Hiding behind her babies since 2009 (her words not ours) it is the most insane privilege to have this talented Waikato based mother of four Anneke Heu infront of our camera.
FIFO Wife, explorer, and creative Anneke shares her home style and family life with utterly divine children Ryder (10), Cove (5), Navy (3) and Ever (2) on Instagram. For simply divine and functional home hacks, DIY aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly cleaning products, recipes and storage solutions we highly recommend you add Anneke Heu to your scrolling portfolio.
Annekes husband works in Western Australia which means lots of solo parenting. We talk to Anneke about her children, their cultural identity, FIFO life, and what motherhood means to her.
How would you describe your mothering style?
I feel like I’m the “Bad cop/Good cop” from the LEGO movie. Constantly whipping between characters. My husband is away often for work so I find myself trying to be two parents at once, authoritative as well as permissive. It can be contradictory, but I’m trying to implement rules and structure so they can be good, independent, happy human beings. I also want to go with the flow, be nurturing and let them be free spirited. Some days I win, some days I say swear words!
Three’s a crowd, but fours a party?! Talk to us about your beautiful babies
They are busy, easy to please, affectionate, loud and wonderful. They are my world. I stare at them in amazement and disbelief daily. They also drive me extremely crazy and have pushed me to limits I never knew existed. On the flip side though, my children teach me things I didn’t know I needed to learn. Each addition has brought a new beautiful dynamic and wildness to our family. It’s intense and tiring but I couldn’t imagine life without them. Four is definitely a party. (Those wild out of control type of parties!)
And what does motherhood mean to you
Motherhood has changed my life in only the best ways. It’s a sacred calling and nothing has compared to it. I’ve never felt such pride, fulfilment and empowerment. I often feel very inadequate but at the same time I’ve never felt prouder of myself. I feel very blessed and privileged to be a mother of four energetic, messy, healthy kids.
After three boys, what was it like having Ever?
I still haven’t found the right words to explain her arrival into our family, but somewhere along the lines of magnificent, special and magical. Much like the arrival of each of the boys but there was a different element to her that I just can’t quite articulate. I feel very blessed to experience mothering both genders, the boy gang love their little sister. Welcoming another female into the family was a wake-up call though. As soon as we laid eyes on each other, I knew she’d be watching my every move. I instantly knew I needed to get to work on my health, my self love, self care, self everything! It’s a work in progress.
(Anneke’s husband works in Western Australia as a miner) Can you talk to us a bit about FIFO and your home life.
Wow, this is a topic I could write a book about. In a nutshell my husband is away for typically 6-8 weeks and home for 1 week. Our life is really no different to any other family, the trials of life and motherhood are similar, except my husband doesn’t come home every night. He does however get to spend a reasonable block of time at home. He can be hands on and part of the kids lives, where other Dads may not have that opportunity. He can be part of the wild morning rush, walk the boys to school, do the kindy drop off and pick up, take them to sports trainings, swimming, go on school trips, even hang out some washing and grab some groceries. It’s these simple moments we treasure and are grateful for. I am confident in my part, doing lots of it alone, but it involves lots of sacrifice and hard work from both of us. It’s ruthless at times and I’ve felt resentful, but we’ve learnt to dig deep and find an inner strength that often surprises us. Organization and communication are key. Time is a precious commodity to us. Family time, when we are all together is something we don’t take for granted. We are heading into our 9th year of the FIFO life, I don’t really know any other way to do marriage or motherhood, I am just freaking thankful for amazing technology! But this situation doesn’t make me special or push me up to Supermum status, everyone has their “hard thing” this is just ours.
Your kids are Maori, Cook Island and European. Talk to us about your kids’ ethnicity and how your family encourages them to identify with all parts of that.
We are proud of our cultural heritage. I feel a lot of the encouragement happens organically just by spending quality time with family hearing stories, asking questions, being curious. Family is important to us and so is our family history. I want my kids to have a firm understanding of their identity. I believe it’s an important foundation to great self confidence.
Your home (on the ‘gram) is always SO clean! Shed some light, offer some comfort to the mamas sitting on their washing piles and who haven’t vacuumed lately; what is going on behind the scenes.
Oh don’t worry; There is always a pile of washing breeding, brewing or stuffed somewhere! My friends came to take family photos at home once, I hid three baskets of washing in the boot of my car! Our home is shoebox tiny, the madness accumulates hard and fast and I usually can’t keep up. But I sure do love a clean organized house.
You have such a talent for functional AND BEAUTIFUL home hacks and styling. We know you have something brewing - What is the latest project you are working on?
Our home is small. For perspective, I can sit in the lounge and see the front door, the back door and the 2 side walls of our house just by turning my head. Making intentional decisions and troubleshooting how we use the limited space we have in a functional and beautiful way has become a fun challenge. Our home benefits from regular edits. I’m continually aiming for a calm, bright, serviceable simplicity that is timeless. I’m currently working on a mini laundry makeover, the hardest working area of our home. Also on the agenda, a space for others to learn about small home edits, both virtually and physically. I just need to catch up on my washing first.
Motherhood is the job that never stops – biggest work perk for you is?
My favourite part of the day is doing the final check on them before I hop into bed. They look extremely delicious and innocent. I always sneak in a succession of kisses to each cheek and walk out feeling pretty chuffed with myself.
What do you do for yourself / to recharge?
I often dream about running away to a hotel, by myself, having a long hot shower and sleeping! But in the real world my happy place is the beach, reading, getting creative, a hug from my mum, dinner with friends. I’m pretty low maintenance, probably too low maintenance?
What do you look for in a handbag?
Quality, simplicity and functionality. I need it to handle the tugs and pulls of motherhood and also look great. The ability to be worn crossbody is always a firm condition too.
What drew you to this Saben style?
Frankie! It was love at first sight. All those pockets, the timeless style and that stunning pebbled textured leather.