Libby Knott: Photographed by Sunday (15) and Harper (7).
Name: Libby Knott
DOB: 23 May 1971 (The big 50 next year)
Place of birth: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Gallery and Client Services, Art Money Australia
1. Did you always know you wanted to become a Mama?
I don’t have an overwhelming memory of playing ‘Mummy’ with baby dolls as a child. And in my wild teens and twenties, becoming a Mum was quite far from my focus. I did have one girlfriend who became pregnant straight after high school - I remember thinking it would not be something I would be ready for. In saying that though, I did just always have the assumption that I would have children.
2. What brings you joy when you are having a bad day?
My animals. We have recently adopted a gorgeous grey tabby cat, Bowie. He is completely adorable and always lifts my mood. He’s a real talker, meowing to let his presence be known - which is super cute.
3. What are your favourite mid-week dinner treats?
We sometimes have what we call ‘Take Out Tuesdays’ - where we either get takeaway, or we go out for dinner somewhere. I have no idea how this semi-tradition started! We usually go out to a local cheap and cheerful place, because it breaks up the cooking regime and never-ending dishes. Plus the girls love trying new places and foods. We enjoy going out for Japanese because preparing raw fish is certainly not something my partner Tim and I are adept at. We also all love Italian food; having someone else serve up a fabulous Tiramisu at the end of a meal is a real treat.
4. How do you unwind after a busy week of work?
Now that daylight savings has kicked in, an afternoon walk in the park with the dogs is how we start the weekend. We are lucky enough to live on a street with really fantastic neighbours who pretty much all have children the same age as ours (some with toddlers too). The adults often congregate for a debrief about our week, and chat about what we intend to watch on Netflix later on that night! We have recently planted a street veggie garden on our front lawn, so we stand next to the veggies with a glass of wine chatting away while all the kids play or go for a bike ride together in Callan Park. We also have a fairly solid tradition of meeting up with some friends each weekend to have a big BBQ so we can do the SMH Goodweekend Quiz together. It is a great few hours full of laughing, silliness, and always excellent food. Our average score is about 23/25 so we are quite serious. However, it is mostly about the good company. We value the solid friendships we have formed with these families who are all parents of my daughters’ primary school friends. There have been some very memorable quizzes where we have dress-up themes, and during Covid we kept it going via Zoom. Our weekends are normally busy with kids
and adults sport commitments, dance classes and general running around. So when we do all come together, it's always a great time.
5. What are some items in your life you cannot live without?
My computer! I love the internet, and being able to look up anything anytime in a moment's notice. I could also not survive without our coffee pot. It is such a ritual in the morning to grind the beans and pop the stove on to brew a strong coffee. I also really love my art collection - Tim and I have been lucky enough to purchase some gorgeous pieces over the years, and having these artworks on my walls for my eyeballs to rest upon gives me a lot of pleasure. Each art piece has a special story or connection to a time and place in my life, and I find it very grounding and comforting to be surrounded by my collection.
6. How do you grow your creativity?
I am possibly not the most creative person in an artistic sense. I have tried my hand at painting and photography, but I never seem to achieve the vision I have in my mind. I do work in a creative industry, however, I am more on the client-side of things. I help connect people to buying art. I have a natural ability at understanding art and I connect to and respond to visual media very easily. I am always looking at art - both for work and for my own pleasure. I think because I am always exposed to art, my creative eye is turned on all the time. I love visiting galleries, stopping to smell the roses, and get a lot of inspiration from nature. Because let’s face it - nature is really the most creative force in life.
7. Who are your role models?
Tough question… I can’t say I have ever really pinned down one particular person who I have aspired to be like, or follow in their footsteps necessarily. My Mother did it tough for many, many years after my father passed away suddenly. She had to raise me from the age of 10 and my sister from the age of 12. For a long time, I saw her as being an incredibly strong, and resilient figure. She just kind of got on with it really, worked nights as a nurse and my sister and I had to jest quick at being self-sufficient. But I do also know she had to sacrifice a lot of her own life goals as well. Perhaps this is why I don’t plan too far in advance with things, or as my partner says I ‘live day to day’ to some degree because you just don’t know what is around the corner - for good, or bad. I like to think good things are always on the horizon, though. In terms of other role models, I have always been drawn to the arts, visual artists, and creative people. Most of my friends are creative in some way, so I would have to say that I am inspired by, and draw inspiration from anyone who has the tenacity, drive and inclination to forge their own path in life and not follow all the rules. The older I get, the more I feel comfortable in my own skin. I am able to handle myself and communicate with people more naturally. I have also had the opportunity to work with some really talented people through my varied roles who have been instrumental in my journey. Finally, I admire and respect my sister and my core group of female girlfriends enormously. There have been so many times I have leant on all of the women in my life for advice and support. Thankfully they have always been there for me.
8. What energises you?
This may sound funny, but I get really, really excited by scouring vintage markets and vintage shops. It both energises and relaxes me simultaneously… I quite possibly spend way too much time fossicking in secondhand shops such as St Vincent de Paul and specialty vintage shops.
We mustn’t forget my beloved Rozelle Markets on the weekend - that are fortunately very close to my home. I am a regular there, and just love the hunt for pre-loved clothes, glassware, art and books. It’s social, outdoors and it never ceases to amaze me what you can find there. I also enjoy venturing into Callan Park and doing the Bay Run in my local area. I am so blessed to live next to such a beautiful park.
9. What are some grocery items that are in your basket every single week?
Dark chocolate - most definitely. I have recently started to make my own muesli, so there is now an array of chia seeds, pepitas, nuts and oats, cranberries (plus any berry really) and all sorts of things to add to my breakfast bowl. We also seem to go through 100’s of Pink Lady apples each week, as well as soft cheeses, sweet-and-salty popcorn and more recently Remedy Kombucha (which has become an excellent substitute for alcohol in our household).
10. What has surprised you most about being a Mama?
How non-stop it is, I guess. The selflessness of being a Mum is really underestimated. I never imagined that I could have the capacity to love and adore my kids as much as I do. It sounds so corny and seems obvious, but I distinctly remember both times seeing that positive pregnancy test result and feeling the earth move. It tiled. Shook. We are so connected and I love them to the core.
11. What are your favourite indulgences?
I suffer terribly from migraines, so I’m not much of an alcohol drinker anymore. But I do really love sharing a bottle of ice-cold Billecart Reserve with friends. I enjoy treating myself to some uber fabulous beauty product too, with a good trip to Mecca Cosmetics. Food-wise, I can’t go past dark chocolate or a packet of Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs or a massive cheese plate to go alongside that bottle of Billecart. I also love sinking into the chair at my local masseur and having an hour-long, reflexology foot massage. Pure heaven…that is generally followed by a pedicure, and I completely zone out
12. How has your working-life changed since becoming a Mama?
It’s been a long and varied road for me. I have had a few different positions over the past 13 or so years since becoming a Mother - some full-time roles, some part-time. Thankfully, the art gallery roles I had early on, enabled me to work alongside women at similar stages of Motherhood. They were also managing their ‘work/life balance’ with kids and partners! I think we all fumbled through all that together. I am now lucky enough to be balancing my work/life with a fabulous company called Art Money. I am able to work from home, which certainly helps a lot with keeping an eye on my children and how they spend their time after school. It was difficult working full-time when the girls were small, and I did have a lot of guilt about putting them in daycare. Somehow it all worked out! And the girls have grown into well-adjusted individuals.. so far!
13. What is your morning routine?
My alarm goes off at 6am every day (and I do hit that snooze button more often than not). Once out of bed, I head straight to the kitchen and make a pot of coffee. After that, I shower and try to take a moment to sit quietly and actually drink my coffee in peace before the morning pre-school mayhem. Tim and I then get the girls up and out the door and off to school. In our household,
there is the quite hectic flurry of searching for school shoes, school hats, drink bottles and making lunches. My friends and I always joke about how we should get better planned for our mornings! Covid has (I hate to admit) made me a bit lazy. I know I should really get back into doing an early morning walk with my dogs in our fabulous local park. But these days I tend to sleep in a little bit longer than I used to when the kids were younger. I dream about doing Yoga every morning, but I am not near disciplined enough.
14. What is the best Mothering advice you have received?
When I first had Sunday (my eldest who is now almost 14) my sister said to me to ‘sleep when they sleep’. I can’t say that is necessarily applicable to me today, but it certainly helped me navigate those first years when they were babies. I was also told by someone (sadly I can’t recall who) to not put unnecessary pressure on myself to have everything be ‘perfect’ all the time. Don’t place big expectations upon myself. Don’t have the children to perform and be a ‘certain way’ or to be like other peoples kids. Just to allow things to happen spontaneously, and to enjoy every moment - it’s a mere impossibility to be in control of everything all the time. Life is full of unpredictable situations, so you’re better off practising being adaptable. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Fiona wears Verse Love Letters SH necklace in 18k solid yellow gold
Film photography: Sunday (15) and Harper (7).