Hello world!

I am a mum of two young boys (2 and 6 years) and also work part time as a Freelance Youth Arts Worker. Writing a blog is the last thing I thought I could, would, ever do … so why?

I have been battling for some time with the strong desire to continue this act of creation that is motherhood. One last time. The third child, standing in the corner of the room, waiting to be brought into being. A question mark.

I have considered it deeply and know now it is not ‘the Johnson’s effect’- I have no desire to swell again or sweat the birthing pain, to wear the right maternity clothes or push the trendy buggy – so this is not hysteria from the fetishized image all around me. I’m past that.

This is seeing how each child builds us stronger, makes us wiser, embellishes and surprises us. It is the gift of knowing a new person. And how mothering that unique individual requires flexibility, compassion and patience; the development of profound and heartfelt connections to the world in nurturing our act of creation – the family. And I don’t want to have restricted my world only to my particular two marvels.

But I know it is a self-defeating argument and with each child the elastic frays…  And I’m realising I could choose to see myself as an addict, because I know this urge has always been there and will never pass. It is a feeling I will have to learn to live with. I do not want to bury it, but be mindful of it. So I have chosen to see this as who I am, but as greater than the sum of my womb.

It could be how I spill into all aspects of my life; how I connect to my community. More than creating children, it could be creating meaning so I don’t make a life half-lived, sunk into an insular dolls house but weave a web that is bigger and richer than I could have imagined.

So I’ve decided to start this conversation with the world about the thing I am most passionate about – imaginative creative play with children. I’ve spent the last six years riding the ‘play rollercoaster’ with two very different sons, and now have a wealth of experiences that could keep me chatting for hours at coffee mornings. But it’s also a subject on which none of us can ever become an expert, because it’s always changing and always new.

I know that some adults find it hard to fall back into childhood play – it can make us feel self-conscious, bored or even too over-involved (how many times have we proudly completed a lego construction we didn’t want the kids to knock over!!) Also, with 101 other things to do it can be very easy to let CBeebies take control for an hour or two…

And that’s all fine, as long as it’s balanced with a healthy dose of high quality play time, in which we don’t construct our child’s game for them, or leave them to wreak havoc with a new pack of felt-tips, but actually engage in a dialogue. A process in which we all learn something new about ourselves, feel proud of our achievements, or laugh over our shared mistakes. And I believe just 15 minutes of this kind of play each day can transform our relationships with our children – my own experience shows this kind of play grows an emotional intelligence that helps to deal with sibling squabbles, playground bullies or any growing pain – that respects the child’s individuality whilst asking them to be the best they can be. Such is the power of the rich imagination, transferable to any situation life throws at you.

I hope my blog will grow as my children do in age, to move from the toddler years, through after school activities, eventually to how we could use art to negotiate the teen years… I’ve got all that to come!!

The blog will consist of a brief description of a new game or arts activity, with an honest review (hopefully straight from the babe’s mouths!) Hit or flop, all will be shared. The idea is to mainly utilise toys you are likely to have around the house and combine them in new interesting ways, supplementing with the minimal expense of odd arts / crafts resources (with the best prices I’ve found in local shops). I’ll also recommend good books, toys, etc.. helping you form your own resource library at home.

In turn, I hope you will provide your own reviews – did your kids love or hate this activity? Did they subvert it into something new? Did they suggest a better idea than ours?!

So here goes …

Artspip x

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