'A nice time to reflect': Jenny Morrison on Mother's Day after life in isolation

Jenny Morrison and daughters Lily, 10, and Abbey, 12, have fun in Canberra last week.
Jenny Morrison and daughters Lily, 10, and Abbey, 12, have fun in Canberra last week. Photo: Supplied by PMO

She may have been a mum for 12 years, but this is the first Mother's Day Jenny Morrison could hope to be spoiled by her husband with breakfast in bed.

"Last year Mother's Day was the election campaign launch, so that was one interesting way to spend it, and every one previous Scott was always off doing some interview with someone first thing in the morning because it was either just before the budget or just after," the Prime Minister's wife told Essential Kids.

"This one I'll actually see him first thing in the morning and I think he will be here all day. I'm very lucky that we can all be together and celebrate. Mother's Day is a nice time to reflect."

Mrs Morrison and her daughters when both girls were in primary school.
Mrs Morrison and her daughters when both girls were in primary school. Photo: Supplied

Mrs Morrison, and daughters Abbey, 12, and Lily, 10, have been staying at the Prime Minister's Canberra residence, The Lodge, since the COVID-19 isolation rules were implemented six weeks ago. While the family usually bases themselves at Kirribilli House in Sydney, where Abbey and Lily attend school, they temporarily relocated to the nation's capital where Mr Morrison continues to oversee Australia's response to the worldwide pandemic from Parliament House.   

Like families across the country, and around the world, their days have been filled with homeschooling, playing games, Facetiming friends and enjoying some daily exercise. Mr Morrison's mother, Marion, and Mrs Morrison's mother, Beth Warren, have also spent isolation with the family in Canberra, which Mrs Morrison says helped her worry less about both women. 

"Particularly my mum, I don't know whether I'd trust her (to not go out), she's a bit naughty," Mrs Morrison joked. 

"So I wanted to know that she was in the house and I knew what she was doing. She was already with me (in Sydney) for a couple of weeks before we came down, so it made sense because she had been isolating with us to continue and bring her down here and keep her down here with Scott's mum." 

While Abbey and Lily have enjoyed having their grandmothers around, the multi-generational household has provided an "interesting dynamic", according to Mrs Morrison.

The Morrison family, including Mr Morrison's mother Marion, on Mother's Day 2019.

The Morrison family, with Mr Morrison's mother Marion, on Mother's Day 2019. 

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"We all haven't lived together for that period of time, so having the kids home all the time and having the mothers there as well, and myself," she said. 

"You know, I think we all took some adjusting. I think most families have had to do a lot adjusting to create their new normal at home. That's been a good learning curve for us." 

The family has passed time by planting a vegetable patch, cooking and taking walks by Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin. That hasn't stopped the Morrison girls, like children everywhere, from sometimes complaining they are "bored", despite being provided with plenty of things to do.

"That drives me insane," Mrs Morrison said.  

"The biggest thing (Abbey and Lily) are missing is their friends, and just the routine of school, but they do a lot of Facetiming and Zoom, so they are in touch a lot of the time."

The Morrison family when the girls were younger.

The Morrison family when the girls were younger. Photo: Supplied

Like many parents, Mrs Morrison has been surprised to find that, despite the challenges, the enforced period of isolation has brought with it some benefits. 

"I've got to say it's been really nice having that change of life pace," she said, "I've actually quite enjoyed being at home and being around the kids and spending that time not rushing.

"It's been a very good eye opener and a good reset button. Not just for me, I know some of my friends have enjoyed the time as well. 

"It's challenging, that's not to say its not challenging, but it's good to be reminded of the stuff that's important in life."

While Mrs Morrison's hopes were not too high for a home made morning feast (apparently the Prime Minister is  a "very last minute planner" and better at whipping up a good curry for dinner than a cooked breakfast), she had no doubt the family's Mother's Day celebration would be special. 

The day, along with Father's Day, is particularly special to Mrs Morrison and her husband due to their 14 year struggle with infertility, during which she underwent unsuccessful IVF treatment before having surgery for endometriosis. She then fell pregnant naturally.

"Mother's Day for me, for a very very long period of time, was a really sad time and I actually really didn't like it because it just brought up all those things inside of me that were really difficult and that made me sad," she said.

"So when the babies came along, yes, I loved Mother's Day from then because I could share in it. It was really special, it was a reminder of the journey we had to get these little ones."

It will be one last family day together before Mrs Morrison, her mother and her daughters, head back to Sydney and the girls to go back to school on Monday.