Humour and Heartbreak

This post was originally written for the fantastic Creative Mothers series featured on Lucy’s fantastic Occupation: (M)other blog.  I have included the post in its entirety below.  I was so shy about this post being published, but having had so many positive comments about it on Lucy’s blog , I’m really glad that I did.  

After meeting lots of my fellow bloggers a bit better at Britmums Live, I thought this week would be a good opportunity to publish this getting-to-know-me post on my own page.  It’s not my usual silliness, but I hope you enjoy finding out a little bit more about the story behind Beta Mummy.  Normal service will resume next week! 

In conversation with some fellow bloggers the other night, the subject of creativity and motherhood came up, which prompted me to write down some thoughts I’d had about why I started doodling.

This post is very different from anything else I’ve blogged, so I’m a bit nervous about sharing it.  My usual posts enable me to hide behind humour and silly pictures, but this one is just me and my keyboard.  Me and my innermost thoughts…scary shit.

Doodle of Beta Mummy covering her face with her hands, crying.

I started doodling because I was lonely.  Several months earlier, my husband and partner of nearly 13 years had left me (and our two boys aged 3 and 1).  Still heartbroken and somewhat bewildered by it all, but recovering from the initial, raw shock, I realised that I needed to reclaim something for myself, start searching for myself as “just me”, rather than myself as “us”.  A friend gently suggested that rather than spending my evenings pacing the house, unable to settle, I do something productive, something creative.  It’s no secret that art, in all its guises, can be cathartic and centering, but I protested, claiming that I wasn’t really the creative type.  I’m an engineer, we tend to be very left-brained, and the last time I did anything remotely arty was back at school.

However, I pondered what my friend had said, and I picked up a notebook and pen that was on the table next to where I was sitting.  I opened it up…and started doodling.  All of a sudden I was transported back to my school days when I used to draw little cartoons of and for my classmates.  Here’s one of them (circa 1999), that a friend has kept all these years, and sent me a photo of the other day (cringe!):

Really embarrassing doodle of me and my school friends, all with really bad 90's outfits on - think flared jeans, animal print tops etc.

Anyway, that evening I sat and drew my pair of  Baking. doodles…  It was fun to do, it whiled away an otherwise dull weekday evening, and when I snapped them and sent to the friend who suggested it, she seemed to think they were great!  I did another few over the next couple of weeks, and she pestered to me to share them more widely, so I started my Facebook page, and then later, my blog.  The feedback I get from my doodles is so positive – I’m rather bemused to find that apparently people think they’re funny – and I have come to realise that making people laugh is something which brings me a lot of pleasure.  I’ve also realised that in fact I AM creative…I am under no illusions regarding the artistic quality of my doodles, but I like to think that they’re endearingly shabby!  As for my subject matter…Beta Mummy is a caricature, but unfortunately I don’t have to employ an awful lot of artistic licence… Let’s just say that I can’t see myself running out of material anytime soon!

I am so thankful to have “found” my doodling habit, and my blog.  It is my little outlet, my escape, my way of reaching out and connecting with people through art and laughter.  I didn’t start out with any intentions whatsoever other than to fill in the voids of my evenings that were previously spent curled up on the sofa next to my husband.  I still miss that, but am thankful to have found something new and exciting that I never would have thought of doing if it wasn’t for him leaving me – it’s a silver lining to a very dark cloud.  And in the process of finding the world of blogging, and exploring my inner-illustrator, I am, bit by bit, finding out who I am, now, 13 years on from the person I was before I became one of two.

Meme with quote saying by Thomas Merton saying "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time"


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  • bridiebythesea 27/06/2016 at 7:24 am

    It was so lovely to meet you this weekend and great to read a bit more about you. I love your doodle from when you were younger, how wonderful that your friend kept it! I completely agree about the blog being something just for you, I think I started mine for similar reasons and it is so cathartic to have something away from being mummy xx #triballove

  • min1980 27/06/2016 at 7:33 am

    I read this when it first appeared on Lucy’s blog and loved it. So interesting to find out a bit more about you and I’m glad you rediscovered the doodling. Your pics are fab, and I love that one from the 90s. #tribe

  • The Mum Project 27/06/2016 at 7:40 am

    They are endearingly shabby! I read this on Lucy’s blog and loved getting to know more about you and your drawings! Still can’t believe how this all started, such an amazing story, would be a good one to tell when you are famous. ; )

  • MouseMooMeToo 27/06/2016 at 7:51 am

    You don’t need me to tell you that you’re brilliant, but you are. I also know you’ll scoff if I bandy about the term ‘inspiration’, but you’re that too. Very glad you picked up a pack of pens instead of a spliff 😉 xx

  • andanothertenthings 27/06/2016 at 8:08 am

    I always think humour exists because of heartbreak not in spite of it. I loved reading the story behind ‘you’ and I love your doodles.

  • powerporter 27/06/2016 at 8:15 am

    Wow it’s really powerful the use of blog as a therapy isn’t it! I love seeing your doodles I think they are hilarious and real picture of what motherhood can at times be like! Welldone for using a positive outlet in your time of need mumma xx

  • Sophia O'Sullivan 27/06/2016 at 10:02 am

    You are a wonderful , warm person. Very courageous. I am very pleased you are my friend in ‘real life’ I love your doodles. They help me in my dark times. Laughter is essential you create it. That is a truly awesome gift . Long may it continue x

  • Dr Mummykins 27/06/2016 at 10:17 am

    What I think you’ve done so well is mix creativity with total honesty and describe two characters that actually you can find in every single mother! We all entirely relate to every single post. As for the humour- your doodles make my day!! Was great meeting you (and thank god for your Tshirt. You became the Tribal beacon!)

  • Double the Monkey Business 27/06/2016 at 3:02 pm

    I am so glad that you stared your blog, your drawings always bring a smile to my face. I am sorry that the beginning of your blog was started through difficult times xxx

  • whitecamellias 27/06/2016 at 3:49 pm

    The reason that motivated you to start your blog was a very sad one but I’m very glad that you did it because you brighten my day every time you post. Your posts never fail to make me laugh and even nod along to the adventures of Beta Mummy. x #triballove

  • Laura: Adventures with J 27/06/2016 at 4:49 pm

    It is great that your friend inspired you to rediscover your creativity especially at such a difficult period of your life. I love the cartoon you did at school. I wish my doodles were that good! X

  • letyourlightshinemummy 27/06/2016 at 7:59 pm

    This is a wonderful post, you are incredibly talented, I really enjoy your doodles, and it’s lovely to get to know a bit more about you. x

  • ohlucy 28/06/2016 at 3:25 pm

    I love your posts and your doodles, so I am so happy that you found this! I love the doodle from when you were younger, I have a eerily similar cartoon doodle of my friends from when I was about 15! Lucy xx #TribalLove

  • themotherhubblog 28/06/2016 at 4:27 pm

    This is wonderful. You are so talented, so glad we are all getting to see your work.

  • Mummy Rules 28/06/2016 at 4:46 pm

    I was sat next to you at one of the #BML16 workshops, hello! Amazing that you found your creative side out this through doodling, your drawings are hilarious. It makes perfect sense to focus on something completely different and I’m sure it will lead on to bigger better things. Keep doodling! x

  • Squirmy Popple 02/07/2016 at 10:51 am

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to deal with the end of a long-term relationship when you have children, but it’s great that you were able to find something that’s just for you to help you get through it. Keep on doodlin’! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • justsayingmum 02/07/2016 at 11:27 am

    It saddens me that your doodles are a result of unhappiness but I am thrilled that you have this outlet – I’ve said it before and will say it again – I am officially your biggest fan! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • aliduke79hotmailcom 02/07/2016 at 7:55 pm

    Your doodles and your blog are brilliant. I am glad you have found a way to help you express yourself x

  • Sassy 03/07/2016 at 7:52 pm

    I’m truly sorry you had to go through that in order to find your creative side, but I’m so glad your friend pestered you! It’s great to know you in the blogging world! And even better to have met you in person! And your doodles keep us laughing always 🙂 big hugs xxx #PuddingLove #TribalLove

  • thefrenchiemummy 03/07/2016 at 8:34 pm

    Such a honest and personal start. I love that you explain where is all comes from. I love your doodles and so many posts I read from you were so funny!

  • Emma T (@Whatabout_dance) 03/07/2016 at 8:48 pm

    I wish I could doodle like you. Mine are just cubes and grasses. Boring! It’s great doodling (and encouragement from a friend) has brought you to this blog. So nice to be able to have a creative hobby

  • An imperfect Mum (@animperfectmum) 03/07/2016 at 9:05 pm

    What a brilliant friend and I am so glad she inspired you as you have a real talent! #puddinglove

  • Kelly Edwards 03/07/2016 at 9:15 pm

    That is so lovely that she kept the picture – it’s such a nice memory. I’m so glad you found doodling and are happy bringing a smile to other people’s lives. You definitely make me smile! 🙂 #triballove #puddinglove

  • laughing mum 04/07/2016 at 9:57 am

    I think your doodles are fantastic! they literally brighten my day (probably because they ring so true to my life lol) there will always be little surprises about ourselves that we find eventually – even if the circumstances aren’t always the best ones- and if you can find something you love an are good at then all the better! 😉 #puddinglove

  • thealohamummy 04/07/2016 at 1:41 pm

    A lovely insight, creativity bubbles in all of us, I’m so glad you allowed yours to shine through! #puddinglove

  • Rachel (Lifeofmyfamilyandme) 06/07/2016 at 8:50 pm

    I think your blog and doodles are great! It’s nice to find out about you and how you overcame heartbreak through your doodling and blog! Thanks for linking up to #puddinglove

  • A Mum Track Mind (@amumtrackmind) 07/07/2016 at 7:04 pm

    What a w@nker he must be, I’m so sorry that he did that to you. Writing, drawing, doodling and all that comes with it can be a fantastic outlet for emotions and definitely cathartic. It helps that you have this talent to amuse and story tell with your pictures and words. A winning combination I think! I think my love that you will soon find that you will be the one having the last laugh because only great things are headed your way from now on. Thanks for sharing your talent with us and for making us laugh and cry with you. #fortheloveofBLOG and #triballove xxx

  • Petite Pudding (@petite_pudding) 09/07/2016 at 2:07 pm

    It’s amazing how turning to something creative can help when life deals a truly shocking blow. What a great talent to have discovered – I have loved your drawings from the start and continue to do so. Like that old saying goes when life deals you lemons..#puddinglove


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