Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s emotional speech about his mum started an outpouring of love for mums everywhere this week. Upset by a tabloid report that claimed he didn’t share the full story of the legal career that his mum Ann Shorten began in her fifties, Shorten set the record straight. He explained the huge sacrifice she made to delay her career dream to raise their family.
Bill Shorten and his mother, Ann, pictured in Mr Shorten's AWU days. Photo: John Donegan
Hundreds of Australians took to the internet with #MyMum this week to do something really awesome - celebrate their mums and what they have overcome. It’s some bloody lovely stuff. And some really sad stories that explore what Australian mums have been up against just to survive, let alone be responsible for a family of humans. That whole thing: “Everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind” rings especially true here. And sounds a lot like mum-style wisdom.
Mother’s Day can be hard for anyone, like Shorten, that has lost their mother. It is an important reminder to let your mum know how much you appreciate her. For everyone who’s mum is no longer with them, to remember the best times and be grateful. To hug everyone you love. Being grateful and connecting with them will always make you feel way better.
Check out a few of our favourite #MyMum stories below.
Ming Johanson, an Australian RUOK? Ambassador and digital strategist took on her mum’s strength in her own work.
#MyMum is the strongest person I know who has not only was stripped of her identity but endured weaponised racism to keep her prisoner in a violent environment by an evil human.— Ming Johanson》Mother of 🦄 (@MingJohanson) 9 May 2019
She has stood by cheering me on as I speak for the invisible victims of abuse & mental health. pic.twitter.com/Znx3q9QXUt
Rugby league player Joe Williams credits his mother with kickstarting his sports career by backing him, hard. It is clear this bloke (who has spoken really openly about his own battles with depression) learned a lot about courage from his mum.
#MyMum many trips down the Hume Hwy to syd to chase my dream, countless times with little to no food on her plate so we could eat, endless sacrifices so us kids never went without. Forever indebted, forever grateful - I love my mum 🖤 @IndigenousX pic.twitter.com/RuvKjV0c06— Joe Williams - TEW (@joewilliams_tew) 8 May 2019
Hundreds of people shared stories like this about their mums. It is a huge reminder how lucky we are to be young people right now. Yeah, things are still a struggle. But seeing what mums have been through in the past can make you get all teary. What a bunch of legends.
#MyMum one of the bravest woman I’ve known, widowed at 39, chronically ill, physically unable to work, endured extreme pain, blind, raised 3 girls to their teens, passed into peace at age 47. Miss her everyday of my life since. Her Legacy was love, laughter, strength & wisdom.— 💧Jan Milne (@janmlne) 9 May 2019
#MyMum fled domestic violence with 6 children she was forced to have.We travelled 1500 kms to start again. She fed/clothed us & was never cruel. She walked 8kms to work & home for 2 years until she could afford a car.— 💧Tim Jones (@Forthleft2) 8 May 2019
She’s never had the life she wanted & she’s never complained.
#MyMum gave birth to 5boys then developed breast cancer. Dr told her there was no hope. Mum said she looked him in the eye and said: “I am NOT leaving my boys to grow up without me”. She beat it and her boys were her life. She is 95 and has dementia. My hero.— Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) 8 May 2019
#MyMum was a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force. When she married she had to resign. She had four sons and had to break with the Catholic Church to avoid having more. She went to university in her 40s and finishing up running a social welfare agency. Still fierce and bright. pic.twitter.com/Lfcy5xgTWz— Hugh Riminton (@hughriminton) 8 May 2019
Your mum can be the first person you call when you’re in trouble. She’s often the centre of your support system, what you fall back on when you feel shaky. There’s nothing like that strong tree trunk to lean on. Your “mum” can take many forms. It can be your dad, it can be your best mate. Your aunty. That person you know you can tell anything to. Your big sister. A really cool teacher. You could have two mums, a stepmum, or just a woman you look up to. Having that person, and calling them, and BEING them can literally save a life. It made us realise how important it is to thank our mums, and the humans that always have your back, this Mother’s Day. And every day.
What can I do now?
- Watch Andrew's story about his chosen family.
- Read about the benefits of practising gratitude.
- Check out some more of the stories being shared with the #MyMum hashtag on Twitter.