Meet this week’s local mum Gloria Hawke and her life and tips for living in Sydney’s east.
Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east:
I have lived in the Eastern Suburbs with my husband Stuart for 10 years, always near Maroubra Beach but we have moved three times from South Maroubra, North Maroubra and now in Lurline Bay (the suburb that isn’t technically a suburb) and we love it here.
How many children:
I have two sons, Jack is 8.5 and Cael who is 5. They are the best of friends one minute, wrestling and fighting the next – they have a great relationship and I am so glad that they have each other.
I often tell them that they will never have a relationship/friendship like they do with each other and that they need to look after each other – sometimes when I see them together whispering, giggling and scheming, or comforting each other when they are hurt or sad I know that some of that message is getting through.
In the looks department they are chalk and cheese, Jack is tanned with dark eyes and hair and Cael is fair, blond/ash coloured hair and blue eyes.
Even in personality and temperament they are wildly different, Jack is sensitive and artistic whereas Cael is fearless and physical.
The traffic light bike/scooter park on Jersey Road, Heffron Park, Maroubra. My kids love it there and can easily burn off some energy for a few hours while I sit in the sun and read or catch up with a friend. I either take my kids there with friends or they end up making friends. It is a fail safe outdoor outing for us.
Hands down, Maroubra Beach particularly the North End. We used to live opposite the beach here so I spent endless hours down there with the kids, playing in rock pools, swimming and, building sandcastles. There is no paying for parking, the ocean can be flat like a lagoon one day and then huge pumping waves the next.
Even in winter I take the boys down there and they run around, they climb the Rubiks cube and usually end up with their hair, clothes and my car full of sand but they are happy and I get to sit near the ocean which makes me happy.
I also love swimming at North Bondi because it is so calm and picturesque but I am not a fan of the parking metres!
Favourite kid friendly cafe:
The Bay Bakery on McKeon Street, Maroubra Beach. My kids love it here they have a cheese roll or a milkshake whereas I can have pho or a Vietnamese roll. It is a versatile little place which is always busy and our go to place for a simple breakfast or lunch. We have been visiting the bakery for years. The space is simple, a few tables indoors and more outdoors, its bustling so kids are welcome and it’s a no fuss place for a quick bite with very friendly owners and staff.
Favourite Coffee Spot:
My favourite coffee spot is St Honore Bakery in Edgecliff near my work, I am one of those strange people who doesn’t like or drink coffee, my favourite hot drink is a soy chai latte and this is where I go to get it and to have a few moments of quiet before I head into a mediation or to pick up the kids from school.
Favourite date night place:
Date nights, hmmm it’s been too long. We really like Japanese food so I would say WA at Bondi Junction because the food is fresh and tasty and it isn’t expensive and often we will go on to the Westfield and see a movie if I can stay awake long enough!
Favourite Local Day Out Activity:
My favourite time of year is summer, I love the sun and swimming. A perfect day out for me would be a picnic with our family and some friends at Malabar or Little Bay and taking our paddle board out, I can’t wait for this winter to pass so we are one step closer to summer.
When I go to Little Bay I feel like I could be anywhere, the water is crystal clear and perfect for the kids to swim in because it is so calm.
Favourite Local Shop:
My favourite local shop is Hamblins on McKeon Street Maroubra, it is an amazing florist and gift store. I’ve got a beautiful ornament for my house from there, organic sun cream for my son who has eczema and flowers for my friends when I want to cheer them up, when they’ve had a baby or when I just feel like fresh flowers for my own home. Make sure you check it out.
Favourite wet weather location:
When it’s wet I usually take my boys to one of two places, the movies at Eastgardens, all the chairs recline and it’s just so comfortable or to the Bowen Library to borrow some books and have a play in the children’s area. My youngest never tires of the ride on cars and I can sit on the couch and read a magazine or a book for a little while and we all leave armed with armfuls of books and good intentions to return them all on time.
Describe an ideal day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for you?
An ideal day in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs would have to include a morning coastal walk from Maroubra up through Coogee, Gordon’s Bay, Clovelly and to Tamarama if I have the energy and a swim at Coogee or Mahon Pool as a reward at the end. When I go on this walk and I see tourists snapping pictures I remember how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. This walk is an instant mood lifter. After this it’s time to eat and if I am child less my favourite place to go is Chia Bar on Maroubra Road for a veggie burger with curly home made fries. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.
Work or SAHM:
I work and I am really involved with the day to day care for my boys. They are both at school 5 days now so I have been able to work a lot more in my business which I run with my business partner Saranne Segal, it’s called Hawke Segal Mediation and we are based at Edgecliff. We are both family dispute resolution practitioners, we help parents and families who are going through separation and divorce to establish parenting plans, resolve parenting disputes and agree on financial settlements outside of court.
We also work with business and organisations providing workplace mediations, workplace investigations and conflict management training.
In general people are afraid of conflict, but it is a part of life. People often say to me “your job must be so hard” – it can be hard sometimes but I love it, I re trained five years ago after I had Cael and after ten years working in communications and public relations. I’ve found the work that I am passionate about and I am doing what I think I do best, listening and helping people during a difficult time in their lives whether it is at work or at home.
Having your own business has all the pros and cons that everyone talks about, you don’t ever really switch off but that responsibility is shared when you have a good business partner as I do, but I also have that ability to book clients in school hours where possible and ensure I can attend my boy’s important assemblies and events at school as well as pursuing my career.
Motherly advice :
It’s true what they say “the days are long but the years they fly by” – when your kids are really little and you’re lacking sleep and all they want is to be near you, touching you or they are having the fifth tantrum for the day and it’s 10am and you are craving space the day ahead can seem endless. But the years really do fly by and our kids grow so fast and you need to treasure some of those moments before they slip away.
Treasure their neediness, that little hand that just wants to be in yours, the little pitter-patter of those feet as they climb into your bed and tell you they’ve had a bad dream but when you really know they just want a cuddle. I know that when my youngest starts “big school” next year I will shed a tear as a new chapter begins.
And lastly don’t judge, you have no idea of the struggles any other mother is having, you don’t know the temperament of their children, their situation, if you see a mother struggling don’t stare, give her a smile and let her know she is not alone – we need to stand as a community supporting each other, not one upping and feeling we are “mothering” better than the next person.