Failing and having to apologise is not a weakness, it’s inevitable and you’re showing your children than the world doesn’t end when you get it wrong, you get up, do your best to make amends, and move on.”
Name: Whitney Barber
Kids (name + ages): Luella, 3 + Emily, 1
Tell me about you! What’s your background?
I’m Whitney Barber. I am a deaf mama to Luella Eve and Emily Willow. We live in the sunny state of Queensland and we love it very dearly. My background has history of photography, beauty and as well as working with the deaf community. After having my babies, I got so drawn in to capturing my time as a mother and I’m so lucky that I have worked with some small local businesses along the way. It’s a dream to work from home with my little partners in life.
You run a very successful blog called The Wife Life. Why did you start the blog and how did it grow?
I originally started my blogging on Tumblr years ago to stay in touch with my family as I moved to South Australia for a couple of years.. Way before Luella was born. Once I shared my journey as a mama to be online and on Instagram, it took off. I was getting readers, followers from all around the globe that were expecting too. It was so much fun to meet others that were going through pregnancy for the very first time as well. I didn’t feel so alone in becoming a mother for the first time. It was heart warming!
We connected on Instagram and I know you’ve established other really strong friendships and relationships through social media. Can you tell me a little bit about making friends on the internet and how Instagram has helped you on your motherhood journey?
I have met some amazing people on social media and call them my great friends today. Instagram really brings the mothers together as a community. Motherhood can very isolating. We lose some of our friends and gain new friends. Mother friends really know what you’re talking about. They know you have snot in your hair and they really don’t care. They laugh with you, not at you. They cry with you and most importantly they understand how shit some days can be. On Instagram, we share all the things motherhood brings us. And it’s god damn wonderful!!
I am a hopeless romantic – can you tell me a bit about the girls father and how you met?
Ha ha! Oh it feels like a life time ago. Leigh is a great dad and the girls are MESMERISED by him. I met Leigh when I was 17, at his best friend’s house party. It was one of those kind of “house parties” you would see on a teenager college movie. There was something going on in every room of the house! Lol. He approached to me and introduced himself, I kinda shat myself and said “I’m deaf” (like don’t talk to me, I’m not cool enough 🙈). Moments later, we’re doing a great pash down the hallway! 😂🤘🏼
What’s a day/week in your family like? Do you have any tips that help things run smoothly for you?
Oh! Well my first tip would have to be putting the girls into the bath and quickly pour a good drink and cook dinner in peace. And trust me, forget the dishes and the messy lounge room til their asleep. If I had a dollar for every time someone said they think I have OCD, I’d have 1,786 dollars! Every day is always different, chaotic and often never goes to plan 🙈 but I do also find that when the girls are asleep, I sort the girls outfits and food for the next day, makes the next morning, getting ready and going out so much easier.
Some people might not know this, but you are profoundly deaf. Are you able to tell me a little bit about your journey and what this means for you?
I was 18months old when my parents learnt that I was profoundly deaf. They were pretty shaken but there on, they helped me with amazing support and gave me access to hearing aids and sign language. I also went to speech therapy as a young girl and I am very fortunate that I am able to speak. I took the risk and under went for the Cochlear Implant when I was 20. A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear to provide sound signals to the brain. Unfortunately, it was too overpowering and I couldn’t bare the sounds as I hoped I would. I plan to take the journey once again in a few months time and look forward to sharing my experience on social media.
You recently told a story about when you were in high school and as part of a school assignment the class was asked to take home a robot baby to care for. Your teacher wouldn’t let you because she thought you wouldn’t be able to hear the baby cry, but you begged her to let you try because you told her you wanted to have a baby one day. When Lulu came into your life you speak about how she made you feel so capable as a person and you knew you could do anything. How do you think your experiences have shaped you not only as a person but as a mother as well?
During high school I had some amazing access to interpreters so I was able to sit in a classroom with everyone else and felt “normal”. It was when I finished grade 12 and began to job search, it really made me realised how much support I was relying on. I had to face the hearing world without my lovely interpreters and educate new people I had around me that I was deaf and the support I may have needed. It was an overwhelming experience but soon enough I realised that people are lovely, understanding and will help in whatever way they can. Being in the work force and being a mother made me open my eyes that we all struggle from something that may be little or permanently in our daily lives. We only get to live this beautiful life once so we need to keep going. My ears may not work like others and limit me from some things but like I’m going to let that stop me!
Motherhood is a full time job and it’s often easy to forget to take time for you. How do you take care of yourself amongst the busy demands of daily life?
I have the girls go to Day Care twice a week, so on those days I make sure I do something for myself whether that’s a chick flick at the movies or a pedicure. I also usually wait til my girls are asleep to have a nice long warm shower and pamper however long I want to. To shampoo, do a facial scrub and shave! (The luxury we once took advantage of).
You have such an amazing interior style – what are your top tips for creating warm, welcoming and family friendly spaces?
Oh thank you Amy! First one would have to be white walls. Let’s face it. We’re always trying to do everything within our power to make our homes look and feel bigger. One of the best ways to do this is to brighten up your surroundings. Having a crisp white paint on your walls will no doubt make a room appear to be much larger than it is. The light that you introduce just bounces off of the walls and makes for a more inviting space.
What makes our home uniquely our own home are the things we have in it. Showcase your personal possessions to reveal your personality, adventures, and achievements. Mix your accessories with new and old. We all have a past, present and a future and these are all a part of our personal histories 💫
If you could go back in time to before you were pregnant, what is the once piece of advice about motherhood that you would tell yourself?
That failing and having to apologise is not a weakness, it’s inevitable and you’re showing your children than the world doesn’t end when you get it wrong, you get up, do your best to make amends, and move on. Just as you shouldn’t judge and critise others on a parenting journey, try not to automatically assume that everyone else is negatively assessing you. Smile, nod, subscribe the best intentions to that annoying, intrusive, advice and move on 💕
What has been your biggest parenting fail and what did you learn from it?
I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was my “biggest”, I’ve failed at a lot of things and I still do to this day but that what makes you a mother. There are days when you are put on the spot with your children and you have no idea what to do but you try anyway. And then there’s other days where you rock motherhood like no other.
If you could fly anywhere and do anything in the world for 24 hours, where would you go and who would you take with you?
I would probably fly into the heart of Whistler Village in Canada. By myself (sorry kids!). Grab one their greasy chicken bacon burgers and a crispy cold drink and take in all the pretty mountains and fresh air.
What are a couple of your favourite brands and shopping websites?
I am absolutely loving Frankie and Co and Decjuba right now!
And finally, who should we follow on Instagram – tell us what accounts inspire you and why?
@thegraygang and &Tiffnasmaste they capture the best photos and their words are so inspiringly raw and true. They both always remind me to stop and appreciate what’s around me 🌿