“We were both in the same year at school. We had never spoken and I started to work at the same Coles supermarket that he was working at. I can still remember my first conversation with him. He was working, I was there shopping with my parents and I literally said ‘Hello, I’ve just got a job here.’ He said ‘cool’ and we became friends at the end of year 9. Even though we went to school together; we became friends because we worked at the same shop. We were friends probably for about six to eight months before we started going out. I was 15 and he was 16 when we started dating and Reece and I had been together for 9 years when we got married. I found planning a wedding quite joyous. Bringing families and people together is a very happy time of life. A celebration of love. I think I place value on marriage. Both of our parents are married; I think it is a commitment to each other to say that we want to be together forever. Lots of people would say ‘why are you getting married, it is just a piece of paper’ but there was something that changed after we got married. Maybe our love felt deeper for each other.
Even though I have been through a bushfire, I feel becoming a mum was the toughest time of my life because you have an expectation of what it’s going to look like and how you are going to feel and I didn’t experience that.
I have realised it’s because of societal expectations or my subjection of societal expectations. When a bushfire happens, everyone expects you to be sad and struggling. It’s ok to be down and feel like it’s challenging. Whereas when becoming a parent everyone expects you to be happy and enlightened—it’s taboo to have those negative feelings. Plus, many have done it before me so ‘why can’t I do it with ease like them?’ Both are such big life changing events, but one you do alone while the other you get support. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my child and I was very happy that we had chosen to have children. I have never regretted that decision but it wasn’t until my second child was born that I started to feel joyous in being a mum. I think the isolation was a hard part. I had grown up in metro Adelaide where we had family and friends and services at our fingertips and here I was living out at Flinders Chase which I loved and it was beautiful but very socially isolating. Just going to the supermarket, I would be out of my house for half a day and have to coordinate that around a baby. I always assumed that babies would just go to sleep when they are tired, but they most certainly do not do that. I wasn’t prepared for the sleep deprivation. We didn’t even have family here. When you’re having a hard day, you can’t even call up your Mum and say ‘hey, I am having a hard day, can you come around and help me?’ You just couldn’t do that; you just need to push through and deal with it. It is what you do but it is tough.
Since becoming a mum, I am trying to be the best mum I can be. I guess because my children are so little at two years and three and a half, and I am a stay-at-home mum, other things get pushed to the side, because I am wanting to be the best mum I can be for them like my parents have been for me. I came to Kangaroo Island because Reece had got his first job out of University with parks on the fire crew and I thought we’d be there for five or six months and then we move on. That was 8 and a half years ago. This is a beautiful place to live and we have met beautiful people here so we have wonderful friends. Living here away from family is a challenge and I very much miss my family but the lifestyle and the life that our children have, I think we are very lucky to be surrounded by the people and nature we are surrounded by.”