Story of Mum

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the Story of Mum blog tour and exhibition.

As mothers, it’s not often that we feel seen, heard and valued. Yet our everyday stories matter, and sharing them can inspire others. Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves is a touring programme of exhibitions and events in galleries and online that aims to put mothers in the spotlight.

The exhibition celebrates motherhood, explores the impact of mothering on our identities, and encourages mums worldwide to share their stories in words, photos, collage and film.

Find out more at www.storyofmum.com/exhibition

Parallel to the real life events, a virtual exhibition is travelling round the world, stopping for mini exhibitions on blogs – like this one!

Participants are asked to choose one item from the existing exhibition, create one item to add to the exhibition, and share their thoughts on these and their identity in motherhood.

And so here’s my choice, my creation and my thoughts…

I CURATED THIS:

daughter

There are so many ‘I’m a Mum and..’ images in the exhibition, and I could identify with many of them. The reason that I’ve chosen this one, is that it reflects how much my relationship with my own mum means to me, and the deeper appreciation for all that she has done for me (and still does) that I’ve gained since becoming a mother myself. Until that moment, when I had my own child to fiercely protect, nurture and love, I hadn’t realised what it felt like to be my mum. Now that I have my own children, I better understand how selflessly and tirelessly she has worked for us, bringing my brother and I up, and continuing to look out for us. Even though I’m a mum to two now, and my mum absolutely adores them, she still looks out for me first and foremost. If I’m running around after them, she’ll remind me to eat or take a few minutes for myself, as I know to her, I’m still her little girl. As I’m at home now with the children, and my mum has recently retired, we get to spend a little more time with each other, which just continues to remind me that I’m a daughter, and that it is such a precious relationship and a key part of who I am.

I CREATED THIS:

My paper chain Identity Parade

identity parade

Since becoming a mum, my identity has taken something of a blow and a big change. When my 3 year old was just 10 months old, I made the huge decision to become a SAHM. Until motherhood, I feel that my work and my career defined me. They were what got me up each day, I was successful at work and so felt proud, important, of value. I also earned a good salary, and until this momentous day, had been the main breadwinner in our relationship, from day one of moving in together. Suddenly, my ‘status’ shifted, and all but disappeared. I was Boo’s mum, and that was kind of it. I did start my business up, as I knew I needed an income, and needed something like this to be mine. Though that was all new to me, it felt the most familiar part of this new life, as it was still me with my work hat on. I’ve since become..

Cook
I rarely cooked when I worked full time. I worked long hours, and my husband would have my dinner ready for me when I got home. It was usually some freezer delight! We now eat more healthily, I’m enjoying cooking for my family, and I’m aware of the children’s nutritional needs. They are both good eaters, so I’m trying to ensure that this continues.

Playmate
I do organise play dates for Boo and they both go to playgroups and classes, but it seems I’m still their chief playmate. As Little Man grows, I suspect they’ll have each other and I’ll be pushed out, so I’ll take what I can get for now! Whether I get involved less or not, I certainly see myself as a ‘play organiser’ for quite some time. They have plenty of toys, but each day I enjoy setting up an activity, whether it be painting, baking, messy play, dress up, dancing, obstacle courses – all are great fun. I’m here to stimulate them, educate them through play, and above all else, make their days happy ones.

Nurse
A bump or fall, a graze, an illness, or just a little bit down, I’m the one they come to. Nurse or nurturer, I’m here to take care of them when they need me most and they should know that I’ll always be here to do that.

Story Teller
A role that I adore. Books play a big part in our lives, and both children love to sit and listen to stories, whether we’re reading from our many books or making up our own stories, with the help of dolls or Happyland props! I enjoy watching their imagination develop and in Boo’s case, watching her reading and writing skills develop. Reading with them is something I see myself doing every day for many years to come.

Teacher
From eating to the alphabet, it all rests on my shoulders. I adore seeing them learn new things about the world around them and while they’re still so small, I know that I’m the one to help them discover it all. When the time comes for them to go off to school, I’ll be there to support their learning, and weekends will be full of adventures out and about, so their education will continue.

Encompassing all of these identities of motherhood, I am Centre of their World. As simple as that. I’m Mummy, or Momma as I’m sometimes called. They look to me in any given situation to reassure, support and generally ‘have their back’. And I’ll be there, every time.

In these past few years, while being a mum, I have found new passions, rediscovered old hobbies and relaxed into being me, whilst looking forward to all that I can still become. And whilst I’m happy to have regained my own identity and remembered that I’m also a wife, a businesswoman, a sister, a reader, a blogger, a friend, and so much more, I delight in being ‘mum’. I struggle to think of anything that I could do that would be of more value, and I know that in my children’s eyes at least, I am important.

Find out about how to submit your own mini exhibition or find other mini exhibitions to visit on the virtual Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves tour here.

Hope you enjoyed reading my story. Can you identify with any of this?

story of mum exhibition BritMums - Leading the Conversation

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10 thoughts on “Story of Mum”

  1. blank

    This is wonderful. I really relate to that idea of being a daughter as well as a mother. Of course my mum has inspired me to be the woman and mother I am – she has also helped me to launch and develop Story of Mum. On a practical and emotional level, I simply would not be capable of being the mum I am without the practical support of my mother throughout my parenting life so far – on hand to answer questions, look after the kids when she can, and support me as I face my biggest fears, shame and mistakes. I feel very lucky to be my mother’s daughter.

    I relate to that shocking identity shift after work too. I was so defined by my work before becoming a mum – and now I shuffle between the two, working part time at home (mostly late into the night) and spending as much time with the kids as I can. Nearly six years in and my self-image has remade itself, eventually, into something much better. Initially I was very lost, and had no idea who I was beyond my career. Then I shifted to trying to over-perform as a mum… And now I have a pretty healthy balance – I’m finding much more of my true self as a mother.

    Thankyou for this lovely exhibition, and of course for including the lovely Everyone Else Is Normal’s photo! xx

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      So pleased you like it and can relate to it. It’s such a life changing, and often life affirming, thing to be a mum, and even though millions of women go through this, it can sometimes feel lonely and confusing in the early days. I think your wonderful celebration and exhibition explores and shares this and I’m thankful to be a part of it.

  2. blank

    What a laugh/blast/privilege to see me on your blog (which I love, btw, just discovered it) and my choice of word ‘daughter’ which I grabbed from my heart/brain at Britmums Live, after Pippa asked me to contribute. There were several other words I could have chosen (Muppet lover or Miss Piggy Impersonator being one!) but this was the most relevant at the time. Its so true, like you said, motherhood acts as a mirror in so many ways, reflecting back to us the wonderful things our mothers did for us, and also the character traits in our children that we relate to (good and not so good 😉 The reason I chose it that day was I was particularly aware that day of how I’m a daughter of my Father God. I know, sounds weird, don’t be put off, I’m not a wierdo! Its a truly beautiful thing, once you grab ahold of the concept.

    In fact, this identity is what keeps me sane at times when I feel just like you, my world turned upside down by embracing the season of motherhood in all its fullness. I’m a real believer in embracing the season we’re in, even if its hard, as we find new parts of us we’d never have known if we’d carried on trying to work in the old season. But its tough, as we’ve been educated the same way as our husbands and sometimes done better jobs. Because at the end of the day, our identity as mothers will also change/fade as our kids move on (hard and painful as that is to imagine), being a mum isn’t the sole sum total of who we are. So I find it important to keep reminding myself of this.

    So, well done you for taking the brave step of being a SAHM – you’re already realising the rewards are there, and rich, longlasting ones too!

    1. blank

      Thanks for sharing and so lovely to understand the thoughts behind your ‘daughter’ photo. It can mean so much and so many different things, so interesting to hear it from your perspective.

      I particularly like your ‘seasons’ idea. I’ve not really looked at life like that before, but it certainly rings true and I am definitely embracing this season.

      And it’s great to have you there on my blog – a happy link to muppet girl!!

  3. blank

    What a brilliant post – and I can so relate to all that you say about the mother daughter relationship. I am lucky that I had my first son at 18, so got some input from my mom – as she died when he was only 2 years old.
    #PoCoLo

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      Thank you. Lovely that you can relate and that you had your mum with you for a short while for support. Sorry that you have to manage without her now, though x

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      Thank you. Yes, I’ve read lots of them, too, and love how thought provoking putting it together can be, and that shines through from the posts.

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