About Mama Chameleon
My name is Tam (aka Mama Chameleon), originally from South Africa and living each day as it comes from a higher perspective than the day before. I'll warn you now, I adore words and language and I'm totally incapable of writing one sentence when a paragraph will provide so much more nuance and context. (That's the Virgo in me I'm afraid...) I'm also a BIG fan of parenthesis! You'll see what I mean ;)
My little family and I live in the stunning mountains of West Wales. After a long struggle to get out of the 'burbs we finally took the plunge and moved here in November 2018 to take over a little garden nursery business and live off-grid in a caravan until the day comes when we can build a home for ourselves. It's the very best, and the most challenging, thing we've ever done.
You won't see many posts on here between mid 2018 to the end of 2019 simply because well... we were SUPER busy getting to grips with living the way we do now and running our little nursery. On the cusp of our 2year anniversary I'm updating this page with a promise that I'll be sharing more about our lives living off-grid in the sticks with 3 kids and a dog!
This blog is the result of 18 years with my husband (13 years married), 15 years of parenthood, 6 homes and all the fun and games in-between.
I long ago decided that I was not content to live a mediocre life, and up until recently, had to "encourage" my husband to come along for the ride. Now we work as a team to be good parents, live healthily and sustainably (without being super-control-freaks), and also to live intentionally, so that most days count towards our ideals, values and goals for the future. We're not perfect by a long shot, but we are awake, aware and willing-and-able to do what we can to keep improving and growing.
In an attempt to harness and share the skills and knowledge I've gained over the years, I decided that it was time to stop segmenting myself into various tidy categories - it just didn't work for me; everything is so intertwined...
Can you relate?
Through a "divine download" the imagery and concept of Mama Chameleon came about. It was an idea to put "all of me" in one place, to show that it is important to integrate all aspects of the Self, and to honour each one with respect and care. It took a very intense card reading and a good shove from a great friend to get me to do it, but it really is one of the most satisfying thing I've done (and continue to do).
I really hope that my honest, forthright accounts and insights into life as I'm living and discovering it, will be of great value to you. And if you don't think so, I would love to hear why so I can make it better.
Tam x x
My back story (for those who might wanna know)...
What do you get when you cross -
A broke mom with 3 kids, no energy, a burnt-out hubby, no time-management skills, always putting others first and total confusion over how much of "herself" she should be -
And a woman who deep down knew she was meant for more, with a burning desire to make a change in the world...?
At least, me-5-years-ago...
You see, it wasn't until I started to really take some steps towards uncovering the REAL me that things started shifting in my life. As I looked back at all the lessons I'd learned, I realised that at each step I picked up a breadcrumb on a path that slowly led me forwards.
But before I starting picking up the breadcrumbs, guess what?
I stayed stuck where I was, not knowing what my next step was. I came to realise that unless I was brave enough to pick up the breadcrumbs and move towards the next one, I couldn't get anywhere in my life.
It was hard to acknowledge that I was the one causing most of my problems. That it was ME that needed to make a change, not the people around me, or the government, or society, or the weather, or the taxman... you get the idea. If there was someone or something I could point the finger at, I did.
But eventually (I'm a little slow in these things) I started to notice that each time I took up the responsibility for an area in my life, I became a little bit freer, a little happier and a little bit more confident. I started to realise that with responsibility came control over my actions, perceptions and interactions with others, and ultimately, freedom.
But all in all, I’m just another mother like you.
I’m not skinny or glamourous, or perfect in any way, and I hope it shows YOU that you never ever need to apologise for who and what you are. As the saying goes, you are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time!
I moved from South Africa to the UK when I was 16; a massive, irrevocable change that altered the course of my life completely. I hated it here, and I thought my life was ending. But I met my gorgeous, amazing, wonderful husband within a year of being here, so I know now it was exactly what was meant to be ;)
By the time I was 25, we had gotten married, had three children, suffered through the worst of my postnatal depression and somehow come out the other end more or less ok. We were completely broke, and I was still not happy living in the UK. But as my children started going to school and I started learning about natural health and herbal medicine, I began to gain a new respect for the English countryside. It was a small but significant shift for me.
In connecting with the land around me I began to shift my focus away from leaving, to how I could grow my relationship with the place that was home to the family I’d created with my husband.
By the age of 27 I had begun to really feel like I’d finally defeated my demons.
I’d ditched depression completely and naturally, overcome my resistance to being in the UK, written a whole novel (I am not talking about that here, but I’m still proud of the accomplishment!), and I’d learned that I could heal my family with the power of the natural world (and the internet).
Just when I began to feel a real sense of security and gratitude for the
journey I’d travelled so far, I got devastating news.
In November of 2013 my mother told me that she had cancer
everywhere, even her brain and they’d given her 6 months to
live. She only survived 3. Besides my husband, she was the
only other person I had then who knew the real me and
understood me, and it felt like I was losing half of myself.
She wasn’t just my Mom, she was my best friend, my
confidante, my adviser and my partner in numerous crazy
During this really stressful phase of my life I was also suffering the very worst flare up of my autoimmune conditions, which I didn’t even know I had until just after she passed away. So while I was dealing with the grief, I was also following a very strict diet to combat my autoimmunity.
(Side Note: I gained certification as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner soon after that. But as my focus has shifted over time to the struggles I’ve dealt with in EVERY area of my life, I recently chose not to recertify in order to continue in that direction. I now call myself a Women’s Empowerment Coach because that is what I actually do a lot more of than I ever did health coaching.)
At the same time we were embarking on the process of buying our first house with the money I’d received from my mother’s life insurance. We had terrible financial status and even with a large deposit to put down we could barely afford a two bedroom townhouse in the roughest neck of our woods. With three kids in one bedroom it was a nightmare thirteen months living there!
Our marriage suffered a lot during that time as well, as my identity came crashing down around me, and things came up that just never had before. I reached a point where I really wasn’t sure we’d make it out the other end. I just didn’t know who I really was, or how to relate to people anymore, not even my husband.
We ALSO had to take our children out of school again at that time because they were so desperately unhappy. We had tried so hard to work with the school but not only were the staff extremely unhelpful and unwilling to adhere to their own rules, the whole school system just seemed totally backwards to us. We really ended up with no choice but to take them out and try to make it work.
It’s not a time I look back on fondly, needless to say!
Although it seemed my entire life was just being destroyed around me, it actually was a process of destruction before a remodelling.
We refitted the kitchen in that little house and it provided a literal metaphor for what was going on in our lives. As some things crumbled away, never to return, they made space for new ways of being, for growth and development in areas of my life that hadn’t had much attention before, most notably in my seeking of spirituality and the development of my entrepreneurial skills and financial savvy.
With my mother’s absence I began to realise that I’d never really stood on my own two feet before and never made a decision of my own. I always did what she recommended even if it was not what I wanted.
I was faced with a steep learning curve. The first few decisions I made were difficult decisions, like which house to buy, and how to save my marriage, and taking my children out of school. But although they were difficult, they gave me a great opportunity to learn to trust in my own abilities and step into my personal Power.
And when I began to trust myself and my own Inner Guidance, that’s when I saw some of the most amazing personal growth I’ve ever experienced.
This major life-altering time forced me to step up into my power, acknowledge my worthiness and seek out the things that would help me improve MYSELF, rather than trying to fix the people and situations around me. I unearthed my personal Power a little more everyday, and I began to recognize and use it.
Through all this and much more besides, I realised something very important. When I take care of myself better (ALL the aspects of my Self), I am a better mother to my kids, wife to my husband and friend and family member to the people in my circle.
And if I can do it my lovely, you can do it too. Cross my heart :)
So, here you will find plenty of insights and resources into everything I found helpful in life, and I hope you'll chip in with your comments that could help someone else too.
You WON'T find: fancy photos (I just take 'em as I go, and even use a fair number of stock photos so I can focus on the content), pop-up's to get you to subscribe all over the place, or unnecessary emails in your inbox.
This blog is a labour of love and devotion, not a job. I don't earn a living from it (at least, not yet) and I only work on it when I feel called to. So, if you don't see an email from me in several weeks, it's not because I don't love you anymore, I just don't have anything really valuable to share at the time. Why clutter up in your inbox unnecessarily?
Now it's your turn... If there is something you want help with, to know more about or even just to ask a question, feel free to get in touch. Your questions inspire blog posts that could help others in your situation, so remember, the only stupid question is the one you didn't ask ;)
My Mom and little girl, South Africa, 2011
Drop me a line!