When we got married, my husband was working at one of BHP’s iron ore mines and I was working as a secretary to the mine. In those days they provided you with a home. Ours was 37 kilometres from the nearest town.
Hard in the country
It was so difficult being out in the country having my first child. It’s supposed to be the best time of your life, and I’d had such an easy birth. But everything is new with a newborn and there are no rules for how to handle it.
I quickly learned to ask for help. You don’t have to do it by yourself. If you have a baby with bad colic or they can’t sleep, you can reach out for help from friends or family or anyone who can help.
Lead by example
You take on a lot of responsibility when you become a mum. That responsibility carries through to your own children and your grandchildren. I always made sure I was available to guide my children through the ups and the downs…it makes me so proud seeing them accomplish so much – graduating from university, getting through tough times.
When you’ve formed a strong bond with them, when they’re in trouble, they know they can approach you.
Everyone worked and played together
When my kids were little – probably 7 or 8 – everyone worked and played together. We taught the kids early on that everyone chips in.
We had a boat when the kids were growing up and we use to go on the Swan River on hot summer nights and spent some weekends at Mandurah on the boat. On the water we all had our jobs to do. We’d camp on the shore, go into town, and grab the ice and fresh goodies from the bakery: being with the kids and seeing them have fun. We’d tie up the boat and meet up with other families, fishing and swimming with the kids.
I lost my dad early but my mum and I were always particularly close. I used to lie on my mum’s bed early in the morning and chat to her. It didn’t matter how old I was, I always sat on her bed and we had a long chat. When my grandkids come to stay, we do the very same thing – from the moment they wake up, they come and sit on the bed, just like I did with my mum.
I’ve had the privilege of being there for my grandkids from the very beginning – in the delivery suite with my first granddaughter – I gave her her first bottle and a little water to get her going…to seeing my granddaughter fall off her bike, to the excitement of their graduation from university.
I’ve lived at Affinity Village for the past 4 years, and two of my daughters live just down the road. We’ve a very close family. They’re always there for me. I get a very warm feeling knowing that they care about what happens to me.
If I was asked about the rules I‘ve lived by, I’d say be there for your family through good and bad – have fun with your kids. Laugh. Muck around.
I think Mother’s Day is a day where your children (and grandchildren!) spoil you, obviously, and appreciate you – and make it very special. There’s nothing I would like more than to sit down with them, like I used to with my mum, for a nice long chat.
About: 'Those who mum' series
Meet 40 women across Australia, from as far as Cairns in North Queensland to Baldivis in Western Australia, as part of a 40-part editorial and portrait series that celebrates the faces of women and mums from across Australia.