Raising a village
LOOKING after seven children is no mean feat but Wanguri mum Melissa Lay insists she is nothing special.
Ms Lay has been named as the Barnardos Most Inspirational Mum, as she cares for her five biological children aged between 11 and 18 and two foster children aged one and two. But the humble mum said she just enjoyed the highs and lows of motherhood rather than doing anything special.
"I love them, I enjoy them, they can be challenging but they're also a lot of fun," Ms Lay said.
"It's watching them grow, learning, enjoying things, being happy and that's what makes it easy." It is not just her own children she looks out for. She performed CPR on a drowned toddler to save his life in 2017.
"I actually took my children down and husband down just to look at the ducks and went down to walk around, it was Good Friday and I saw something In the water," she said.
"I noticed it was a small child and I just went in, pulled him out and started resuscitating him.
"It wasn't something I was expecting but for me, one of the things close to my heart is making people realise everyday people have the power to save lives just by knowing CPR . as I found out you never know when you could need it." After the incident, Ms Lay lobbied the Palmerston Council to improve safety around the playground near the lake.
The award acknowledges mothers who nurture and keep their children safe and help them realise their potential in shaping the future of Australia.
Ms Lay said it was about enjoying the journey: "Love your kids, enjoy your kids, they grow up really fast," she said.
"They're so much fun and even when it's hard you try and look at the positives in everything." Ms Lay was nominated by Territory Treasurer and recent mum for the second time Nicole Manison, who said mothers like Ms Lay helped make the Territory such a welcome and homely place.
"Melissa is an amazing lady who is always putting children first," Ms Manison said. "She is a wonderful mother who truly captures the spirit of the Barnardos Mother of the Year."
(This story first appeared in the Northern Territory News).