Former netball star Laura Geitz makes most of her retirement
BEING a mum is the most important job in the world to Laura Geitz, but she's the first to admit it's hard.
In her first in-depth interview since retiring from netball, Laura shared with The Courier-Mail her and husband Mark Gilbride's plans to extend their family and how she's taking on the challenge of working parents everywhere - getting the balance right.
"Being a mum, which for me is the most important job I can do, and being a good mum, is a constant balancing act. It's real and everyone balances it and does what works for them and that process can just take a little time for you to work out what is right for you and what is right for your family," she said.
"I used to imagine just staying at home and being a stay-at-home mum but I take my hat off to every single woman who stays at home and looks after children, or fathers, because it is a full-on job.
"Until you're in that situation you don't know."
Only six months ago she was playing at the Commonwealth Games and made a comeback for her beloved Firebirds.
"It is a massive transition and you obviously hear so much about athletes transitioning from training life and having careers in sport to basically it all just finishing and really struggling with that," she said. "I think given that I had the year before last off with (Barney) I think I had a bit of a taste what life was like.
"It helped because motherhood is something that until you experience it for the first time you can't ever be prepared for it. So I think I was just thrown from one world into another and I had that time to get used to it, it's still hard though."
She works with companies in an ambassadorial role and says her passion for netball will always be there.
"I think the biggest thing I've struggled with is the routine and structure and that's probably what I hadn't realised until now, looking back over the last six months in particular, but it's no different than for other people who work," she said. "But I don't miss playing, I don't miss training. I know my time was well and truly (she stops to ask Barney not to stand on top of the chair) up."
Geitz said she'd love to do more commentating but wasn't keen on travelling every weekend, especially with more kids on the horizon. "Moving forward it is staying busy, having routine and schedule in life and obviously we'd love to have more kids in the future so when that happens it is just a game changer and you become so busy with everyday life," she said.
After 10 years, Laura and Mark sold their Bulimba home and made the move to Brookfield last year to mix the best of both worlds.
The couple wanted Barney and any future children to have a taste of the childhood Laura had growing up in Allora and a taste of Mark's growing up in the city.
"Mark was raised in the city so for him it probably was harder - he loved Bulimba - but you know he's now the one that is out here just going 'why didn't we just do this sooner?," she said.
"It's been great for Barney, he's just a different boy."
Sitting at the Brookfield Garden Centre's cafe, a stone's throw away from the family's "forever" home, she apologises for having to bring her almost two-year-old son Barney to work.
Not that Barney minds.
He's running around making new friends with the other kids while closely inspecting the water dragon that's hanging around enjoying the biscuit crumbs.
He eyes mum with suspicion when she says the water dragon probably doesn't want a cuddle but accepts her advice none the less.
"Life is just never the same and they can just ground you, you can think you're setting the world on fire and you're the greatest at what you're doing and all of a sudden he'll pull the umbrella over or tip coffee all over someone," she said.
"They just give you perspective and give you so much to think about and you can just never be totally across what they're doing."