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.


Chux Art, by Emma

Yellow Chux cloth with hand sewn clouds and trees

Chux Clouds, 2010


Clouds were a theme in the works I created as part of this project in 2010 and represent a range of experiences.

Prior to having A I was very busy, always rushing from one thing to the next. As a new mother, as well as being exceptionally busy (in a different way), I found time to notice things I hadn’t done before. Early on when A was only a small baby, we would lie outside on the grass and look at the sky; I noticed what she noticed; the clouds, the sky, the trees and experienced being still in the outdoors in a way I had not done before

Now that A is a toddler, there is certainly no time to lie and look at the clouds (!), but we do spend time each day outside and enjoy playing at the park and in the backyard together. I have a new appreciation for the environment and for the facilities that we have in our neighbourhood.

The clouds in the work are made from material found at home, representing the resourcefulness of new parents (you draw on what you can as a mother). The other clouds are made from information we have received throughout our journey as parents. While on one hand receiving information can be helpful and empowering, on the other it can be an illusion for real choices. For example, while there is exhaustive amounts of information about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months, we don’t have maternity leave provisions for this time, so this is not a realistic option for many mothers.


Yellow chux cloth with "What do you do?" hand sewn in red thread

Chux Art, 2010


This work references a question you often get asked by other people, and a question you often ask yourself as a new mother….’what do you do?’.

Sometimes I feel there is still an under-valuing of the work mothers do, and because it is hard to ‘measure’ this work concretely, there is often an assumption that it is ‘time off’ or leisure time, not ‘real work’.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In my experience (both personally and among the other mothers I know) mothers do so much, in fact I think it is probably one of the busiest and most challenging (and rewarding) roles in our society.

In my experience what I do as a mother, is an interesting contradiction. On one hand there is the ‘drudgery of the domestic sphere’, as much of your time is taken up by housework (hence the work on chux). On the other hand, you are raising a human being, each interaction you have with your baby is part of the process of development, as one commentator puts it ‘our whole society depends on the way each mother relates to her child; this is her motherly work’.




Motherhood Unmasked comes to Seymour! 


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! 


Motherhood Unmasked: An Introduction

A nappy line of cloth nappies hang across the picture.


Hi there!

Welcome to the re-jigged Motherhood Unmasked Blog. If you’re reading this, then you’ve stolen some precious moments to yourself, and good on you. Sit down, put your feet up and take a sip of that hot (or if you’re like me, twice re-heated) cuppa you’ve been waiting to enjoy.

Motherhood Unmasked is a community arts project that myself (Shan, hi!) and Emma (she’s ace, you’ll hear heaps from her) started when we first became mums. We met in our Mothers Group and connected instantly over our mutual love for coffee, art (though neither felt we were particularly good at, but hey, “good” shmood) and our mutual interest in community development.

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