May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month and at Mamamia, we're sharing women's stories of bravery and courage. If you have the means, please donate to RizeUp to help women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence.
When I was growing up, I would often see TV shows, ads and so forth that were geared towards celebrating the nuclear family - a mum, dad and two or three kids. More often than not they were of Caucasian appearance and very “functional” citizens.
The dad would generally be a hard-working 9-5 man and the mother would be a stay-at-home mum tasked with cooking, cleaning and looking after the kids.
However, this was not the reality in my household. I grew up with a then single mum, working hard to make ends meet from the time I was two in a housing commission area of Tamworth.
Of course, I didn’t realise it at the time as a baby, but what my mum was about to show me for the best part of the next 22 years living with her was what true strength, commitment, discipline and unconditional love really looks like, throughout the good times and the bad.
My mum was instrumental in shaping the man I am today. A proud Aboriginal woman, she showed me that there was - and is - so much more to women than what was generally being portrayed on TV and film screens without saying it. This helped me develop a deep respect for women.
Listen: Tanya Plibersek has been crucial in the conversation about violence against women. She speaks to Mia Freedman about what needs to change in our current culture. Post continues below.
My mum continually challenged herself to dream and achieve. I watched her, with the loyal support of my nan and pop, pursue lead roles in musicals whilst working late shifts managing a bar. I saw her then divert into education as an Aboriginal Educational Officer not long after pursuing a University Degree in Education. I proudly witnessed her becoming a high school teacher and the first person in our family to go to University.
This was all done alongside buying a house all on her own, while managing a son who was extremely active playing sports most nights of the week and trying to navigate the highs and lows of school and puberty at the same time. No easy feat!