Meet the Rapisardi family
Jo Rapisardi is the founder of Pretty Picnics, an events and catering company based in the Macarthur region, in Camden. She moved here from Sydney nine years ago, when her daughter Coco was one.
After breaking up with Coco’s dad, Nigel, Jo was single for five years. She met her current partner, Roko, a miner, three years ago at a local CrossFit gym.
“I work from home, so I’m there Monday to Friday. I do the shopping, the house cleaning, I go for walks, but I’m pretty much here most of the time,” she says.
Meet the family
Jo, 42, has a 10-year-old daughter, Coco from her previous relationship.
Roko also has two kids from his previous marriage; 13-year-old Luka, and 15-year-old Yasmina.
“I have a good co-parenting relationship with Coco’s dad. He was my partner for eight years,” Jo says.
“When I got pregnant with Coco, Nigel wasn’t quite ready, or 100% into the idea,” Jo explains. “I made the decision quickly that I would be a single mum.
“I had Coco when I was 32. I was financially stable, and I had family support. The idea of being a single mum didn’t bother me,” she says.
Jo now has a good co-parenting relationship with Nigel, but she explains that it wasn’t always like this.
“It was up and down at the start. When Coco was little, I didn’t need her to go off to his house and be babysat on weekends because his house wasn’t set up with things that you would need for a baby,” she says.
The dynamic also changed when she met Roko. She says Nigel wasn’t resentful, but there were glimpses of jealousy.
“There was conflict and things that we had to work through. But [Nigel] has come full circle and he’s great mates with Roko now. They respect each other.”
Jo goes on to say that her parents divorced when she was three years old.
“I didn’t come from the traditional mum and dad who were always at home and always a together family. I came from two homes. They lived within five minutes of each other, and they were best friends,” she explains.
“That’s where I get it from. I find that if you’re going to have a child with someone, it’s for life and no matter why you break up, you still have this beautiful person together.”
The Macarthur region, Camden.
Our life in a nutshell
At the Rapisardi house, there’s one main rule – every dinner is to be had at the dinner table.
“Being a caterer, and [Italian], for me, food is a way to anybody’s heart. So, when Roko, Yazzie, and Luka moved in, I was like, ‘Well, dinner is at the table every night’.
“We all sit down, have a meal, chat and everyone has to stay until we are all finished. That’s one thing we do together as a family,” says Jo.
During the weekends, the kids have their sporting activities, and on Sunday the family enjoys visiting relatives, eating at a local restaurant or going for a walk with the dogs.
What family means to us
“Food brings our family together. I feel like my family is happiest when they’re eating and I am happiest when I’m cooking for the family. That brings me joy. I can cater all day and still come home and bash out a three-course dinner because the kids want it. That makes me happy,” she says.
Harmony is another vital element to Jo.
“My daughter has been so understanding of everything that’s been put in front of her. So it’s about finding balance and everyone being harmonious with each other.”