Many of us know Monica Trapaga's beaming smile and vibrant personality from her days entertaining us on the ABC's Playschool. Since then, though, she has taken on many other adventures including jazz singing and hosting Better Homes and Gardens.
But it's behind the scenes that really gets Monica ticking. She has a full family life and recently spent two years in New York house hunting and spending time with her trapeze artist daughter, Lil. Together the duo explored their relationship and the city.
Their recent endeavour has resulted in a new cookbook, A Bite of the Big Apple.
Monica stopped to chat with SheKnows about how she keeps it all together while parenting, entertaining and doing whatever else comes her way.
SheKnows Australia: Describe yourself in one sentence.
Monica Trapaga: I am an incurable romantic with a bizarre sense of humour, mother, wife and lover of life.
SKAU: Who is in your family?
MT: My husband Simon Williams, I am mother to Lil Tulloch and Atticus Gough, step-mother to Phoebe, Georgia, Victoria and Oliver Williams, and best friend to Lola our six-year-old Groodle.
SKAU: What do you call home?
MT: A large old warehouse in Glebe (the old flour mill), a loft in Soho Manhattan and a beach house on the South Coast where I have my garden.
SKAU: How many different hats do you wear on a daily basis?
MT: Any number of hats: wife, mother, dog owner, shop owner, buyer, treasure hunter, artist, musician, writer and friend.
SKAU: How do you balance the demands of parenting with your relationships, career and hobbies?
MT: Finding the right balance is always hard but I gave up trying to be Superwoman years ago. I think it is really important to involve your kids as much as you can in your own career and teach them as much as you can about the world. Listening is also important, really listening. It is also important to support your partner — parenting has to come from all parents concerned whether you’re a step parent or de facto. I also involve my kids in my work as much as I can, and when you love your work it makes life a lot easier.
SKAU: What are you most proud of that you've achieved, both in your personal life and in your career?
MT: I am incredibly proud of my kids, they teach me something new all the time. I found writing and illustrating my latest book with my daughter Lil an incredible achievement. I am very proud of my husband Simon and what we have achieved together; he's unstoppable and pushes me to go for things. We have set up three homes together in beautiful parts of the world.
SKAU: If you had an hour to yourself (or an entire day!), what would you love to do?
MT: As soon as I have an hour off I head for the water. If I'm in Sydney I go and swim 50 laps of Victoria Park Pool. If I'm down south I take Lola (our dog ) for a swim in the surf. When I'm in New York, I walk and walk and walk.
SKAU: What do you love most about being a mum?
MT: I love being needed, I also love to make my kids laugh. I adore cooking with them and trying new experiences.
SKAU: What has surprised you the most or been the biggest challenge about becoming a parent?
MT: Watching my children make decisions and seeing how they handle challenges. Also, being supportive of their life choices can be challenging but I have always been very proud of them. You can never plan how your life is going to turn out, one can only try as hard as possible to make life rich, inspiring and fulfilling.
SKAU: What is the best advice you've heard or could offer other mothers juggling hectic schedules?
MT: Listen to your kids, remember your own childhood and what you loved and hated. Take time out to be silly and laugh a lot. Most of all, show your kids respect and let them know you love them no matter what.
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