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Zoe Marshall is a podcast host, the wife of South Sydney Rabbitohs player Benji Marshall and a self-confessed over-sharer.
However, Zoe’s most important role of all is being a mum to her four-year-old son, Fox, and her 11-month-old daughter, Ever.
Bounty Parents caught up with Zoe to talk motherhood, life, death and why couples should really consider sleeping in separate beds.
What does motherhood mean to you?
It means feeling safe, grounded, loved, unconditionally loving, being so selfless it’s painful, lots of noise, everything is sticky, no time for anything, warm kisses, being constantly terrified… It feels like it’s the meaning of life.
Zoe Marshall with husband and NRL star, Benji Marshall and their two children, Benjamin Fox and Ever J.
You’re very open and honest about the realities of motherhood. Do you ever worry about being vulnerable in the public eye?
Absolutely I do. It’s a strange thing. I interviewed Jmo [gossip columnist, Jonathon Moran] on The Deep and he said something that shocked me but it’s also kind of true. He said once you step into the world of the public eye you can’t pick and choose when you want it, for it to be on your terms. He said the people now own you. I know this is not completely true. But you really can’t pick and choose when you want to be involved and when you don’t. I guess that’s why I’m very open because then people don’t need to pry or second-guess things. The downside of it is people often misinterpret things that I say. And it can be blown into a headline and get me into trouble.
In a recent Instagram post, you mentioned you spoke to your son about death, life, heaven, earth – what did you say?
Mother’s Day definitely represents death because my mother has passed away. I’ve been very open with my son since he was very little about Nanna Jan dying of cancer and what that means. He often says to me with absolutely no emotion or tone ‘Your mum’s dead! Nanna Jan is dead!’ It’s actually very confronting to hear it like that but for him he doesn’t understand the gravity or the depth. So even though I think it’s important to talk to children they won’t understand fully until they’re older. He does understand though that things, plants, animals and people die.
You recently shared you and Benji sleep in different bedrooms. Do you think we should be normalising separate bedrooms for couples?
I actually think all of you that share a bed are completely mad! We have been doing this for 10 years and I’m not sure if it’s made us stronger but it has made us kinder to each other. Sleeping next to somebody feels very unnatural to us. Pushing them when they’re snoring. Moving around. I’m such a light sleeper that both of us would be awake most of the night from the other person, so it didn’t make sense for us. It definitely does make things sexier because when you’re intimate it’s intentional and not just because someone’s laying next to you and you can throw a leg over. So yes, I believe we should be normalising sleeping in separate rooms.
After the birth of Ever you said you were suffering from ‘postnatal depletion’. How did you get your health back on track?
To be honest, it was when I stopped breastfeeding at 10 months. A naturopath who I really trust and believe in said that they believe that was the cause of my depletion. I was sick for weeks at a time. For 10 weeks I had a horrific cough. I stopped breastfeeding and I do feel much healthier. I didn’t want to do it, I wasn’t ready but it was actually Ever’s choice she weaned herself and I received the benefits of that.
Zoe breastfed her daughter, Ever until she was 10 months old.
How do you balance work life and motherhood?
Well, I’m answering these questions at 7:30pm so I’m not sure how balanced it is. But I really love my work. I love having a full life. I love being able to be present to my babies because my work is so flexible. Today I had a really beautiful slow day at home with my daughter. I introduced her to The Wiggles and was watching her dance and enjoy herself so fully it was such a beautiful moment for us. Then after my son got home from school the nanny came and I had to get onto some phone calls until it was ready to put the dinner on. It’s really important for me to have dinner with my children every night at 5pm. I guess that’s why I jump back on the emails later in the evening. My work and motherhood are both so important to me – I actually don’t think I could just do one or the other. Each fills me with happiness and joy in such dramatically different ways.
In your podcast, The Deep, you open yourself up to be vulnerable and encourage others to do so too. How does being open and honest help others?
I think at first it’s confronting and shocking. But when that all subsides they realise that there is just a bunch of love compassion and understanding underneath it all. I think when people are brave enough to be vulnerable it connects with a part of us so deeply that forces us to be vulnerable and honest with ourselves to. I think that is the most fascinating part of life. And why I’m so privileged to get to have these conversations every day on the date. I’ve created another offering, which is taking it a step further. The Deeper is more gritty, vulnerable, revealing and juicy.
What do you do for self-care?
Every Sunday, a masseuse comes to my house at 7:30am as it’s the only time I can squeeze in some self-care, so I make that a priority. Otherwise I like to exercise and walk. I eat really well. With some Cheezels thrown in at the end of the night for balance.
How do you describe your style?
I think it’s comfortable but sexy.
What are you most comfy wearing?
No word of a lie I have been wearing my Best&Less black kit set [pictured below] every single day – the top is now in the wash but I’ve just had a spraytan and I put the bottoms back on right now. I wore them today for my walk, I wear them around the house, I wear them up at the grocery store. They are my favourite thing. Lounge wear for life! I actually feel very Lux in them. So I actually feel quite comfortable and sexy in them.
Zoe is comfiest when she’s in her loungewear.