‘Plain Jane’ finds herself before helping others
PUTTING others first is all Carrey Nicholl has known for the past 14 years.
Just like many mums before her, Ms Nicholl's number one priority was caring for her kids.
Yet now that her children have become more independent, she feels like something is missing.
"I felt like I lost my purpose and I wanted to do something productive," she said.
The Sunshine Coast woman will now start the journey of finding herself again with the help of a few plain Janes in the same boat.
Ms Nicholl has started a women's only group, Plain Janes, for ladies looking to reconnect and support each other through life.
She said many women had trouble making close friends after leaving high school.
"A lot of parents go down early and chat to the mums after school, but I found that quite difficult," she said.
"You couldn't really be 100 per cent honest about what's happening in your life and at home, because you didn't really want that to affect the friendships of your children at school."
However, Ms Nicholl said her new group would allow the members to be completely open about their feelings.
"What's really important about this group is that there's no judgment," she said.
"I want the women to feel they can completely be themselves.
"Being able to openly share your opinions and obtain that real advice we're all looking for, not the glamorous advice some people give you, but from people who have been there and done that, is so important."
Ms Nicholl said a lot of women, particularly mothers, "almost forget" how to tap into their own feelings.
"As much as women can talk about our feelings or emotions, we're constantly adjusting what we say because we don't want to hurt the people we're around," she said.
"Women are always the carers, we're always putting others above ourselves.
"So to have a group like this where you can just be yourself is great."
Although Ms Nicholl had thought about establishing the concept for some time, a comment on social media was the catalyst for the group.
She drew inspiration from Average Joe's Wayne Taylor, who has been running his men's group, focusing on mental health, for more than a year.
When Ms Nicholl reached out to Mr Taylor through Facebook, he was surprised by how perfectly their visions aligned.
"We've been approached by many women asking if we could start up a women's group," he said.
"But I always said that if we were to start it, my idea was to call it Plain Janes.
"Then when she reached out, she said she had the same name, and it was crazy … so many things gelled together so quickly and organically, so it worked really well."
Although the two groups will run separately, Mr Taylor said the pair would work together when appropriate to reach the same goal of inclusion.
"We will do whatever we can to ride alongside each other and what we can to support the community," he said.
"We're two different groups that see the benefit in doing the same thing, because it works. It's so unique and so different to other groups, and we really see it working."
The Plain Janes group will run weekly, either on a Monday morning at Castello Cafe Bar, or Monday nights at The Creek Tavern.
Head to the Facebook page for more.