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More Than A Mother...

Lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking—probably a little too much, staggering really that I have the time to overthink with a 1 and a 4 year old. It's full-on, at times I feel like I'm in a cloudy mist of completion and achievement when I gaze at my family and the two boys I somehow managed to grow and push out my vagina. Other times, I feel completely vacant, sad, and unrecognisable to myself.

During quiet moments, thoughts of old friends surface—ones with whom I've lost touch, maybe because my new role as mother doesn't align with their career ambitions, or maybe our friendship was mostly centered around work-related stuff (an even tougher pill to swallow)

Then I do that stupid exercise of strolling instagram on a Saturday evening, and catching glimpse of a distant friend, sipping cocktails in some cool London bar, totally free from pawing kids- FoMo kicks in whist sat on the sofa in Trakkies Ive worn for 4 days straight, splattered in baby food.

There are also Friends that I've lost, one in particular who died of a heart attack a few years ago. Lately I think about her more than ever, but she's not here, she’s gone, and it upsets/ pisses me off regularly.

Sometimes I find myself in tears when I think of her, how loving and wonderful she was, how we could just talk for hours over drinkies and those slim little menthol cigarettes that were in fashion 15 years ago. How she always had my back, and no matter what was happening in my life, always showed up to make me smile, and make me feel like I was doing okay. How she would have loved my two boys; how she would have spoiled them and been their 'auntie Nicki'

She was family to me, and I wish I had told her that before she died.

I have flashbacks of my nightclub dancing days, how wild, free and ridiculous they were—the early morning cab rides back to my flat in Archway, the lavish career I had in fashion, and all the luxurious destinations and situations I would wind up in. I get sad, like something has died. But it has always been this way, I do get sad.

From being a Makeup artist to an exotic dancer, there were always negative waves in my life that tried to push me down, tried to consume me. For me, it's a matter of feeling the sadness and expressing it the best way can, in a way that won't start destroying me.

What I do know is, that art saves me; venting how I feel saves me. 

Lately, I've definitely felt challenged. My mood has been flat, my health has taken a hit & feel pushed to my limit.  I grasp pockets of time here and there to create and paint, snippets of solace that feel like recovery. I have moments where I let the sadness flood in, and have empathy for myself; other times I lock it down and feel guilty for having the thoughts I do. 

The truth is, every chapter of life brings with it new waves of challenges, new levels of despair & joy. I wouldn't change what I have, but weathering the daily relentless grind of mothering right now is hard. I have no shame in admitting I'm finding it hard.

Being a mum brings a wave of change and isolation. Your childfree friends struggle to understand you, and are also more disconnected because they are not going through what you are. Meanwhile, other moms are too preoccupied to connect beyond the realm of children or are simply too exhausted, ill, or bogged down with work and looking after kids to have the capacity to do so. Goodbye artisan coffee with friends, and relaxed social meet-ups - Hello isolation.

As you navigate the challenges of parenthood, hormones and emotions shift unpredictably, leaving you exhausted or pissed off, or both. While bursts of mom rage (yes that's real) seem to explode from nowhere. Moreover, unhelpful government nursery policies compound the difficulty, making it tough for mothers to find respite or carve out the mental space needed to pursue personal or professional endeavours (thank god that's changing soon, thanks Mother Pukka!) Oh, and I quickly leaned you either have family support or you pay for it. there's no inbeween.

This journey reshapes you, it alters your identity and priorities. My biggest battle is surrendering my own wants and needs. Things that give me a break or make me happy take a back seat, and as much as I want that to change, it just can't at the moment. Motherhood becomes the sole focus, my other interests fade and sometimes I feel im loosing my shit.

I crave time alone, more moments to paint or dance or just be by myself. I want to walk through a park without the pressing urgency to return home. I'd love to sleep past 6:30 a.m one morning, undisturbed by the cries or screams of my children throughout the night and sleep without anticipation of them waking. I long to rediscover that passion, that exhilaration for life, rather than feeling overwhelmed and suffocated. I want just one day without someone complaining, screaming in my face, or having a meltdown because I unwrapped an oat bar the wrong way. I want  a holiday that feels like a holiday rather than a stint in The Hunger Games. 

Motherhood is undeniably exhausting, and for those mothers who seem to effortlessly navigate it without these feelings, I can't help but wonder, my god, what are you?

It is important to recognize that motherhood experiences are diverse and subjective. While you might relate to me, overwhelmed and like a servant at times, others face different challenges, like infertility, Traumas, Chronic Illness, mental health struggles or choosing a life without children. Regardless of the path, life presents its own set of trials and tests, shaping us in different ways, and there is comfort in knowing that. There’s comfort in knowing that others feel the same, and are trying to nagivate this field of shit, just like you and me.

I think it’s important to talk about this because parenting isn't that rosy, dreamy idea that somehow seeded itself in our brains. It's not the answer to happiness or contentment. Neither is finding that 'perfect partner', or getting married, or getting that dream job, or that boob job! It’s all bullocks.

What I beileve to be true is that happiness starts with you and only you. So if you are like me and get those lows and feel overwhelmed when you don't get your own space, even finding time to write about your frustrations or stretching for 5/10 minutes a day can help. The laundry and dishes? They will ALWAYS be there, Just fucking leave them for a day. Go for a run, write, paint, stretch, because it all starts with you, and getting those tensions out!

That being said, it's also okay not to be okay. It’s okay to feel lonely and disconnected, it’s okay to feel like life just is not what you want it to be right now. All of it is okay and you are not alone in how you feel.

I am an artist, and no matter what life throws at me I will create art, it’s who I am and I will never be without that need to create. Whatever you are, you can and will always be that. Even if your productivity drops, it will always eb and flow, no matter that happens in your life. This is what I believe, and at my low points, this is what I remind myself.

My art is a projection of what I am feeling or what I need to balance me. Lately you see more colour, more life, more expression, I know its my medicine, my antidepressant, to lift me up and level me out.

Whatever you are experiencing or feeling, know that you are no alone. What’s important is to find those snippets of solace or the things that change your state and lift you up. For me it’s definitely art and creating, but for you it could be something different like getting into nature, or hitting the gym.

No matter where you find yourself or what life stage you're in, we all journey through the human experience, encountering its peaks, mundane moments, and lows. What truly counts is our readiness to learn and evolve, as well as embracing the present and understanding that it's precisely where we're meant to be.

Sending you lots of love today and everyday,

Beth xx


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