This is an exciting interview for me – not just because it’s the first one of the year for 2018, but because this girl came through as a suggestion for me from a follower and she’s not a mum. As you’ll read on though, I simply had to have her on here. As a mum, we all hope there is a Brit Draper out there for us should anything every happen.
Full Name: Brittany Jade Draper
I was Born in Geelong December of 1991, First (& best) Child to excited parents Jen and Dave. I was brought home to Waurn Ponds then to Torquay where i went to school, we moved onto some land out the back of Torquay where I am currently calling home again.
Children/ Gremlins: Archer (8), Poppy (5), Ryder (3) and Bonnie (1)
TBB: Britt, your story is much different to many we’ve seen so far – in fact, you’re not actually a mum. I’ve read a little about your unique situation, but the floor is yours – can tell us all about how you came to end up as an ‘Super Aunt’ to 4 wonderful kids?
I’ll have to give a bit of a long back story here as it is definitely not a normal story and definitely not how I saw my life heading. From the age of 19 I have worked with children and always had a special bond with them. When I was 23 I decided to go to Uni and study Naturopathy so I looked for work as a casual Nanny. Facebook landed me a job with the Owen family in May 2015. When I first came on board two days a week with the Owens there was just Arch who was at school, Poppy (2.5) and Ryder ( 6 months). A year and a half later and we had an added addition of baby Bonnie May (3 months).
Whilst on holiday in Hamilton Island Nessie Owen passed suddenly and unexpectedly. Before they had left Ness and I had been packing the bags joking about the trip and how my birthday weekend was going to play out back here in Melbourne. I thought it was odd that I hadn’t heard from Ness on my birthday but predicted she was busy chasing the kids around the pool. The next day I got the news that completely changed the course of my year. (Ness suddenly and tragically passed away).
Immediately I knew I had to step up and help out in any way i could, it wasn’t an option. I loved them all too much and Ness had become such a good friend, that I couldn’t walk away. From there I packed up my room in Melbourne and moved back. Things were crazy for a long time, with the help of the grandparents and a local Nanny agency we had rosters flying everywhere, day and night nannies to help with the load. Little Bon was so young there was so much change happening for everyone, grief and emotions were at the forefront of everyone’s decision making but my main priority every day was to make sure the kids were happy. Everyone dealt as best they could but it was mentally and physically exhausting.
For 6 months my job was to co ordinate everyone really, be a support system for everyone but most of all just be there for whatever needs the kids had. From teething to learning to read with everything in between, I’ve had a good taste of life as a parent now. I then moved into a new role at the local newspaper full time which meant I couldn’t be there every day for the kids but every second day I go over check in see if any of them want to stay at my house or go do activities. I get to play the role of fun Aunty now and I absolutely love it.
TBB: Nobody could imagine their life would take this turn, especially at the age of 26 – what do you think has been the most challenging thing so far in a parenting sense?
I’ve learnt a lot in the last year to say the least! Sleep deprivation was the biggest nightmare for me. I was a walking zombie for a few months I reckon.
You have no idea how much lack of sleep fogs your brain until you are waking every few hours for a baby or if the baby is sick.
I have so much more respect for parents with a newborn now that’s for sure. As for parents with four children… you deserve medals, (might I interject here and say that I think Brit deserves a medal too?! – TBB). I mean every parent does no matter how many kids you have but trying to balance four children of different ages who are all learning new things and coming into their own personalities is so challenging. You feel like you are constantly telling them off or redirecting them to new activities. Kids don’t stop EVER! Five minutes play with each toy max. School holidays I would try come up with various activity stations just to avoid arguments between them. So hats off to all parents trying to entertain children constantly. We developed a little motto at the start of this “divide and conquer” – it was the only way to keep some peace.
TBB: Aside from helping raise the 4 ‘gremlins’, what are your life goals/ dreams and are you finding the time to incorporate the life of a normal single 26 year girl into this life as a part time carer?
I’ve never particularly wanted to work 9-5. Especially if I was raising my own children, I wanted a flexible working lifestyle. Having my own business would be a real dream come true. I am a really creative person and have been drawn to the natural health area but I am not 100% that I will go back to study especially at the moment. Skin care is definitely a love of mine that really only started 3 years ago as well. I’ve done a few short natural skin care courses and want to dig deeper into that area for sure. I always wanted children although last year I think I said at least 3 times “I’m never having children after this” haha! Hopefully that part of my life falls together at some stage.
Finding a balance between caring for the kids and being a normal 26 year old has at times been hard. Work can be tiring and knowing I have to go home pack orders for or working on SPANKD when I want to see the kids, it’s hard dividing time and not feeling guilty.
At the start of last year I was the furthest thing from a 26 year old, I rarely went out or socialized with my friends. I was busy sterilising bottles and staring at mountains of washing. I have started to put me first a lot this year, I’m back exercising every day and saying no to things I would usually feel obligated to go to. My favourite weekends are spent with the kids, they make me smile every single day and I wouldn’t change that for anything – but I still love a wine or 5 with my mates!
TBB: So speaking of – you started your own business @spankbodyscrub – give me your elevator pitch!
SPANKD is my little project that started as a gift idea for a friend’s birthday that quickly turned into a “why don’t you sell these”, so a Vista Print sticker order later and I had labels. A social media account developed and it was off. I have now teamed up with Project Empire and Circus Media to develop a NEW brand look and direction, I am incredibly lucky. We have 4 different scrubs using raw sugar, sea salt, Himalayan salt as base ingredients, 2 face masks using bentonite clay and activated charcoal and an oil serum using the best natural oils to absorb into your skin after any of the above products. All made from natural organic ingredients to help exfoliate and moisturize your skin.
TBB: 5 people you would invite to dinner and why – GO!
I’ve never been asked this question! I’m going to be a bit naughty and say what I would love to do right now, which is have a big dinner with all the amazing women in my life. I’d love to thank them all for playing a part in my life in showing me how to nurture, how to love and how to be strong because my god we are all so strong. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of what I have this past 15 months if it wasn’t for the people in my life and influential women who surround me every day.
*cue tears and medal sending for Brit*