Motherhood, Womanhood and Support.
I have read many articles lately about why women need a tribe and sisterhood. Everyone knows that women forming circles can be an incredible force. We are blessed here in Kilkenny for the amount of support for women and sisterhood. Off the top of my head I can remember many projects that were set up to foster and support women over the past few years, some finished, many continue:
- The Artist’s Way- By Julia Cameron- ok we didn’t have Julia herself but a group of likeminded women met for 12 weeks and completed the programme together-nothing was too silly or frightening
- Open Circle arts- a community of women meeting and using art to participate together in lifelong learning, although a group it is regularly opened up to the public for drop in workshops- a wonderful way to spend a day.
- Women’s Day Kilkenny- always a collaborative event and open to all ages
- Cuidiú and la leche league among many other- breastfeeding support, toddler and mum support and parent support with events out to keep everyone sane organised by Cuidiú a Dó
- The Reality Parenting project- this has been the most recent project and the one I want to talk about today.
The Reality Parenting project was set up by local amazing theatre maker Ita Morrissey. Ita formed Project Women back in 2012 as a Kilkenny based community group that explores what it means to be a women today through artistic & creative means. She has run many projects with local women since. For the reality parenting project which turned into a production called This Laundry Life Ita extended an open invitation to parents in the Kilkenny area. The vast majority were women (1 man did participate initially but they were subsequently busy becoming new parents J )
It was a fascinating process and we were indeed a tribe of women! We explored lots of questions and areas of our lives..one’s that we don’t think about or reflect on enough.
- What’s the one thing that you do now as a parent that you never thought you would?
- What areas have been closed off to you since becoming a parent?
- What new areas have been opened?
- What’s your idea of sacrifice as a parent?
- Keep a journal of a full day as a parent- how do you feel by the actions that happened?
- Identity? What’s your identity? What other things do you see in your identity?
- Who am I?
- Complete a rant on one area of your life and motherhood (mine on creativity is below)
We spent evenings and Saturdays exploring these questions and many many more. Usually with babies and toddlers in tow. Women from everywhere and at all various stages of the parenting process, accepting, encouraging, supporting, inspiring. We all need processes like these.
Our lives change so much from trying to conceive, through pregnancy, birth, preparing for what lies ahead without really knowing. It is spaces like this that allow us to say things aloud and figure things out without being judged or tutted at. We were even brave enough through group encouragement and direction to allow the public to see some of our rantings and dialogue in a performance cleverly scripted from our meet ups by Ita. Again this would not have been possible to do without the genuine support of others, as nerves and fight or flight were high, but from having been in the here and now for the past few months thanks to the project we washed our dirty laundry in public!
Creativity & Motherhood Rant:
How do we keep creativity in our lives as mothers? You know it’s something that actually grows after giving birth, the experience of birth & motherhood actually, brings new light to everything. I need creativity…. for my emotional health.
The time zapping duties of being a mother mean that I don’t have the time to procrastinate like I did BC (before children). I use barter, giving lie ins, taking out the compost, scarifying the little sleep I do get – fighting my corner to MAKE IT HAPPEN….. when I have the energy to do it!
A month of no sleep, snot, sneezing, teething, coughing, screaming, no break, no sex…. No space. There is no room for expressing your creativity. But at those particular times I really need it. So even though sometimes I can’t literally ‘get away’ from the kids I break away from the usual.
There is no worse enemy to art than a pram in the hall – what a load of bullshit. In fact because we are mothers we are more open, to try anything. And motherhood and creativity go hand in hand because both are all about the NOW.
Creativity doesn’t diminish when motherhood arrives, it can’t I won’t let it!
If you feel like you need support keep an eye on what’s going on locally visit