Cape Town - A mother’s job is never done, never mind adding the hectic schedule that goes with being a working mom.
As a Mother of two, Jo-Ann Strauss finds taking life, not with a pinch of salt, but a handful certainly helps as does learning to deal with the curve balls which go along with being a travelling mom.
It really couldn’t get more real than shuffling her youngest daughter on one arm after she and her son had suffered a rough night due to a tummy bug as she sat down to chat to Traveller24.
Here she shares some of her tips and tricks.
You’ve transitioned from Miss SA to business tycoon and travelling mom, what advice can you share with other moms who may just be a little “FML” right now?
“You can have it all - you just have to realise that it’s not going to be perfect. Embrace the imperfections.
“This one particular day when I thought I had it all under control, I was in meetings most of the day and only realised at the end of it that I had vomit down the back of my brand new suit jacket.
“Nobody had told me.
“You just have to roll with the punches and take it in your stride, because it really is a blessing to work and have kids and I am very lucky I’m able to do what I love.
“Take things with a handful of salt – today, I’m surviving on two hours of sleep as both my son and I have a tummy bug and we were both doing the relays to the bathroom. While I tried to prepare as much as I can, at the end of the day you can’t expect perfection all the time.
“With that said, when all else fails, just put on some mascara and lipstick and still try and take on the world - even if you do have vomit down your back.
You’re living your best life but what, if anything, rattles you and how do you deal with it?
“There are a lot of things that rattle me. Before you become a mom you don’t realise how vulnerable having kids makes you.
“I will drop anything to be with them if it’s an emergency.
“Thinking about the future of our country and as a mom, you want your kids to grow up in a safe environment.
“But instead of complaining about things I’m always trying to do my bit to make things better, so that they know you don’t just complain, you try to make a difference, you don’t wait on others to make things better, you try to make it happen yourself.
“If it’s to be it’s up to me and you go and do your bit to make the world a better place.
Travelling with your kids, what’s your biggest concern?
“My biggest concern with my kids is that they get enough rest and that I am as calm as I possibly can be, as they do pick up on your energy.
“Worst case scenario I have a half a glass of wine, if I’m travelling alone with them, just to calm myself down.
"But travelling alone with them is not something I do often.
“Your energy does affect your kids energy. That’s why when travelling you should try to make things as pleasant as possible. Hopefully you’re flying on an overnight flight. And while you should just accept that you are not going to sleep – any sleep you are able to get you should take as a bonus.
“Also, I always keep cheap and cheerful toys in my bag, as those work when I need to distract them.”
What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?
“This is an interesting one. I’m doing my Social Star project, launching my first one in Mauritius in September, with another one in Europe later in the year. It is a competition that helps young people to make a career out of social media.
“Instead of just the narcissism of social media it teaches them how to use it as a platform to travel the world and see new things, but importantly to treat it like a business.
What’s the most useful long-haul travel innovation you absolutely love?
While I don’t allow my kids much screen time I love my tablet, especially when travelling long haul. The great thing is that airlines usually have great movies and entertainment for devices, so my kids know when they’re on the plane they can have it.
Also I love my Doona, which comes with its own car seat.
Anything you think airlines could do more of, either for the business traveller or the travelling family?
“For the business traveller things have progressed so much in the past five years, with mobile boarding passes as an example but not for families.
“In SA, I haven’t found it to be too friendly towards travelling with kids. Even when I was high pregnant I stood in the queue for two hours trying to get through passport control. From that perspective I was quite surprised.
"If you have kids under four you should at the very least be able to get through passport queues quicker. Generally other passengers will say you can go through. I think if you’re travelling with children who can barely walk there should be some concessions made.
What’s your go to tip for looking as good as you did when disembarking as when you boarded?
“LOL! Don’t look good when you board.
"If I’m travelling on a business trip and travelling on my own – it’s easier. I do pack my clothing –and travel in comfy pants and top, still stylish, but then when I disembark, I am able to change and tidy up.
“I also use La Mer mist refresh – flying is really dehydrating. And I do realise you have to travel make-up free and re-apply once you land.
“Don't forget when travelling with the kids, always put in extra clothes as accidents do happen.
Any up and coming destination on your must-visit list?
"I’ve filled four massive passports travelling for Top Billing, but now I realise I keep going back to the same places with my kids, as now I get to watch it through their eyes.
"On my list is Rodrigues, the island is very remote and great for kite surfing, my husband is a kite surfer. I also want to check out St Brandon off the coast of Mauritius, also known as the Cargados Carajos Shoals, about 430 km north-east, with a population of only 63 people.
"And then recently I also visited St Helena, where I drank Vin De Constance while sitting on Napolean’s bed.
A firm favourite holiday destination, if any, and why?
"Yes, it’s Mauritius – South Africans have one understanding of it and I’m getting to know the island in a totally different way.
"I also love Munich, which is why I’m enjoying working with Lufthansa as their brand ambassador for South Africa. I love the hospitality of south Germany.
"There are so many spots for running, my favourite is Isar River. Something I enjoy doing is going for long walks along the Bavarian Alps. There are so many amazing sights and I love that it is not a huge city, and has incredible natural beauty.
"A must is to explore the lakes around Munich, all along the Starnberg Lakes. A treat is to stop at the markets and eat fish on a stick or try one of the amazing sandwiches with salmon, all fresh from the lake of course.
"We also recently went to Corsica and spent a week there, this French Mediterranean island is a best kept secret and you can hike for days and not see other people.
Your motto when it comes to you and social media and travelling?
"An old Nguni saying 'ukuhamba kukubona ... which means, 'To travel is to see'.
"Not only do you discover the new places and faces, you discover a new you. Say if you have a 21-hour delay, because you perhaps booked the wrong flight, it causes you to learn a lot about yourself. That's what travel does.
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