Celebrating our Mum’s this Mothers day, Digital Women’s Network

By Angela Mellak

Mothersday

As a tribute to the women who have shaped our lives, we at the Digital Women’s Network have all put something together to celebrate our wonderful mothers!

Georgina Last.

  • I grew up in the UK.  My mother died from cancer when she had just turned 38 and when I had just turned 8, so my memories are quite vague of her and I’ve learnt a lot about her over the years from my family (I was the baby of the family).
  • What was your mum like ? Mummy was 4ft 11in, the youngest of 8 children from an Irish Catholic/Protestant(!) family and had the sense of humour to go with it.  My father recalled that she loved her gin and tonic, and my sister recalls her enjoying sitting in the breakfast room reading a magazine and smoking a cigarette (it was the 1960s!).
  • How is she helped to shape your identity? Whilst my mother was the shortest in hers and our family, she had great determination and a cheeky sense of humour which made her a big presence in our family and community.  All through my life, my uncles and aunts and my father always commented that I was so much like my mother.  Personally, I think I have a long way to go, but I’d like to think my determination and sense of humour have been shaped by my mother.
  • Was she a career woman? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? Back in the late 60s/early 70s the definition of being a career woman was that you went back to work after being married and having children, which my Mother did.  Whilst my father was a managing director of a company in another town, my Mother was a secretary for, I think, a local legal firm.  Unfortunately, she passed away long before being able to help me make important decisions.  Here, my father and my sister played a big role.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? I must have been about six.  One Saturday morning, after our usual family food markets shopping, Mummy noticed that “Mary Poppins” was being rerun at the local Odeon Cinema and decided there and then that we were all going to go and watch it!  Despite protestations from Daddy (he lost!), we left the shopping in the car and went to watch the movie.  It was the first time I had seen “Mary Poppins” and I remember loving every minute of it with Mummy fully into it as well. It’s a movie I have continued to watch throughout my life and introduced my daughter to, and always feel close to my mother when I do.
  • Other things that you would like to talk about. Whether you are fortunate to have a mother or not, or even to be a mother, I truly believe as a female, it’s critical for our confidence and growth to have positive, engaging, ethical and fun-loving female mentors and role models in our lives.  For me, after my mother died, this began with my sister, who is 9 years older than me, and one of my aunts.  Now I have the support of a network of amazing women from incredible backgrounds which is balanced with male mentors and role models.
  • Whilst my Mother only lived for the first 8 years of my life, together with my father, they provided me with love and values which have supported me throughout my life.  As a mother now to a 22-year-old daughter, I’ve had the privilege to get to know her as a person, and she’s been in the unfortunate position of someone who’s not really known what they’ve been doing as a mother, but who’s just made it up … and tried to have a bit of fun along the way!!

Angela Mellak

  • I was born in Liverpool England, My Mum is Jeannine Turner, she had me when she was 22. We migrated to OZ when I was 5, during that time my Mum lost her Mum to cancer.
  • What is/was your Mum’s personality like?– My Mum is a little fire cracker! Born in Liverpool England she is a strong minded women, very kind hearted supportive and has a true adventure spirit (though a doesn’t have the confidence to go alone)
  • How is she helped to shape your identity? My mum has shaped my identity through being passionate about her background and values, she is upfront and calls a spade a spade.
  • Was she a career woman? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? From a young age my Mum was successful at school and in the workplace, she really did enjoy being in a positive environment and found it easy to make friends at work – which she values. Coming to Australia as a skilled migrant was not easy, culturally things are vastly different. My mother is sharp, smart and great with numbers and process, she is a real doer but suffered a lack of confidence and was bullied a lot by mean men who were intimidated by her fast thinking and honest approach. Sadly she put up with horrible work situations for so many years, which took a long time to recover from emotionally and mentally – I think she stayed in these workplaces because of the fear to take a risk and jeopardise a stable income. Upon reflection this shaped me to take risks, be open to new opportunities and if I didn’t like what I saw or how I was/am treated – I would just walk away, remove myself or quit. Furthermore it made me never want to regret any situation and also work to empower women around me and stand up to bullies.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two?There are so many! Two of my favourites are going to concerts together from Michael Jackson and when I was living in Santorini Mum and dad coming to visit- we left dad at home one night with sunburn and danced the night away like two teenagers !!
  • Other things that you would like to talk about. I’m blessed to have such a role model and friend, I hope that I can learn and pass down lessons to my children in the future as my Mum has done me.
  • The other Mother I have in my life is my Mother-in-law who is just the kindest, most wonderful, woman. Sadia is her name she lives in Morocco and though we can’t speak the same language we share the most important language of Love. She is strong, takes no-nonsense, hardworking, generous of spirit and full of happiness and laughter. She brought up 4 boys mainly alone with her husband off around the country working. All her boys are kind, warm and respectful.

Jeannie & Angela Saida & Angela 

Kate Duckworth,

  • My Mum was the kind of woman that opened her house up to everyone and never stopped smiling. She had a band of ‘adopted children’ who were usually our friends having issues at home who needed a home cooked meal, a warm bed and a hug. This will be my first mother’s day without my Mum, she passed away very fast in June last year from an extremely rare degenerative brain disorder called Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease.
  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? Mum taught me to ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated.’ She helped me shape my beliefs around the importance of family and friends. She taught me that people don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel. For her she always wanted to people to feel loved and comfortable. She possessed a feminine energy that taught me to embrace my femininity in a male-dominated world.
  • Was she a career woman? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? Mum believed her core purpose was to be a mother. She was a stay at home Mum for many years until she went back to work at a school where she cared after many others. The most important thing Mum taught me in decision making was to always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Empathy is a core part of marketing and sales and this is something that I credit to my career.  She never understood how she brought up two extremely career driven and academically driven daughters. However, I know that the support she gave us by being home every night after school, cheering us on at every event and making sure we had the tools we needed to be the best versions of ourselves is how I managed to find my dream career at a young age.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? My favourite memory with my Mum was in the hospital last year before we knew that she had CJD. She was having internal seizures on and off and was losing her mobility and speech. We had no idea what was happening to her. The two of us were sitting in her hospital bed and she suddenly demanded that I play Florence and the Machine’s ‘Dog Days are Over.’ When the song started a huge smile came over her, all her fear disappeared and she started to sing and dance to the song. I joined in, overwhelmed by her happiness in this moment. I remember looking around and the other 3 people in the ward had also joined in clapping and singing to the song. Mum couldn’t really pronounce the words properly and the others didn’t know the words so there was a moment where were were all just making noise, dancing and laughing and my whole body was covered in goosebumps. Mum deep down knew she was dying and she managed to fill an entire room of very sick people with joy and laughter. The memory of that moment still gives me goosebumps and puts smile on my face. She was a special woman.  

Kate, Mum & Sister 

Kelly Dang

  • My Mum is a superwoman and I think if she had the opportunity like what she had given to me, she would definitely achieve more than what I could do.
  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? My Mum is a housewife and dad is a famous businessman who ran his own company with over 300 staffs. that said, She always presents herself confidently and she is always amazed me with her skills to connect with different people regardless their social statuses. I think that’s the most valuable trait that I inherited from her. Being able to connect with people naturally is not easy to learn and trained and I am grateful for that.
  • Is she a career women? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions ? She is not a career woman. She could not give me any career advice but she always supports me for whatever I decide to do. I am quite stubborn and I think that’s all I need at the end of the day, someone who supports and is with me regardless whatever I choose.

Kelly, Mum & Sister 

Lorna Berry

  • My Mum is a generous amazing lady.  She grew up in the north of Scotland born just before the war broke out.  In 1966 my parents migrated and then to Aus in 81.  She is kind loving
  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? She is loving and supportive she worked hard both in and out of the home.  She has taught me so much
  • Is she a career woman? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? My mother returned to work the day my brother started school.  She was told that she would be able to work in her profession in NZ. She was devastated that she could not.  She worked in office jobs cleaning and in a fabric shop.  When we came to Australia she did a refresher course and was soon working back with children and families as a Mother Craft Nurse.  In her 50’s she upgraded her qualifications.  She actively encouraged me to get a qualification when I left school and has always been supportive of me working or studying.  She also helps with children when needed.
  • She still works as a volunteer in an op shop 2 days a week where she has had letters from customers talking about her generosity
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? Her support of me when I became a Mum for the first time was amazing she was so much help and love. She most recently talked about my wedding and that she cried when she saw me on my dad’s arm
  • Other things that you would like to talk about. Mum has taught me so many things she is one in a million.  She taught me to knit to cook and they are things that I love to do with her. On mother’s day we have a tradition of having a baking day together

Lorna, Mum & Dad 

Bernadette Cullen

  • My Mum is the most caring and giving person who has no much love in her.
  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? My Mum has raised me to be independent and to be able to rely on myself. Her kindness and caring nature has also helped shape my identity as I care so much about the people in my life and will do anything to help them.
  • Is she a career women? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? My Mum is now “retired” but runs my brother’s café and was able to turn it from a non-profitable business to be thriving and sustainable. My Mum has taught me that the things worth fighting for will be hard and challenging but the end result is worth it!
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? My most memorable moment is when I helped my Mum fight and beat breast cancer. We helped each other so much throughout this time and it brought us together even more.
    Berine & Mum 

Jasmine Lim

  • My Mum loves music and live performance with a cup of coffee. She also always put her children first before her.
  • How is she shaping your identity? She always wanted to be strong and perfect. It made my standard always high for everything. I found it I am too tough on myself sometimes.
  • Is she a career women? if not, how has she helped you making important decisions ? In her day my Mmum was a piano teacher. She was always like “do whatever you want to do” so there were quite good and bad points. I have to learn it’s my life and my choice with consequences.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? There was a  moment that we were on the way to pick up our puppy. Both were so excited and we love dogs.  We had been waiting to have one for a while. We just knew this puppy would be our family before even we saw the puppy. We were so happy!!
  • Other things that you would like to talk about. When I was young I thought it is normal to receive unconditional love from Mum but now I see she has done so much for me and she is an incredible woman. I feel very lucky that I am her daughter.
    Jasmine & Mum 

Danielle Azzopardi, My Mum is Superhuman

  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? By instilling morals and valuable lessons. By being supportive and encouraging.
  • Is she a career woman if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? Yes, she has taught me to work hard, be strong and persistent.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two? There are many. Mostly just our friendship where we talk about everything and rely on each other.
Danielle & Mum

Brianna Russo, My Mum is the definition of amazing! She is the most generous, caring and thoughtful human on the planet.

  • How is she/has she shaped your identity? She is constantly giving me confidence, encouragement and support in everything I do.
  • Is she a career woman if not, how has she helped you making important decisions? Mum helps me weigh up all options prior to making important decisions, together we look at the negatives + the positives. Without her certain decisions would be very hard to make.
  • What is the most memorable moment between you two?We have had so many memorable moments together, one of which was when Mum agreed to come bungee jumping with me because I was too scared to go alone – what a legend!

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