Shelley Craft: thriving on structure
FOR Shelley Craft, juggling the demands of motherhood with the bustling activity on The Block is just part of a normal working week. The bubbly presenter and mum to Milla, 4, and Eadie, 2, has happened upon a schedule that works for her family, for now at least.
"When we are filming The Block, I am down and back to Melbourne on Friday and then back there again on Sunday and Monday and then much of the rest of my week is spending time with the girls and doing interviews either over the phone or in person," Shelley says.
"When they were babies, they travelled with me. They spent a lot of time flying and hanging around studios. For us now, we have a much better balance. They go to daycare when I do work, and when I am home, we have quality family time rather than lugging them around. I used to think I was a bit of a free-range parent and that the kids would be quite relaxed, too, but they love structure and routine and thrive in that sort of environment.
"I am delighted where I am. If The Block needed me in Melbourne five days a week, it wouldn't be the show for me. I am happy in what I do. I am flexible and fluid, but it has to suit our family."
Like most successful working mothers, Shelley depends on the help and support of her husband to get the family through the week.
"I have an amazing husband," she beams. "He is really phenomenal, and I am so proud of his relationship with our girls, and the time he spends with them is quality dad time. They do completely different activities together than we do as a family or that I would do with them. And that is something I would like to maintain whether I am working or not."
Craft, 38, who has worked in television for the past two decades, is also a firm advocate in child care and the social advantages it offers children.
"I am a big believer in daycare and kindy," she says. "And not just because I am working, but because of the interaction it offers the girls. They love it and can't wait to go. You can't have that stimulation at home. Even when they are at home with me they are following me around as I do the laundry and housework. There is no dedicated time just to play with them and educate them."
Like most working mums, Shelley feels guilt when she kisses her girls goodbye - not because of the time her career takes from them, but because she misses them.
"I am not the only working mum in the world. Most people have to work, and I think being a stay-at home-mum is equally challenging ... If I spent seven days a week with them I probably wouldn't appreciate how fabulous they are. I need a little bit of space, a bit of me time. You can't feel guilty about living your life, and hopefully as they grow, they appreciate why I work."
See Shelley Craft on The Block: Triple Threat on the Win Network.