Fabulous Mum: Carla Rodan from Styling The Tribe October 07 2015

You know when you meet someone and you just get them? Well I have recently put a face to the name behind “Styling the Tribe” Carla Rodan. I have been admiring her from a distance for some time now and now after her interview, I’m even more in awe. 

It is not often that I meet another Flat Out Mum of so many boys (she has three!) who has also lived the up’s and down’s of life with a footballer. Of all the things we have in common one of the most defining is that we both know we are going to be upstaged on the dance floor if we attempt to step out with our Partner. You see, her husband David is now just as well known for his awesome moves that saw him WIN the 2014 Dancing with The Stars competition, as he is as an AFL footballer (he had a very successful 12 year professional football career, retiring at the end of 2013). 

So how does this SAHM manage three young boys (Tevita, Maikeli and Tomasi) and run her business? I could definitely do with some tips, so I asked her how exactly does she juggle the commitments of her business with the demands of raising three young (very active) boys?

“It's been a struggle. In fact it's taken me two years to launch! I guess I've learned to find time around my little people and not to stress the small stuff. The majority of my blogging and admin occurs once the boys are in bed. I've also recently signed on as an influencer with talent management agency The Co Collective, who now handle all my enquiries, scheduling and collaboration proposals - which is a HUGE help. With two of my boys still not of school age, I'm a SAHM by choice and our days are filled with sports, play dates, kinder runs and house maintenance!  My mother-in-law takes the younger 2 boys for an outing on Tuesday's which give's me a 5 hour block to be productive - it's amazing how much more you can do with a quiet house!”

So what is Carla’s best time saving tip?

I've learned very quickly that you can't say YES to everything. When starting out, I tried to accommodate everyone and everything that came my way, which ultimately left me feeling rundown and very overwhelmed. Signing on with The Co Collective has helped me better manage my time and prioritise. 

Do you have any advice for others Mums with all boys?

Embrace the commotion and constant noise, it's one of the non-negotiables with having all boys at home! I'm probably quite relaxed when it comes to parenting styles and this works well for us. They have a clear (unofficial) code of behaviour which we model as parents and in turn they replicate when dealing with one another and others. Respect, Empathy and Honesty are values what we wish to install in our boys.

I also believe in the FFF Rule when it comes to raising boys - be Fair, Fun and Firm. In a previous life I was secondary school Physical Education teacher and these principals served me well when dealing with 28 fourteen year old boys in my ball sports elective! Given my three are so close in age, everything must be fairly divided, from the number of biscuits one receives to the number of hugs - they don't miss a beat! Of course FUN is what it's all about and creating an environment to nurture their curiosity and direct their energy into! And LOVE hard, boys are such affectionate creatures, cuddle them and remind them how special they are daily.

Is three a crowd, or do all of the boys get along well most of the time?

Three works well for us. The older two (who are 15 months apart) are literally joined at the hip and generally play well together. Of course they have their disagreements, but they usually work them out without having mum or dad intervene. The youngest is happy doing his own thing. He gets along well with both older brothers however is usually the instigator of any trouble! I'm lucky that all three have quite similar likes and interests - AFL, Ninja Turtles, Spongebob, Lego and Swimming.   

What is the best thing a friend has done for YOU since motherhood? 

Being part of an interstate football club (Port Adelaide FC) and living away from family when all three boys were born was definitely a challenge. However the friendships made at the club were priceless. I would have girls cook and freeze dinners for us, come by my house to keep my company (and wash dishes) when hubby played interstate and go out of their way to make life easier for me (coffee runs etc) The football club at the time were also a great support and really did become our second family. 

If you could tell your pre-baby self something, what would it be? 

Where would I start?! Go out more, stay out late, sleep in, travel, take risks and believe in yourself. Since having children I have learned so much more about myself and the way of the world, it's a complete eye opener.

Is there anything that you hear yourself saying now (that you never thought would come out of your mouth)?

(insert laugh) Yes. Some of the discussions had with my boys (particular in the bathroom) are hilarious. Also when it comes to behaviour management I've ripped out some beauties! The old wives tails to treat 'an injury' or encourage them to eat their veggies also comes in handy! My husband was born in Fiji and therefore has some 'village tales' which he shares from time to time to convince the boys to toe the line - we are often eyeballing each other and need to stop ourselves from laughing. 

So on top of all of this, how did “Styling the Tribe” come about”?

The blog itself evolved from my personal Instagram page which at the time was only followed by friends and family. I was often asked by mothers of boys for advice on outfits for special occasions and would have family and friends recommend my page to mums struggling to find cool threads for boys or those after inspiration. I identified a gap in the market for an independent opinion on boys fashion, and with my personal following on social media growing organically, it was a natural progression into blogging. Social media is such an influential advertising tool and designers are extremely keen to showcase their products and connect with the target audience. 

How would you describe your boys fashion preferences? 

I think I have quite a rounded taste in boys fashion - comfort and practicality for day wear, but I do love a bit of luxe for evening events or special occasions. Given the boys are extremely active, I need to ensure my wardrobe choices allow them to be young and explore at will. At the same time, I avoid licensed apparel like a plague (pyjamas and the odd marvel tee are an exception) and ensure they have enough 'staples' (denim, whites, khaki, greys) to be able to create some classic looks. Being a Melbournian I also love to layer them up in the cooler months, sweater over shirts, card's and tee's, bomber jackets and knits - I can't get enough and pay close attention to global trends.

If you could suggest one thing to add to a young boys Spring wardrobe, what would it be?

One thing?! Geez! It would have to be a versatile pair of denim shorts. Possibly slightly distressed denim to add some bite to his outfit. Once you have a great pair of bottoms, you can change up his look from day to night with various tee's, patterned shirts and sweaters etc. And Boardies (sorry, I know thats two!) Boardies are a no brainer for a boy on the move. 

So back to the dance floor, I was curious if their boys are prouder of their Dad for his AFL achievements or for winning Dancing With the Stars?

Ha ha, definitely prouder of his mirrorball glory! The boys were quite young (4 and under) when David played AFL and even though we attended matches, they never took a real interest in the game until he retired! Now they are AFL mad, and all support different clubs, two of which are interstate. Given David competed on DWTS last year, and the boys were of age to understand that Daddy was doing really well, it's had a much greater impact on them than his 12 year AFL career (much to his disgust!) ha ha. 

Lastly, while I have captured the attention of one of Melbourne’s most fashionable Flat Out Mum’s, please share with us what is your favourite every day wardrobe essential?

Sneakers. I was an avid active wear fan prior to the sports luxe trend taking hold of the global market, which stems from my Phys Ed days. Particularly now chasing boys around, comfort and practicality are paramount. Anything from is on my 'must have' list. 

Finally, what are your favourite flat shoes and why? 

Favourite pair would be my Rollie Golden Jungle trainers I picked up from the South Melbourne market

They are a local label and also make matching kids trainers which sits well with me! 

A fun design, great with tights or denim and ideal for all day wear. 

Well there you have it it, that’s why I say “it is hard to be a Flat out Mum in stiletto’s!” 


Thank you so much Carla x