Letting your kids lick the spoon, and other ways to be a great mum

By Andrea Zanetich

“We believe that every child needs a safe and loving family, and that if we can support and celebrate mothers who provide that, then we’re making Australia a better place.”

That’s the pretence behind the Barnardos Mother of the Year Awards. It’s an opportunity to recognise and reward great mums throughout Australia.

Barnardos asked a group of Australian women to share their thoughts on what makes a great mother: Sass & Bide designer Heidi Middleton, Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson, Professor Kerryn Phelps, Newsreader Natarsha Belling, bloggers Tash and Elle from They All Hate Us, and me.


Behind the scenes at the Barnardos Mother of the Year Awards Woman’s Day Shoot, and interviews with Kerryn Phelps, Jackie Stricker-Phelps, Heidi Middleton, Natarsha Belling and Lisa Wilkinson.



Letting the kids lick the spoon

After tripping over my flats to be included among such an illustrious group of women, I spent a bit of time reflecting on what it means to be a good mum.

I don’t know about you, but even when my kids tell me I am one, I’m constantly plagued with self-doubt: Am I loving them enough? Am I teaching them the right things? Am I feeding them the right balance of protein, carbs and ‘good fats’? And exactly how many hours of ‘screen-time’ is too much?

I am constantly plagued with self-doubt”

The experience also made me think about my own mum, and what she taught me.

Even though she passed away many, many years ago when I was 11, it’s still a bittersweet thing to think – really think – about the lessons learnt from those apron strings (yeah, my mum was a big apron wearer, and yes, she always let us lick the spoon).


But, what an amazing opportunity for reflection:

What do you think constitutes a great mum?

What did your mum teach you?

Where would you be without your kids?

And, what does love mean to you?



The day we shot my vid, it was a stinking hot 46 degree day in Sydney, the school holidays were limping to an end, my son was grumpy at me – probably something to do with Skylanders – and it was a very, very bad hair day.

Andrea Zanetich from Fox in Flats for Barnardos Mother of the Year

I was asked the above questions (and more) on that hot and sticky day as we filmed, while my eldest son occupied himself with an iPad. He piped up when I said that “without my kids I’d get a lot more sleep ;)” (you can hear him in the background yelling out!) and so the production crew and I decided to bring him in on the action.

Happily, the team at Barnardos edited out the part when he deliberately picked his nose. OMG.

Check it out:


I’ll admit that, amongst my nerves and sweat, my son’s nose-picking, and him saying on camera that he thinks I’m a great mum because “…she lets my brother and I play computer games,” I slunk out of there shaking my head with its weird hairstyle feeling like a total fraud.

Yet later that day while having a splash and a laugh at the beach, my son turned to me in his little voice and said, “I actually love you more than video games.” 

Which just goes to prove that, while we’re often overly hard on ourselves, being a ‘great mum’ is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

I’ll guarantee you someone out there thinks you’re a great mum too.


Know a great mum?

Click here and nominate her for the 2013 Barnardos Mother of the Year Awards . But be quick as entries close March 1st.


What do you think makes a great mum?

What did your mum teach you?

And when you make a cake, do you let your kids lick the spoon afterwards? 

baby hanger1 The 1 minute hairdo for thick, fine AND out of control hair

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  • Katie Rainbird

    That’s so sweet to hear your son declare his love like that! It’s an almost impossible task to describe what it is to be a great Mum – there are endless ways to define it. But that Barnardo’s description is pretty apt.

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Katie, I agree, Barnardos have got it going on. They are such a great organisation. And yes, it’s funny to hear different exclamations of love. The other day I saw a card, on the front it read “I love you more than chips and chocolate”. My 4 year old thought it was hilarious “who would love anything more than chips and chocolate?!” Yet now he says that to me. Kids. 😉 x

  • What a beautiful video. Something special for you to keep and look back on with your son. You looked gorgeous and spoke beautifully.
    Watching these video’s is making me tear up.
    I so agree, unconditional love is what motherhood is all about. It is the best job and we need to celebrate those great Mum’s out there and support those that are finding it hard, as we all do at times.
    Well done! (Ps I think your hair looked fine.) 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Katrina, thanks for the kind feedback, I really appreciate it. xxx A

  • Karina

    And you made the woman with crazy post natal hormones cry!!!
    The guilt, doubt & fear I’ve felt since my 3 month old was born 9 weeks prem has been crippling. To see this is heart warming and reminds me that despite how I feel, I know my son loves me. I just can not wait for the day he tells me!
    Thank you, this post touched me, more than you cold possibly imagine!

    • FoxInFlats

      Karina, oh no! I hope they are happy tears. You’ve been through SUCH a hard time, and having a newborn is a humongous challenge in itself. But look in his eyes…he’s telling you how much he loves you already. xxx Andrea

  • Jen Swift

    Andrea, your mum would be proud! Z and B are lucky boys

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Jenna – oh thankyou. Sometimes I think she’d be thinking ‘WTF are you doing?!’ and no doubt the boys do too. But all we can do is do our best! PS: We miss you!!! x A

  • Ah lovely, they do appreciate us mums, the naughty little children that they are. My little girl wrote on my hand today: ‘Mummy, your the best.’ I almost fainted as she’d been claiming the opposite for a few days this week…. ah, so sweet, and all grammatical errors must go unnoticed.

    We’re great spoon lickers and even double dippers, and bowl lickers.

    • FoxInFlats

      Oh Seana that’s gold. It’s those deposits into the ‘goodwill bank’ that keep it full when they seem to be making ‘withdrawls’ frequently 😉 x A

  • I loved that video! It must have been so nerve-wracking but you did an amazing job! Your son is so cute. I can’t wait to hear my son say ‘he loves me more than video games!’ He’s not even talking yet but he shows me he loves me in other ways. It’s the best job in the world isn’t it? x

    • FoxInFlats

      Aw thanks, yeah I agree you can tell how much kids llove you, just by the way they look at you. X A