What do you do? Every day mothering

Welcome to the first week of our ‘Month of Mothering’.

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We start with a focus on every day mothering – the day to day of being a mum, particularly the parts not usually seen or represented. Have you ever got to the end of the day and wondered what you did all day? Felt like you haven’t done much at all? Or wondered where the day went? Or have you felt that others around you can’t see what you do/have done?

Whether it’s the caring (care work) involved in raising your baby or children (nappies, feeding, settling, walking, playing, driving places) or the housework (domestic labour) washing, cooking, cleaning) or the mental labour (the keeping of lists, knowing where things are, who has to be where, ensuring they are ok) or the paid work (in the workforce, combined with mothering). Most of this effort is unrecognised and under valued in our society – still!

While raising children is often discussed as being important, on the ground where mothers live, the lack of respect and tangible recognition is still part of every mothers experience (Crittenden, 2010).

Little attention is also given to the everyday practices that mothers carry out on behalf of, and with, their children rather mothers are often judged by what they haven’t done or failed to do (Featherston, 1997).

Our aim is to make visible the often ‘invisible’ to you as a mother but also to others. Mothering, while one of the most important roles and jobs in our society, is still one of the most undervalued and we believe the first step in valuing what mothers do is to make it visible.

By focusing attention on the skills and strategies that women use to operate effectively across different spheres of endeavour (work in the home, raising children, paid work), we can understand not only how much and what mothers do, but that “being a mother” is a more complex, pliable and active state than is commonly assumed (Maher, 2004).

Some Ideas?

Count the number of feeds and hours it takes to feed your baby/child/children, or how many times you wipe, or clean up – can you represent this visually?

Write a letter to your day, what did you expect from it, what did you do all day? How did you do it? What did you achieve and how do you feel about it?

Invisibility – can you explore notions of how mothers and mothering are not visible? How could you make the work you do visible?

• How can you document what you do? In words, numbers, visually?

• Look around you and use some items you have to create an art work, a baby wipe, chux, old school newsletter, receipts, maternal child and health information sheet, odd socks, old medicine boxes or cotton balls!

• Photograph your everyday moments, the ones you don’t often record or see in representations of mothering (turning on a tap for a child, wiping their face, doing up a shoelace)

Photograph the meals you prepare for your baby/child for a day, a week, a month

Photograph the transitions between different activities, home and work, school and home, bed and breakfast, how do you make these transitions and how do you help your children to make them?

How many lists do you keep? Can you represent these visually? Make a collage or something out of them? A stack of lists after a week of mothering?

What do you have to ‘keep track of’ in a day? Can you photograph the important things that are held in your head?

Are there natural ‘sculptures’ in your home, piles of washing, of papers or toys? Can you reimagine these as art works?!

Motherhood Matters

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On Saturday, Motherhood Unmasked was privileged to exhibit at the APS Women in Psychology “Motherhood Matters” conference.

It was a great opportunity to share the Motherhood Unmasked journey with wonderful women who care deeply about the wellbeing and experiences of mothers.

A big thanks to our Motherhood Unmasked mums who contributed their art and reflections for this event! Your courage, honesty and creativity are an inspiration.

 

Motherhood Unmasked comes to Seymour! 

Workshops

We are extremely excited to announce that Seymour Baptist Church and Motherhood Unmasked have combined forces to offer Motherhood Unmasked to Seymour and Puckapunyal mums in 2015!

This year, Motherhood Unmasked will run several workshops held from March – May, concluding with an exhibition in honour of Mother’s Day. The exhibition showcases participant work and creates an avenue for our broader community to connect with the joys and challenges of mums in Seymour and surrounding region.

In previous years, mums have come away feeling a greater sense of value, social connection and an interest in art as a self-nurturing practice. If you are interested in making friends and using art to reflect on your experience as a woman and mum, come along!

Hot drinks and morning tea are provided and children are welcome if you wish to bring them. 

Check out The Gallery for pictures from previous workshops and exhibitions!

Workshop Activities  	Use a variety of materials and mediums such as paint, collage, group pieces, clay and more! 	Treasure Box –reflect on the moments you treasure – whether it be with a cup of tea and a book, a walk, a work day, or a moment with your child.  	My Community – what does community mean? What does yours look like?  	Motherhood Messages – engaging with messages about women and the role of mums in the media  	Self Portraits – paint on photo frames, canvas or create an abstract piece that represents you 	Mothers of Letters – a letter writing and art activity Or come along and decide your own topics and materials as a group!

 

Any questions? Can’t wait to register?

Ask Shan using the contact form below! 

Shan

A Letter to the Midnight Mums by Anna

The following is a piece created by one of our Motherhood Unmasked mums, Anna.

Title: “You Are Not Alone”

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

This piece is inspired by a letter I wrote to “midnight mothers” – mothers awake during the still of night, feeding, settling and caring for their babies. As a new mum, I dreaded the night time. It was dark and quiet and lonely. At night I often had feelings of hopelessness, all alone with only my thoughts and my new baby for company.

The letter I wrote is one of encouragement and reassurance. The phrase “you are not alone” came from a conversation I had recently with a new mum.  She told me that while she sits alone during the night feeding her baby she pictures all of the  mothers in the streets around her, doing the same thing. This beautiful image gave me great comfort and inspired me to write my letter and create this piece.

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