Every month I ask a question. It goes out on the Mothers Who Make newsletter and it becomes the theme for the meeting I facilitate that month. Usually I write a paragraph or two about it, explaining how the question arose. Today I thought I would share some of the questions - twenty of them. Look at them in a list. People often ask me what happens in meetings. This is one way to reply. This is what happens in meetings:
Boundaries: how to communicate and connect with the necessary limits I must provide as a parent, with the same sense of creativity with which I approach a deadline as an artist?
Support: what is the right kind of support? What forms of support do you long for in your role as mother and/or as artist?
Tiredness : What do you do? What resources can we share with each other to help sustain us in the face of exhaustion?
Practice: What are the points of connections and what are the points of divergence between your creative practice and your practice as mother? How are they the same? How are they different?
A new paradigm: Could I find a way to integrate my mothering and my making so that my experience is one of wholeness rather than division? So that it need not cause me, and others, such profound exhaustion? And, if so, what would this look like?
Screens?! They are part of our world now, a taken-for-granted part of our children’s world - I would love to know how can we use them well, to support connection, presence and creativity in our mothering and our making, in ourselves and in our children? How are you already doing this? What’s hard? What feels good?
Education: Where is the line between learning good practice and cooperation and blocking an individual’s impulses? How far did your education support your creative work and how far have you had to spend time undoing what you learnt in order to feel free enough to make? As ever no easy answers but here is the question: How can we best continue to support creativity in ourselves and our children, at home, at school, wherever we are?
Cross art forms: From the start I have felt passionate about Mothers who Make spanning all art forms. This month is an opportunity to consider what the particular challenges are of being a mother and a writer/ dancer/ actress/ painter/ musician/ circus artist…? What can we learn from each other across our diverse creative practices?
Creative Destruction: how can we be mothers who make but also who unmake? What creative place, if any, does destruction and anger have in your practice as a mother and/ or as a maker?
Adding it up: There are so many variables - what support you have, what finances, how you make, what you need, who your children are, what they need…..So the question I am asking this month is both a simple and impossibly complex one: How does it all add up for you?
Care and Play: if you truly and fully valued the caring and playing that you do and knew that others did too, how would it change how you feel? How would it change your choices?
Anger!: What might be the sense inside our rage? What place, if any, does this power have in our work as mothers and as makers? What are your rage-ful, crazy stories? Simply telling them seems like a good start….
Finding the Space to Make: Do you manage to make making-space/ time? And if so how? What are the resources you use - inner or outer - to make it happen?
Mothering!: How far are you able to value the mess of it? How far are you embarrassed by it? What would it take for us to feel differently about the utterly vital, thoroughly unprofessional work that we do? What might ‘professional’ come to mean, if the personal was valued?
Domestic/ Emotional labour: within your household what is your system? Do you even have a system? Did you agree on it, or did it emerge? Does it serve you well? Does it support up to do your mothering and your making, or do you end up resenting the other kinds of caring that you do?
The state of the world: How do you cope? How do you manage the overwhelm? What gives you hope? How, if at all, do you engage with the change you want to see in the world as a mother or as a maker?
Community: What or who are your lifelines? How do you make up for the lack of a village to support you, your children and your work? Could a Mothers Who Make group near you help? What else could help, big or small?
Multi-tasking: What multi-tasking do you do with ease? What feels hard or impossible? What could you do in a singular way? When, if ever, do you enjoy multi-tasking? When do you mother and make with congruence? And when do you need to separate them: mother and then make, make and then mother?
Holidays: What are your holidays? Your moments, strategies, ways of re-fuelling yourself for the phenomenal work of making and mothering that you do? Share your resources for resourcing yourself here……
Being a Proper Artist/ Mother: What are the images you carry, the yardsticks against which you measure yourself? What, to you, is a ‘proper artist’? Or a ‘proper mum’? What do proper artists and proper mothers do?!
To support the asking of these questions and the spaces in which some answers can be shared, go here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mothers-who-make