Most inspiring mum found on the Sunshine Coast
A SUNSHINE Coast mother of seven has been nationally recognised for the integral role she plays in her children's life.
"I just do what I do. As far as I'm concerned I just do what every other mother does - give your life to your kids because that's what mums do,” Tracey Chambers said.
Adored by her children and completely "shocked”, the 51-year-old was announced as the Barnardos Mother of the Year Queensland 2019.
"There was definite shock and I felt incredibly honoured and a little unworthy, because I didn't think I did anything different to other mums,” she said.
"I guess I can see it as winning this on behalf of all the other mums going through the grind of the day to day needs of a disabled child and the mums who stayed up all night waiting for their depressed child to come home.
"There are a lot of others who have the same issues, sorrows and joys and I'm accepting this on behalf of all of those mums.”
Nothing fazes Mrs Chambers, who has been a rock for her children - aged from nine to 29 - who have battled with a range of issues from mental illness and depression to a complex medical condition.
Her youngest daughter was born severely disabled as a result of a rare chromosomal disorder.
Despite the grim prognosis, Mrs Chambers threw herself into learning how to give her daughter the best chance in life, mastering sign language, braille and the practical skills required to care for her at home.
"It definitely shakes the roof and sometimes feels like you're going through quicksand,” she said.
"But I'm blessed to have my Christian faith, which has helped us get through these times.”
The award nomination was sent by her 24-year-old daughter, Hannah, who said she just wanted to encourage her mum.
"She is a devoted mum and is always putting everyone else first,” she said.
"Being a full-time mother and carer and supporting so many people, you look after everyone but no one really thinks of you.
"I wanted it to be a real reminder to her that we do think of her and we do appreciate her. That was my goal.”
When Mrs Chambers read her daughter's words, she said tears began to flow and she felt blessed to be their mum.
"I was so moved, it was beautiful,” she said.
"The best thing about being a mum is watching them reaching their potential, watching them reaching new things and pushing their limits.
"To think that I've played a part in them reaching these goals is rewarding.”
Now a pillar of the community, Mrs Chambers supports other parents who need help and guidance when supporting their own children with disabilities and mental health issues.
"Keep going - some days you want to bury your head and don't want to keep doing it, but you can, you can always keep going,” she said.
"Ride through the challenges. Even when something seems really hard you can make something beautiful out of it.”
Mrs Chambers will join the other state and territory winners for the Barnardos Mother of the Year National announcement held in Sydney ahead of Mother's Day on May 9.
(This article first appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily.)