Mother’s Day is upon us and we wanted to celebrate it in classic Storyo no-bullshit-all-vulnerability fashion!
Firstly, we’d like to acknowledge and send aroha to all those without mothers, those that can’t or don’t want to have kids, those that don’t have relationships with their mothers, and anyone and everyone in between. To every parent and child out there; you are valid, loved and seen ❤️
To be frank, we’re tired of commercialisation of every holiday and ads about “being the perfect mom” or that “being a mom is the only fulfilling thing a woman can be”. That’s only one part of a larger story; only one role of the many. The mums we have interviewed are authors, artists, business owners, engineers, activists, advocates, sex workers, and leaders in their communities.
At Storyo we’re about raw & genuine stories of everyday failures and triumphs. To honour the wahine with children we have previously interviewed, we wanted to get their perspectives and feelings on parenthood. Here’s what they had to say…
I'm a passionate mum and do all I can to open up opportunities for my babies. Note that they are aged between 24 and 9 haha I am far from perfect, but I do the best I can with the resources I have. While my kids are super important to me, so is my mahi (work) and there have been times where I've put mahi first. I see life and mahi as an integration, not a balance. When my kids need me, I'm with them. When my mahi needs me, I'm there and at times my kids are at mahi with me too! And I'm super proud to now have my first grand-baby.
What's something I hope to instil in my children: to be proud of who they are as Māori and Samoan tāne. That their language and culture are precious and valuable. That they can do anything that they put their mind to.
When my son was about one, someone in my family said they were surprised I was a good mother because they'd thought I was too uptight to do a good job. Of course, at the time I was mortally offended. But now that I've been a mum for almost ten years I see some truth in that. I was too uptight before, with terrible work-life balance and a need to always be busy as a means to avoid my own company. Parenthood has changed that. I'm so much more relaxed, happy and grounded now. And am I a good parent?
Sometimes I am such a good parent I feel secretly sad no-one is watching to give me a medal. Sometimes I am a bad parent, and relieved no-one is bearing witness to my ineptitude. Most of the time I'm somewhere in between.
But, my kids reckon I'm the best Mum in the world, and that's enough for me.
I view myself as someone who is CONSTANTLY learning.
This journey is ever challenging, evolving, beautiful, difficult and amazing. I do my very best to build a solid foundation and relationship with my daughter of love, trust and unconditional acceptance... In theory, all the parenting strategies are easy, in practice it's a daily learning curve. One that I'm grateful to be on.
I’ve been a pretty relaxed parent in one sense; and also a very worried parent too. Worried something will happen to my child that's out of my control... I think every parent worries for their children. It's hard to wear your heart outside of your body! That's what it's like to have children. I come from a large family and am the youngest of eight girls. It was intense! But now I am so, so grateful to have my big sisters especially as both my parents are dead.
We all had very complex relationships with our mother which made being a mum at times very difficult with my own issues to work through. I struggled a lot with not feeling good enough as a mum.
My daughter and I have a really good relationship and thankfully we are friends. I am also now blessed to have two mokopuna (grandchildren), so now it's like I have three children. I think I've done/do a good job of being a parent and nana, and being there for them as much as I can. I try not to give myself a hard time. I know that we are all doing the best we can. I am very blessed to have had the privilege of having children.
I want my daughter and my mokopuna to know through their bones that they are loved. AROHA! Pure and simple.
Being a mum opened up a whole new world for me of: hilarious parenting memes, sleep deprivation, intense overflowing love, all kinds of poop and other bodily fluids, endless giggles and smiles, delicious baby leg rolls, sniffing butt in public, stinky little farts, active wear, bazillions baby photos, never finished and always cold cups of coffee.
Some days I feel like I’ve got it under control, most days I have no idea where this waka is heading...
Often parenting feels like playing Candy Crush - you finally feel like you've got a good grip on what's going and then BOOM a whole new level up. And you just go with it.
The hard thing is, there is just so much information out there on babies, being a perfect mum, how to do a headstand while breastfeeding, how to mash baby puree 75 ways, how to raise a genius. Instagram is a minefield too - as soon as you search anything baby-related, that's it. You'll get a ton of ads telling you of all the things you apparently need to do to be an adequate mum. You'll get suggestions of all these influencer mums to follow. And I followed some. And there was this one account with a perfect colour coded feed: beautiful and beige. Everything flawless, thousands of followers. Later I saw this mum posting a cry for help on one of mum groups, saying she wasn't coping and was on the verge of depression. This facade she created on Instagram - it's not real. It can make a lot of mums feel inadequate...
I believe that it's OK if a house is messy. It's OK to not have it all together. It's OK to have a mum bod, cellulite and stretch marks.
I'm grateful to my parents for everything they've done and I appreciate them so much more now that I had my own child. I appreciate my husband so much too. He's our rock and his support is everything. Parents doing it on their own - you are superheroes. Parenthood is very hard work and if you haven't got much support around you and are making it on your own - you are a bloody legend.
How do I see myself as a parent? I’d sum it up like this: affectionate, loving and honest. And I do all I can to give my kids the best start in life. I hope to instil some good morals in my children; respect for others, peace and hard working attitude. I hope they know that they will never lose - you either win or learn.
And lastly, I hope they don’t ever feel pressured by other people's success and follow their own path.
I view myself as a pretty average parent really. I do my best but being partly responsible for the life of a youngster is the biggest challenge of my life! I try to always be as honest to her as I can and apologise to her if I am not meeting my own expectations. I have lots of amateur moments and doubts about what we are doing but I tell her often that I love her in order to make sure she knows unconditionally I will be there for her.
I think parenthood is so interesting… It is an extended moment of transformation. You see yourself in your mother's shoes for instance, and appreciate her effort on another scale. It is hard work but worth it. I never wanted children before my 30's but I'm so lucky to have been given the opportunity to be a mum to my smart and balanced girl. I just want to live up to the opportunity.
I don't care if she is 'successful' or anything, but I am hoping to prepare her for the future. I really just want her to be a good person and happy. She recently had a drama with her friend and I encouraged her to apologise for it. It was a hard thing for her at 7yo but I told her I was so proud of the way she handled it.
I read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and proudly decided to take up the mantle. It fits perfectly with my Type A personality; the reason they call it a human race is because someone has to win. If I didn’t have enough time on this earth to win, then my kids would have to do it for me. So while my other parent friends are complaining about too much homework from school, I’m thinking of whether I can squeeze in piano lessons on the same day as extra math tutoring.
So no, I’m not a perfect mom, but I hope to raise awesome kids that will change the world (that is if I don’t get to it first).
What do we hope to instil in our kids? That’s a hard one. We’ve always talked about sex positivity, body neutrality, and consent. As parents of two cis-gendered boys, we were determined not to raise another lot of assholes. As mixed-race kids of two immigrant cultures, they innately understand the significance of race in their everyday lives, but do they know the different ways that other races are marginalised? As children of two reasonably successful middle-class people, will they understand the hardship and struggle for what they need? The oldest has just reached teen-dom, so I guess the proof is yet to come.
As a parent, I think have an open mind & heart as I embrace this new chapter of motherhood.
I acknowledge the polarity that comes with parenting, embodying both the teacher/guide AND the student.
I view myself as a happy parent, nothing has ever pulled me into a deeper presence than my daughter has, allowing me to access a whole new level of joy.
The biggest thing that I hope to instil in my daughter is respect, respect for each individual as a unique human, with their own lived experiences, religion, culture, orientations and race. I wish for my daughter to understand that we never ever know what is going on for an individual and that we can never take something for face value based on what we see on the exterior.
I have three children: 46, 41 and 32 yo. I had my first born, a gorgeous son, at 20. I was the ‘Tiger Mum’. Poor kid! Then I chilled a little with my second baby, a beautiful little girl and was a bit oblivious to everything the little angel got up to. When I had my third child, I was told by my older kids, that I was too strict. So moral to my ‘mum’ story - as a parent everything you do is wrong or right. There are no manuals as every child is so different!
Being a grandma - Ba - to 7 absolutely amazing children, is to be there and listen. A hug and a smile when needed. Offer advise (if only asked). Cook their favourite meals. I believe , I must have done something right as a mum, because my children have raised 7 caring angels.
How do I view myself as a parent? You know what, I've never really asked myself this before! Generally I'm just trying to get by and do the best I can while juggling multiple roles and trying not to feel too much guilt (a classic problem for mums). I guess there are certain values that we live by in our household which could suggest a style of parenthood – spending lots of time outside, not conforming to gender stereotypes, being conscious of what we consume, picking ourselves up when we fall down, the importance of whānau and community, reading widely, dancing a lot and taking care of one another.
*or wine or kombucha or mayonnaise, you know, whatever you are into 😉