Thinking She Was Fat, It Was Cancer

After several weeks of my youngest daughter thinking she was getting fat around the stomach. She finally took my advice to see our family GP, who at the time wasn’t available and she ended up seeing another Doctor.

Thankfully she did as the Doctor knew it wasn’t her just getting fat it was more concerning than a bloated stomach. He organised an immediate scan and blood tests.

The results weren’t good it was a tumor mass coming from her right ovary and it needed immediate attention. During the consultation about the results he said: “I am going to expedite making an appointment with the gynecologist and I am going to wrap cotton wool around you”.
This was all too daunting for us, my eldest daughter came up for a few days to hear the results and be involved in the appointment with the gynecologist.

Action was swift, more blood test, CT scan, and appointment with the gynecologist then waiting for the hospital booking. It all happened from early November 2021 until 22nd December when she was admitted to hospital and operated on. This included a total hysterectomy was performed together with appendix and some omentum.

Being in hospital on the 22nd December during ‘COVID Code Red’ in all hospitals throughout NSW wasn’t great. It was her Birthday on the 25th December and despite all attempts to be with her even on compassionate grounds I wasn’t allowed to see her at all. We could talk on the phone and message one another, but it wasn’t the same. Although with the nature of the operation she had tubes coming from her, which as her mother that wouldn’t have been too great to witness.

I felt from the initial consultation with the gynecologist she was in excellent hands; her gynecologist is a specialist in her field and the Director of Gynecology and Obstetrics on the Mid North Coast.

The nurses were incredibly attentive and had a great sense of humor. They even blew up surgical gloves into balloons and sung happy birthday to her on the 25th December.

The gynecologist contacted me while she was in hospital advising what had been removed and that she was waiting on reports regarding cancer results. She advised me that it was going to be a long road to recovery and that she is lucky to have such a caring family.

After five days of hospital care she was able to come home, where she basically slept to help with her recovery.

The six weeks follow up post surgery included discussion about her having to have chemo as with the size of the mass tumor there could be spillage of cancer cells.

Next stage was seeing the oncologist; more blood tests and PET (positron emission tomography) scan to reveal both normal and abnormal metabolic activity. This was followed the following day by commencing chemo a 5-hour infusion of chemotherapy to kill any fast growing cells in her body. She would undergo these chemo session over 3-week span for approximately 4 to 6 times.

As a mother living in Coffs Harbour Regional City I can say from the moment of seeing the GP to hospitalisation and chemotherapy together with all the blood tests, scans I can not fault the medical system here on the Mid North Coast.

We still have a challenging road ahead; with the continued medical support and staying positive all the way will gain a good outcome.

How Has COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Me?

This is an interesting question. How indeed has it changed us, namely me?

First above all it has made me think seriously about my own health and how if indeed I was unfortunate to contract this deadly virus.

Having a compromised immune system, it would put me into the serious category of survival. Hence taking all the precautions that are necessary to ensure that I don’t leave myself vulnerable to this deadly virus.

Living on the Mid North Coast we have basically had minimal cases of the virus, which is surprising as we are a tourist destination, between two major cities Sydney and Brisbane.

There has been a certain benefit that has come out of the pandemic for me. It has allowed me to concentrate on my finances. Having gone through complete lockdown across New South Wales has taught me valuable money lessons that will benefit me in the future, including researching and installing solar on the roof and replacing old fans with ecological reduction fans.

Not being able to attend any entertainment, including catching up with friends for that coffee, lunch or dinner has enabled me to save money. I have also questioned my needs versus wants at the checkout and basically asked myself “do I really need that top, skirt or shoes”.

As much as I like to travel, this was also affected. Again another question I posed on myself, would I really like to travel to locations that didn’t have control on the virus? Certainly not! No travelling gave me another opportunity for savings.

During the early stages of COVID-19 a writer colleague asked if I would be interested in taking up a board position on the newly formed Mid North Coast Writer’s Centre. I accepted with pleasure, as the nearest writer’s centres are located in Byron Bay and Newcastle. The writer’s centre was Officially Launched by the Mayor on 3rd September in Port Macquarie.

If you are in lock down and you don’t want to get bored, there are just so many hours one can spend on cleaning out cupboards before you realise, this is not for me, I am bored.

I, together with many thousands of others saw the benefits of online Zoom webinars. At first I registered for almost everything that I came across, until I realised there must be a real benefit for me to listen to presenters, who in some instances were dreadful at presenting online. I became weary of the various companies offering these Zoom webinars. Taking the time to research the type on online knowledge I wanted to endue became a priority.

It was at this stage that OWN NSW was alerted to me by one of my colleagues, who at that time we were collectively researching information about older women in our LGA.

The statistics in Coffs Harbour LGA for older women aged 45 to 80 is enormous with over 17,000 recorded by ABS in 2016. This represents 24% of the total population of Coffs Harbour LGA.

We realised, together with two other businesswomen that there was an opportunity to commence a Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network Group.

Discussions occurred with OWN NSW in August 2020 and on 17th November 2020 the Mayor Denise Knight Officially Launched, socially distanced of course, Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network Group.

How has the pandemic changed me? I value my health, gained valuable money lessons to save money, question myself about do I need that? And most importantly there are always opportunities out there even in a pandemic.

Writing in the New England High Country

Why would anyone from sub tropical Coffs Harbour make a decision to visit the New England Region during winter?

Well, I ventured into minus degrees territory with a writer travel buddy Yvonne, who had researched the writers groups in the areas we planned to visit.

We headed off from Coffs Harbour around 8am on the 27th July bound for first overnight stay at Armidale. The road trip was all about investigating the writing community in New England Region. Both of us belong to writers groups, Yvonne is a member of Nambucca Valley Writers’ Group and I am a member of Coffs Harbour Writers’ Group Inc and a board member of the soon to be launched Mid North Coast Writers’ Centre Inc.

Our arrival at Armidale we were greeted with not only freezing weather but also rain and wind. Thankfully we were both prepared with beanies, gloves etc.

After checking into our motel we headed off for our first appointment with the New England Writer’s Centre. The meeting was a combined face-to-face and mobile contact due to the weather and of course COVID-19 concerns.

It was encouraging to know how participative and supportive, including well resourced the centre is with supporter/partner groups, including University of New England. We exchanged mutual information about our group’s achievements and information about the newly established Mid North Coast Writer’s Centre and how the centre will be an adjunct for all writers’ groups.

At conclusion of the meeting our host Lyn invited us to visit two independent bookstores Reader’s Companion and Boobooks. It was obvious, both being very different bookstores to one another, these bookstores cater to the needs of the community and they were so inviting. Boobooks had a coffee shop and the most amazing 1839 London Times book of newspaper clippings, some of the articles are still relevant in today’s news although a little over the top.

At the end of bookstore visits I enquired about places for our evening meals. We were given two hotel recommendations for the night’s dinner and White Bull Tavern was our chosen location. Good decision, nice warm fireplace, where we managed to warm up our behinds before enjoying a splendid meal, which was top class. It was a Monday night and the place was packed, thankfully I had rung ahead and booked our table.

Our next two days and nights stay was at equally freezing Inverell. Unfortunately the Inverell Writers’ Group was closed due to the fires that ravaged the area. We chose to visit the Tourist Information Centre to find out what else we could see and one of the options was the art gallery where took in the local artists works, which were delightful. I couldn’t leave Sapphire City without investigating sapphires; unfortunately due to the cold weather fossicking was not available. However the Tourist Information Centre had a wonderful gems section and my desires were met in a pair of sapphire earrings.

It was pleasing to see progress happening in Inverell a town with a population of 12,000. Their library facilities were outstanding in comparison to what we have in Coffs Harbour. You can’t visit Inverell without a good heritage walk amongst the buildings that were built around 1877, improvements occurred in the early 1900s.

Yvonne had lived in Inverell as a teenager and she couldn’t resist in going back over old homesteads and locations she remembered.

Over the past few days we had survived rain, wind and freezing weather, our last day and night was in Glen Innes with a minus degree temperature.

To help with warming ourselves early in the morning we found a heritage building that had been beautifully restored with tin pressed ceilings and an incredible array of churros and hot chocolate. We settle on the hot chocolate with marshmallows. Although we were offered gelato ice cream infused into the marshmallows, which we sadly declined.

Our fist meeting of the day was with Mike from The Highland Writers’ in his English cottage garden where we exchanged information about our writing centres. He gave us some copies of their anthology books and his book of poems. We will of course forward to him copies of our relevant writers groups anthology books.

Our last meeting for the day in Glen Innes was with Richard from The Maker Shed. He had an amazing display of copper and silver jewellery, pottery, artworks and author’s books. Great to know that he and is partner, who is the artist in the family had relocated from Sydney to Glen Innes and have settled beautifully into the community, including performing in local creative events.

We couldn’t leave Glen Innes without a visit to the local Art Gallery to see the exhibition of all animals big and small and submit our nominations for who we felt was the winner.
The drive home to Coffs Harbour via Guyra Road gave us time to reflect on what an interesting and informative road trip adventure we had during the four days and nights visiting some examples of active writers’ groups and of course The Makers Shed in the Highlands of New England Region.

Living the Perfect Life


Living and working in Sydney for more than 40 years in senior positions can take its toll on you.

Late in 2007, I decided that life should be better as I enter into my later years of life. With this thought I made the massive decision to relocate to the beautiful Mid North Coastal town of Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour was a location that I had visited many times, whilst working in TAFE NSW as the Business Support Manager, including holidaying or passing through on my way further north.

This was an enormous decision to move away from friends and family to a rural city after living and working in Sydney better part of my life, but I was ready for the challenge.

With research and planning underway, which included suitable housing locations, economic status of Coffs Harbour, before resigning from employment and packing up my entire life to head north to re-establish myself. I was ready for my new venture.

Choosing the right house was an important decision. I looked at several properties without success until I found the right location with the desired aspects by a Real Estate Agent that listened to my requirements, something that was missing with most of the local agents.

Finally, a house that from the outside looked perfect, even though it was in the middle of the wet season and it was raining extremely heavy on the inspection day. It ticked all the boxes and more, after viewing the house for 20 minutes I made an offer.

Having to wait for over an hour for the vendor to agree to the offer was arduous, but worth the wait as the offer was successful.

One of the highlights of the property was the beautiful mountains and being able to sit on the large balcony or front porch and see the beautiful mountains wrap almost around the property was a big plus.

My first day in Coffs, without any furniture and residing in a motel, I met an amazing couple sitting next to me in a coffee shop at Homebase. The lady came over to me after overhearing my conversation with my niece saying; “Danielle, I have arrived in Coffs, without my furniture, staying in a motel and I just love the decision to move here”. After finishing my phone conversation the lady said; “I overheard your conversation and remembered that we, her and husband, came to Coffs 23 years ago for a holiday and fell in love with it, went back to Melbourne sold our house and now live here. We would love to invite you over to our house for coffee”. I thought to myself, what a wonderful welcome to the Coffs community, and of course, I agreed to contact them.

It took only six months before my youngest daughter took the risk of relocating too, leaving a stable job in Sydney and sourcing new employment, which she managed to achieve all within two weeks of relocating to Coffs Harbour. Despite being told by locals she wouldn’t get a job, she proved them wrong.

When you relocate to a town that has on average more than 2000 people relocate each year, you know you are living within a progressive location. I needed to engage in whatever project I could to assist with the progression.

Within the ten years of living in this livable regional city, I have seen the implementation of the National Broadband Network (NBN); thankfully to my home, the installation was fiber to the house. The development of Medical Specialist Centre attached to the Coffs Harbour Health Campus, currently building a Medical Research Centre at Southern Cross University, the build of a new Court House and Police Station, redevelopment of CBD main shopping centre now called Coffs Central, increase to the size of the Park Beach Plaza Shopping Centre and Toormina Shopping Centre and one of the most outstanding developments was the redevelopment of the Jetty Foreshores enabling improved community accessibility.

One area of great interest for me is the development of a new Arts & Cultural Centre, which should commence the build in late 2020.

With the above type of developments and several new housing developments around the Local Government Area has given rise to the population now up to 76,000. I believe relocating to Coffs Harbour is one of the best decisions I have ever made and a bonus is being able to give back to the community by volunteering my services on various worthwhile projects to assist this city to prosper.

The best part of living the perfect life is the opportunity of assisting others who are also new in town, including my sister who relocated here twelve months ago to take advantage of this wonderful new way of life.

Tragedy at Sea


Patience is the virtue of life. However, our patience had been put to the test by having to wait for over a year, before my sister and myself boarded once again the Carnival Spirit Cruise ship, this time bound for the South Pacific, eleven days and ten nights with over 3,000 other passengers onboard.

Our last cruise together was to Moreton Island, a five-day and four nights cruise up the east coast of Australia. This was a really pleasurable cruise for me as it was my first cruise on one of the large cruise liners where everything is provided for you, your own cabin steward, fine dining and of course an excellent array of mixed cocktails, French Martini was my chosen delight.

27th March 2019 had finally arrived and the process for boarding the Carnival Spirit ship in my opinion desperately needs improving, even with an allocated time it was horrendous. The endless line to go through immigration checks seemed to continually grow and we were just stuck there trying to be patient and in desperate need of one of those cocktails.

Thankfully our heavy luggage was placed outside our cabin allowing us to try out our first speciality cocktail of the day whilst watching Sydney Harbour pass by. Sydney is a delightful city to be leaving. Thank goodness we both now reside in beautiful Coffs Harbour, where the Great Dividing Range meets the sea and the air is fresh without pollution streaming into our lungs.

Settling into the ship routine isn’t hard once you have experienced the lifestyle, especially knowing that we have three days of sea travel before we reach our first island destination. We manage to relax, meet our fine dining table attendees, who were from Dolby Queensland and South Australia. Then it was decision time to work out which show time event to attend, whilst sampling more cocktails at our favourite bars, Alchemy and Red Frog.

The first few days seemed to disappear without much thought as to what day or time it was.

Our first Saturday night’s fine dining dress code was formal to which we obliged to look our best. Prior to entering into the dining area, we had our normal cocktail, my sister had Espresso Martini and mine, of course, French Martini. Neither of us could have imagined how this night was going to end.

After finishing our evening meal and attending one of the entertainment shows we went back to our favourite Alchemy Bar to listen to the wonderful Summer Breeze group of two musicians playing favourite songs. The night was perfect, we originally sat up at the bar and spoke to Alexander the head barman and discussed different types of martinis. Sitting up at a bar isn’t always comfortable so we moved to more relaxed lounge chairs where we could listen and sing along to the music whilst watching the passing parade.

There was one particular couple that caught our eyes, as they both appeared to be unsettled in where they wanted to sit. They moved from one location to another, then to the bar where the woman sat there on her own while the man decided to pick up one of the bucket lounge chairs and try to shake it. Alexander the barman yelled out “Put that down Bengy”, to which he did. Then he walked over to where we were sitting and came up really close to my sister’s face and said: “what did you have for dinner?” my sister advised him and he said “the wrong choice” and walked away. He then proceeded to almost sit on top of two other ladies who were quietly having a drink.

He went back to the bar and embraced an elderly couple walking past by giving the woman a hug and shaking the man’s hand. Then he and his partner left the bar.

We both felt he was either drunk or spinning out on drugs or both.

Then at 1.20am Sunday morning we were woken by an announcement “Would Benjamin L return to his cabin” This announcement was continuous for a few hours until the Captain announced, “we have a passenger missing and we need to search all cabins please return to your cabins immediately”. We both looked at one another and said: “there is something wrong” Within moments we had our steward knocking on our cabin door. I answered the door and the steward asked to see if only my sister was in the room. He looked and accounted for my sister Debra.

It took until 7am before another announcement came from the Captain “We have viewed all the ships video footage and found that the passenger a 26-year-old Benjamin L has jumped off the ship. Our thoughts are with his partner and family, which we will be providing counselling. We will be turning the ship around and go back to where he possibly jumped off the ship”.

The shock was too much for us; we knew straight away that it was the man we saw on a Saturday night and had spoken to Debra.

For the next 12 hours, our ship together with another close by cruise liner and sea rescue plane searched to hopefully locate his body without success.

As we had lost a day at sea and obviously not docking at our first location Santos, the Cruise Director announced that the Captain would try and get the ship to dock at another island, if possible. Docking at another island was far from our minds as the thought of a 26-year-old man losing his life was heartbreaking.

The following night we asked Alexander the barman at the Alchemy Bar was it the guy that acted oddly the night before, he replied “Yes”. Our hearts sank!

Days following this tragedy there were an enormous amount of stories circling the ship. The ship’s Internet was closed down, as passengers were Face booking stories about the death, some really terrible.

We didn’t know if this had reached the news back in Australia so we contacted our families advising them that we were sort of ok and trying to deal with such a terrible tragedy. All we could think about was the man’s partner and his family.

During the rest of the cruise, there was a flatness surrounding the situation and we had noticed that there was a security guard sitting outside one of the cabins on our level and couldn’t work out why.

We found out after leaving the ship as to why the security guard was constantly sitting outside one of the cabins on our level. The man’s partner was relocated to our level, as their cabin was an outside cabin with a balcony.

Exercising Whilst Doing Vacuuming

2019 commenced with minimizing those items around the house that you just don’t need, especially when I purchased a new fridge freezer during the January sales. This obviously left me with thinking what to do with the current fridge and separate freezer?

‘Facebook Marketplace’ sprung into my head as the best way to move both items.

To my surprise, within a day the bidding commenced and they were both sold to two young men who were delighted with their purchase price and condition of items.

Wow! This is good what else can I sell? The office sofa bed is too big and I am tired of pulling out the double bed for the occasional visitor and it is difficult now with my daughter Roanne is permanently living with me.

The challenge was setting up the sofa bed to take photos; both Roanne and I decided the best way was to take it out of the office and into the lounge room. This proved to be a challenge, we tried to pull it out, but the space wasn’t big enough to manoeuvre it via the hallway. We then decided to put it standing up on its side and push it through the doorway, this nearly squashed Roanne’s head. We almost gave up on, but persistence prevailed and it was out and into the lounge area for photos and its new home until sold.

After clearing out the office I decided to do a vacuum using Dyson’s extendable hose rather than the large vacuum machine. Knowing it was going to be a backbreaking job, I decided to sit on the fit ball and move around the room using the fit ball as an easy way to do the vacuuming.

Great idea, well not really, especially when I had finished and still sitting on the fit ball I reached over to turn off the power and yes, the obvious happened! The fit ball move and I went arse overhead and ended up upside down on the floor whilst yelling out!

Poor Roanne thinking that she would have to call the Ambulance came rushing into the office to find me deeply embarrassed certainly shaken, but surprisingly not hurt.

“What happened?” she yelled, I explained my method of vacuuming and she replied “that is not how the exercise fit ball is meant to be used and what a stupid thing to do”

She was right of course. I managed to get a bit of exercise and the job done, thankfully it ended OK for me.

My Unsurpassed Christmas Present

The lead up to Christmas is always fraught with many hours spent on deciding what and who to buy Christmas presents for, what to eat and whose place do we spend the day and or night to celebrate Christmas.

Mine back in 1969, at least where I was going to celebrate Christmas was decided by the early birth of my youngest daughter Roanne Kim Watson at the Mater Hospital Crows Nest at 7.35am on Christmas morning.

For weeks prior to going into hospital David, my former first husband had been pestering me about cutting into the leg ham, but I had persuaded David in alerting him away from an early taste test, which didn’t please him at all. He would constantly annoy me about cutting up the ham.

Back in the sixties, it wasn’t encouraged for the husband to be present at the delivery of their child, especially at a Catholic Hospital, which my specialist only delivered his births there.

11pm on the 24th December 1969 there were signs that the delivery was about to happen. David in his casual manner dropped me off at the Mater Hospital and drove straight back home to our house in Davidson, to which he delighted in opening up the fridge door, where he gazed at the tempting leg ham. He reached inside the fridge and took out the ham and proceeded to enjoy a ham sandwich, while I was laboring away for over eight hours to deliver his second daughter. No doubt his gastronomical delights of devouring the ham was his only priority on Christmas Eve.

Roanne wasn’t actually due on 25th December; the date calculated by my Dr was the end of February the following year 1970.

My specialist Dr wasn’t what one would say a good baby specialist, as he should have been alerted that there was something wrong in the weeks leading up to the birth. I had swelling ankles and untreated high blood pressure.

However two weeks before Christmas during my regular check-up, he did think that the baby was unusually large for a seven-month pregnancy and sent me off for an X-ray as he thought I may be having twins.

The X-ray results showed that the baby was drowning in fluid and I wasn’t in the best of health.

Christmas eve is not an ideal time to go into hospital and trying to locate the Dr and get a positive response from him was fruitless, as he was unable to drive due to being intoxicated. Being told by the nursing staff that they can’t locate the Dr is not very comforting when you know something is wrong and there could be an issue with the delivery.

Fortunately, luck was on our side, on duty that evening and early morning was Sister Devine, yes Sister Devine a Midwife. She delivered this tiny reddish delight that was perfectly cooked, but I wasn’t in the best of shape. It was apparent that I had toxemia and Sister Devine could not believe my Dr hadn’t picked up my warning signs earlier.

Thankfully this little bundle of joy Roanne Kim Watson gave me the best ever Christmas present back in 1969 and she still continues to give me happiness.

Respect is Required

I was fortunate, together with approximately 100 people to be able to attend the first MeToo debate in Coffs Harbour last night. And what a debate it turned out to be.

The four panels presented either for or against the MeToo movement, which basically came into the media spotlight via sexual harassment charges against Hollywood’s movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Sexual harassment and domestic violence have been a subject of discussion here in Australia as well as everywhere in the world for many, many years, especially Middle Eastern Countries.

Last night’s audience upon entering the venue where asked by the volunteers ”do you believe the MeToo movement has gone too far, not far enough or undecided”. For me I said ”undecided” my friend said ”no”.

Early in the evening, the MC read out the results of the survey that the audience had given prior to entering the event and 40% were undecided, 14% said yes and 46% said no. These results were recalculated after the event and 10% were undecided, 74% said no and 16% said yes.

The panelist that had a huge impact on the crowd was a gay gentleman, who had been sexually assaulted at the age of 12 by a 32-year-old female teacher. This had a huge impact on his entire life and he didn’t say anything about the incident until he was 30. During these years from age 12 to 30, he had difficulty with schooling, work, drugs, and alcohol and needed counseling for many years. Although he was nervous telling his story you could hear a pin drop in the audience.

He now assists men who have been sexually assaulted by a man or woman. He quoted in his presentation the statistics within the LGBQI community has the most sexually and violent incidents in the country. This appeared to be a surprise to the audience.

From my observation of the evening, in my opinion, what is apparent with this whole MeToo movement is the lack of ’respect’ for one another, man or woman, nationality and religious beliefs respect is missing and as a nation we need to drive respect throughout our schooling system, workplace and of course our own homes. Respect is a deep admiration for someone or something drawn out by his or her abilities, qualities or achievements. If we don’t have respect for one another our society suffers.

Tiger in the House

IMG_3378.jpgHow your life can change in an instant when you have a three-month-old tabby kitten in the house called ‘Tiger’.

You need to be mindful of everything within his reach, move plants; especially plants that are poison to cats, and anything that he can manage to chew or knock off a table.

Thankfully a spray bottle with water has managed to discourage him off coffee and dining room tables and of course the kitchen bench.

He is so cute, but there are places he can go inside the house and places that are off limits, like my bedroom or the office where there is too much he can attack, like cords coming out from the NBN and computer.

Tiger is my daughter’s kitten that she rescued from RSPCA after completing her certificate 111 in Fitness, a nice congratulations reward of a kitten.

He has only been with us for less than a week and he seems to have settled in nicely and knows that we are both friendly. He manages to place himself next to my daughter most of the time, or me, whichever looks like they have something of interest. He also manages to seek out that perfect spot indoors, like underneath the dining room table sitting on two chairs at once, falls asleep then falls off, as he hasn’t balanced himself adequately.

My daughter recently lets him go outside onto the balcony for a look around and to explore the outside world, which of course he did and managed to collect any piece of leaf, stick or potting mixture. Like all cats, they must explore, although different sounds scared him off and he would run back inside in a flurry.

Listening to his little feet pounding up and down the hallway most of the day is so funny to listen and watch, as he hasn’t managed to slow down when a wall nears his vision. There have been a few hits and misses, but he is getting better. His agility is amazing with using a tiny soccer ball toy, which he plays around the house, is like a professional footballer, actually probably better than some footballers.

My Years of Being a Super Mum

After listening to an interesting session on ABC Life Matters about a group of dad’s in Northern Territory talking about the benefits of being a stay at home Dad and having the opportunity of getting to know their children instead of working full time, prompted me to recap on what I had missed out on by having to work full time when my daughters were young.

It wasn’t only myself who missed out on spending quality time to get to know my daughters it was also my girls missing out on having a stay at home mother.

As a sole parent I worked long hours and didn’t get the opportunity needed by all to be the perfect mum, I had to take on the role of being a Super Mum.  I did manage to get some home help for preparing the weekend meals enabling me to spend quality time with my girls.

On reflection of having no alternative than to work full time to house, feed, and clothe us and to try and get some home help, especially after my girls came home from school was a huge challenge. The women hired either had their own agendas, like doing commercial ironing at my house, using my electricity or wouldn’t actually take care of my daughters. For many years I struggled with getting the right help and of course the cost was outrageous.

Unfortunately, their father jerked his responsibility of paying child maintenance and many times he would disappoint the girls by either not turning up to take them out over the weekend or if he did it was with one of his casual girlfriends. Demonstrating that he thought more about his own self then his daughters.

What constitutes a Super Mum, being there as someone who could love and help them through their life challenges, provide suitable housing, which was a struggle especially when my ex-husband tried to have us evicted from the house that I was paying off the mortgage.

My property settlement was in 1976 prior to the current Family Law Legislation as it is now. The courts now are a lot fairer for the woman, especially with children.

I walked away from a twelve-year marriage with $13,000 to start our lives and find a suitable home, which ended up being a two-bedroom unit. Coming from a four-bedroom home with a double garage was extremely hard for all of us to settle into a small two bedroom unit with the girls having to share a small bedroom with bunk beds being the only way of housing the both of them.

The early years of my eldest starting out in high school while the youngest was starting at a new primary school were fought with problems. Settling into a new house, new schools, finding friends were all problematic.

I can still hear in my mind, the yelling of my daughter at each other from when I got off the bus and walked towards the unit. There wasn’t space for the girls to get away from one another after school. They shared a bedroom and a desk for doing their homework. Occasionally one would use the dining table.

One of the nicest out of school character building solutions was that both girls joined the Air Force Cadets. This was something that gave them good interpersonal skills and a different type of knowledge. At the time I did think they both would go onto joining the Force, especially my youngest Roanne.

They both looked so grown up when they were decked out in their uniforms. One of the photos shows Roanne nearly as tall as Corinne and they are four years apart.

Reflecting back over these difficult years and they certainly were difficult years, one such concerning time was having my car repossessed unnecessarily due to an error with the lending provider. This was at a time when life was dealing me some terrible times and it was hard to cope and stay focused for the sake of my daughters.

There were times when I felt why is life so challenging, but being the person I am it was important to continue on the best way that I could for all of us as I knew things could only get better if I worked hard acquired good wages, which of course meant working long hours. Most of my positions were in management, including senior management.

I hear all the benefits that single mothers get now and it makes me sad to know that the struggle we went through could have been avoided if I had an ex-husband that treated his responsibility of being a father first could have made our lives not so difficult for this mother.