Mother of The month
1. What’s your name, and your children's names and ages? Where are you based? What kind of making do you do or dream of doing?
Mother of Billy Beau who is nearly 2 and a half (halves matter for kids apparently).
Based on a boat on the River Stort, just outside of London.
I am an Actor, Singer, Appalachian Flatfooter. I also write, create, develop and direct mainly within the realm of theatre and comedy. I sing with the band 'Mediaeval Baebes'and am the ceilidh/hoedown caller for 'Cut A Shine'. I've also just taken on the new and very exciting role of an Agent. Because apparently life wasn't full enough already.
2. How do you do it?! How do you make it work?
I don't know how I do it. All I know is that I get my head down, plough on and then periodically I lose my s**t and have a minor breakdown. All moments are allocated to something and if they weren't then I'd be lost. We live in the middle of nowhere and grandparents are all 5 hours away. My partner Matt is also a performer and artistic director of the Crystal Maze so we're all over the place with our hours. We sometimes manage to organise the far away family to come and help out - so the grandma's and great aunties book up the marina hotel as we've no spare space to have anyone stay. Friends and Matt's brother and partner are vital and deeply appreciated in our times of need when Billy can't get away with being cute in rehearsals/on set/in the Aztec zone etc. Nursery was a godsend. When we got told (after a year of waiting) that he was next in the queue, I sobbed. That's when I managed to start writing my account of how hard it is being a mum in this freelance business.
3. How has your mothering impacted your making?
Not feeling like a kid blundering around from one thing to the next was a revelation. Entering the human race as a mother made me ever so slightly pick up my socks. But also I discovered that I started to give zero f**ks and that opened a whole new world to me. The feeling of permission, purely from myself, allowed me to be braver and consider myself as an important being with a voice to be heard.
4. And vice versa?
Making has impacted my mothering because if I hadn't tried to make some sort of art as a way of distracting myself from the shock of becoming a mum then I don't know how I would've processed it all. Making whilst being a mum was the only way I could 'normalize' my experience (near death birth, baby refusing to breastfeed, nonstop crying - all three of us). I went straight back into the things I had always been doing because I needed to stay on top of my mothering game. Happy mummy happy baby.
5. The best thing? The hardest?
The best thing was documenting my exclusive expressing journey. Now I have an exhibition coming up and I ended up writing a whole book/account of my experience, in all its truthful honesty. This is a huge achievement for me. I realised that when you have a clear voice about something then the making of it isn't the hard part. It's the bit where you try and get people to listen, that's where the real work is. Our passions can just fly out of us in whatever form, if it's important to us then the job is easy. The hardest thing? Breastfeeding. Hence the making. Lemons/Lemonade.
6. Future dreams?
Future dreams. Hmmmm. We shall see where this takes us for now. Obviously I'll be off to Hollywood but only when I start to look my age. I'm using Dame Judi Dench as inspiration. Mainly I want to keep Billy Beau surrounded by this world we inhabit and perhaps he will even become a country and western singer, but I have a feeling he'd rather be a mechanic. Otherwise I'd love to take my family and go and live and work in New York for a bit. That's a dream.
A 'mam'oir by Jo Bowis will be taking over the Theatre Deli Cafe exhibition space on Sat the 31st Aug and Sun the 1st Sept.
There will be talks, a panel, readings from my book and I might even write a few songs and play my concertina for a bit if people want to stay and drink wine with me. I'll be posting about it on my Instagram @boofbooflimoge and @mumapumpa (Although I've been a bit inactive on there as @mumapumpa after receiving too many unsolicited messages containing men's appendages #sitdownboys)
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