Dance eisteddfod life absorbs time of three dedicated mums
THEY don't have superhero capes but they have super huge handbags filled with first aid kits, needle and thread, roll on glue, fashion tape and spare stockings.
For the past seven years mums Lesa Walker, Cindy Hayes and Rebecca Marsh take a break from the role of everyday mum when the Mackay Eisteddfod is on.
For three weeks routines are thrown out the window and their lifestyle becomes a haze of checklists, glitter spray and sequins.
Cindy said all three of them were professionals in organised chaos and believe if there was any more chaos they would be insane.
The trio are constantly either backstage putting last minute adjustments to costumes, to watching anxiously in the theatre - the pace at the eisteddfod is an exciting, exhausting one.
Women who have never been involved in the eisteddfod could feel as though they are in whirlwind, but for these mums they relish the chaos.
The day of an eisteddfod mum starts early, with them arriving before 8am and leaving the MECC at 10pm.
However, some days they come in between performances or stick around to watch other sections.
"We are here on the first day of the eisteddfod and because my children do speech and drama we are here on the last day - we are here for the three weeks. It becomes their home and it is a holiday from the norm," Lesa said.
"We have no husbands, no housework.
"It is a completely different lifestyle - it is all about the kids and eisteddfod," Cindy said.
Each of their children learn dance at Fame Talent School and the number of costumes Lesa's daughter Ebony has this year is 19.
Cindy said they all learnt to sew because it was getting too expensive to buy costumes, especially when the number of costumes increases and the cost becomes horrendous.
"One or two is fine but after that, at $80 a costume is quite expensive," Cindy said.
"It is fun, I really enjoy it; sewing is a therapeutic thing for me to do because it is something different to what I do every day.
"I get a bit stressed out if I have heaps of sewing to do and not enough time," Lesa said.
The mums said they have a bit of a sewing club in the lead-up to the eisteddfod, which includes a sewing machine and a bottle of wine.
"It takes the pressure off and it is really good for advice.
"We are still sewing now", Lesa said.
"I still have three to make.
"There is no need to rush these things," Cindy said.
The trio believes the worst of it is over by the time the eisteddfod arrives.
Lesa said the lead-up to the eisteddfod is much worse than the actual competition.
"The eisteddfod is quite enjoyable; it is making the time and the preparation that is full on," Lesa said.
"Watching your kids up there is an achievement but getting to that point can get you into a frazzle; there are many late nights and early mornings," Cindy said.
"As a mum we are getting ready in June, where we start to make costumes, but the kids start in January because there are a lot of new items," Lesa said.
When they are not designing costumes and sourcing accessories they are taxi drivers to and from dance rehearsals.
"I have a checklist, especially when it comes to the costumes - which stockings and shoes go with what outfit, what costume needs gloves, how many wigs we need - that is my checklist," Lesa said.
Cindy, Lesa and Rebecca are more anxious than nervous when it comes to their children's performances.
"It is a hold your breath kind of moment
"They have such high expectations of themselves you don't want them to slip or lose a shoe and disappoint themselves," Cindy said.