A Story of Mum

This is the post that very nearly wasn’t. I have become fascinated with the Story of Mum, it’s a virtual and actual exhibition celebrating the creativity of mothers and the odd father (go read that submission it will make your heartache, it a good way). Today is my day as curator of the on-line tour.

There are so many strands to motherhood, the straightforward narrative; I was what is termed an older mother, birth was an amazing experience… and then there are the many other strands. What was I before? How does that inform me now? Mothering a boy, my boy. My own experience of being mothered, the loss of my mother. Finding my way as a mother. Being a partner and a mother. The roller coaster of early motherhood. Things I might have done differently (for the record, discharge myself from hospital). My different experiences of motherhood as a working mother and ‘stay at home’ mother, although I hate the phrase ‘stay at home mother’ but how else to describe it?.

I wanted to be part of Story of Mum but then I became slightly paralysed. What was my voice? I can’t think of one word to describe me. The mash-ups have a creativity that isn’t me.


Maybe it’s easier to start with someone else’s voice. A Story of Mum is about celebrating other mothers who have contributed and as today’s ‘curator’ my choice is this image;


The mother behind it is here.

I love this image, to me it is relaxed and full of love. A smiling mother gazing upon her son. It carries a message that some women grapple with or shy away from or don’t identify with. A message that is still battered by certain aspects of the mainstream media as something negative, simply because by accepting the positive they may have to change their position give away some of their power. The message is simple and straightforward.

Being a mother brings gender roles into sharp focus. Let’s start with affordable childcare and opportunities for women to return to the work places. Then move onto flexible working and that not being a barrier to climbing the corporate ladder. Shall we consider what gendered images our children are exposed to, that boys do less well at school yet still excel in the work place and what message that gives to young women. Feminism is relevant.

Social media has been cited as having a role in a new wave of feminism. Certainly, for me social media has connected me with other women, given me opportunity to campaign, it has offered me the support of women. The Story of Mum does just that it gives mothers a voice in a virtual on-line exhibition.

“Story of Mum is a community of supportive mamas doing creative stuff to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. Join us!

Why? Because getting creative connects us to who we are and what we want. It makes us happier, braver, and we shine brighter together. Sharing our stories reminds us that all mums, including you, are amazing. Especially when we make mistakes”


I wanted to be part of a Story of Mum. I can’t agree it’s important for mothers voices to be heard and then stay silent. So I made a video and frankly, if I can technically make this happen anyone can. I wrote and re-wrote the commentary and then I decided it wasn’t very good, then I decided it was stupid to think that. I re-edited the photos, again. Changed the commentary etc etc. Then I decided it made no sense to anyone but me. Then I decided publish and be damned. So here it is… My Story of Mum.


  1. Pippa

    Oh Gemma, it’s beautiful. I’m so glad that you shared your voice, your thoughts and your story. So coherently and with such engaging images. It was most definitely worth the wait.

    I love how you describe creating your own structures, your own definitions, your own experience of motherhood – and how connecting to others to learn, share and live, is such a crucial part of being a mother. (Worth noting that my initial typo in the last sentence was ‘share and lice’ instead of live, which is often a by-product of connecting with others as a mother… but also, worth the connections!) Thank you so much for joining the exhibition.

  2. Alexander Residence

    It makes perfect sense to me. Esp that bit about balancing all the roles. So beautifully told and full of wisdom, that is exactly why I am glad we gravitated towards each other on this journey through motherhood xx

  3. actuallymummybug

    I think the Story of Mum has been really valuable in making not only others, but mothers themselves, evaluate what their role is. In many ways it’s the simplest of all roles, yet in others it’s almost unbearably complex. Beautifully written!

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