It’s that time of the week again, friends. A time when wine replaces coffee and I leap around the house, filled with joy at the thought of having el husbando home for two whole days. Yippee! It’s also the time of the week where we get to know a new, totally inspiring mama who’s been generous enough to share their story and wisdom with (Not) Just A Mummy.
Last week, it was the beautiful Sophie Hunter (you can check here out HERE). This week, I am totally stoked to welcome Sash, a gorgeous creature that many may know from her AHMAZING blog, ‘Inked In Colour‘. Sash, like Caitlin and Amy (featured HERE and HERE), is someone who I have never met in ‘real’ life but whom I’ve known, through the online world, for the past 22 odd months.
I first ‘met’ Sash through an online birth groups for mums-to-be who were due in Jan 2012. I was immediately rather taken with the exotic life this Aussie girl turned Indonesian village dweller was leading. I also found that Sash was envisioning a very similar birth to the one I was hoping for, complete with support from a doula. In fact it was Sash who immediately agreed with me when I hesitantly asked if anyone else was excited about the birth experience we were all travelling towards.
Fast forward to today and I continue to be inspired by the life Sash is carving out for herself and her beautiful little girl. Now a single mum, she radiates strength and a kind of ‘striving for the good’ tenacity that I greatly admire. Sash is another one who seems to have taken to the motherhood game like a duck to water. She not only survives, she thrives as mama to Bo. Like I mentioned last week, I try not to play the comparison game, but there are many qualities in Sash that I would be proud to be able to call my own. Her relationship with her daughter is one of the strongest, more connected I’ve ever seen and I feel privileged that she has agreed to share this little bit of herself with me/us.
1. Tell us all a little bit about your lovely self.
Before babies I was a chameleon, an insatiable traveller, a wild and wayward mistress of my early twenties. I lived life on the proverbial edge. I partied hard. I travelled harder. I was fearless and brave and headstrong. I worked as a performer and like most people in their early twenties I was just trying to figure out who I was. I was young and totally carefree (albeit a little moody perhaps, who wasn’t?). I had an impressive bucket list and I was just working my way through it with gusto.
Then at 24 I was travelling through a village in remote Indonesia and I fell in love. Desperately in love, so I stayed. I embraced tradition and language and eating with my hands and surfing and learning to tend to rice fields and motorbikes and I drank juice and acquired a thousand new freckles. I stayed for three years in a little hut with beach on one side and a sea of rice fields on the other. Somewhere in those three years I got married and pregnant and had a baby.
Life never works out how we planned, sometimes the surprises along the way (like babies) are the greatest of joys, and other surprises, are less so. We moved back to Australia at the end of last year and not long after my marriage fell apart in one fell swoop. It was a total shock to me, and still is most days. I’m still mourning the loss of what I thought was the love of my life. I’m still just figuring it all out really whilst looking down the barrel of the international divorce shotgun.
I’m fiercely passionate about women’s rights and I don’t have any qualms about talking about the icky stuff like divorce and heartache and betrayal and the shit in between all the good. I am in pursuit of happiness, and I think one of the most important parts of the search for me is being honest, with myself, with others and with the world. I’m not big on products or shopping or fashion. My belief is less is more and what we think is much more important than what we wear…
We are all in this together. There is no use pretending to be something (or someone) that we are not. Diversity is the key to our beauty, and by our I mean humanity as a whole. I’m a big fan of celebrating the good and the bad and everything in between. It’s what makes life, life and it’s what separates us from a magazine spread.
2. What words best describe your mummyhood journey thus far (in less than 100000000 words)?
When I was pregnant with Bo her dad and I were living in a remote village in Indonesia. We came back to NSW to have her. When she was born it was like a weight was lifted off my soul. It’s like all of a sudden I knew what my purpose was. Her dad decided to go back to Indonesia and so we followed. I spent nine months raising a baby practically alone in a small hut on the rice fields. It was beautiful and romantic and difficult and challenging and isolating and amazing all at once. Bo has always been a headstrong, wilful child. She crawled and walked early, she has an amazing memory and an incredible knack for pushing my buttons.
When Bo was 9 months old we returned to Australia and moved into the little room in the back of my mother’s house. We are still there, trying to find a way out. Single parenting is hard. It’s really rough. It’s something that I write about a lot as the truth of the experience is often misrepresented by our media. It’s incredibly difficult and although we have a little government support there isn’t a lot of good social support out there for single parents. Every day, no matter how challenging, I am reminded how lucky I am to have this little person in my life. There are so many aspects to parenting that are difficult but there are also so many that are incredibly gratifying and unbelievably awakening. My perspective has changed and with it so has the very fibre of my being.
I guess that’s what motherhood has really shifted in me. Before I was coasting through life, like I was in a dream. Now I am awake.
3. Sweetest parenting experience?
How could you possibly choose just one? As much as she drives me crazy (and she does!) she is the sweetest little thing. Each stage of her life has had a “sweetest” moment. The time she first reached out to me for me to pick her up, the first cuddle, the first time she said “mama,” the first kisses. We still co-sleep so at the moment the most precious moment is watching her sleep. It’s so cliché really, but it’s true. When she’s asleep and the world is quiet and she’s so peaceful… it’s like time stops for just a moment, and everything… all the shit and the challenges and the heart ache and the deadlines just fade away, for just a moment… and it’s just her and me and this little world we created together. Then of course I do something stupid like accidentally wake her up and then it’s 11pm and I have a toddler who wants to get up and party. Sweet, fleeting moments.
4. How do you manage being a busy mama with taking care of your own wellness?
I just try to make the right choices and not surround myself with my worst temptations (lollies and hamburgers) and make good wholesome food from scratch as often as possible. We are on a budget so I don’t buy a lot of processed foods and I try to eat in season as much as possible and support local farmers while I’m at it. I don’t exercise as much as I should (or at all really), it’s something that I’m trying to get the motivation to do something about.
I try to care for my body with what I eat and the products I use on my skin/hair. I don’t use any chemicals or any nasties on me or on Bo and I make a lot of our skincare/haircare products at home.
5. Any non-negotiables when it comes to your health/lifestyle?
Not really when it comes to myself. I’m a big believer in everything in moderation. It’s fine to treat yourself and to eat sugar or have fast food or whatever, as long as it’s in very small doses. I don’t like to put a whole lot of rules on myself, I’m very rebellious by nature and rules and I don’t get along. I want to teach my daughter to make good choices for herself and to understand moderation and self respect. So I’m still in the process of learning to be a good example for her. I’m a work in progress.
6. Now for the REALLY important stuff.
- Cats or dogs? Dogs. I’m dreaming of the day Bo and I have a rental place of our own with a yard so we can get a dog… it’s still a while off I think.
- Dawn or dusk? Dawn, though definitely not dawn if I’ve been awake all night.
- Yoga or pilates? Yoga, I used to love yoga. I really ought to make time for things like this again.
- Coffee or tea? Tea. I don’t drink coffee… maybe I should?
- Juice or smoothies? Smoothies, you can get lots of good stuff in there and it still tastes like a treat.
7. The ol’ finish this sentence (do we feel like we’re back in year 5 or what?)
- The best word to describe me is…. thrifty
- I totally rock at… multitasking. I have a thousand things on the go at once, and when I’m not procrastinating, I’m actually very productive… mostly.
- If I’m not being a mum you can usually find me… in the library, studying. I’m a few months of completing my masters , so close I can almost taste it! Or in the evening, I’m on the couch (usually surrounded by text books that I conveniently place in case I feel like studying… I never do though). Just me and the couch. It’s one of my favourite times of the day!
- Favourite words/affirmation/quote to live be? At the moment I’m a big fan of Pema Chodron, have you heard of her? She’s a pretty phenomenal woman, Buddhist and all round human being. Her words have been very instrumental in helping me get through my recent shit-storm and help me find a place of peace in my day to day life. She has a lot of wonderful quotes but by far my day to day favourite at the moment is this:
“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
8. Where can we find you?
I write at Inked in Colour and also on Village Voices
You can also find me on:
Don’t forget that the fab Littlelock GIVEAWAY is still on. Click HERE to find out all the deets and enter.