Mondays Local Mum Melissa Maddison

Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east:

I have been in and out of the East for the last decade and when it came down to where to settle and put my son in school – the East was the only option. I first fell in love with Coogee in my twenties, but we have settled in Centennial Park, which suits our (much quieter!) lifestyle now.

How many children:

I have one son, who has just started school. It’s a huge adjustment for all of us!

Favourite Park:

So many great options to choose from but I have to go with Centennial. There are so many different environments to explore, you don’t need to go to the playground. My son believes gnomes live there so we often spend afternoons looking for them.

Favourite Beach:

Bronte. The playground is great and it always has a family-friendly vibe.

Favourite kid friendly cafe:

Shuk at North Bondi. The shakshuka is amazing! The courtyard and play area is great on a warm day and being in the back streets, it keeps a local atmosphere.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

The Hughenden in Woollahra. It’s my guilty pleasure to stop in after I have dropped my son at school for coffee and a read in the courtyard.

Favourite date night place:

Cipri Italian in Paddington. The food is authentic, the staff are lovely and they make fantastic Espresso Martinis.

Favourite Local Day Out Activity:

A bushwalk and picnic at Cooper’s Park in Double Bay. I grew up on the edge of a National Park, and while I love living in the city, Cooper’s Park feels like being back in the bush and I can really relax. It also enables me to give my son a taste of how I grew up.

Favourite Local Shop:

Matt Blatt at Paddington. I am obsessed with all their artwork. They have great trinkets for kids’ rooms too.

Favourite wet weather location:

Centennial Park – my son and I throw on our wet weather gear and go stomping through puddles. The minute it starts to rain the park empties out so we have it to ourselves, it’s incredible!

Describe an ideal day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for you?

We are so lucky to be able to raise our kids with an active outdoor lifestyle and in Summer we make the most of it – brunch at one of the many great cafes, a morning at the beach, an afternoon bush walk at Cooper’s Park with the family, and a picnic dinner in Centennial Park.

What area of the east have you yet to explore much but would like to?

I haven’t explored many of the Harbour Beaches, but I hear they are beautiful and great for kids.

Work or SAHM:

Work –I am so lucky to work at UNSW which is such a family-friendly employer. I get to walk through Centennial Park to work every day, and work on things that I am passionate about. Recently, I was able to develop some sponsorships for mums looking to build skills to return to work.

The Career Comeback Sponsorships offer parents and carers the opportunity to apply for professional development at no cost, and it even includes travel and childcare reimbursements. I feel really lucky to work for an organisation that supports this.

Motherly advice :

There is so much pressure on women today to make everything perfect and social media intensifies that. If you believe Instagram, then you are failing if your child’s lunchbox doesn’t look like a page out of Gourmet Traveller, your child’s birthday party doesn’t include calligraphy signage and a cameo from The Wiggles, or you (gasp!) put a chocolate cake in their lunch box instead of sushi.

We all have days where we go to work with Weetbix in our hair, reach into our bags for a business card and pull out a serviette covered in regurgitated Cheezel, or forget to pack the kids lunch altogether.

Embrace it, laugh at it and if you aren’t surrounded by people who will do the same – find new people!

Scholarship Information: AGSM Career Comeback Sponsorships

AGSM are now inviting applications for the inaugural Career Comeback Sponsorships, supporting parents and carers on a career break to build the career capital to return to work and accelerate their post-break careers. Successful candidates will receive a fully-funded professional development pathway to achieve their AGSM Certificate in Executive Management and Development .

Open to both men and women, but primarily designed to address the leadership gender gap in Australia, the sponsorships enable successful candidates to build leadership capability, complementary skills in commercial acumen, finance or strategy as well as confidence and professional connections to assist them with their re-entry to the workforce.

Along with full course tuition, successful candidates may also be eligible for reimbursement of childcare and travel costs.

Successful and long-listed candidates will also be invited to join an exclusive Career Comeback Network to leverage AGSM’s business expertise and connections.

Applications are now open to parents or carers who:

Are currently on a career break with no fixed position to return to

Currently reside in Australia

Have a minimum of seven years corporate experience, with at least 12 months in a team leadership, management or senior specialist role.