Kate Jones and Mandy Hose have experienced the highs and lows of parenting – and they wouldn’t change a thing.
The pair met a decade ago and bonded over their premature twins with additional needs and their remarkable capacity for love, laughter and swearing like a trooper. As the mothers grew closer, however, they confided that they felt ‘on-the-floor lonely’ sometimes because nobody was talking about what it was like for families like theirs. It was time to give their community a voice.
So began the Too Peas in a Podcast, a weekly conversation in which they discuss the surprises, the challenges and the joys of parenting twins with additional needs. Now, Kate and Mandy are sharing their story on the page, delving deeper into the issues they care about and offering reassurance for those navigating a child’s disability. They write candidly about what it’s like to receive the initial diagnosis, how they perceive their children’s lives have been impacted by their additional needs, how their own lives have changed, and those of their family and friends. Above all they convey their immense love for their children and the happiness they have brought into their lives.
We chat with Kate and Mandy about their new book and the importance of finding your tribe.
Tell us about your new book and what parents can expect to find in The Invisible Life of Us
Our new book is a literal labour of love, I mean not like actual labour…no one offered us drugs or ice to sip on, or even told us to breathe deeply but apart from that, very similar. Also unlike our amazing twins who arrived early, this book was delivered on its due date. If you read our book, you will learn about love, acceptance, pooey nappies and diversity. All the best things really. This is a book about friendship, nachos on a bin and diverse mothering. It is not a parenting book, but it is a book about parents.
Why did you decide to write the book and how do you hope sharing your stories will help others parenting kids with additional needs?
We wrote this book, because we knew the world needed it (a bit up ourselves we know), we wanted to talk about premmie births, friendships that lift you up over the ditch, and how amazing kids with disabilities and additional needs are. We wanted people and parents to know you are not alone, we all have different stories but they are great stories and so worth telling.
Have you found telling the story of neurodiverse families through the book and through your podcast has created a community of inclusion for other parents?
This book and podcast has created the kindest, most accepting non judgemental community on the planet. If the world had more peas, it would be an extraordinary place. We all have a place, everyone is welcome in the pea tribe. We all belong, it is outstanding, well maybe “instanding” all in!!!
Tell us about the importance of finding your tribe, particularly for those with neurodiverse families.
You just need one friend, one person who is on the parenting path less travelled, Mandy and I have that, it has changed our lives and the flow-on effect changed the lives of thousands of other people. If you have a child with an additional need or disability, you need a buddy that gets you and doesn’t judge. We need a group of parents and women to carry us through the bad days and we in turn will carry them through their bad days. It’s like that old saying “it takes a village” well turns out it actually takes a packet of peas!
The Invisible Life of Us, published by Penguin
You can listen to their podcast on Apple Or Spotify: