There are days in this parenting gig when you feel old, redundant and tired and like you just don’t want to see another living soul. But you know what, I’m going to fight it and share my big old mug and thoughts here.
It’s been a demanding mothering week, my little girl is particularly clingy to me (probably as a result of me being away more than usual). I’ve been trying to work on these songs at night, or during naps (many nap fails this week) and often I’m interrupted by her calling my name through the baby monitor. I co-parent with a brilliant one, but this week only I will do it seems.
But that’s not why I’m here. Hearing so much whinging about the day-to-day of motherhood put me off doing it for years. And I wonder had I seen more inspiring art around the subject would it have pulled me in sooner.
I was very thankful to get funding from The Arts Council in 2021 to research and develop this project, and part of that involved researching motherhood as it’s depicted in art. My findings were sadly quite paltry. I found one interview with the poet Sharon Olds, who lamented how “poorly memorialised” motherhood is. But what I did find blew my mind and sometimes made me ugly cry. There is so much beauty in it, and I’m not talking about the anodyne, oversimplified version. I’m talking about the amazing duality, the push-and-pull, the passion, the rage of it all! How one friend recently told me that the moment before she gave birth, she actually thought she would split in two. Because you kind of do!
Anyway, occasionally I’ll share some of the amazing art I did find that really resonated. Today the light was low and beautiful. Big, obstinate shards of green are coming up from the ground. And I was reminded of Mary Beth Edelson - Woman Rising (1973). A fascinating artist, as well as a mother who sadly lost custody of her child for being deemed too "bohemian". I often return to her photos when I feel I need turn myself up to eleven. That’s all I wanted to say.