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Find Your Voice, Change the World (Giveaway!)

We’re celebrating the launch of Moods of Motherhood by giving away three copies! Enjoy this beautiful guest post from author Lucy Pearce – and leave a comment below in order to enter our giveaway contest. Three winners will be selected at 10:00 pm eastern time Saturday, December 6, 2014. Good luck!

As a new mother I was told how I felt.
Or rather, how I should feel.

Lucy PearceI wasn’t expected to be creative. Instead I was told what to do, in often entirely contradictory missives, from elders and professionals, and to do it well for the fear of what if. The motherland was a strange new territory. I felt myself lost and at sea. Uneasy in my own skin. I didn’t belong here.

I knew what a mother was supposed to be like, and spent many years trying to fit myself into this mold. But it was always an uncomfortable squeeze. Too many hard edges for my squishy body and big feelings. There wasn’t enough space for the “me” that I was in the mold that was motherhood. There were too many should and oughts constricting me. I was always too opinionated, too messy, too self-centered, too introverted, too overwhelmed…too contradictory. I was too much…or not enough.

As I could see it two ways lay ahead – keep it in – which is what mothers are supposed to do – martyr themselves to motherhood.

Or let it out.

Moods of MotherhoodLet it consume me…or let my roller-coaster of deep contradictory feelings find form and expression to ignite a fire that might light the way for others in the same position.

And so emerged my creative renaissance: painting, writing, blogging, crafting, editing, and every other form of self-expression I could find. It was entirely fueled by the intensity of motherhood – the tumult of love, joy, despair, grief, exhaustion, feelings of failure and glory, depression, and elation that filled my days and that I could find no other way of voicing.

For generations women have been shut down, and shut up. All that was required was the illusion of the perfect wife, the all-loving mother, the angel of the house. Not her inner reality. Simply a pleasant veneer which glossed over the contradictions, appetites, desires, heart breaks, yearnings, exhaustion and confusion of a woman’s inner life.

But things are shifting and changing. The veil of silence is lifting. As women’s voices, lives, emotions, creativity are being seen en masse for perhaps the first time in humanity, expressing the inner worlds which for so long have been hidden.

Moods of MotherhoodAnd from these broken places, these hidden places, from the darkness a new light shines – one of truth, of a more vibrant reality. These models of self-expression act as beacons for other women who had not fully seen or felt or dared voice their own inner worlds, suddenly find themselves seen and heard, often for the first time. And they in turn begin growing into their own skins a little more, filling their own forms, finding self-expression.

It is the end of an ice age, where women have been frozen, stunted, silenced, are beginning to thaw – their innate creativity blooming in the new warmth. Where will it lead us? What impact will it have on the next generation who are growing up in this new era? Only time will tell. But silence and shame are being cast aside. And surely we will all benefit.

Lucy H. Pearce

Lucy’s most recent book, Moods of Motherhood: The Inner Journey of Mothering charts the inner journey of motherhood, giving voice to the often nebulous, unspoken tumble of emotions that motherhood evokes: tenderness, frustration, joy, grief, anger, depression and love. She explores the taboo subjects of maternal ambiguity, competitiveness, and the quest for perfection, offering support, acceptance, and hope to mothers everywhere. This is a book full of Lucy’s trademark searing honesty and raw emotions, which have brought such a global following of mothers to her work. Click here and Lucy will send you a FREE SAMPLE right away!

Lucy is the author of four life-changing non-fiction books for women including the #1 Amazon bestsellers: The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood and Moon Time: A Guide to Celebrating Your Menstrual Cycle.

Former co-editor of JUNO magazine, she is the founder of Womancraft Publishing, which publishes transformational books by women, for women. She is passionate about sharing empowering women’s resources on The Happy She blogs on creativity, mindfulness, motherhood, and world changing over on Dreaming

Crimson: How Social Media Reignited My Creative Fire

Crimson BonerEditor’s Note: Crimson Boner (at right) is a stay-at-home mum of two boys, ages 5 and 2. She writes: “I used to paint big oil paintings, but since I’ve had kids I’ve had to find a creative solution to making art, which, it turns out, is pretty essential for my well-being. So here is a blog I wrote about how I used social media to get around the time and cash restrictions of motherhood to keep making work.” Crimson’s inspiring post, which originally appeared at Brighton Mums, is reprinted here by permission. Enjoy!

It was 9 pm and my boys had just given in to sleep after seemingly endless stories. I had barely managed to resist sleep myself but was determined to have some “Me Time.” You may ask what value “Me Time” has when all you really need is sleep — and yep, there’s the rub.

I sat on the stairs in the half-dark, enjoying the solitude and the stillness. I was delaying going downstairs to the apocalyptic vision of flung toys, teetering dishes, and mounds of dirty clothes. Was the ever-elusive “Me Time” just making me feel resentful?

Intervention : Artists book collaboration , the books , photo courtesy of Lucy Sharpe You see, a creative valve had opened with the birth of my second child — but the ideas that kept flowing were just withering at the roadside whilst I whizzed by in the unstoppable motherhood machine: picking things up off the floor, buttering toast, doing the school run, football club, kissing grazes, grilling fish fingers, singing nursery rhymes, shopping, reluctant baths, stories….

Not that the motherhood machine was without joy, but it was relentless. This idea of “Me Time” seemed to promise something that might bring balance. But how?

There on the stair in half dark and comforting silence of sleeping children I flicked through Facebook on my phone. And PING! I saw a way to work around my time restrictions, to reach out to a wider community, and to get back to making art.

Crimson Boner art

“Me and my Mum” by Crimson Boner for the book “Mother in Stead”

I immediately posted it on Facebook: I was going to start an artists’ book collaboration. It was to be called Intervention, because that is what I needed to get me making artwork again. Within minutes of posting this project I had people asking to join. It just took off.

So when I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs to face the aftermath of the day, I had been injected with energy and enthusiasm! I thrashed those malevolent dishes and malingering clothes! I didn’t even wince, much, when I trod on the Stickle Bricks barefoot.

We’ve been collaborating for nearly a year now. There are 20 of us and many of us are mothers, but not all. We are working on 20 books, each with its own theme, and every 3 weeks we mail that book on, and the next artist adds work to it. Some of us are artists, some musicians, a few writers, some professionals some just starting out, some dabbling. But we have all have found an outlet and a community. These books and our ideas are traveling all around the world ( just like I used to, before the boys).

Collaborators meeting for the first time at BAC photo courtesy of Lucy SharpeWe met in person for the first recently at my old workplace, Battersea Arts Centre. How incredible to revisit the vibrancy and buzz of a place that I used to be a part of. And how exciting to return there with my own project and a group of brilliant collaborators, with so much to share.

I keep in contact with all collaborators through Facebook on my phone. Ironically, in the media there is often discussion about how mums spend too much time looking at their phones. But thanks to my little phone I’ve managed to give a crucial part of myself an outlet that fits around my motherly duties. I’ve also managed to sell a few prints that came out of the project, which you can see on my Etsy page.

So, if you see me in the playground looking at my phone, just withhold judgement for a moment; it’s my “Me Time” and it helps the mothering machine to run a little smoother, with all on board benefiting.

(A big thank you to Lucy Sharpe for allowing me to use her photographs in this post.)

Some of the other members of this group include Nina Rodin, Moyra Scott, Lisa WrightSophie Passmore, Rebekah Tyler, Mercedes Gil, and Mary Trunk. You can also connect with Crimson at her Facebook page. Wonderfully inspiring work, ladies!

Intervention An Artists Book Collaboration, our books, photos by Lucy Sharpe


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