Mama Stories: Kayla Gale
We discovered Canadian artist, mama and lactivist Kayla Gale on one of our favorite inventions to draw inspiration from, Instagram.
It's safe to say we instantly fell in love with her artistry and how her continual experiences as a mother living in the prairies has influenced the way she paints and lives.
Earlier this week, we caught up with Kayla to get to know more her journey as a mother, her beliefs and her nurturing art.
Tell us about yourself, who you are, where you’re from, what you do?
I’m a mother and artist, living and working in the open spaces of a small farming community in the Canadian prairies. My days are spent caring for my two small children, and I do a lot of painting and running my tiny business in the evenings when my kids are asleep. I am happy, busy, and full of appreciation.
How has being a mother influenced your artistry?
Being a mother has inspired me to be gentle with myself. I don’t expect perfection in my work, and I focus on the joy of the process of creating. Children are so humble and teachable, and I try very hard to adopt that outlook in everything I do with art. I can laugh at my art. I can experiment. I’m not ashamed to hold something up and say, I made this! I could never have done any of those things before I knew my children. They have given me so much!
What are some things you are passionate about when it comes to parenting?
Oh my goodness, I’m so overly-passionate about everything! I love being a mom. I love breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and actively playing with my children. I am incredibly passionate about getting down on the floor and making messes with my kids. I’m passionate about slowing down and observing. I really believe that it is both quality and quantity when it comes to spending time with children. My husband and I try to be sure that we are the ones teaching our children, rather than TV shows, videos, or music (even though we do watch TV and listen to music), so we are passionate about being present and aware. Most of all we are passionate about instilling morals, values, and love that will last them a lifetime. What parent isn’t?!
"Being a mother has inspired me to be gentle with myself..."
Before your children, what did you perceive pregnancy and motherhood would be like?
I had no idea what pregnancy would be like! In fact, I think I may have been in a bit of denial.
My pregnancies were both really rough: I was so blessed to have happy and healthy babies, but I endured Hyperemesis gravidarum throughout both pregnancies and it was truly challenging. I was extremely surprised at how humbling pregnancy can be! I think it prepares us for motherhood because it teaches us that we aren’t the only ones that matter anymore.
Looking back, I believe that my perception of what motherhood would be was actually quite accurate. I knew that this season of my life would be incredibly challenging and messy, and I knew that I wanted to spend my days and the better part of my life with the people that I loved the most. I wanted my life to be full of moments, not things. I think I understood very deep down that my heart would be both completely full and a little broken. Watching your children grow is beautiful in that raw, painful kind of way.
What are some parenting tricks that you can’t live without?
Haha! This is a fun question. I am relatively new at parenthood so I am still learning all of the tricks! But one little thing that almost always works for my husband and me is to give choices. For example, “You gotta eat a vegetable before dessert, so what do you want to eat, broccoli or carrots?” kindof stuff. That works so well!
When you have a night-off (if you do), what can we catch you doing?
Sleeping. Haha! To be honest, on nights off you can catch me cuddling up to watch a funny movie with my husband and going to bed early. A hot bath doesn’t hurt either!
Was there anything you weren’t prepared for? How have you overcome it?
Oh yes! I was completely unprepared for how much of a mama bear becoming a mother would make me. I tend to be a shyer, more introverted person. By nature I lean towards avoiding confrontation. However, I will never forget the first time someone outside of my immediate family wanted to hold my newborn baby. I felt a visceral, primal strength deep down in my core and it made me believe all of those stories about mamas lifting cars to save their babies! I have learned how to balance that ‘claws-out mama’ feeling with more rational responses now (I hope, haha!) and I am really enjoying my new found… backbone? Being a mom has taught me to stand up for myself and my children. I feel so strong!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a mama-to-be?
To be honest, it would be: “Don’t read too many books.” There are so many conflicting opinions, experts, books and methods on the topic of motherhood! When it’s the middle of the night, baby is crying, and you feel alone, listen to your instinct, listen to your baby, and call your mama (or sister, grandma, best friend, doula, or someone in your tribe.) Maybe that’s bad advice! But that’s what got me through so many of those sleepy newborn bewildered and beautiful moments.