From Happy Feet to happy mum, film producer Amanda Clouston wouldn't change her life at home for anything.
As a high-flyer in the international film industry, earning a six-figure salary, Amanda Clouston couldn't imagine life as a stay-home mum - couldn't imagine being without the buzz and banter of her working life.
And then baby Benji arrived and Amanda fell in love with her little bundle of joy. Now she can't bear the thought of missing a moment with him.
She was offered work when Benji was four months old but turned it down. The thought of having to store breast milk in the crew's kitchen refrigerator, plus getting herself showered, dressed and out of the house by 8am was too much.
Born in Nelson, Amanda few up the career ladder after landing a job in the film industry in Auckland. Within a few years she was working on Happy Feet as an animation co-ordinator in London. With other roles as production manager or animation producer (including working on the Happy Feet sequel), Amanda was soon enjoying a great lifestyle. With husband Jono, the pair travelled the world.
"Both of us loved the lifestyle of being free and easy, and travelling as we pleased, mostly following around jobs that I was offered. Jono has a construction background so there's always work around for him."
Then Jono's mother in Auckland became ill and there was a pull for the then Sydney-based couple to return home. Around this time Amanda got pregnant and, soon after the arrival of Benji, the couple packed their bags.
"I was in love with my little bundle, and adored being cocooned in this soft, warm world.
"I didn't want to rush back to work to be the full-time working mum I had planned to be so it was only fair that it was Jono's choice about where we lived."
These days she and Benji, now 16 months, have quiet days at home - sometimes too quiet for Amanda. Benji was eight months when they moved back and Amanda knows she needs to create her own mummy network, having missed out on the coffee group circuit.
"I have lived in Auckland before but coming back as a mother and not working it's more of a new place to me."
For now there's the local playgroup and Wriggle and Rhyme at the library. "I still have some long, empty days home alone. You know you're in need of something more in your life when you find yourself excited by cleaning day.
"But I love having unlimited time with Benji. It's wonderful to have the time and freedom to take long walks or spend half the morning dancing around the lounge."
She's even planning for baby number two: "I'm trying not to fixate on it because you can never really plan for a baby."
And not even the new budgetary constraints of being on a single income can drag her back to full-time work.
"We've realised that the things that are really fulfilling for us don't necessarily involve having a lot of money. It's so much more valuable to be at home with Benji and also to be in New Zealand and closer to family, than having a larger income."
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 18 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW