"This one goes out to my mama, the woman who taught me to love."


Me, as a little girl.




This one goes out to my mama. The woman who taught me to love.

My mama has cared for me her whole life. When the time comes, it will be my pleasure to care for her.

I’m holding my mum’s hands, which makes the whole world feel safer.

She looks down at my fingers, squeezes them, strokes the chewed-away nail polish, and splays them out thoughtfully in hers.

“You’ve got baby hands, Katie,” she says. “The rest of you looks like a woman, but you’ll always have a little girl’s hands.”

It’s true. There’s nothing sophisticated or womanly about my hands at all – they’re small and innocent-looking, if it’s possible for the grabbers at the end of your arms to look innocent. My ears are also weirdly tiny, by the way, like “little dried apricots on the sides of my head” (that’s another description courtesy of my ma).

“You have a little girl’s soul,” I want to say. And I mean it as the highest compliment I can pay her.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dove. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

The most delightful thing about my mum is that she’ll always have a young spirit. Sure, she’s beautiful and womanly and strong and at the moment, exactly twice my age, but there’s something enchantingly girly about my mama. Like there’s a part of her that refuses to grow up entirely. Like her own little rebellion against time, she’s stayed sweet and she loves fully. It’s what I love about her – and I might be quite fond of that same quality in myself. Anything that makes me more like my ma, I’ll take.

My mum — Sally, to anyone other than me or my sister — is the most caring mother on the planet. Sounds like an exaggeration, but truly I defy anyone else to be so loving. She’s cared for me through some pretty heinous experiences, she’s helped me survive a lot, and she hasn’t once complained. She’s also smarter and more amazing than she will ever properly acknowledge.

Mum, my sister Soph, me.

So mum was a soap opera star in the ’80s, and she was a great actress. She was exactly the age I am now when she had me, which of course mildly terrifies me. She became a full-time mother to me and my little sister… which is just as well because I needed her a lot in my teenage years, needed her more than most mothers should have to give, and I know that caring for me took away her prospects of a continued career.

That’s why, three years ago, on Mothers’ Day, my sister and I sat down with her and brought Google up on her PC. We typed in “counselling courses, Sydney” and searched until we found a post-graduate degree in psychotherapy and counselling. We signed her up for an information day at two places across Sydney, scrawled those dates in her diary, and worked out which bus she could take to both. My sister and I knew this was the first thing mum would do for herself in many years. For more than two decades, everything she did was for us, her kids. Our gratitude for that is, at times, overwhelming.

Fast-forward a couple of years and several huge essays, and my mum is a qualified psychotherapist and counsellor. She’s going to make a living out of being caring, which is more perfect than I can explain. She’s got this extraordinary way of being girly and free in spirit, but wise. So wise.

It might be a weird thing to say, but I think of my mama’s girlishness and wisdom every time I look down at my childish hands. Even more so when I’ve got her hands in my hands. When the world feels safer than at any other time.

Some inspiring words from the Mother’s of those in the Mamamia office:


Is there a woman in your life who you’d like to thank? 

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