MAZ Shirmer (pictured) lived in a life-and-death situation for many years. She was physically abused by her ex-husband and father of her children to the point she and the children had to be relocated.
"The police removed most of his guns, but I knew he had hidden another shotgun somewhere, so it was a fearful time in my life," Maz told The Echo.
It was then she knew it was time to make a change, and despite the odds that women who are abused face, she broke free, got a new career and wrote a book about her journey (The Maz Factor).
Maz has been living in the Northern Rivers for the past six years and is now trying to help women break out of their own bad situations.
"I was on a constant search for male love because my father didn't want me. I attracted men that didn't honour me, and it took a long time to find the power to not settle for that, to claim my power and confidence," Maz said.
She said the main motivator to get out of the situation she was in was, of course, her children. She didn't want to leave them motherless and knew she had to get her life together.
"I studied anything motivational or positive, including neuro-linguistic programming, and from there I wrote a book which is half a story about my own journey and half a handbook that helps other women going through something similar," Maz said. "Sometimes the people that need the help the most don't realise they do, which is why I didn't want to do a regular self-help book."
Her focus is on mothers and how they can mould their children, and how to create an environment that will allow you to bring up well-adjusted kids. This is why she has women's retreats as well as seminars to help women deal with the everyday stress that can come with raising children.
Now Maz has six grandchildren from her four kids and she said she was lucky they let her tell their stories through her book as well, because they simply want other people to be able to empower themselves to break free, let go and teach their children that a violent situation isn't the norm.
There are two seminars being held locally, one in Lismore and another and Evans Head. Maz says it's not just "if I can do it, you can too", but is for all women who are interested in learning about enjoying the journey of motherhood and not letting stress affect them or their children. Local woman Angela Mathew from the charity Team Ashton will be presenting at the seminars as well, about her busy lifestyle caring for three children, including a disabled son, and still being balanced.
"Angela is a fantastic example of how someone can have a balanced life, doesn't give up her own identity because she is a busy mother," Maz said. "She has implemented really fantastic tools that can empower mothers to have less stress."
The Mothership seminars are being held on August 16 in Evans Head and August 18 in Lismore (at the Lismore Gateway Motel). Visit theempowermentofwomen.com.au/events.