Ever get the feeling everyone is the expert and you are a dummy mummy trying to keep your head above water in a sea of information?
From breast feeding to how to educate your kid, to the age you should or shouldn’t have children and even the conditions in which your child is birthed or what makes up your family as opposed to the next is questioned.
Everyone has the ‘right’ answer but what if they aren’t the right ones for you? Isn’t it time we got to shout “I’m my own damn Mama!” and just get on with the job of raising our own version of a happy, well adjusted and looked after kid?
Meet a couple of women who are doing just that through a new portal for women by women, Discordia Zine.
Like many ex-Sydney siders, Kate Toon, her husband and their darling boy packed up and crawled from beneath the mortgage crush to the beautiful Central Coast. Kate is a copywriter and SEO consultant who writes for some of the biggest names in the country. She’s also produced her own poetry book, adores creating art, mosaics and knitting and is about to splash into TV with several successful plays and short films under her belt. Being a freelancer who pursues the creative life from the Coast aren’t the only things that make Kate a little special.
Kate only wants one child and that child is currently being raised vegetarian. And boy, hasn’t that raised a few eyebrows.
“A friend recently said to me. ‘I think raising a child as a vegetarian is ridiculous, but it’s your call.’
Admittedly she is married to a butcher,” shared Kate.
Whether you agree with Kate or not, it isn’t hard to see substituting ‘vegetarian’ for almost any religion, form of schooling or anything remotely ‘different’ will garner criticism from someone somewhere. Yet she remains philosophical and takes the criticism in her stride.
“I can only do what’s right for my child. I don’t preach vegetarianism, but hope our healthy happy example will persuade people that it’s do-able and not freaky or ridiculous. When my son is old enough to make his own choices and buy and cook his own food, then he can make his own decision about whether or not he eats meat, but for now, it’s both a moral and practical choice for our family.”
Single mother to twin boys Sam and Jack, Claire Nelson knows walking down a path unchartered can also get a few odd looks but she wouldn’t have it any other way. After her partner walked out on her one month after the boys were born, Claire not only had to play the role of new Mum solo but also had to make major life changes including leaving a great career in Sydney, saying goodbye to Bondi and going bush. She even had to overcome her own stigma towards single mothers in the process.
And even though she and the kids are happy as Larry, people still can’t help but try to “fix” things.
“When you’re solo and a mum, people can’t stop saying ‘Oh you must be looking for a husband?’
I have not had a full night’s sleep in over two years. I am exhausted and my equivalent of an orgasm is a night where I only get up twice. I am far too shattered to worry about waxing and flirtatious conversation!” said Claire.
Both Kate and Claire have shared their stories on Discordia in the hope of helping other women to get a chuckle or even help with the times when life is absurdly crummy and supremely divine as they raise their sons. They’re also passionate about busting the myths around motherhood, womanhood and reconnect with feminism through being a part of an intelligent and honest female community.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist, more of an equalist, but I think that was because I didn’t really understand what feminism was. I’d swallowed too much media rubbish about Germaine Greer and bra burning. Discordia makes you think – but in bite sized chunks! The articles are short and to the point, offering opinions on issues you might never have thought about before. Or they give you a viewpoint on a long established belief that makes you stop and reconsider. I’ve personally written about everything from whether women should change their names and being fat, to raising an only child and pondering what a slut is. The subject matter is diverse and often surprising!” said Kate.
“Discordia talks about social issues affecting women today. Not how to get rid of cellulite or stretchmarks, but about things that affect us on a much more profound level. Women won’t go away from Discordia wishing they were thinner or more beautiful but rather will be inspired and understand other women and maybe even themselves better. I believe one of the greatest struggles as a mum is the feeling of isolation and not being the “Perfect Parent” you’re convinced you’re supposed to be. To me Discordia is an opportunity to reach out and show people that it is OK to struggle or be imperfect as we all are to some extent,” added Claire.
To read more stories from Kate, Claire and the other women busting the myths around womanhood and being themselves, head to Discordia Zine.
What would you like to declare in your own version of being “my own damn Mama!”? Share it in the comments below!