This next person I’ve interviewed is someone I’ve fan-girled over since Hunter was 26 days old, to be precise. I met Sally on the Kids Ward at the hospital where she works as a nurse when Hunter was admitted the first time, and she’s been the most invaluable source of knowledge and comfort since, allowing me to keep in contact with her and asking her a million and one questions! It turns out Sally knew who I was from following The Bean Bible, as she owns her own amazing custom artworks and prints business Love Lennox and I also followed her! It wasn’t until I asked her to interview with me that I made the connection that she was also married to a Supercats star that this little basketball fan 4lyf had watched play for years! SMALL world Geelong. SMALL world. Sally has two boys – Xavier who is 4 and Noah who is 2 in May and I’m almost certain she has some sort of super human powers or at the very least is fuelled purely on caffeine!
TBB: The creative (art) and the clinical (nurse) – it seems such a paradox! How do you balance such a high energy job with your arty side? And which came first?
SH: It sure is a paradox of worlds but I love both dearly. A day as a nurse on the Paediatric ward can only be described as organised chaos (much similar to life with two little tornado’s at home!). We hit the ground running the minute we start and no two days are ever the same. It’s high pressure and mentally and physically demanding but like parenting so rewarding. What I love about painting is I can totally switch off and hours go by without a single worry. I find it so relaxing and therapeutic and it is my ‘me’ time.
I’ve always been quite arty and grew up in a creative household in which Mum had a background in fashion design and Dad was a screen printer. I remember spending hours drawing as a child and always begging Mum for a new set of derwents as I had used mine down to the buds! I’ve been working on the children’s ward for the last 11 years but it was in 2015 when Noah was two months old that Love Lennox was created. I look back now and seriously don’t know what I was thinking starting a small business with a newborn and two-year old but I was getting a collection of paintings in our spare bedroom and sick of the nagging from my husband about what I was going to do with them! I thought I would try my luck with selling a couple on Instagram and was in complete shock when someone bought my first one. After that I started receiving custom orders and before I knew it I had sold over 50 commission pieces.
TBB: I’ve been on the Kids Ward a few times as you know, do you think that you have more compassion because you’re a mother yourself – or does it make some situations actually harder to deal with?
SH: I think I’ve always been compassionate but coming back to work as a mother has definitely made me a better nurse. I thought I knew what it meant to be tired but until you have had a child of your own, nothing compares or can prepare you for the sleep deprivation you face. I was probably more patient focused pre kids but now one of the first things I ask is if I can get the parents a tea/coffee or something to eat or if they have had any fresh air? Coffee is life with children and now knowing firsthand how hard life is with a sick child, it’s these little things that mean a lot to an exhausted Mum or Dad. That and the offer to hold their baby or sit with their child while they have a 10 minutes to themselves in the shower can make a world of difference.
I’m definitely more emotional and find myself getting teary at things that never would have made me cry pre children. We deal with some really terrible things on the children’s ward and there are days I can’t help but cry as I’m comforting parents and their children. You can’t help but compare your child with the ones you are looking after, but working with seriously ill children and their incredible families puts life in perspective and at the end of the day I thank my lucky stars that I have two happy and healthy boys.
TBB: Tell us a little about your week – how do you balance mum life, me time, painting time AND working at the hospital?
SH: I’m so lucky that I have been able to return to work part time after having my boys. I try really hard have a good work life balance and although I work a mixture of day and evening shifts I only work a couple of days a week nursing. I find it harder to balance Love Lennox and mum life than work at the hospital. Some days I feel I can’t really switch off and have the itch to go downstairs and finish a painting. I’m also guilty of spending too much time on social media. As well as thinking about what to post next, I’m always looking for inspiration for my next artwork and ways to improve business. My only real time to paint is at night when the boys are asleep. My husband is out 4-5 nights a week as he plays basketball with the Geelong Supercats so I have plenty of evenings to myself to paint, or to sit on the couch watching terrible reality tv without someone trying to change the channel!
Our weeks are crazy busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way, although I think as most mums I get the guilts when leaving them for work.
TBB: What have you found the most interesting thing about parenting boys – and what is something you hope to teach them as they grow?
SH: Having grown up with two sisters and an aunty to only girls having two boys has certainly been an eye opener! They are loud, busy, curious, loving, affectionate little hurricanes. I know it sounds corny but they truly have taught me more life lessons than I could ever teach them. They love big and hard and show me the simple things in life are truly the best. They teach me to slow down, smell the roses, how to see the positive in negatives, and how most things in life can be fixed with a big bear hug. I hope they grow up to be kind, accepting, happy young men who use their manners and don’t forget to visit their mum.
TBB: 5 people you would invite to dinner and why – GO!
SH: Ooh this is a good one!
I would invite Graeme Norton for his wit and hilarious stories.
Khloe Kardashian because I’m a tragic Kardashian fan and think she would be a ball of fun.
A 25 year old Elvis Presley for his soulful tunes and dreamy looks.
Barack Obama because I find him intriguing and he would be an amazing conversationalist, and my mum and Dad because I miss them dearly and would do anything to spend 5 minutes more with them both.