Thursday 15 August 2013

Story of Mum: Making an Exhibition of Yourself

By now you have all realised that I am a completely useless blogger. If you can call someone who blogs once every two months (if that even) a blogger! Well things are going to change from now on because the lovely Pippa at Story of Mum has invited me to be part of Story of Mum: Making an Exhibition of Yourself so I see this as a kick up the bum to get this blog into gear and start getting the ideas and thoughts contained within my trusty notebook and unleashing them into the blogosphere.

story of mum exhibition

As part of this exhibition I have to choose an exhibit by another blogger to share with you all and then add my own piece to this inspiring celebration of motherhood.

Now it's fair to say that I got completely lost in all the great posts on the Story of Mum site. I spent several hours reading, listening, watching and crying at the stories, images and love that I found there. There are some incredibly moving videos and funny accounts of motherhood that had me in stitches but in the end there were two pieces I kept coming back to.

My first pick is from Sorayah July (great name for a start) at Totally Teen Mum. Sorayah's positive and determined words and defiant yet happy expression in her 'I'm a Mum and...' photo really caught my attention. I can't imagine how my life would have been had I become a mother as a teenager but I would like to think that if I had I would have had Sorayah's strength and emotional maturity to hold my head up high and be proud.

Here's a paragraph from her post:

"...I was proud. I am proud; I just wish that I had enjoyed motherhood properly from the start.

This is why I was so saddened by @CandiesOrg’s #NoTeenPreg campaign. They are using tactics that will make other young mothers feel ashamed of what should be the most joyful experience possible. Why should a mother not enjoy parenthood just because of her age? Young women and teenagers have been having children since man begun, why has it been made so taboo today?"

And here is her contribution to the Story of Mum exhibition

My second pick is from Ben at Mutterings of a Fool. Yes I know he isn't a mum but he is a parent and a husband. I follow Ben on Twitter and have had many conversations with him over the last few months. I am a regular reader of his blog which I thoroughly enjoy. I picked his poem because without my husband Ingo and his love and support I wouldn't be the mother I am to our daughter. Through the dark nights and crazy fog of early parenthood we held each other up, we shared the fear, the joy, the journey into the unknown. All to often the affect parenthood has on dads is underestimated  as all the focus is on the baby and then the mother... Ben's words are a beautiful tribute not just to his wife but to him as a father as well.

Mum.  Mother. Mummy.

Many names but the same meaning, a loss of identify, of personality.

But deep down it’s still there, a glimmer every so often of a life that seems so long ago.

The tidal wave of parenthood takes over, washes you out, strips you down.

But you don’t panic, you stay calm, fight the urge to scream. Mostly.

One day you decide enough, you take control, you restore the balance.

The same person, but different, that smile returns. A glint in your eye.

A reminder of where it began. This adventure we embarked on together.

My best friend, cake baker extraordinaire, owner of the best smile in the west, red wine lover, Peanut M&M addict.

Oh and greatest mum in the world. 

So now for my turn. And I am stuck, totally stuck, Despite all the inspiration on the site I am stumped. How can I put into words or images how I feel about being a mother? I want my contribution to be good, to be worthy of how much I love being a mother, worthy of the love I feel for my beautiful daughter and all she has taught me. So I have to think about it some more, because that's me nowadays, there's no point stressing out that I haven't created something just yet as it will come to me I know it will. I want to make a little video, I want to create a Muma Mash-up, yes and I want to do the others too. I am starting simple and then perhaps I will get round to doing the other things as well, from small seeds and all that.

So to end this post and begin my own Story of Mum journey I am going to share with you my contribution to the Join Our Mums' Poem because it is simple and small yet together with the contribution from other mothers it is strong and powerful. It's this feeling of shared motherhood and experience that I felt during the birth of my daughter. I imagined millennia of women around me, supporting me as I brought my daughter into the world. It was an incredibly powerful feeling and one that I carry with me everyday.

I was the kind of child that always coloured in really neatly, never going over the edges, a perfectionist. Perfectionism followed me into adulthood, sometimes to the point that it was crippling and I wouldn't start something for fear of failure. Then I became a mother and I started to accept that it is okay not to be perfect all the time, because what does perfect really mean? So here are my words and a little image by me and Leelah for the Join Our Mums' Poem...

Perfectly imperfect

I don't know how long it is going to take me to get my other exhibits up on the Story of Mum site but I will. It just might be a while. I am not perfect... but that's okay.

BritMums - Leading the Conversation


  1. I am SO glad you are blogging again Mrs B! I love this post, and your selections, and really relate to that shift from perfectionist to that better softer more accepting view of the world that comes along with mothering - not because I've suddenly become a better person (although I have, a bit), but because there simply is no other option - I mess up, I don't get things done, I fail with my kids, perfect is no longer an option. I can't wait to see all the rest of your creations. Thank you xx

    1. It is a pleasure. Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in what you haven't done and forget what you have achieved and are still achieving everyday.

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  3. Thanks for including me! Getting involved in this is one my favourite blogging things so far, I loved reading all the stories and entries on the site.
    Learning to let go a little is tough, you go into parenthood trying to control everything including the birth process. But for your own health you soon have to realise that you can guide in the right direction but you can never truly control what is happening.

    1. Letting go, that's right. I started that process before Leelah was born really. It began when I had the first miscarriage I think, then I realised I wanted to change my life and that had to start from within me, after that the external changes came. I definitely feel more at peace now than I have ever done before.

  4. I am perfectly in love with any of your imperfections. Best mum this side of Alpha Centauri xxx #TeamLeelah

  5. Hi, I love this and your 'Perfectly imperfect' and image sum up parenting and life for me! I think a lot of people go through life needlessly struggling to reach perfection and they don't really know why. So being 'Perfectly imperfect' is an amazing realisation to reach and it makes life so much more enjoyable x

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes it does, I have never felt as calm and stable in my life as I do since Leelah was born. I began the process of letting go before I fell pregnant with her so by the time she was born I was well on my way to being easier on myself and those around me.