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Inspirational mums: 5 Minutes with Emily Jade O’Keefe

You may know her best by her online moniker, “Emily Everywhere” — and the truth is, she is. As a busy mum, wife, TV and radio personality, entrepreneur, marriage celebrant and writer, Emily Jade O’Keefe crams a lot into her day.

emily jade o'keefe
She chats with SheKnows Australia about her career, her little girl Millie and her ongoing quest to find that illusive work-life balance.

SheKnows Australia: Describe yourself in one sentence.

Emily Jade O’Keefe: An overly ambitious little Miss Positive Pants.

SKAU: Who is your family?

EJO: There’s my husband Gerard who wanted to put International Man of Mystery on our daughter’s birth certificate. I didn’t and he still hasn’t forgiven me. We have Millie, our 15-month-old ball of sunshine and happiness, who has the occasional dramatic tantrum thrown in to keep us entertained. And Libby, our 12-year-old rescue dog who is still not coping with a 15-month-old who wants to kill her with cuddles.

SKAU: What do you call home?

EJO: Our newly built home we call the Camp Hill Castle in Brisbane. The main feature is a hot pink fireplace. My husband still hasn’t forgiven me for that either.

SKAU: How many different hats do you wear on a daily basis?

EJO: About seven! I start with the mother/wife hat, then on any given day I could be wearing my marriage celebrant hat, or radio announcer hat, or television presenter, or blogger, columnist, or swimwear designer hat. I like hats.

SKAU: How do you balance the demands of parenting with your relationships, career and hobbies?

EJO: I don’t. I tumble into bed each night and swear that tomorrow I won’t take on so much, I won’t promise to be so much, I won’t commit to so much. But then I wake up the next day and opportunities arise and I just love to grab them. So, I just try to keep up and hope that one day my daughter and my husband will one day forgive me for not being able to say “no”.

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SKAU: What are you most proud of that you’ve achieved, both in your personal life and in your career?

EJO: Everything. I celebrate everything, even breakfast. But more recently, I really changed career tact and designed an innovative new swimwear line for kids, and even though it isn’t a raging success yet, I’m just proud that I followed through with my idea. It’s called Little Valentine Swimwear and the concept is quite unusual, with skin-coloured rash suits under cute colourful cozzies. Mostly friends have them at the moment, but I feel little moments of pride when they excitedly tell me the positive responses they are getting at local pools and swimming spots, so hopefully one day we will be another Australian fashion success story.

SKAU: If you had an hour to yourself (or an entire day!), what would you love to do?

EJO: Just read. Curl up in a quiet place and read a whole delicious book, maybe with a massage thrown in at lunch time. Bliss.

SKAU: What do you love most about being a mum?

EJO: I just love my daughter. I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly love motherhood. And by that I mean the explosive nappies, and food flung from one end of the house to the other, and the long days and sleepless nights. I mean, last night I got home from doing the evening radio program on the ABC Local Radio and when I crept in to peek on her precious sleeping angel face she woke up upset, so I picked her up to comfort her and she threw up. It conveniently didn’t go all over the carpet; I caught it in the crevice that is my cleavage. That bit I don’t like, along with the guilt I feel for not liking it. But right after I cleaned her and me up she was smiling and giggling and cuddling me and all she wanted to do was play and be happy, even after she had thrown up all her dinner. Her light and love is just the best thing in the whole world. I love that I’m her mum.

SKAU: What has surprised you the most, or been the biggest challenge, about becoming a parent?

EJO: Everything. Every. Single. Thing. But I think the most surprising thing for me was the fact that even though it is natural, nothing came naturally to me. From breastfeeding, to second guessing what could be bothering her, to remembering that I was a wife first and I shouldn’t neglect my husband now that I have a new love in my life because without him, this perfect little creature wouldn’t exist. Learning to deal with the juggle of it all and the guilt when I can’t and how the days are so long, yet so short and the total loss of self has been the biggest challenge for me. I have realised what a selfish person I was before my daughter was born and how luxurious it was. And yet when you become a mum, although you certainly lose a big sense of self, you need to retain some form of selfishness to survive the change and to keep yourself healthy and strong in body and mind for your child and husband.

SKAU: Describe your ideal way to spend 24 hours…

EJO: Sleeping for at least half of it. I can dream.

want more?

You can learn more about Emily via her website,, or follow Emily on

Twitter @EmilyEverywhere.

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