I’ll be honest – I’m flagging. A combination of the time of year, the intensity of running a crowdfunding campaign, the need to keep on cheering and championing this cause when another part of me wants to curl up in the dark with the baby, who is still asleep in the bed beside me as I write this. Time I think to go back to what I know – the principles which underlie Mothers Who Make, from which it grew. As MWM began to spread in wonderful ways across the country I wanted to look after it and make sure that, as far as possible, any groups starting up under the MWM name were true to the original vision behind the initiative, so I wrote the principles down. They will live on our website – the one we are raising money to fund. Here they are – not the Founding Fathers’ words, but the Founding Mother’s:
The events are adult-centred but children are welcome to attend and participate. One of the motivations behind MWM was my experience that there are two kinds of spaces which most mothers must navigate: child-centred ones with the adults needs marginalised (playgrounds, one o’clock clubs) and adult-centred ones with the children absent or unwelcome (rehearsal rooms, meetings, offices). MWM events model a third kind of adult-centred, child-friendly space. The space should reflect this – bring toys and lay on the crayons and paper! The children, if possible, should enjoy the meetings as much as the mothers.
ANY KIND OF MOTHER
Events are open to all mothers, expectant mothers, new mothers, mothers with older children, grandmothers, mothers who have adopted, mothers who breastfeed, mothers who bottlefeed. Mothers of any race, religion, sexual orientation. Mothers with a disability.
ANY KIND OF MAKER
All art forms are welcome – writers, musicians, actors, film-makers, dancers, visual artists. We’ve also welcomed producers, architects, historians – in short anyone engaged in a creative practice that they hold dear. Makers can be professional and/or passionate. No particular level of experience is necessary to attend – women at any stage of their careers or creative journeys are welcome.
MOTHERING AND MAKING VALUED EQUALLY
Each participant is recognised and valued in her dual roles of mother and maker – these are held with equal esteem and regard, in contrast to the wider cultural trend which consistently values professional work over and above personal, domestic or emotional labour. We also hold space for exploring the ways in which the two roles might inform each other, rather than starting from the assumption that they must be always be in conflict.
The events held under the MWM name are egalitarian and collaborative in nature. We sit in circles, not in chairs in rows. We listen to each other with respect and empathy and without judgement. We share experiences and resources. This is a non-hierarchical model– we work collectively and are our own experts.
We respect and recognise that there is no one kind of mother or maker, and no single solution to the myriad challenges facing a woman who holds these two roles in her life. Each woman’s experience is valid and welcomed.
If you support these principles and want to see more spaces round the country based upon them, go here to make it happen: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/mothers-who-make