Write On! Features: Discovering Our Power Within by Irina Goncherenko and Liliana Hristova
By Irina Goncherenko and Liliana Hristova
Becoming a mum is full of contradictions; we are vulnerable and empowered at the same time. When our children are small, we question and evaluate everything we do: weighing up practicalities, remembering our forgotten passions and reconnecting with our inner child and creativity.
As mothers, we think about our children’s safety, learning, essentials, and quality time together. As homemakers, we worry about the cosiness of our home and having hot, healthy family meals ready. As wives/partners, we make sure we take care of one another and grow our relationship. As daughters, we feel responsible for our parents’ care. As working people, we often struggle to get through the day. Though, the motivation is, of course, making enough money to hold everything together. There are plenty of roles we play every day. One of them is just being ‘us’: with our own desires and talents, passions and wishes.
How do we find this person? How do we play all these roles together and balance them?
Since the moment we become mothers, most of us start a different life. We begin our journey of motherhood, but we’re also on our way to discovering our true selves, or beginning to create the ‘us’ we aspire to be. At times, being a mum can be overwhelming. We question everything we do. We worry if we’re doing enough, or too much. We feel guilty for missing precious moments when we’re away from our kids. We feel the constant contradiction of being lost in our new role. At some point, life is all about nappies, feeding and playing. Plus, all other roles require us to cook, clean and work. Of course, if all is well, our partners do their fair share. But juggling everything can sometimes feel too much, both physically and mentally. So, where do we find the power to keep going; the hidden source of energy that helps us deal with it all?
We search for something that will ignite us, bring joy and a sense of belonging, clarity, being understood, accepted and appreciated and reminisce about what it’s like to be a kid again, or find common connections; ways in which we can empower each other.
Children are naturally curious about so many things. They want to learn, to try, to experience. Kids’ ways of exploring life often awaken our inner child, who remembers what it was for us to discover the world. We tend to spend more time outdoors and pay attention to small details, like a crawling bug, or the colour of the stones. Learn dinosaur names and start singing nursery rhymes, literally ‘all day long.’ Express feelings using paints and brushes, dance movements, or writing. All of the above can spark our forgotten talent and bring out that inner child; the one who once dreamt of becoming an artist or musician, an actor or a scientist, or someone who can inspire others to follow their passion and lead by example.
Remembering and tapping into our inner child can be very powerful, especially when combined with empowering each other. We may find the answer to our forgotten or yet-to-be-discovered selves here!
Often, finding ourselves in the midst of motherhood duties, we can feel exhausted and lost. The support mothers can offer each other in that place is unbelievably strong and uplifting. Sharing everyday struggles and joys, learning tricks on how to deal with teething and feeding issues, laughing and understanding that all the mothers are going through similar patterns makes us feel better, giving us the energy to get through challenging times. During those ‘mum talks,’ more personal questions and answers inevitably arise. It can be likened to a therapy session. We realise our strengths and what brings us pleasure, fulfillment, and peace. We remember long-forgotten hobbies and skills, as well as remembering lessons we thought we’d forgotten. We remember stories of overcoming obstacles; usually when we try to help, not when we need help ourselves.
Lili and I (the writers of this piece), speak from experience. We were fortunate enough to meet each other about nine years ago, at one of our children’s playgroups, when our kids were just months old. Half a year later, we were thinking about our first book. The conversation started around inspirations and dreams and led to discovering a mutual interest and love for creative outlets, stories, poetry, writing and books. We truly did empower each other and we’re still empowering and inspiring each other today!
We’ve published three children’s books and created the concept (and the magic!) of a wonderful sculpture trail based on our latest story, Arty’s Eastbrookend Adventures, and we play active roles in our community.
For us, though, supporting and empowering each other goes far beyond working and creating stories together. It’s about learning from each other and discovering the power within us; letting our voices grow stronger and more confident as individuals. Sharing our life experiences and dreams, our compassion for others, our community and our environment is so important to us. As is looking for a deeper human connection, learning and looking for ways of creating a brighter, kinder and more harmonious future for our children and for ourselves.
Discovering that power within comes with its own range of emotions: joy, pride, doubt, guilt, love and many more. As we juggle the multitude of roles we play, we rarely have the luxury to ponder on how best to use our power and how to find time to realise what we can do with it. In moments like this, we allow ourselves to become lost in conversation with another person, regardless of how different their background, culture, status or age is to us, as it can only enrich our lives and strengthen our capacity for kindness, understanding and compassion.
For us, motherhood was the catalyst for a deeper way of looking at things. For others, a different experience might be what enables that shift. Discovering our power within may or may not be a solitary experience, and everyone finds their own way. It’s important to be mindful of how we channel empowerment. We have to accept we may not always find the best way, but are grateful anyway, and will continue to channel it through creativity and deeper human connections as best we can.
(c) Irina Goncherenko and Liliana Hristova, 2023
Irina and Liliana are the founders of Books By MILE. Visit their website here: booksbymile.co.uk
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There are plenty of roles we play every day. One of them is just being 'us': with our own desires and talents, passions and wishes.