Lisa Hensley

Australian actress, journalist and voice over artist, Lisa Hensley was born and raised on Sydney's North Shore. She first came into our lives in the Brides of Christ, followed by a wealth of roles in hit TV shows including A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Farscape and All Saints. Lisa currently writes for Harpers Bazaar, is a regular voice on the Nine Network, presents "From the Heart" on ON-Q, the Qantas Inflight entertainment program, co-hosts the movie review show The Know on MAX TV and is the official Patron of The Gidget Foundation for perinatal depression, which hosts its bi-annual Gidget Girls' Lunch on September 25th.

Lisa is married to advertising exec, Simon Edwards and has two children, Tom (almost 3) and Harry 4½ months
Mum In Profile
Lisa Hensley

C4K: What's your basic work schedule if you have one or is it completely different on a day to day basis?

LH: I'm very lucky in that at the moment I tend to only be "out" for work for a few hours in the morning, then I usually come home for a few hours in the middle of the day and while the boys are sleeping I write. While they're little I try to spend as much as I can which I know is not possible for all mums and I'm very fortunate in that the nature of my job allows me to do that.

C4K: Did you take any time off work when you had your children?

LH: I took about a month the first time round but not with Harry. The second one seems to be a lot easier and I guess you already have a schedule so they slot in and it's easier to get on with things, plus you're more confident and know what you're doing too!

C4K: Who looks after your children when you are working?

LH: I'm really lucky in that I haven't had to get 'formal' child care yet: My mum helps out a lot and I have wonderful girl who comes in whenever I need her and has done so since Tom was born, so he's had the same three people all the time. My husband Simon is amazing too and helps out a lot. He spends a lot of time with the boys and is a very hands-on husband and luckily his work is near where we live which makes it possible to be home at the crucial times at beginning and end of the day.

When Tom's three he'll go to child care or preschool. I'll be looking on for child care for a minimum of two days a week!

C4K: What's the most important thing for you in terms of what child care provides?

LH: I think is really important from a socialising perspective, and getting used to a routine because at four there will be pre-school and then big school before you know it, which children really need to be ready for. It's huge shift for both children and parents! I think little boys tend to be much more mummy centric than girls, who are so much more independent at a younger age, so our current arrangement is good for both myself and the boys, but the socialising element of child care/pre-school is really important.

For me, consistency of care is the most important thing with the little ones. Children seem to be so much more grounded, well behaved and able to cope with anything when they've had consistent pre-school care, whether that's with mummy, family, a nanny or in formal child care. I guess that's why it's so sad that there can be such a high turnover of carers in many places. Child carers, like teachers are just so crucial in our children's lives, they really should be much better paid and given the credit and recognition they deserve.

For stay at home or part time working mums I think the Playgroup organisations provide an invaluable resource. I guess they're sort of child care that mum's involved in too. They give children the opportunity to be in a social environment and give mums and dads a bit of time out and their own support network. It can be very hard to be at home with children if you're not working and everyone needs a bit of time out and support from other parents.

C4K: Speaking of support for parents, how did you come to be Patron of the Gidget Foundation and how important is this sort of organisation for parents?

LH: The Gidget Foundation was named after a beautiful mum called Gidget who tragically took her own life due to perinatal depression. Gidget was one of my best friends so when her family set up the organisation I was really happy to play a part in it. More and more often you pick up the newspapers and see the direct results of post natal depression - both on the mums and on their partners and children. It's tragic. The world of parenthood is really daunting. It's not as easy as you think it will be when you get home with that baby for the first time and it's just so important for parents to know that they're not alone. Lots of fathers also need the help. Organisations like The Gidget Foundation are just invaluable… not only in raising awareness of this illness, but also as a port of call for all parents who are worried about themselves or their partner.
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