The Mealtime Journey with psychologist Jacquie Ward of The Brave Space

The Mealtime Journey with psychologist Jacquie Ward of The Brave Space

Jacquie is a provisional psychologist and while I can't remember the exact day I found her content, I wholeheartedly believe that she has enriched my parenting journey. I love filling my Instagram feed with supportive, kindhearted mothers who share education while also understanding the complexities of motherhood, and Jacquie does just that.

Jacquie is the owner of "The Brave Space", dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of sensitive strong willed kids and their amazing mamas. It is an honour to get to know her Mealtime Journey a little more and her top parenting tip is exactly what I needed to hear today.

Tell me about your family

Our family is made up of myself, my husband Dave and our three little ones: Lachie (7), Archer (5) and Esther, (2). The boys are animal-crazy, so at any given time we will have at least 5 lizards, skinks or frogs living in our home, too.

Who does the shopping and cooking in your home?

I take care of the shopping (online grocery shopping changed my LIFE!), but Dave
and I share the food prep and cooking. This is a blessing for two reasons; 1. It’s fair and not all on me and 2. We all get to enjoy the nights he cooks because mine are definitely sub-par ;)

Tell me your go-to family favourite meal?

Esther is a picky toddler and one of my boys is a particularly fussy eater, so for us,
Spaghetti Casserole is a favourite go-to that suits everyone. (This dish is one my Mum used to cook for us growing up. It’s essentially Spaghetti Bolognese with a Bechamel cheese sauce on top, layered and baked in the oven). I load it with shredded veggies, it’s easy to adapt to being gluten free (I am coeliac) and everyone eats it. Win.

What’s a food you’re surprised your kids like?

Another one of our fail-safe dinners is fresh, grilled fish. My Dad is retired now but was a professional fisherman when I was growing up and makes us the most amazing fish dinners. I know seafood isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but ‘Pa’s fresh fish’ is another one of those meals that everyone eats, and I love that. (Upon reflection, maybe it’s the fact that he cooks it, and not me?!?).

What’s something about mealtimes that you wish was easier/ different/ less

Breakfast and lunch are fairly cruisy in our home, but dinner is a whole different story. By the end of school/ preschool/ being a toddlerboss or a having busy day at work, everyone is a little tired and hungry, so they tend to be less enjoyable. Since doing your course though Krissy, we aim to eat a family dinner at least 3 times/ week together and I’ve found bringing it forward in terms of timing has made a huge difference. This does mean that Dave and I sometimes eat a light ‘second dinner’ when they kids are in bed, but that’s a not a bad thing!

If you could share one tip about parenting (anything), what would it be?

That the goalposts are constantly shifting with each developmental phase your children (& you) progress through. The more grace and humour you can layer on it, the happier you’ll be.

What do you share and where can we find you online?

When online, I spend most of my time on Instagram, at @the_brave_space where I
share content related to Mum-life and supporting highly sensitive, strong-willed
children, or on the podcast I co-host with Kylie Camps; The Kind Parenting Company Podcast (available wherever you listen to your podcasts).
You can also connect with me at