May 02, 2014

heart to heart: kate ulman

We feel so incredibly fortunate to share this heart to heart with you all today…meet Kate Ulman - Kate is passionate about about life in a wholehearted way; she expresses this through her words regularly at her blog space Foxes Lane.  Kate's ability to find comfort in honesty, allows what she reveals here about her experience as a mother and women, to be both profound and insightful. She talks about the grief associated with change, finding her ‘wings’ and facing your vulnerabilities.  We hope you enjoy this authentic insight into her heart that she and Tam shared.

Kate Ulman
mother, maker, organic farmer  |

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Tamara Erbacher: I'm okay about now if you are… I just need to make a cup of tea:)

Kate Ulman: Ahhh, I can do it in 10. 1ish if that still suits you?

Tamara Erbacher: That's fine… I have no excuse not to be hanging the clothes on the line then...

Kate Ulman: Ok, I'm all set to go when you are.

Tamara Erbacher: I'm so glad we are doing this!!

Kate Ulman: Me too! Do you get to decide who you want to interview or is it a committee thing? 

We all make suggestions… but a 'mother' is a 'mother' so there are no boundaries… it is nice to chat with someone with whom there has been a little connection to begin with… mine with you goes back years, to the my crafting blog days… so I am excited to chat with you:) So… How old are your girls now? And what are their names?

Ok, my girls are Indigo (Indi) 13, Jarrah (Jazzy) 10 and Pepper 6. This is going to be so hard because I want to ask you all the same questions back.

Ha! I can tell you: Joshua 16, Jack 15, Benjamin 13, Oliver 11 & Elijah 4:) Love your girls names! What's 'farmer boy's' name? I love how you call him that:)

Hah! He's Brendon, Bren. I did a radio interview recently and the DJ asked me if he was Swedish. She thought I said Sven. So cute.

So cute... “Mother of three girlies, wife of one farmer boy, organic farmer, maker, baker, crocheter, knitter, stitcher...” That’s is how you describe the things that you ‘do’ and essentially what you write about on your blog. Who IS Kate though... how would you describe YOU? I should add… 'book author' needs to be included in that long doing word list!

Oh gosh, that's BIG! And I have no idea how to answer. I think I am someone who loves big, is terribly disorganised and would rather be making something than doing almost anything else. Does that answer the question? Hmmm I feel like this is something that I need to go off and think about for the rest of the day and get back to you...

I love that… and I think it would be great if you did! Sometimes I think we get so lost in all the 'doing' particularly in the role of mothering that we can lose sight of ourselves… we become so used to being defined by our role in a way… what do you think?

Yes! Totally. As soon as I pressed send I thought of another answer that really is all about that…I think I am someone who is slowly emerging from the cocoon of mothering littles. I feel like I am just this year starting to stretch out my Kate wings and work out where I want to fly.

Is that a comfortable space to be in?

At the start I felt a bit panicked by the enormity of possibility, and my lack of direction. But lately it has been feeling more comfortable and even a bit exciting.

Exciting… perfect… exciting can be scary too, but I think that's normal don't' you? Motherhood also requires us to 'cocoon' ourselves as you so beautifully put it… we create the nest that we become confined too, but our role changes as our children grow… and I guess, so do we. Did that just make sense? Change is a natural progression of motherhood... we are not always fully prepared for how that feels.

Absolutely. It all makes sense and feels so true. Change always makes me emotional too, even though I know from experience that change and moving to the next phase with children is mostly great, I always have to cry a little a mourn the old before I can move on to the new.

I think you are right… grief plays a huge role in change… Your words make me think of a recent post from your blog where you write: “I would fail at what my mum always says is the Mother's most important job - to stay alive.” I read these words and found them incredibly powerful, heart-wrenching; from an outsiders point of view those words seem like an incredibly unfair pressure to put on yourself... I am curious as to why you feel you would have failed as a Mother?

At the time I though those awful thoughts I had just found a sizable lump in my left breast and was thinking the worst; I had cancer and I was going to die and leave my girls motherless. The truth is that in life, having those words at the back of my mind often gives me confidence when I am not feeling like the best Mum. They let me know that just being there and loving them is the most important thing. It takes the focus off what I feel like I am doing wrong.

I have read your journey through that experience… your insight into how you felt was incredibly honest. It is so wonderful that you are able to let yourself know what makes you are a wonderful mum. In an email we recently received these words were shared: “...Letting our vulnerabilities down: [is] something so fear-inducing and difficult for so many of us, yet freeing...” I would be interested to hear, as a mother who has blogged for many years, what part do you think ‘blogger mums’ have played in creating the ‘fear’ she speaks of... either by sharing too much - portraying motherhood as something negative or by sharing too little - this time masking the difficulties and therefore creating an idealistic space that is unachievable?

It's interesting isn't it. I feel like there are so many blogs out there written by mothers that we have the luxury of choice over what we read. I know the blogs I read change often depending on what I am going through and can relate to or needing to escape to. I feel like there are mother bloggers who make it all look designer and glossy and there are mother bloggers who document every pain in the bum thing that happens to them because of their children and there are loads in between. Facing and living with your vulnerabilities is freeing and so empowering online and off. Ugh, what a jumbled up answer.

Your answer is perfect. Seriously.

Personally my aim is to make my blog as authentic as possible. It's my truth. Thank you.

And it reads that way:)

The more honest I am, the more I like my blog and love the responses I get. What are you doing while you are waiting for me to type?

Honesty isn't always pretty though, so I guess thats what makes it hard sometimes. Ahhh... I'm ironing!

Hah! Authenticity hey. Yeah, for me there is only truth so it isn't a question. Online and off. Honesty is definitely not always pretty but it's real and most of us can relate to it more.

I have one final question for you... I was really curious to know if there was any of your own wisdom that you have discovered on your motherhood journey that you would like to share?

My motherhood wisdom is a work in progress but something that is working so well for us at the moment is walking. There's something about fresh air, one on one time and blood circulating through the body that makes opening up and discussion and empathy easier. My teenager can come home in the grumpiest mood, and often it takes 20 minutes for her to relax into it , but then something changes and the stories flow and we have all these wonderful discussions. By the time we get home we are different people. I feel like it's really working for us at the moment. With my littler two it's the same but not as long. If they have had my attention and we've been out of the home walking, then things seem to work much better for us all.

It's an ever evolving experience and we are all treading in unchartered territory... All doing the best we can... You have been such a beautiful guest Kate. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Xx

Making it up as we go along. Thank you so much for having me. Let's do it in real life one day. xx

I would love that!! Let's make that happen:) x

Most definitely. Let's make a date after the holidays. xx

All images courtesy of Kate Ulman