guest blog post by Jordan Garvey
Jordan is a new mum from Birmingham, she is also a writer having written for blogs for the last four years, she is currently writing a book, when she isn’t cuddling her newborn or changing nappies. Originally, the article was published on her blog Bug and Bloom. Check it for more Jordan’s writings on motherhood.
‘Wonder Woman… you need to earn it!’
It’s been a while since we’ve written anything for our blog, in the midst of teething traumas, lack of sleep, holidays and day to day things, writing has been a little bit of a thing of the past, until now. This week we trundled our teething babe down to MAC to watch a play with a baby friendly matinee, written by two mums for mums called Wonderwoman: The Naked Truth, it was so liberating to be welcomed into a creative space with Ida and to see so many other parents who were also comfortable and had brought along their little one. There was no sneering if your child cried or ran up to the performers during the show because this show highlighted how to be a mum and find time to pursue our ambitions, especially as creatives. But this wasn’t just the bit for me that I found myself relating to as Ida’s teething pains kicked in half way through the performance.
The show tackled issues around feeling shamed and being shamed by other parents about our “inadequacies” as parents. Does your baby have a bedtime routine? No? Shame on you! Do you eat chocolate? Yes, you know your post pregnancy body won’t thank you! Shame on you! The expectations and pressures put on mums of today was something I had thought about when I was pregnant. Would people shirk me if I didn’t lose my post baby flab straight away? Am I a terrible mother if I look at my phone for five minutes whilst my baby is feeding because my attention has been on her for most of the day? Am I terrible for craving just five minutes of escape? Being surrounded by mother’s who had also brought their tiny babes to the shows, who also had a knowing look, a look that says “Shame on me?” helped me realise that it is okay to want time to yourself, to be you, to be more than your baby and not get it right, not have the answers and just do the absolute best you can.
Talking about the things that you love or like about your baby or being a mother was a piece of the show that really warmed my heart. Things like “I love when my baby smiles.” “I love when I feed my baby.” and even how we interact with other people’s children matters a lot to other parents. “I like how you are with my kids.” “I like the questions your kids ask me.” Finding the positives in a job that is brilliantly difficult helps when the days that you just wish you knew how to do his better arrives. When you look in the mirror and smile wearily at yourself and try and believe that you’ve got this.
“You’ve got to give it to yourself”… Throughout the show Wonder Woman wants one thing. Validation. To know that she is doing a great job, she is a wonderful mother. “Do you want a medal?” someone might ask when you talk about the hard times of parenting. Well yes, yes I do is what the answer may be and you know, that is totally fine because when you do a hard job sometimes a pat on the pat helps you get through, but as mothers we need to learn that we can be given certificates, medals, hugs and words of encouragement but there is only one person that can convince us that we are doing an amazing job and that is ourselves. No matter how many times our partners, families or friends tell us how incredible we are, you won’t believe it unless you think it. I remember shortly after having Ida being wracked with guilt because I didn’t have a clue how to deal with certain things and it didn’t matter if Paul hugged me and told me I was doing great, I didn’t believe it until we took Ida to be weighed at the baby clinic and she had put on over two pounds in two weeks, the health visitor commented on how happy and healthy Ida looked. It was this moment that I realised that I could give myself that medal, that certificate that says I am bloody brilliant.
Wonderwoman: The Naked Truth is a huge praise to its creators Not Now Collectiv and its performers, Tina and Kristina. Thank you for allowing us into your space, to feel comfortable and showing us that being a mother is difficult, is demanding and doesn’t define who you are but it does give us power and strength when we acknowledge that we aren’t perfect.