Nina describes herself as ‘The Disabled Step-Mum you never knew you needed’ and is a passionate advocate for the rights of disabled people. She is also a busy busy busy mum to four children.
When lovely Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers invited me to join in her #onemumswish campaign I jumped at the chance.
I’m a disabled Mum to four humans, a toddler a teen and a couple in between (I’m also a poet and don’t even know it) Accurate disability representation is thin on the ground, disability representation for disabled parents is pretty non existent.
I think it’s hard for society to view disabled people as being parents for so many reasons. Firstly we’d have to be having the sex to have the babies and for some reason disabled people are all seen as pure and good and totally sexless. When in reality some of us are proper little filthy minxes having all the amazing saucy sex.
Then there’s this idea that someone in a wheelchair must be totally broken. If your legs don’t work then surely nothing works. I mean sure after four kids my vag is a lil wrecked (a magical magicians sleeve) but my fertility was never affected by my disability. Obviously some disabled people can’t have children just like some non-disabled people can’t have children but the notion that none of us can is very daft.
There’s been a few times when I’ve been out with the kids when strangers clearly haven’t thought I was the Mum. My favourite example comes from visiting a farm, I’m in my chair, my youngest is in his buggy right next to me. Someone comes along and offers my little wildling a baby chick to hold. I’m all “Oooh no he can’t have that he’ll eat it” I’m ignored though and predictably Cary does indeed try to shove the itty baby bird in his mouth. Woman looks horrified and hastily snatches it back. Honestly where was that kids parents eh?
When people have got their heads round the fact that I am in fact the parent they then presume parenting must be harder for me. There’s this notion that because I need extra care that I must be incapable of giving care. Or the idea that I’m an inspiration by default just because I am both disabled and a Mum.
I am not an inspiration. One night after boobing the baby every 2 hours through the night I got up and ate cake out the bin. I ate bin cake. Actually maybe that is inspiring.
The boring reality is that I’m just a regular Mum but on wheels. I’m not an inspiration, parenting isn’t harder because I’m in a wheelchair. Of course it comes with challenges but parenting is challenging. Full stop.
My challenges now as a disabled parent aren’t really any different to when I was a parent who could walk. I still stress that they mainly only eat beige breaded food, I worry I’m not giving them enough one to one time. I worry they’ll grow up and make ridiculous choices and do a whole load of drugs just like I did back when I was wild and very silly. It’s always a challenge to get them to do their homework, a challenge to peel them away from screens and a constant challenge to get the little ones to stay in their beds for a full night (secretly love them squeezing in with us though. Being kicked in the ribs when I’m soundo not so much)
The challenges I do have as a disabled parent have little to do with my disability and everything to do with peoples weird attitudes towards me and a lack of access in the places I wanna take my kids too. My challenges come from a lack of parenting products specifically designed for disabled parents so we just have to wing it sometimes and hope for the best.
I wish society would acknowledge that disabled parents exist. Gimme some excellent disabled parenting representation pleeeeease. Lemme see an advert on the telly with a family and a parent in a wheelchair. Lemme see an advert in a magazine where a disabled Mum is breastfeeding her baby. Just gimme some accurate representation so a disabled parent stops being such a curiosity.
We’re here, we exist, getting things wonderfully right and screwing other things up (teenage years are a whole new ball game) We’re just as exhausted and grateful and happy and exasperated and constantly covered in some sort of toddler bodily fluid and hiding in the bedroom scoffing chocolate when the 4pm slump hits and crying that they’re growing up too fast whilst equally longing for the day when they’ve moved out and you can have loud sex again as nondisabled parents are.
That’s what my #OneMumsWish is that more people could see that disabled parents exist and we’re just as good and bad at this parenting malarkey as anyone else is. Oh and I’m absolutely not inspirational by default even if I do stress eat bin cake.
You can find out more about Nina on Instagram @nina_tame
Ahead of Mother’s Day, we’d love you to share your ‘one mum’s wish’ – it could be something life-altering or something simple, it could be funny or poignant. It’s completely up to you. We just know that it is always good to share, to celebrate how some things make us feel empathy, some less alone, and some make us laugh.
If you share your #onemumswish on instagram you will be entered into a prize draw to WIN one of THREE Bestsellers Packages with five of our most popular products.
To enter the giveaway, what you have to do is:
1. Post to your *own account* on instagram with your #onemumswish. It can be light-hearted or serious, an image or a video – the choice is yours.
2. Include the following sentence in your caption ‘I am posting my #onemumswish to enter a @dontbuyherflowers giveaway’
(if your account is private just DM us and we will request to follow you so that we can see your entry). Find out more on our Instagram.
Win a £250 Spabreaks Voucher for your someone special
We’ve teamed up with Spabreaks.com and over the next week will be randomly placing two Golden Tickets into Mother’s Day Packages which will entitle the recipient to a £250 spabreaks voucher. See here for more info.