Brisbane mum RJ Miles on marriage, parenthood and defying the doubters

brisbane mum rj miles

One of the great delights of editing an LGBTIQ magazine is exposure to many of the wonderful and varied voices that comprise our communities. Regular QN Magazine contributor RJ Miles (pictured) — lesbian, wife, mother, author and educator — is one of those voices.

What drove your passion for teaching?

In 2009, I was 19 and at a loose end, bouncing from job to job, cobbling together a living as I figured out what to pursue at university.

I took a job as a teacher aide in a special school with children who had very complex needs. I loved it and knew if I took on education, I could build on it with postgraduate study.

I’m currently doing that at a snail’s pace. My student card doesn’t specify how “part time” I actually am so the discounted Spotify, coffee, and theme park tickets totally justify the semester fees.

In 2018, I trained through Education Queensland as an LGBTIQ+ rainbow liaison officer. I train teaching staff on working inclusively with diverse colleagues.

I discuss terminology, lived experiences, and how to be an effective ally. I’m glad to say the training is well-received and people feel more enabled to support their colleagues. It is an excellent program, very much in its infancy.

What’s it like as one of the first generation of legally sanctioned same-sex spouses?

It’s really amazing. I look back and see how far society has come. In my last year of high school, there was limited policy to protect LGBTIQ+ individuals.

A senior school teacher asked me if I really wanted to be gay and sacrifice the chance of a “normal” life — marriage, kids… I told her straight out “straight” was not an option.

I often think of her comment when I look at my wedding photos and my baby. Our family lives our normal. It’s great and the best is yet to come.

Do people take your relationship more seriously since the introduction of same-sex marriage?

Some people will never take our relationship seriously. I’ve left jobs over that. I refuse to give them the time of day. Bye, Felicia!

What’s it really like being a mother?

I love being a mum. Fortunately, I have been gifted with the most placid baby.

Soren could sleep through World War 3 and barely cries. The best part is watching him grow and develop. He smiles now, which means we can interact and bond with one another.

The biggest challenge was recovering from an unanticipated emergency caesarean birth. For the first 6 weeks, I couldn’t drive, and was frustrated that I struggled to lift him as my abdomen healed.

I was also not allowed to exercise, which was hard on my mind. I live for running and being denied that hurt.

Then there’s the unsolicited parenting advice from people with different parenting styles.

Why don’t you just formula feed him? Why doesn’t he use a dummy? Why would you need anything else in your life beside being a stay-at-home parent?

Why study and write during his nap-times? Just put your feet up and watch some tele.

Give it a break, people. Our life works for us, but the judgment is a pain in the arse. (And there’s nothing worth watching on tele – I’ve checked.)

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