Commons, learning about their unique journeys as working mothers. Whether they're new to motherhood or have been balancing work and family for years, allow us to introduce you to the Mums of The Commons.

Sophia & Olympia

Meet Sophia Petridis, the People and Operations Manager at The Commons. Sophia has been with The Commons since 2020 starting as a Community Manager with us at our OG  location in Collingwood, Gipps  Street. Sophia is a first-time mum to her beautiful daughter Pia. Pia is 18 months old and loves cuddling up with her mum and watching the Wiggles, dancing to music and popping bubbles with her Grandma.

What was the biggest thing you learnt after becoming a mum?

Just how precious time is. I’ve become very protective of how I spend my time, who with and what I’m doing.

I’ve also learned just how important it is to stay emotionally regulated. It’s been a fast-tracked lesson on what my triggers are and what comes up for me when Pia is having an emotional moment or going through a challenging time. I try really hard to check myself so I don’t let my shit get in the way. It’s certainly not always perfect but it’s a big change in how I manage myself.

How have you adapted to being a "working-mum"?

Transitioning back to paid work after maternity leave was a lot smoother than I anticipated, it felt like the right time for me and for Pia. I’d love to rattle off a list of life hacks and to-do’s and what my food prep routine looks like but it simply isn’t like that for me. Every week is different based on how our weekend has been or how much energy my husband and I have. So long as there is some semblance of healthy food in the fridge, I have clean clothes in the cupboard (or scattered around our bedroom) and we’ve managed to walk the dog before we all run out the door, it’s a win for me. When things align like this, I feel like I have adapted and I am doing a good job.

"I’ve tried to focus more on being present when I am at work and being present when I am at home."

In what ways have you changed since becoming a mum?

I think it’s softened some of my edges but I also think it’s put things into perspective for me. Going back to the time thing, life is just so precious and I am reminded of this daily. I guess the other thing is, it has left me feeling wonder about the world where I had forgotten it existed, like trees moving in the wind, or blowing bubbles, or splashing feet in puddles. It’s so wonderful to see the world again from Pia’s perspective, it’s put things into perspective for me.

What similarities do you and Pia share?

We are both observers - taking in the full picture before we make a decision about something. We also both love singing and dancing to anything that has a good beat. My husband would say we share a fiery temperament when we are pushed to our edge, I guess I agree with this, reluctantly.

Sharyn & Ellen

Sharyn is the founder of Flaunt Marketing, established in 1995, just 6 months after her daughter Ellen was born. Working out of The Commons  Gipps Street alongside her daughter, between these two women is over 35 years of experience in marketing, communications and strategy. Ellen is also the founder of BABY Pink Gin, Australia's first and only 100% female-owned spirits company. BABY Pink Gin is distilled in the Macedon Ranges, packing a juniper-rich punch, while also serving light floral notes in every sip. Learn more about this fun and loving mother-daughter duo below.

What is your proudest moment as a Mum?

Looking around the Christmas dinner table last year and seeing five incredible humans and their partners. So proud of our blended bunch.

What does Mother's Day mean to you?

A reflection of my role as a daughter, mum and now grandma. A time to soak in the love.

What have your children taught you?

Unconditional love. I don’t think you realise the pure concept as a daughter, sibling, partner, or friend.

"But as a mother, unconditional love flows through you."

How do you find working alongside your Mum?

I love working alongside my Mum because we get to have fun, work towards goals and achieve them together. The times that we conquer business wins together are so special, and this adds such a unique layer to our already close relationship. Of course, like all mothers and daughters, we have our moments, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

What is your biggest learning from her?

The biggest life skill that Mum has passed down to me has got to be the power of manifestation. Since the age of about 10, she has encouraged me to do yearly vision boards, and has honed into me the notion of ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’. I believe this belief in myself and the universe has personally been a huge factor in my success so far.

What is your favourite thing about your Mum?

I love so many things about my mum of course! In business, two things that stand out to me are her creativity and resilience. Her out-of-the-box thinking means that she’s able to predict trends well ahead of their time, and come up with ideas that nobody else has ever thought of! Her resilience when it comes to life and business is something to admire too. The belief that everything will be okay, always.  

"If you can dream it, you can do it."

Sarah & Afie

Sarah works with her partner, Paul, at Kallan & Co. The pair work out of The Commons Wellington Street in Collingwood, the creative hub of Melbourne. Kallan & Co offers a design studio for technology-driven businesses, transforming technology into meaningful brand and product experiences. As a first-time mother, Sarah explained to us her learnings since having Afie and how she has adapted to life as a working Mother.

What advice will you give to your son at 18?

Don't worry so much about who you'll be or what you'll do or where you'll go. Fall in love! Take chances. Be brave. Try new things. Be kind and compassionate. Keep an open mind. Stay humble. Be happy. There's such a rush sometimes to figure out who you are and what your career looks like. It all takes time and once you think you are a certain way, you'll change again, which is perfect because you don't have to stay one way forever. You're never defined or always going to be the same person as you were the day before, and that's ok!

How are you finding being a working mum with a newborn? Is it what you anticipated?

I am really lucky and have not gone back to full-time work yet. I do a little bit if I can squeeze it in during nap time! Some naps might be half an hour, some two hours so I really have no idea what and how much I'll achieve! Haha, you have to be really speedy and have a clear plan of the things you need to do. I'm sure it will be a real challenge when I go back to work full-time. At the moment I really can't imagine it! I mean, my brain is thinking about Afie 24/7 (in the best way) so having work in there too will be a really interesting mix.

What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?

There have been a couple of surprising things, like how we literally love every minute with him. But the biggest was the extreme anxiety right after having Afie. I was petrified of anyone holding him and only wanted Paul (my husband) to hold him when we were out so no one could touch him! That was wild since I loved being pregnant and was quite relaxed about it all, even right up until the birth! I don't feel like that now though! But it did take a couple of months.

In what ways have you changed since becoming a mum?

I'm not sure how I've changed other than I'm always thinking about Afie – whether it's planning for the day, wondering if he's too hot or too cold or if he's happy. My online shopping now is mainly for size 6-12 month clothes instead of stuff for me! Other than that, I'm not sure I've changed much, of course, my priorities have changed, but he has fit so perfectly into our lives that I can't imagine or even remember what it was like to not have him. Actually, the biggest change is that I can eat so much faster than I used to be able to - time is of the essence - and I am happy to go to bed at 8 PM haha but I have never been much of a night owl before having him.

Ash Smithies

Ashleigh is currently the second member of the  Silver Linings Agency team, working out of The Commons Wellington Street in Collingwood. Ash has been with Silver Linings for 2 years and is now their Account Director. Silver Lining is a fellow B Corp-certified creative agency dedicated to helping out charities, other B Corps, and any organisation that wants to leave a positive impact on the world. As a mother-to-be, Ash shared with us what she thinks her life may look like, her favourite advice she has been given and the one thing she's been craving the most.

As a mum-to-be, what are you anticipating life to look like?

I’m expecting that life will feel like a messy, sleep-deprived, yet beautifully precious blur for those early years. I’m sure I’ll have good days and hard days and I’ll probably wonder “if I’m doing this right” as a first-time mum so I want to make a conscious effort to be kind to myself and ask for help and support when I need it. It’s funny because even after so many conversations with other parents and all the “heads up” of the things to come, I don’t think I can really comprehend what life will look like until little Bub is here.

What is the greatest advice you've been given since finding out you were going to be a mum?

Since sharing the news of my pregnancy, I’ve received so much advice that I’ve loved. One that feels so important is: that I need to look after myself in order to be the best mum. For me, this comes down to asking for help and communicating my needs without self-judgement or shame. I’ve heard lots of people refer to ‘mum guilt’ which sounds like a very sneaky trap to fall into. I’ve placed a lot of value on my mental health before being a mother and I see how differently I show up in the world when I tune into what I need each day for my wellbeing, so I really want to take this into motherhood. I know how difficult that will be on some days but even micro-moments of self-care (eg. listing 3 things I’m grateful for while doing the dishes) will be better than doing nothing.

The other piece of advice which I loved was from a client of mine, she told me that when she had her daughter she used an app called 1 Second Everyday where she captured a 1 second video of her day with her daughter every day. The app creates a mini video in chronological order. I love this idea and capturing the smallest moments which I may not appreciate at the time but having that as something I can refer back to feels so precious.

"I need to look after myself in order to be the best mum."

Have you been craving anything interesting in your pregnancy?

Yes, I’ve been addicted to smashed banana on toast with cinnamon and a crack of salt. So simply and so yum!

How soon will you return to work? What are your plans for work with a newborn?

Such a tough one to answer because it’s so dependent on my transition into motherhood but I am hoping I’ll return around the 9-month mark. I fortunately work for a very progressive creative agency called Silver Lining and they’ve been amazing with making my return to work a gradual and flexible one. I’m very lucky and have my parents living close by to babysit which will be a big help when navigating the transition back to work.