Being a mum

How amazing are mothers!
This has been, and continues to be, one of the most intense times in our lives with the impact of COVID-19. If you’re reading this, then you may well have young children, or grandchildren, and have most likely suddenly become a homeschooler! This is on top of perhaps having to learn yourself how to work from home, with husbands or partners also at home working, minimal options to get out of the house, and all the usual domestics - possibly with extra cleaning duties because everyone is at home adding to the clutter and mess! What a crazy time!

The wonderful side of these changes might well have been a growing closeness with our children, feelings of perhaps even calm with less timelines and demands to do this and be there and see these people. Time to do activities with our children that we wouldn’t normally focus on: perhaps you were able to do one of the free Artventure LIVE Facebook lessons together.

Leading into Mothers' Day, the last thing mothers want to do is think about planning more activities for kids to do. You want to hope that dads or partners are going to step up and organise something special just for you. That could be the best Mothers Day gift - timeout from having to BE a mother with all the extra demands at the moment! Of course, there are many different family situations and structures with variations on who has what responsibilities. We may also be concerned about and caring more for our grandmothers, isolated and possibly alone.

Grandma

These matriarchs are the ones who will especially appreciate receiving something created by their grandchildren and great grandchildren. So hopefully your Mothers' Day is being taken care of (!) but by working on activities with children that encourage them to reflect on how wonderful their grandmother is and why, there may be an opportunity in there for some reflections by them on you as their mother. What does it mean to be a mother? What does it involve? You could talk about what they love doing and then what you love doing. What are their favourite animals and what are yours? What has been their best holiday and why? What has been yours and why? What might grandma’s holidays have been like? What is something the children love that they could draw alongside something grandma loves? If you can send it old-school through the post, that would be special. Or a drive-by on Mothers' Day with poster-size drawings showing them how much they are loved.

Teachers

As a teacher, it’s a great time to be engaging students in art activities with a focus audience, even if it is just encouraging children to make their own Mothers' Day card. (Search Artventure for ‘mother’ or perhaps ‘flower’ to add a picture to a card.) There can be a flurry of activity as children make possibly weird but always wonderful crafty gifts for mum, or whoever the mother figure is in their life.

Gifts

One of my favourite gifts is a handprint from my 4 year old daughter, pressed into an oval piece of clay hung with a small strip of leather. Similarly, I have a framed artwork made up of hand and footprints of my little ones in their preschool days. I guess this is a physical reminder of them as toddlers: obviously fond memories. But I’ve loved all sorts of artworks created for me: plates with kids drawings, handmade clay bowls, illustrated recipe books of family favourites, bookmarks with crazy designs, handmade strings of jewellry… Here are just a couple of suggested activities.

SALT DOUGH Handprints

This is a common approach used to create artefacts like my clay handprint.

Ingredients
# 1 cup of plain flour
# 1 cup refined salt (table salt)
# ½ cup water
# 1 tbsp oil (optional)
# food colouring (optional)

Method
# Add water slowly to mixed flour and salt
# Knead into a ball and roll to about 1cm thick
# Use a bowl to cut a circular shape just bigger than the child’s hand
# Get the child to press their hand onto the circle of dough
# Use a skewer to create a hole for hanging (not too close to the edge)
# Air dry for a day or bake in oven on 120 C for perhaps 2 hours (depends on thickness)
# Optional - paint the handprint or the whole surface

ART ON A PLATE

These are mementos that the children love using themselves: a snapshot of their artistic skills at a point in time, preserved. There are websites that provide templates or drawing size specifications that are used. Then the children’s artwork is uploaded, the plate/s made and resulting gifts sent to you. Ask the children which is a favourite Artventure drawing. See if they can produce this within the confines of the specified plate dimensions. A great way to immortalise their art!

Tribute

To all mothers, grandmothers, mother figures… Your role in the lives of children is the key to their future, the people they will be. As hard as this can be at times, your patience, understanding, strength, guidance, role-modelling, positivity, humour, integrity, compassion… (you don’t realise how wonderful you are sometimes!) all wrap up into a bundle that is love. The love a mother has for her children and her children’s children is enduring: we hold their hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

As a mother, I do not need acknowledgment on Mothers' Day as I have the love of my children every day. But some flowers, chocolates, a clean and tidy house, a shoulder/neck massage, a handmade card with kids' artwork… always appreciated!! I will, however, try to do something a bit different and special for my mum and ensure I tell her again, 'I love you'!

Go mums! Happy Mothers' Day!

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