It’s been 4 years since I started my motherhood journey in the small mining town of Blackwater and it sure has had it’s pros and cons.
My husband has worked here for over 8 years and would FIFO to where we were living when I fell pregnant. Moving to a small town meant that we could raise our kids together and have more quality of life as a family. That move was nothing short of hard at the beginning.
Having Cooper was difficult to say the least, he wasn’t a bad baby at all, it was everything else happening inside my head. My husband went back to work a couple weeks after Cooper was born which was petrifying for a new mum, in a new town where I knew nobody and hours away from family and friends. I didn’t get to share my journey with Mum like most mothers and daughters would, Mum was undergoing her chemo and radiation so it was some time before she could come out and attempt to help in her condition. It tortured her more than it did me.
Being an introvert didn’t help either, it took a lot for me to venture out into any kind of mothers group let alone take my baby to the grocery shop in fear of what people would think if he cried (I still had no idea what I was doing).
Joining a mothers group was equally daunting as I had only heard bad stories of how judgmental the mums can be , which I would much rather stay at home and judge myself let alone add a stranger’s opinion onto my load.
It wasn’t long until I found a handful of mums who I clicked with, and a couple I’ve created strong friendships with who were and are in the same position as me (out here with no clue and only their husband as their support).
I love raising the kids in a small mining town because they are able to experience and understand the value of community. In a town where everyone knows each other there is a sense of comfort and security that i think we would be lacking if we lived in a big city~ Nita Siggins @lifestylewithnita
Fast forward a few years and I’m still here. I love the simplicity of a small town because everyone is a familiar face. We have no traffic lights and everything is a stones throw away. The rubbish man waves at Cooper on bin days, the council workers at the dump know that we drive out there specifically to watch him drive the dozer. The McDonalds staff know that I grab a coffee and scroll every day before the park and that Cooper gets his happy meal every Thursday. The local pizza shop knows our usual order and my kids always seem to know someone out in public that I have never met before. There’s no such thing as a 5minute Woolies trip, you need a minimum of 30mins to take into account everyone you bump into. I know a lot of people assume that small towns attract small minds but I’ve met a lot of hard working mothers here with aspirations beyond belief.
I like that life is “easy”, as everything is close, no traffic or even traffic lights~ Sarah Picot @savannahandthree
BUT it gets lonely. And it can get mundane and flat. You live for the minute your husband finishes work for the week so you can have a break. There becomes so much pressure put on the husbands’ shoulders to wear so many hats for us to compensate for the people that are absent where we live. My husband has to be my girlfriend at times, he has to be my parent also, not just a lover. It’s hard when you miss out on family events or social catch ups with your best friends when you’re not just around the corner. It bothered me for some time when other mums would complain about how hard their week has been when their parents live here and mind their kids if they need to run errands or have a date night (sounds so bitter I know).
But you learn to survive. You learn to work together as a team with your husband and try to make balance in your life. I’m so lucky that I’m out here with friends that if one of us is sick or needs a reset we do a kid swap where one morning one of us has all the kids over while the other does her chores or chills, and then vice versa.
To keep our relationship alive we plan date nights where we stay up and watch a movie and make a cheese platter with wine. We have also made plans with another good mummy friend of ours to one night mind our kids while we go out for dinner and then vice versa. I love the fact we are all in the same boat which makes it less lonely and more compassionate. It’s peaceful and quiet being in a small town, it makes it easy to disconnect from the busyness in the world. But its also so important to stay connected.
One thing I like about living as a mum in a small town is the fact that it is easier to teach the kids about disconnecting and enjoying nature. I love the fact too it is worlds away from the business of the city and easier to teach your kids about the benefit of a life unplugged. I love the kids knowing what a night sky looks like~ Lara Flanagan @mynotesfromnewengland
I know the day will come soon when we will move on from here, I worry about the resources available for our children. We want them to grow up utilizing their full potential and not just what’s available. But for now, it means more to me that the boys see their father every night before they go to bed and for Allan to come home from a long day to 2 eager boys waiting at the door (and a cranky worn out wife in the kitchen). I love the fact my boys learn to enjoy the simple things in life and appreciate the big things like when we travel to go to the beach. All they need right now is the park, a sandpit, their bikes and our attention.
My tips for surviving in a small town as a stay at home mum:
- Find a niche/hobby that empowers you to feel more purpose other than being a mum. It could be blogging, sewing, studying, freelancing, entrepreneur (something you can do in kids sleep time)
- Join an online network of mums with similar mindsets, but don’t fall into the trap of following social media accounts that portray unrealistic images of the perfect life.This will make you feel inadequate and it is NOT reality.
- If you’re an introvert like me, force yourself to get out there, or speak to a mum at the park and suss out if you have anything in common. Even if it’s someone other than your partner to have a vent to with how crappy your kids have been today.
- Try the kid swap with a friend one week, even if they just come over and watch a movie or play outside in the sandpit. It gives you both an equal opportunity to get groceries or reset your mind so you can both survive the week while your hubby is on roster.
- If you have a local gym with creche DO IT! Even if you just sit on the bike or walk on the treadmill listening to music. It gets you out of the house, gets you moving AND gives you a break from the kids while they interact with other kids.
- Do a date night swap with a friend. A relationship with a shift worker is hard and this is an important investment. You’re pretty much watching TV at someone else’s house while their kids sleep (easy).
- DON’T gossip. Leave that for pillow talk with your other half. There’s no room for drama in a small town, we are all trying to get from A to B without extra hassle. If you hang around mums who talk to you about other mums, chances are they talk to other mums about you. Don’t shit where you sleep.
- Know your neighbors. You don’t have to be best friends, but just so they know you’re a decent person and to not be alarmed when they hear screams coming from your house. You just harbor small people who make you lose your shit on the daily. Also if you ever need a bin taken out or in case of emergency.
- Plan family holidays. They don’t have to be extreme and cost a lot of money. Just getaways that take you out of the small town and give you perspective and more variety of activities for the kids to do. Visit relatives and family, find a deal on Webjet at the Big4. Mark them on the calendar and have them visual so that it’s always in your head when things feel like groundhog day.