Lynn shares her story of being there for her kids, losing her sense of self, and finding it again as a scholar, studying motherhood. From a series of Story of M.O.M. stories collected for our exhibition Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves by Christina Douyon for the Museum of Motherhood.
When I became a mother I left my job to stay home. I made that decision because it was the very best thing for our family at that moment.
Like many big life decisions there have been positive and negative outcomes. On the positive side, I have been able to transition my family to three different states in five years, gave them the time and stability to develop into themselves, and had time to reflect on my life and circumstances. On the negative side, I have experienced isolation, financial vulnerability and a loss of self.
After 8 years at home, and our last move, I decided to return to school to obtain a Masters Degree. I put in my application on a whim, never expecting to be accepted, but it has indeed been the way that I have truly reinvented myself to be me, a scholar and me a mom.
I am a Mom, I am a scholar. I learn from an academic perspective about motherhood, and I can be introspective about my lived experience of being a mom.
I am living a true autoethnography and seeing my research playing out in my academic projects and my research participants, my daughter Taylor and son Ryan. A mother, a scholar.
When new moms get together and talk, what do they often talk about?
A very vivid conversation I had as a new mother was in an Early Childhood Education class. The facilitator was trying to make a statement about mothers being more open to father helping with childcare and household chores even if they do it differently. She brought in towels to fold. I remember every person in the class being very firm in their way of folding towels. I couldn’t have cared less.
Many conversations as a new mother had this theme – household tasks and obsessive stories of their children. I found information about motherhood was either ridden with advice, or gushing with “don’t you just love being a mom?” . I never fit in.
When I started doing research about motherhood, I felt like the women writing the articles and books were people that I wanted to talk to. With this journey of being a mother and a scholar I get to talk with other people who read and write about motherhood in this context and have even met a few.
This post was collected by the Museum of Motherhood (M.O.M) in New York, partners in our online and touring exhibition Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves. You can add your ownI'm a mum and a... photo here.
And if you'd like to host a virtual exhibition tour stop on your website, we'd love to have you - just let us know!