Mothers, Muses and More - Gemma Leslie

Mothers, Muses and More - Gemma Leslie

A conversation on motherhood with Gemma Leslie - artist, designer and business owner (Food For Everyone). Make sure to check out Gemma's upcoming exhibition 'Multicultural Australia: Pantry Items' on from 20/7/24 - 3/8/24 at North Gallery, Gertrude St Fitzroy.



Do you feel comfortable with the identity of mother? 

Embracing the identity of motherhood has been a rewarding journey for me. It's like discovering a new layer of myself that I never knew existed. Through the highs and lows, I've found a sense of purpose and joy in nurturing and caring for my child. There's something incredibly special about being called "Mumma" and knowing that you're shaping a young life. It's a role I've grown into naturally, and it's become an integral part of who I am.



Was the transition to motherhood difficult? In what ways?

The transition to motherhood is undoubtedly one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences I’ve had! There are days when the weight of responsibility feels overwhelming, and I question if I'm doing everything right. It's a constant adjustment, a journey of self-discovery intertwined with the needs of my child. Just when I think I've found my footing, a new phase presents itself, and the learning curve begins. 



Do you think and read about parenting or do you just do it?

During the early stages of parenthood, I read some parenting books... Trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible to navigate the challenges ahead. While I still value the wisdom shared in parenting resources, I've come to rely more on my intuition as my child grows older. Occasionally, I tune into podcasts or engage in conversations with friends to exchange insights and perspectives on parenting. It's a continual process of learning and adapting, guided by both instinct and shared experiences.


Do you manage to fit in self care and fitness? How and when?

Balancing self-care and fitness amidst the demands of motherhood is essential! I attended Barre classes twice a week, I feel that is achievable! I usually go during my lunch break, as that's the only time i get to myself!

I also try and do daily (or whenever I can!) walks to pick up my son from Kinder. I love putting on headphones and listening to a podcast, then on the way home it's nice to chat to Francis about his day on the way home.


Do you have any parenting cheats/hacks?

While I haven't discovered any specific parenting cheats or hacks yet, I've learned to embrace flexibility and creativity in managing everyday challenges. Whether it's finding inventive ways to encourage healthy eating or devising fun activities to keep my child engaged, I'm always open to exploring new strategies that make parenting a bit easier and more enjoyable.



What has been the most challenging parenting/pregnancy/birth phase for you?

The period between 6 to 18 months were the most challenging months for me, particularly as I struggled with postnatal depression. Each day felt like an uphill battle, and it was a struggle to find joy amidst the overwhelming emotions. Thankfully with the support of loved ones and professional guidance, I gradually dug myself out of that hole! While the memories of that time are difficult, they serve as a reminder of the importance of self-care and seeking help when needed.


Do you have help from family? What type of help?

I'm fortunate to have the support of both sets of grandparents, who play an invaluable role in my son's life. Their regular visits and willingness to lend a helping hand provide me with much-needed respite! My Mum also looks after my son one day a week, which allows me to work. 


How have your friendships changed if at all?

Parenthood has inevitably reshaped my social circle, with some friendships evolving while others have faded. The demands of parenting and differing priorities have led to shifts in dynamics, but I've come to accept these changes as a natural part of life's transitions. While I cherish the memories shared with old friends, I've also formed new connections with fellow parents who understand the joys and challenges of raising children. It's a reminder that friendships, like life itself, are ever-evolving.


How has your relationship to your body changed?

Pregnancy and childbirth brought changes to my body, both physically and emotionally. From the initial struggles with maternity fashion to the lingering effects on my pelvic floor, there have been moments of insecurity and adjustment. However, I've learned to embrace my body's journey, celebrating its resilience and the miraculous process of creating life. While there are aspects I may wish were different, I've come to appreciate my body's strength and the newfound appreciation for its capabilities. It's a journey of self-acceptance and gratitude for all that my body has endured and achieved.



Images captured by Gemma of her son wearing Shrunk.

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