Motherhood can be isolating. Your heart expands beyond anything you could have imagined possible but, at the same time, your world contracts almost to the four walls of your home. Life, now, is scheduled to military precision around meal times and nap times and baby-or-toddler-safe activities. If like me you also work at home, and if you're new to your city, that can make for pretty lonely days. And culture? The arts? I am the mother of a 20 month old girl. Peppa Pig is all the culture I get. A LOT of Peppa Pig. Hours upon hours of Peppa Pig. Soon, I will start dreaming in snorts and giggles and "everybody loves jumping up and down in muddy puddles" (my fellow parents will know what that means). After all, it's not easy to navigate private galleries with prams and energetic toddlers and babies who suddenly need to be breastfed RIGHT NOW. It's much easier to put Peppa Pig on dvd. Again.
Enter Culture Mamas, the brain-child of two mums who get it. All of it. So they arrange pram-friendly, baby-friendly, toddler-friendly events that give us parents an opportunity to enjoy the arts, opening doors that would ordinarily intimidate anyone with milky spit-up on their sleeves and a little bottle of bubble-blowing liquid kept permanently in their purses.
Yesterday, Harry and I joined a handful of other mums and bubs on an art crawl through Brunswick with Culture Mamas, on a tour of public and private galleries, public sculptures, architecture and street art, led by Jane from Art Aficionado Tours. It was an insider's glimpse not only into the artworks themselves, but also into the arts scene in the local community, tossing in a little of the cultural and political history of the area for good measure. We were introduced to artists, agents and curators, who were all happy to talk about the works around them. The walk ended, as all good tours do, with coffee.
The sun shone, the wind cooled the day, my new boots neglected to give me blisters, and my baby behaved like the angel he is. I fell in love with a major work by Turbo Brown that was so far out of my budget it might as well have been a Picasso. But tonight I will dream about black swans and three white chicks and bold blue behind the river-reeds. Which will be a lot better than yet another dream about Peppa Pig.