If there is one thing that has gotten me through the very worst, longest, most poop-filled days of parenthood, it’s when another mom can relate to my struggles. Better yet, it’s when she makes me laugh about them. That’s why I am so grateful for talented — and honest — people like Helene Weston. The illustrator from Cornwall, England regularly shares impressive drawings on Instagram under the handle @helenetheillustrator, so that hot mess moms like me can be reminded that we aren’t alone, that it’s normal to be this tired, and that all of us sniff our baby’s butts in public.
“My Instagram feed was full of mums who seemed to be all loving life and motherhood,” she tells Babble, “and I thought, surely this can’t be the reality for a lot of parents?! What about all the crap stuff?? Like the loneliness of having a newborn, the overwhelming responsibility of keeping this precious little human being alive?”
Ahem, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. Because if there’s anything new moms who are drowning in baby poop and breast milk and exhaustion and guilt don’t need, it’s unrealistic expectations brought to them by newsfe on Instagram and Facebook that talk only about how glorious and easy motherhood is.
Perhaps the reason her drawings are so relatable is because Weston is in the trenches with the rest of us, trying to navigate the craziness of motherhood and that ever-elusive work/life balance. While she currently works part-time in marketing, Weston says she manages to find time for her artwork on days off.
“[On those days] I usually wear my PJs under my clothes to do the school run then jog back home (okay that’s a lie, I walk) grab a cup of tea and get cracking!” she shares. “The housework has definitely suffered but with a small person around, seriously what’s the point?!”
(As I currently sit at my computer, unshowered, drinking cold coffee and trying to ignore the piles of laundry on my couch and dirty dishes in my sink, I could not love her more.)
Weston’s drawings cover all the facets of motherhood that make it so gut-wrenchingly hard, yet also the best thing we’ve ever done. From this gem about our love/hate relationship with Play-Doh (meaning the kids love it and we hate it) …
To this one that addresses the age-old mom guilt rearing its ugly head on a daily basis …
To this hilarious sketch of all the types of underwear we pull on over the years …
… there’s hardly an aspect of everyday motherhood that’s left out. Some day, though, we realize that the exhaustion and the Play-Doh ground into the carpet and granny panties are all worth it when we send them off to school and realize how fast it all went and how lucky we are.
And, as this sketch shows, we surprise ourselves by wanting to grab them back and make them babies again.
And falls asleep if they get a chance to sit down …
And wishes to inflict pain on their spouse when they get to sleep all night long.
Thank you, Helene, for these masterpieces — and I don’t use that word lightly. Because every mom ne to be reminded that all babies, at some point, poop up their back, make their mommies question if they are fit for motherhood, and fill up those same mommies with a love they didn’t even know existed. (We just need to be reminded of that sometimes.)