The Whole Cake

The whole Cake - colour corrected-10I can do anything! But I can’t do everything…. (although I certainly have a good crack at it everyday) 

I am a mother of two boys (ages 7&10), a dance artist & teacher, an arts event producer, volunteer, home manager, crafter (crochet, knitting, stamping etc), avid reader and perpetual student/researcher. Some days I feel like an acrobat deftly completing a rigorous tumbling routine while juggling at least 6 very important objects, and on others I am a muddy puddle on the floor that has been passed through by every person in the house and is leaving dirty tracks all over the place that will need to be dealt with later. And I experience all this by choice, because I BELIEVE in the power and necessity of arts experiences and opportunities for all within a community, and in being the best mother I can be.

Nine years ago the birth of my first child fractured my being in unexpected, delightful and difficult directions. Intellectually, as I began my journey through motherhood, I understood that there would be adjustments to make, but I had not expected the wholesale deep change that occurred. Most overwhelming for me, was the clash between the responsibility and desire to be a ‘good parent’, with the undiminished need to continue as advocate, artist and researcher of dance. My transition to mother artist was by no means an elegant one. It’s messy, awkward and incredibly wonderful! As my children interrupt, demand and divide my focus they share generously of themselves and offer new perspectives on well-trodden pathways in my dance practice. I have made choices that have lead me in new directions; working locally, accepting sudden changes in the best made plans, structuring and re-structuring projects to find the best possible mode of working, developing a plethora of family routines  and allowing time to expand so that I can fit everything in. These have been the innovators of my arts practice. There is no one way to achieve the elusive vocation/family balance, and not always a lot of structural support around to accommodate a Mum in a job that is outside the 9-5 workday, but it is possible, with the help of family & friends and I have become very passionate about creating child friendly spaces for Mum’s to access dance or creative experiences.

The Whole Cake is a new chapter for me, in which I am researching the stories of women in my community and beyond. After a decade of extreme multitasking and contorting to fit into a world that didn’t quite seem to work for me, I want to know if all women experience a similar feeling in their daily lives. Each week or two I am going to pose a question on The Whole Cake FB page and……

I have so many questions I want to ask & while my experience is as a mother artist I want to hear from all women. What kind of pressures are we all facing? What can the different generations share with each other? Where do we all find support? Have you ever felt guilt related to your choices as a woman? What was it about? Is multitasking a modern thing? Does everyone feel so existentially confused about their different selves and roles in life? What connects the different parts of yourself together? For me it’s the idea of process, creativity & sharing. I am going to take all of this and place it in my already full washing basket of ideas and spend the next two months changing my mind, making some dance, baking some cakes, seeing a new perspective and hopefully having a great virtual chat with a whole bunch of women!

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