Emily McLean: Life on the Gold Coast with four little groms
Scrolling through Emily's Instagram (@emily_mclean90) we loved seeing snippets of her active and outdoorsy life style on the Gold Coast with her family of six. We decided to ask if she would be interested in shooting our new 'DAY DREAMER' Collection with us and couldn't be happier she said yes!
We had the funnest day together and took the chance to chat to Emily about tips for life on the Gold Coast and all things about being a mom to four kids (including twins!) under the age of 7.
Emily, we recently shot you, Leo and Pippa in our new ‘DAY DREAMER' Collection. We had so much fun and absolutely love the pics! How was the experience for you?
Oh thanks it was actually really fun! Modelling definitely isn’t our usual thing but I’m not one to say no and I’m so glad I said yes to this opportunity. Leo really shocked me. He is definitely the star of the family - loves the camera and being the center of attention! I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit awkward and had no idea what I was doing but you guys didn’t seem to mind.
We just recently moved to the Gold Coast and love the sunny and warm weather. What are your favourite places to go / activities to do here with kids?
Oh I love this question! We’ve lived here just over 3 years and every day still feels like a holiday, I just love it here so much.
I have a few faves but If I had to pick one, my favourite beach on the GC would have to be Rainbow Bay / Greenmount. Right in front of the headland is my fave place to set up with the kids. It’s just so picturesque and usually always protected from the wind with nice, long waves and sometimes even beach pools for the little ones but most of the time I’m made to go wherever the waves are best on the day. Cabarita is another family favourite of ours!
You’ve become a mum for the first time at a young age. From your own experience what are the amazing things about becoming a mum in your early 20s and (if you’d like to share) what challenges have you experienced with that?
I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a mum from the moment I was born I’ve always loved babies and kids!
I fell pregnant with the twins when I was 22, my very first term as a Teacher fresh out of Uni. Chuck and I had been together since we were 17 and we knew we both wanted kids young. We weren’t ‘trying’ but now that I think about it, they came at the perfect time. The twins gave our lives a whole new meaning and snapped us out of our non-stop partying ways.
Being a young mum was great, I never really struggled with being tired. I went straight from rolling home around 4 AM from night clubs to being woken up by babies for the 4 AM feed I probably got more sleep once they came along.
They definitely made me a better person and gave us both a lot more direction. I love that we both have similar interests as our kids too. We literally all fight over who is going to go for a paddle first and who is going to stay on the beach with the babies.
Hmmm the only challenge that I can think of is missing out on things with your friends. My girlfriends did a big Europe trip the year the twins were born. I obviously couldn’t go but I don’t remember really minding at the time. I was pretty distracted! And none of my close girl friends have babies yet, that makes me a bit sad as I would have loved to have the experience around the same time as any of them but I have made plenty of great new friends with kids which I is another bonus!
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
Oh this is a hard one, I literally love all of it! The baby stage is definitely our favourite, there is nothing better than that newborn love bubble. But kids just make everything more fun. Our house is like a constant party, although sometimes it’s the type of party where everyone is drunk and emotional and crying but there’s always something going on. So much love and laughter.
Everything we ever did and got excited over, we now get to relive it all again through our kids. And it’s even better this time because we are sharing the experience with this little life that we've created.
What more could I ask for really… I mean I wouldn’t say no to a chef and a nanny.
You have four little beach bums under the age of 7. It must be hard to find time for yourself :) But on the rare occasion you have some ‘Me-Time’ what’s your favourite thing to do?
Haha just ask my parents and my in-laws, when they visit I have a habit of ‘popping out to get milk’ which sometimes ends in me riding my bike all the way to Coolangatta because everywhere on the way was ‘shut’.
But real talk: I do make sure I have some me time at least once a week. When Chuck is away I sometimes get a babysitter so I can duck out for a surf. I also have a gym membership. To be honest I barely ever go to but I like having the option, even if I just put the kids in creche and pretend to stretch on the mats for an hour! When Chuck is home, I definitely make the most of the outings on my own. People must see me at Coles and think “why does that chick look so ecstatic to be doing the groceries”.
We find it’s so easy to see all the amazing qualities in others but it can be hard to compliment ourselves :) If you had to name one favourite thing about yourself what would it be?
Hmmmm that’s a hard one. I would probably choose my positive attitude. I feel like I’ve always been a pretty positive person. As a teacher I see kids struggle with this and it has always been a passion of mine to help kids with their resilience.
I always say to my kids, “if you see someone who looks sad, be extra happy and kind to them and watch their mood change - it is contagious” It’s a fun little experiment for kids, or anyone really!
What’s most important to you when shopping swimwear for your kids? What do you look for in their swimers ?
We have been through A LOT of board shorts over the years the perfect pair in my eyes are soft, lightweight, quick to dry and won’t fill up with sand! Elastics around the waist is definitely a must for me as well.
Salty Swim is perfect.
For girls, well I’m new to this but so far I just look for the cutest thing I can find that’s also super soft and comfy!
Last but not least, what’s your favorite SALTY piece for your kiddos? And your favourite SALTY style for yourself?
Favourite salty piece for the kiddos would have to be the first little one piece I ever bought Pippa, the ‘Andi Moss’. It’s my fave print and the little straps with the frills are so adorable.
And my fave Salty style for myself is definitely the Holly! I live in them. They are comfier than any bra and undies I own , so stretchy and flattering and really good for breastfeeding as well. I like to always be prepared in case we end up at the beach so togs that are comfy enough to wear all day every day are a must.
I actually don’t think I have worn a bra since I got the Holly just after I had Pippa! I really hope you will make some more because I’m going to need some!