Marisa is a mother of 2 young children, hardcore Canberra Raiders fan and advocate for all things Mental health related. She has a banging short hair cut that not many can pull off and we had a nice ol’ chat to this everyday mum. Enjoy.
You and I have known each other for around 20 years I’d say? You were my sisters friend back at school and then by sheer coincidence we met online 10 years later planning our weddings. Turns out that you now live in and own my old house! I am grateful that we connected a few years back because I have watched you become a beautiful mother who is doing a hell of a job raising two adorable children. What is it like being a mother and is it anything like you expected?
Haha yep! What a freaky coincidence that I live in your old house, and that we have reconnected. The Universe works in mysterious ways to bring people back together for a reason.
Being a mother is NOTHING like I expected. It’s definitely a lot harder than I ever thought, and with both my children having food allergies and intolerances, it’s certainly presented a lot of challenges. Between my son’s mild behavioural issues and my daughter’s attitude (no idea where she gets that from haha), life is certainly interesting, and there are days where I am completely tearing my hair out, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Being a mother has shown me love I never knew existed. They just make your heart burst with love. The things they laugh at and find amusing, it’s just so simple, it’s just beautiful. They are beautiful.
I love their vintage names. What made you decide to steer clear of the top 50 children’s names when choosing them?
Thank you, I’m in a bit in love with them myself. I have always loved old fashioned names, and didn’t want my children going to school with 5 other children in their class with the same name. We had Hugh decided on from early on in my pregnancy, and only decided on his middle name of Archer the day before I gave birth! Nell’s name is actually inspiration from the real life character of Nellie Cameron from Underbelly: Razor. Her middle name of Audrey is my husband’s Gran’s name, who very sadly passed away 9 weeks before Nell was born.
You are a mad Raiders supporter. Fanatic you might say. Why do you love them so much?
I most certainly am a little fanatical! I love the Green Machine, and have done since I was 9 years old. There’s no particular reason why I love them so much, I’m just a bit sports mad, and it comes out in my passion for the Raiders. My husband is a Sharks supporter, as is nearly his whole family. They have tried to convert me countless times, but I will not budge. My heart will always be with the Canberra Raiders.
You have always come across as an extremely confident woman. Knows her self worth. Now that you have children, how important is it for you that they have this instilled in them?
I will be completely honest and say that I wasn’t always so confident in myself. I have always been assertive, and stood up for what I believed in, but my self worth is something that I always questioned until I was in recovery for my eating disorder.
Going to hell and back with my eating disorder taught me a lot, and I am determined that my children always believe in themselves, aren’t afraid to say how they feel, and can be who they want to be. We live in a world that seems to want to bring you down at any chance, and I don’t want my children to buckle under that.
Who are you and what do you do when you aren’t ‘mumming’?
That’s a tough one! First and foremost, I am a Mum, and for a while there, I lost myself. You get so consumed by mum life that everything else kind of starts to slide. It was really getting to breaking point because I was getting so frustrated and feeling trapped, something had to give. I make sure now that I get time for me. It doesn’t always happen as planned, but I try my best to fit in in. I have a monthly appointment at my hairdresser that I always look forward to, and I love spending time with my girlfriends, just being able to be Marisa as opposed to Mum at that moment.
One of the most important non-mum things that I do, and that I am incredibly passionate about is eating disorder awareness. I have recently ramped up how much I am putting in to this, and I am loving the response I am getting from people taking notice. There is very little awareness about eating disorders. Many people think that it’s “just a diet”, or a choice, but it is most certainly not either of these things. It is a mental illness, and not something that just eating a bowl of chips will fix. I want people to know the ins and outs, I want them to know just how serious having an eating disorder is. And I want sufferers to know that there is a way out.
You raise a phenomenal amount of awareness for eating disorders and mental health and your image is currently on display in Parramatta Library talking about your own personal battles and triumphs. What can you share with others who might be going through similar challenges right now?
You are not alone! I went through so much with my eating disorder, and I really didn’t realise that so many other people who were right there with me, or had been through it and had recovered. Not until I realised the torture I was actually going through and researched it, did I realise that there were people just like me. People with severe body image issues, people who had a voice in their head breaking them down and destroying them, people that had constant suicidal thoughts. Knowing that there were others just like me that had got through it, it gave me hope that I could too.
Most of all, I want sufferers to not be ashamed. There is a huge stigma attached to mental illness as it is, however eating disorders are just that much worse. It’s a secretive disease because people don’t understand it, and shame people who are suffering. Imagine telling people that you have a voice in your head telling you to throw up the meal you just ate, and then to do 2 hours of exercise to work off that cake you ate. People don’t know how to respond to that, and a sufferer is in fear of what would be said. I want people to understand the disease, and I want sufferers to feel safe reaching out. An eating disorder sufferer cannot help that they have an eating disorder, and they should never feel ashamed that they have a mental illness. If more people spoke about it and were understanding, the easier it would be for others.
What do you love most about your husband?
He is so good with our children, he is an incredibly hands on Dad, and always has been since they were born. He’s the “cool” parent! He spends a lot of time with them, and because he is home 2-3 hours before I usually get home, he does dinner during the week, and spends his afternoons with our children. I love they get so much time together.
What Everyday Mum advice would you give to a mum who might have had a rough day.
Tomorrow is a new day. It sounds so clichéd, but it’s true. Tomorrow you can start afresh, and forget about todays disaster. Also, it’s ok to walk away from your children for 5 minutes to take a break. We’re only human, and sometimes a break is needed so you don’t completely lose your cool. I try to remember that they are only little, and even though something may not seem important to you, it is incredibly important to them. Remember to breathe!