If you’re a parent, and a fan of social media, then chances are you have chanced upon the wonderful Sketchy Muma and her beautiful drawings depicting the ups and downs of motherhood. I first discovered Anna’s work when my little Button-Pusher was about two, and her pictures about pregnancy and those heady newborn days brought back such memories. I became a fan immediately. I asked Anna, who’s from Cornwall, whether there’s a little Button-Pusher in her life:
Mrs Baffled: Anna tell me a little about your work before and after becoming a parent.
Anna Lewis: I have done pretty much every job under the sun from painter and decorator, call centre, teacher etc. I became a self-employed illustrator a few years before having my daughter (www.annalewisillustration.co.uk). My self-employed work was erratic so it made sense for me to be a stay at home mum for a few years doing the odd self-employed thing at weekends. Although I have built up ‘Sketchy Muma’ whilst being a stay at home mum and now that has grown quite a bit so I am a self-employed SAHM.
MB: My daughter is now 4, but I started blogging when she was a toddler, and getting my head around the various challenges that come with that age. Can you tell me a little about your family?
AL: I have a three year old daughter. I find three a lot easier than two as her language is really developing and so she is less frustrated. Also I love their imagination at this age as it’s so free and uninhibited. It is hard work but worth it.
MB: Do you ever find it a bit of a struggle living with a threenager?
AL: The usual elements are frustrating, getting out the door, putting shoes/coats on etc but usually when I am in a rush or trying to do something else at the same time. My daughter is three and three quarters, and getting dressed to go out the door is easy than even a couple months ago, so although it’s frustrating she is learning all the time.
MB: Do these years make you smile too?
AL: Yes, I actually really like this age, apart from the meltdowns!
MB: Does having a little Button-Pusher of your own make you sympathetic to other parents when you spot a terrible two moment?
AL: Yes definitely, I think when your child is having a meltdown you can feel a bit self-consious but we are all in it together and most glances from parents are ones of solidarity and understanding (or people have really forgotten this stage!). I am yet to meet a toddler that has not had a meltdown and I think it’s a pretty normal part of their development.
MB: Any moments in particular stand out for you?
AL: I remember most melt downs at two involved always wanting to wear the same pink leggings which had to be washed at some point. It was frustrating but I always try to remember a two year old’s brain is radically different to an adults, so although some of their wants seem bonkers to us, it’s big in their world (still very frustrating though!!!).
MB: Does your daughter push your buttons more when you’re tired, busy, or hungover?!
AL: Yes, I am really grumpy with lack of sleep so have a lot less patience then. And toddlers and hangovers are pure hell!
MB: What about the happy buttons they press like pride or love?
AL: I am really proud of how sensitive my daughter is becoming, she can be very kind and gentle, and she is really gentle with little babies now.
MB: Do you think the button-pushing will change as we and our kids age?
AL: I imagine there will always be challenges but they just change as they get older. I try to remember even as adults we are all very different characters and have different needs, and it’s trying to understand each other as individuals and how everyone can get along within the family unit. I remember having a big energy dip at 4pm as a child and my mum would just leave me to be quiet with a drink and snack and I am just the same now! My daughter is exactly the same but if someone caught her at that time they would just think she was grumpy but it’s all about timings! I am sure there are many power struggles to come but I guess that’s part of the drive for independence, and quite normal.
MB: I’m pretty certain I still drive my mum mad! Is that just a mother / daughter, parent / child thing, maybe just the ones we love the most etc….
AL: I think probably the deeper the bond the more you have invested and so if things go a bit pear shaped it will affect you more. As a mum I just try to be consistent and weather the storms as I recognise a lot of myself in my daughter and know sometimes she just feels thing really passionately. My partner is very laid back so he balances us out! Even though I have had lots of compliments on my sketchy muma work, a compliment from my mum means the most so yes my mum still has power over me!
MB: If you had one piece of advice to offer to parents of toddlers having their buttons pushed, what would it be?
AL: Probably to not take it personally. I think a toddler’s brain must be seriously overheating at times processing so much new information so rapidly, and nothing they do which may upset you is deliberate. It’s easy to say that with perspective though so also taking a small bit of time out is really vital to get perspective! Although my daughter is only three, I do notice lots of changes all the time as she develops, which makes all the hard work worth it. And remember, you are doing a great job!
You can also buy her beautiful prints on Etsy