Resist mother shame being sold back to us

8.13am (at the table in the front room)

Wet and damp and grey. It must be a day to make artwork. I hurriedly text my friend asking if it is today that he is doing some printmaking workshops at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, and I discover a free besom broom workshop that is taking place at the Touchstones Gallery in Rochdale, but you have to book before hand and its probably full, but worth a phone call regardless.

I am not to bothered about going to an art gallery. Me and Naoise are perfectly capable of making art at home. Front table art is probably the best anyway. You don’t have to travel far, so you can maximise on time to make art and time to have fun and grab a free coffee when ever you want.

Wouldn’t a gallery that was just like a home be a great thing? A place where you could drop in, help yourself to a coffee, sit on the sofa, not worry about being sold anything. No postcards. No expensive coffee. Just the cultural experience. A home like art experience. A friendly cosy space that does not ask anything of you. Art does not need repackaging and selling bak to us. We just want to make and be. Art can be a Home.

Syd is going into Manchester with his friends. I sent him on an expedition to the top floor of the house to retrieve my glasses but he hasn’t reappeared. Time for him is on long piece of string,

Naoise is asleep, that is good, he can sleep for as long as he likes. I am enjoying a rest after the intensity of yesterdays wordsmith war against the clock to complete another job application. I wonder will the words be wasted or will something come of them.

It is a strange thing that language, persuasive language and a list of things you have done before may or may not open a door to paid work. Just words on a page, defining the self and what you can do for others.

Language really then is power, but these words are not enough. Words are not actions. Words can comfort and connect but they don’t make change. It is what we do that is important. What will I do next?

I began tidying the towers of books and paper work and birthday card envelopes and lego and battle hamsters and sun glasses and CD’s. It was boring. Ordering caos is dull. If my house were tidy this project would not exist. You have to make your choices, you simply cannot have it all. Maintain the mind and loose the house.

I stare at the sock peg hanging plastic device attached to the fold out laundry rail. Its empty, it wants to be full of drying clothes. The washing machine is hungry and wants pants for its breakfast. The doors to the CD cupboard are flung open and beneath a small poo pile of CD’s. The draw to the utensil draw is open. The flowers from my birthday are still alive but you cannot totally appreciate them amidst all the clutter and paraphernalia.

The plywood dinasaur that me and Naoise made on Monday is intact. It is valued. Whenever it looses a vertebrae Naoise slots it back in.

Last night me and P actually had some time together. We sat side by side on the sofa and watched TV. Although it was more screen staring at least it was communal screen sharing. At least this was time together. It has been nothing but work work work lately. I worry about the amount of work. I worry about P’s eyes being burnt out whilst he codes looking at the screen. There is nothing to do but get on with life and work and life and work and care and work and children and maintenance. I want a job so that I can at least readdress the work imbalance.

I struggle with my ideas of feminism around parenting when I am not financially earning and contributing to the family. For me and my conscious it is not enough to be a stay at home mum. The care of cause is of value but it pays me nothing, it does not pay the bills. To not work is a fantasy. The debts are mounting and we cannot keep up. Something will give, I have hope, and at least me and P are getting on better now that I am making more of an effort to actually find paid work opportunities.

Friday is Halloween. This year I may carve a turnip instead of a pumpkin.  As a child our family used to carve turnips to make Jack o lanterns. Turnips are hard to carve. They bend spoons. They cause knives to cut fingers and hands. The turnip is the more challenging. The turnip is scarier. I like scary. Maybe I will be kind and buy pumpkin and turnip. Pumpkin for the children and a turnip for me. Apparently there is a shortage of Pumpkins due to the wet autumn weather. I haven’t noticed a lack of pumpkins.

Syd did’nt want me to take a picture of his feet and publish them here, but  I have rebelled and gone against his wishes. I have to think of a way of making this project friendly and appealing to them. I can understand him not liking it though. He is a teenager. I am embarrassing mum. Its only feet and toes though. Toes that play with mine. Toes that are caring. I hope that you don’t really mind Syd. You do have lovely fee t and I wanted to capture something of our relationship and the fondness that exists between us.


The ‘mommy wars’ are the patriarchy’s latest attempt to control women , 

Feminism in London conference: sex work, glass ceilings and ‘vulvanomics’, Barbara Speed Monday 26th October 2015, The Guardian

One third of British working mothers are main breadwinners, Phillip Inman, Tuesday 20th October 2015, The Guardian

Lie back and think of your mother: Obama-inspired ad urges Danes to Do it for Mom, Helen Russell , Tuesday 20th October 2015, The Guardian




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