“You will often find me in my walk in wardrobe hiding and crying. I often feel hopeless and helpless, and I always feel like I’m such a bad Mum.
“It just goes hand in hand with living remotely, I think. We go for such long periods without seeing other mothers and kids. But then when we do get to town and all catch up, I realise that my kids are okay and that we are all in the same boat.”
Overcoming the isolation and making other women feel less alone is exactly why Miss Chardy started her blog. She wanted to strike up a conversation with other women in the same situation. And to talk about chardonnay (the inspiration for the blog’s name) – drinking it, spilling it, running out of it.
Living on one of the most remote cattle stations in the Northern Territory, Miss Chardy knows a thing or two about loneliness. Especially after being born and raised in Mudgee, New South Wales baptised in wine and surrounded by people.
She ended up in the Northern Territory in 2001 working as a governess. Just for a gap year. One year. That’d be it.
Sixteen years later, she’s married to a man of the land and a mother to three children. She’s well and truly part of the rural and remote tribe, but that doesn’t mean she’s not vulnerable to periods of loneliness.
“We are all going through the same things, but sometimes if feels like you’re the only one.
“We need to build more networks for women so we can all connect. It is so important.
“I know I love hearing real stories where people haven’t sugar coated things, where life isn’t perfect. I try to keep it real on my blog and I know people can really relate to that.
“It makes me realise I am not alone. Through my blog, I have been able to connect with women all over Australia and the world.”
Living in seclusion is not the only adjustment Miss Chardy has had to make. She’s also an advocate for maintaining her femininity in a male-dominated industry.
“I love to dress up and look pretty. I have always believed that just because we live in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean we have to look like a slob. Sometimes when I haven’t been to town for a while I will have a shower, dry my hair, put a nice dress on and throw a bit of make up on. It really does cheer me up.
“There is no excuse for poor grooming. Sure, we might all get dirty, sweaty and dusty, but we can do it in a pretty pink work shirt and a fancy bandana. Pearls fix anything and pink is always the right answer.”
Miss Chardy’s injection of humour is why she makes such powerful connections with people, helping them laugh through their tears as they realise they aren’t alone. In fact, they never were.
If the image of Miss Chardy drinking wine in her walk-in robe while wearing pink and pearls makes you want to meet her, you can do so at her blog www.misschardy.com or at the Barkly Women’s Day, which she coordinates annually.
Story by : Megan Stafford