AUSTRALIA: Interview with Michelle Lewsen of They Call Me Mummy
Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
Asking me where I am from is never going to get you a short answer. I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa where I had the most idyllic of childhoods. South Africa is a magical place with a breathtaking natural landscape to rival anywhere in the world. It’s also a place full of the most vibrant, colourful people who will welcome visitors with a wide grin and open arms.
It was there that I learnt about tolerance, diversity and how to love fellow members of the human race. Nelson Mandela called South Africans the Rainbow Nation and the world thinks this is because of the country’s diversity of race. For me, it goes deeper – this Rainbow Nation refers to a culture of people with vibrantly coloured hearts.
As you can imagine, it was with great sadness that I left South Africa in my twenties and migrated to Western Australia. In the fifteen years that I’ve lived here, I have learned that Australia is not terribly different from South Africa. Here, too, you will be welcomed with a grin, a cold beer and the notion that “it’ll be right, mate!”
I count myself as one who is truly blessed to have lived two lives in such beautiful places. So here I am, Michelle Lewsen, a South African Australian. Pleased to meet you!
What language(s) do you speak?
Amazingly, even though I was raised and schooled in a country that has eleven official languages, I speak only English with any fluency. I can speak a little Zulu, a little Sotho and a little Afrikaans but not enough – it’s one of my regrets.
When did you first become a mother?
I became a mother eleven years ago and have three children who fascinate me daily with their individual idiosyncrasies, their wit and the fact that these beautiful little human beings somehow are mine.
Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?
I am beyond fortunate to be able to be a stay at home Mum, which works perfectly with my writing.
Why do you blog/write?
Conversely, my writing is what keeps me from going stir-crazy at home! Nobody tells you just how lonely a house full of children can feel and I am so grateful for the amazing people I’ve met through blogging and writing – people who began as Twitter handles and Facebook statuses and have become some of my dearest friends.
My writing is not only for my own sanity, but because I believe I have something to offer the world. I find it incredibly rewarding to wake up in the morning and read comments on my blog that say I’ve helped someone else through their tough day. I write because I can’t not write. Simple as that.
How would you say that you are different from other mothers?
I am a Mum, just like every other Mum out there. We all love our children, we all scream and lose the plot sometimes, we all struggle through the laughter and tears and tantrums and achievements and disappointments and fears and joys. I am no different.
What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?
This world we are raising our kids in is a scarier place, for sure. The internet brings new friends but it also carries the risk of inviting some not-so-nice people into our children’s lives. The internet is the single greatest gift our generation has given our children’s generation and it is also the greatest curse. My biggest fear as a mother, absolutely, is the idea of my children being hurt. But then, I’m no different from you, am I?
How did you find World Moms Blog?
How did I find World Moms Blog? In July 2013, I was honoured as a Voice of the Year at BlogHer ’13 and I traveled to Chicago for the conference. In a pre-conference session, Jennifer Burden stood up and introduced herself and World Moms Blog and asked a question. She was so eloquent
and so interesting, I had to hunt her down and introduce myself. World Moms Blog fascinated me because of this belief I have that no matter where we are from, a Mum is a Mom is a Mama is an Imma is a Mother. We are all the same.
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this incredibly talented community of writers. I am honoured and look forward to getting to know you all.