by MICHELE STERNBERG
The Sunny Coast has three real-life “angels” who have special superpowers.
While they don’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, they certainly make short work of piles of washing and happily entertain children and babies while their exhausted parents take a breather.
The Coast Life Angels – better known as Emily Cornish, Lucy Haslam and Kit Edwards – spend their days flying into busy households to spread love and organisation for a few hours before moving on to the next family in need “because sometimes we all need a helping hand from an angel”.
Emily, 20, started with the Angels last year and the third-year nursing student at the University of Sunshine Coast has quickly settled into her new role with ease.
“I absolutely love it,” she says. “Two of my friends saw a post on Facebook and tagged me in it, because they said I’d be perfect for the job.”
Emily agreed it was the perfect job for her.
“I read the job description and thought ‘this is so me’,” she says. “Everything about it … I love cleaning – yeah, I’m a weirdo – I don’t mind ironing plus I don’t mind changing a dirty nappy and I love looking after kids. It’s great too because it changes from week to week.”
She says the worst part of her job is when families only book a short amount of time “because I don’t get to spend as much time with the kids”.
The trio don’t have wings, but they do wear monogrammed aprons. The service, which is a branch of Coast Life Midwifery at Maroochydore, is not exclusively for pregnant women or families with new babies.
“Because we are attached to the clinic, a lot of people think they can’t use the service. That’s not the case at all,” Emily says. “We have a lot of families with school-aged children who need the help because of a variety of reasons.
“Sometimes dad works away and they have three children and they are trying to do school runs and it gets a bit hectic, or mum just needs a few hours to herself.
“We do light cleaning, like tidying the kitchen, and vacuuming and mopping the floors, washing, we change the sheets, do ironing and folding, and cooking – anything really.
“For new mums, we look after the babies if mum wants to have a shower or take a nap because usually in those early weeks they’re not going out and doing much, but they might want to go get groceries, or take the dog to the beach so they have some time to themselves. I’ll get the baby to sleep and do some chores around the house while they rest.”
The Angels all undergo a rigorous selection process and have first aid and special paediatric first aid training, as well as being up to date with all their vaccinations.
Emily says hiring an Angel for a few hours is also beneficial for mums before they have their babies.
“In that pre-end-of-pregnancy stage, they might need some help,” she says. “Just say they’re in that nesting stage but they are confined to bed rest, we can help by setting up the nursery or washing baby clothes and having us there is someone to talk to, too.
“New mums talk to a baby all day so they like to have some company.”
Emily says seeing a change in the mum always makes her day.
“For new clients, especially, when you get there, they are reluctant to go at first because they feel like they’re a bad mother leaving their baby in the hands of someone they don’t know,” she says. “But they acknowledge that they need time for themselves and it’s going to help them be a better mum.
“So when I see a change in them, I know my job has helped someone. One client said she really looked forward to my visits because she knows she just gets to have that time away for herself, especially because her husband works 12-hour days and he leaves early in the morning and doesn’t get home until late at night.
“Even if you’ve had a miscarriage and you have other kids, it’s hard to do the things you need to do when you are grieving and going through the pain you’re in and a lot of people don’t think of that.
“Having an Angel around is just about making a difference in people’s lives.”
Emily says Covid restrictions mean many playgroups and other social networking groups have been cancelled, meaning many new mothers are feeling more isolated than ever.
The cost is $80 for two hours, which is more than a nanny or babysitter costs, but Emily says the skillset Angels have goes above and beyond.
“It gets cheaper the more hours you get so if you book four hours, it comes down to $32.50 (an hour),” she says.
“It’s also a great gift for a new mum because we do gift vouchers. If you’re not sure what to get a new mum for a baby shower gift, you can buy a gift voucher.”
All new clients receive a goodie bag with informative brochures and samples, plus being associated with Coast Life Midwifery means there is always the opportunity for the Angels to point them in the right direction when they need help or advice.
Emily says some people don’t use their voucher until their kids are one or two.
“Some mums are reluctant to even book an appointment because they don’t want to ask for help,” she says. “But afterwards they are so appreciative and understand that it’s not a weakness to ask for help.”