Motherhood Portfolio

The Invisible Labour of Motherhood Series

It’s something that has become increasingly relevant during the last 18 months of the pandemic. Many women have taken on a disproportionate amount of the additional invisible labour that arose from the lockdowns and school closures. I wanted to show how this invisible labour, although invisible to the outside world, is very much witnessed and imprinted on the minds of our children. It shapes and forms their own ideas and expectations of who they will (or will not) become. I find this a really poignant perspective because whilst I begrudgingly accept my fate in this pandemic, it’s only when I consider the impact on my daughter’s expectations of herself as a girl/woman that it makes me want to change what she sees.

I set up the camera at the height of my 5-year-old daughters eye-line and set about taking a series of images that documents the unseen labour that takes place in households across Britain every day. Using a tripod to ensure the frame stayed static I took multiple shots of me doing typical household chores, which I later composited in Photoshop removing myself from the frame. Making myself invisible. It hit home that as I made myself invisible my daughter was witnessing and internalising this as a way of being every day (obviously without yet realising that what she sees is neither “seen” or valued by society). I decided to call the series When I Grow Up as it is often something my daughter says as she watches me “When I grow up I want to be like you mummy”. Which for me brings home the responsibility I have in modelling to my daughter the kind of woman she can become.

Isolation 2021 Series

Born out of the circumstances I found out that my daughter must isolate at home for 10 days following a child testing positive for covid-19 at her weekend club. My first thought was one of panic as I knew that she would now take up a significant part of my day and make my project submission a little more challenging to complete. I then considered the idea of recording the mundanities of motherhood. The reality of 24 hours in isolation.

These images document the time from when we took our lateral flow tests yesterday evening through our first full day of this isolation period. Much of the day was the usual mundane parts of everyday life mixed in with homeschooling, play, playing chase and general mess-making. The space is no longer our own whilst she goes to school, she inhabits every inch of the house and our personal space. My only escape is the bathroom and loo but even there she forces notes and drawings under the door as I bathe. By the afternoon I feel much like the toppled chipmunk amongst the brightly coloured tiles. 9 more days to go….