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.
The “I’m a mum and a…” photos I took at BritMums Live! are the latest additions to the growing online exhibition galleries, and the Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves virtual tour is off to a flying start. We’ll be sharing a regular roundup of mama’s mini exhibitions here – hopping from blog to blog to explore how mothers’ feel about our shifting identities.
We launched with cake from the wonderful Random Rantings of a Tattooed Mummy Tattooed Mummy’s exhibition highlights included her version of the giant Mums’ Poem and an Identity Parade – a paper people chain.
Beth of Love Make Create explored the roles of strength, humility and laughter in her parenting, curating Hannah Kitchen’s My Mum Story film about her relationship with her autistic daughter, and making her own moving short film about her experiences: “So who am I? This is a question I find myself asking a lot lately. I am a mother, a wife, disabled, an artist and a photographer and one of my children is autistic…”
Many of the mums shared the challenges they had faced. From Lucas at Abstract Lucas: “Becoming a parent yourself when your experience of being parented was overwhelmingly negative is never going to be easy, and it’s only now, when my children are eleven, ten, and nine, that I feel like I’m finally doing it right ~ for a good solid ten minutes every single day!”
Catherine at For Bella and Will described how getting out of her comfort zone and working as a barmaid has transformed how she sees herself: “I completely lost my confidence when I got married and had my daughter a year later and my son only 19 months after that, but I am coming back and it feels great!”
Eliza at Momma Two wrote “there is so much more to all of us than ‘Mummy’ – I’m not just the person who grew two small new humans in her abdomen. I’m not just the person who mops the floors, folds the clothes, butters the toast, reads the bedtime stories – I’m so much more than what I mean to the two amazing boys who define me.” By some lovely miracle, Eliza even rediscovered an old family friend amongst the motherhood stories shared by the Bangladeshi charity, Proshanti.
Mums are enjoying the opportunity to get creative: Rachel Reynolds shared the creative process behind her stunning Mama Mash-Up: ”I’ve used one of my textile prints representing the artist/designer aspect of my identity, a photo of one of my daughter’s dolly paper chains, to represent friendship and finally I’ve added a picture of musical notes as music/singing have always played a part of my identity”
Leoarna at Not Different But Interesting shared her thoughts about the exhibition as a whole: “One of the many inspiring things about this particular project, to me, is how much the individuality of every participant shines through. At the same time, universal themes, things that are common to all mothers, are also jumping off the screen, allowing us to overcome isolation and feel like we’re part of something bigger.” She also wrote about how parenting has affected her take on feminism, her own childhood and how she now chooses to make an example of herself for her children.
I headed over to Kind Over Matter in Pennsylvania to share the shame and strength behind my own Mama Mash-Up entitled “High-kicking shame-busters” before jumping back to Scotland to share a wonderful film from Stephanie at StoryBramble. I’ll let her film speak for itself – it is three minutes you need to experience.
Last but not least, we landed in Sydney, Australia for a post from Tat at Mum In Search, combining her own words with those of others from the giant mums’ poem, interspersed with images from the exhibition. Here’s an excerpt from this moving piece below:
The darkest hour..
Your sweetest dreams are calling out your name.
They urge you, beg you, threaten you to leave if you don’t join them.
You hear them. You long to be with them.
There is someone else who needs another lullaby,
Another cuddle and a loving kiss.
Your dreams must wait
In that hour when you’re feeling like you don’t exist
You’re not alone.
Read the rest here
We’ll be sharing more mini-exhibitions with you very soon. And we’d love you to join in and curate your own – just get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll schedule you in.
Pippa Best is the co-founder of Story of Mum, an online community of brave supportive mamas doing uplifting, thought-provoking, slightly silly creative things together to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. They host monthly creative challenges at storyofmum.com, and #somum Make Dates on twitter to discover different ways to connect and share our stories. I live with my surf-obsessed husband, 2 year old daughter and 5 year old son in a chaotic sticky-floored house in Cornwall. Things that make me feel good: the sea, chocolate, zumba, yoga, puddle-jumping, tea on the prom, and making me-time for mums.