CELEBRATING THE WOMEN IN OUR LIVES - PART 1

CELEBRATING THE WOMEN IN OUR LIVES - PART 1




They're brave, they're inspiring, they're mentors. They're our Mums.


As Mother's Day dawns, we have taken the opportunity to reflect upon the influential women in their lives and, for some of us, on our experiences as mothers. And let's be realistic here - we know not everyone is lucky enough to have someone they can call "Mum" fondly, even within our team this is the case.


In saying that, whether we are mums ourselves and have learned in turn from our own mothers what to do (or what not to do), or we are daughters who have beautiful and amazing role models in their mothers, we are all lucky enough to either be and/or have these women in our lives. Our experiences have shaped who we are as mothers, as daughters, as women, and as people.


As a daughter (not yet a "mother" figure myself), I have watched in awe at the sheer amount of selflessness being a mother demands. Now I will be the first to admit, I consider myself to have been particularly lucky in the motherhood draw, but it became apparent reading the team's answers as both mothers and daughters alike that this is a shared feeling and experience. As a daughter, I understand now in adulthood more than ever that they are the women who build us up, and for them, I know we are all eternally grateful.


I want to be clear: when I refer to "mum", I do so with a full understanding that mum can absolutely be more a term to which we assign our own meaning, rather than a question of biology. Yes, it can be a mother, but it can also be a grandmother, a mentor, a role model, a friend. Motherhood can come from anywhere, and it certainly does not look the same for everyone. But whoever the woman you are most grateful for is, take time to understand how powerful she is in her ability to build you up. Make sure you make them feel loved, appreciated, and just a little bit special not only on Mother's Day, but always.

Read on to hear about the perspectives of those of us on the TLSE team who are wonderful, strong mothers to children (who you will hear from too) - the good, the bad, the funny.

x





Heidi


What was your first ever “oh my god, I’m a Mum now” moment?

For me there were many, and they were simple things... like going for a walk with Zali strapped to me in a sling just days old, him sleeping soundly, and you just get hit with such an explosion of love and overwhelm and feel like you have everything you ever need in the world. Another time it was when he was about 2 1/2 - that time when they have learned their words and are putting sentences together and they just chatter all the time. We were wandering down William Street in Paddington and he was holding my hand talking away and I looked at him in that moment and just thought that I never wanted it to end. Now he is 17, enormous, practically a man. This morning he jumped out of the car when I dropped him off at school after a car ride of chit chat, hip hop, and teasing, and he said. “ see ya mum, love ya, have a good day”. I actually was so grateful in that moment that a 17 year old boy at school drop off would yell that through the door at me. Totally awesome, swells my heart. 


How have you tackled Motherhood?

The complete opposite to my own mother! For me, the thought of motherhood was scary because my role models were not ideal. There were some great things, but there were also so many things I did not want to replicate. So I educated myself with so much information. I became a Montessori teacher so that I could learn about kids and what they needed and I felt extremely aligned with its approach. Consequently, that was how I approached Zali. When Zali was born I was a single mum. Douk (my hubby) and I have only been together for 6 years, so it was Z and I up until he was 11. Looking back they were the best years of my life. It was tough, don’t get me wrong, but the bond and connection that came from that time together is priceless. I never let the fact that I was solo stop me, in fact, I think sometimes it was easier because I could just make a decision without having to clear it with anyone, like the time we packed our bags and moved to Bali. I have always empowered him to make his own choices, to check in with himself to see what it feels like, even when it hurts and you don’t want to, and he knows that no matter what happens, good, bad or ugly that I am there. 


Motherhood is self-development on steroids. Whatever your issues are they come up and force you to face them. I always chose to be honest with Zali, to have open communication about anything and everything (boy is that hard now when he wants to talk about sex and stuff!!! Yikes !). I thought I was the cool mum but it turns out no matter what you do, they will always have issues with how you did stuff and wish for something else. It's how you face the conversations then, to take ownership of your choices and be empowered by them - in the long term that’s what makes the difference. My plan was always to allow him to speak up, be strong, creative, or whatever he wanted to be. I wanted to show him what was possible, what was out there so that he could choose. But you have to put in the work, it is definitely short term pain for long term gain and it has totally paid off. Now I can reap the rewards in seeing who Zali is today, I must have done something right.


What was your funniest (if only in hindsight)/worst Mum moment?

Zali is a fun guy. We actually laugh a lot and roast each other all the time. Just last night I went into his room and with a serious look on my face, I said “Zali, I just can't believe you did that“ in the best mum voice ever, and turned around and walked out. He looked at me with this look of devastation thinking “oh gosh, what have I done?!“ and then I just cracked up laughing. I was joking but wanted to catch him out, we ended up laughing and wrestling for the next 10 minutes. We laughed so hard our tummies were hurting. But I know he’ll get me back, he always does. 

Worst mum moment was when I called some parents from school, to tell them that I thought it wasn’t appropriate that they were supplying alcohol to underage kids at their son's birthday party. It was all over social media, Zali was a bit younger and was totally freaked out by the party and the scary mum bitched about me to everyone! It was awful, a classic case of bullying and it got totally out of hand. She got her child involved in all this drama (you guessed it, they are Greek!!!) and then everyone picked on Zali at school about it. Worst mum moment ever… The more I wanted to speak up, the more Zali shut down. It a classic example of having to navigate parents who are not great at communicating, who don’t really care about other people, and wanting to protect your kid. I still get reminded about it now "Remember mum when you called blah blah"… yep... haunting. 



Let's hear from Heidi's son: Zali, 17


What do you love doing with your Mum the most?

I love hanging out together. We often go for walks together and just chat about whatever is going on in our lives at that moment.


What’s your earliest or funniest memory if your Mum (or both!)?

When I was three I fell in the shower, hit my eye on the shower step, and blood went everywhere! Mum put a Spider-Man band-aid on it, I still have the scar! Mums a trained field medic, didn’t you know?


What do you love the most about her/what is it about her that inspires you?

Mum's work ethic inspires me the most. Her work has only become what it is today because of how hard she worked to get it there. For me, that’s the most inspiring thing she’s done.





Fi


What was your first ever “oh my god, I’m a Mum now” moment?

When my first son was 6 weeks old we went a wedding and left him with my parents. As I handed him over to my Mum when we were leaving he started screaming - like seriously screaming. It was like we were being torn apart. I left crying and sobbed all the way to the wedding. After the ceremony, I called to see how he was going and in the background, he was still screaming. My Dad yelled over the top of his screaming “we are fine, he is fine it is all good”. I spent the rest of the wedding thinking “I am really a Mum and this little creature needs me and I need him".

How have you tackled Motherhood?

Gently. Spending time with my boys and keeping our lines of communication open is key for me. We laugh a lot together, I love being with them but also love when we have a little time apart (not much though). I think I am a fair mother but they know when I mean business. We often talk about ‘how would that make you feel if it happened to you' or 'how would you respond if you were me?' I want them to know that my intention is always for the best for them, to help make them the best person they can be and to give them the best I can give them but there are always boundaries for us all. I don’t have a Mum handbook but I do know my boys and there is a lot of instinct that comes in play. I always want my boys to know that we are a team - all in this together to love and support each other and sometimes that means pushing back on each other too.

What was your funniest (if only in hindsight)/worst Mum moment?

The boys were about 3 + 5 yo. We were at Westfield walking along - I had one of them on each side of me and was holding their hands. They (for some reason) decided to reach across me and have a little ‘wrestle’.  Because they each pulled on my hands it pulled me forward - they both fell on the ground and I fell on top of them - my handbag flew up and over my head and the entire contents went spilling out all over the floor - things were rolling everywhere. We were in a mishmash of arms and legs on the ground; they were now crying because I had squashed them and bent fingers back and put knees to their heads etc . It is very funny now, but at the time I was FURIOUS at them - not to mention being highly embarrassed with people in the shopping centre scrambling to help me and them up and collecting the contents of my bag.


Let's hear from Fi's sons: Nick, 15 and Ben, 13


What do you love doing with your Mum the most?

Ben - I love doing everything with her, but my personal favourites are when she takes me to rugby and we go crazy listening to music in the car.


Nick - Having chats about random stuff. She actually understands what I am talking about, and she always tries to understand what I do on the games I play.

What’s your earliest or funniest memory if your Mum (or both!)?

Ben - My mum likes superheroes and she calls herself "girl wonder". I am not sure if that is weird or funny, but that's just my mum.

Nick - I can't really remember very early on. I don't know why, but a funny memory I have with mum is when we got our cat and he got scared in the plane and did a poo all over himself. Mum had to clean him in a bath when we got home and because cats don't like water he was freaking out!


What do you love the most about her/what is it about her that inspires you?

Ben - I love her because she is always so nice and affectionate towards the family. Something that inspires me is how she always looks on the bright side, I never do that, so I always want to think positive like her.


Nick - I love how much she does for our family (she does the chores no one else wants to do!). I love when she helps me with my work and makes me understand what I have to do.





Di


What was your first ever “I’m a Mum” moment of realisation?

Turning up with baby in pram at David Jones in the city one morning. We were all of us dressed, breakfasted and ready to shop - so proud! Only to realise it was an hour before the store opened! 

How have you tackled Motherhood?

The way I tackle most things in life: be in the moment, don't plan too far ahead and go with the flow. You can't control a lot of things in parenthood but I always find focusing on positives to be important and when you hit a challenging patch, focus on the behaviour, not the child, which helps keep things in perspective for both of you. Also, having a brains trust or Mothers' Group to share the journey with has saved my sanity from the get go and continues to this day.


What was your funniest (if only in hindsight)/worst Mum moment?

Seriously hungover for my son's fourth birthday party at Luna Park!! We'd stayed up with friends the night before - WAY too late and had WAY too much fun decorating the racing car birthday cake. Not my usually bubbly 'Mum self' at the picnic lunch and definitely no spinning rides for me!! Luckily my son was blissfully unaware and had a ball anyway. 



Let's hear from Di's sons: Alec aka Budge, 17 and McKenzie, 19

What do you love doing with your Mum the most? Alec - I love playing cards with my mum, particularly canasta


McKenzie - Having long chats at night after the family has finished watching TV and we are the last two on the sofa. Sometimes we chat for hours, about work, friends, school, etc. When I was working full-time last year, I was exhausted all the time and it was one of the few times we had time to talk like that. Mum loves to talk but she is also a very good listener. What’s your earliest or funniest memory if your Mum (or both!)? Alec - Decorating my birthday cake at age two, up at Berowra Waters


McKenzie - I was really young, probably about 5. I was walking down Marrickville Rd with Mum. Budge was in the pram eating a SAO cracker. He would have been about 3. He was really snotty and had snot all over his face. A woman we passed saw Budge and said, "Do you reckon he's eating more cracker or snot?" Mum said, "Probably both". I don't know if it really happened like that, but that's how it is in my memory. Mum always smiles and talks to people on the street; she will talk to anyone.  What do you love the most about her/what is it about her that inspires you? Alec - Her bravery when standing up against people who treat others badly McKenzie - What I love most about Mum is that she loves being around people and will get to know anyone. It's why she'll talk to people on the street; I think she enjoys it, which I don't really get. Community is important to her. Whenever my friends come over, Mum always hugs them and has long chats with them. She loves having people in her home and always asks me to have my friends over more. My friends all love her and ask to see her. I think she makes our house feel like their home, too. Sometimes I think they would rather talk to her than me :(! They have told me they are missing her during quarantine. She inspires me to talk to people and love people and to be more open. I think I'm wired very differently, and if it wasn't for Mum I might never talk to anyone and I would have no friends. So thanks, Mum!



INTRO | Lucy Francis, TLSE

IMAGES | TLSE team

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