It is such a treat to welcome Tamarah Whittaker and her epic girl gang of Taya, nine years, Stevie, six years, and Vogue, three years, to our 'porch-trait' series.
When discussing the joys and complexities of motherhood with Tamarah, those words have never felt more pertinent. Her daughter Taya has Down syndrome and Stevie is bravely battling a brain tumor; thus Tamarah's journey as a mother is exactly that – a little more complex than most, and full of insane amounts of joy.
Tamarah is kind, gentle and its obvious her love for her daughters knows no bounds. We talk about what her daughters have taught her and how lock-down has deepened her appreciation for community.
We know you’ll love this Q&A as much as we do. Thank you for sharing with us Tamarah.
Tell us about your home
We live in a 1970s (once a batch) home close to the ocean! We have taken out walls, taken up floors and completely renovated every room in the house to make it our own. We are beach people so the location of our home is everything. Summers around here are lots of fun!
What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood, the most challenging yet rewarding of roles. I have never experienced such highs and such heart aching lows before coming a mother. Motherhood means pure unconditional love. It means having fun and living for more than just yourself. Being brave when you don’t want to be and fighting for the needs of your children, when all you want is to not have to.
What have your daughters taught you?
Taya has taught me that pure love does truly exist. She is my first born so she taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. She taught to never judge a person based on their abilities. To accept and be kind, always. She has softened my heart and made me see the world in a completely different way.
Stevie has taught me to be brave. She has such a kind soft heart yet a fire inside her that never gives up. She has taught me to appreciate and be present in every moment because you never know when you will be literally fighting for those moments.
And Vogue... well she has taught me to relax and have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Dance in the rain and turn that music up LOUD!
Covid-19 has added extra complexities for your family compared to most. How has lockdown been for you and what does level 3 and 2 mean for your family?
Covid-19 has been rather scary for us, we were encouraged by specialists to start self isolation before we even went into the first level three. We have no idea how Taya especially and possibly Stevie would cope with the virus. Taya is what would be classed as ‘high risk’ so that in itself has meant we have taken all precautions to keep her safe. In saying that however lockdown has been nothing to complain about. We are safe and warm and have a lot to be thankful for. Level three is much the same for us, our bubble is not expanding. It is not worth the ‘risk’ with Taya in mind. And we will play level two by ear with the advice of our specialist team.
Has lockdown evolved your outlook? (in general or in motherhood)
Oh yes absolutely! It has taught me what we can live without and that at the end of the day we are truly ok with what we have. The girls have learnt to play together so nicely as they are literally all they have right now!
Lockdown has also taught me to check in on my friends more, to value the people I have in my life. And I have some pretty amazing people.
What was your saving grace?
Coffee. Lots of coffee.
Do you ever catch yourself mid-act doing things your own mother did – if so, what is it?!
Oooooh yes. My mother keeps a extremely clean home. It’s rather admirable really. In the past that has never been a strong point of mine, I have a pretty laidback nature but in time I am realising the meaning behind ‘cluttered house, cluttered mind’
At times I will catch myself telling the girls to ‘just tidy up after themselves’ and remember back to being the same age and my mother telling me the same. Now I get why it was important!
The greatest gift (as in attribute, lesson or value) your mother gave you
One thing I admire about my mother is she will always be there in times of need. Everyone needs that person they know they can call on and no matter what they will come. That is my mother to many people. I hope to be like that for others and especially my girls.
And the values you hope to instill in to your daughters
I hope that my daughters will accept and have time for everybody. No matter of ability, sexual orientation or race. I hope that they will know their worth in this world and never settle for less. That they will live a life true to themselves and be BOLD. I hope they never feel the need to change themselves to fit in. And very importantly, I hope they are kind. I hope they are known for what is in their hearts.
Photography: Tash and Arie Stokes of Black Robin Photography
Saben Style: Tamarah wears Saben Mackenzie Tote, designed with your lifestyle in mind. A carry-all that is perfect for the office (laptop fits) or life in general. Top handles to prop on the shoulder or a shoulder strap to wear cross-body on the go. Peppered with nano stud detailing, because that carry-all size shouldn't have to compromise on style, and it's in the details.
More from Tamarah: follow Tamarah on instagram @Tamarah.Whittaker as she shares their journey and snippets into their daily life.
Besties and business partners, Nia and Talia are the creative duo behind local womenswear brand Layplan. On the blog we chat about business, what inspires them and intentional design.