What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
Becoming a mom gave my life a sense of purpose that I had been craving, and it also completely changed my creative life. Almost everything I create now relates to being a mother.
Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
On anti-bullying day I had a discussion with my son about why it means so much to me that he wear his pink shirt to school. I told him that I had been bullied very badly as a child, and so this day meant a lot to me. He turned to me and said “Why didn’t you just get a monitor to help you?” And I realized that in his world, he trusts implicitly that the people in charge will keep him safe. And that to me was the biggest parenting win ever.
Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What Strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?
I don’t even have words to describe how hard this has been. I am so grateful to have partnered with Dawn on this project, because there have been times when it has all been just too much for me to handle and I needed to step away for a while. Every bit of my experience and instinct told me NOT to talk about this stuff, and there has been a whole lot of fear and anxiety to battle through to do this.
What I have learned is that I need to get a whole lot better at asking for support. And I need to ask often and loudly. Because there is support available to me, when I stop pretending that everything is great and I am totally ok. It’s that first part of showing my vulnerable, aching heart that sucks. I have spent a lifetime covering up the pain, not willing to admit that it was there. It’s hard to re-learn how to be honest with myself and the people around me.
Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
You know that quote “If you want to heal the world, start by healing yourself”? That’s pretty much how this goes for me. Working on this project has shown up all the places in myself that need healing. Sometimes I get lost in the practical details so I can stay in my comfortable detached mental state and then a big reminder shows up to tell me to tune back into my heart and remember that the journey starts within.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
Tune into joy. When I think back on my day often the moments I am most grateful for are the simple moments with them. Laughing together as we watch The Grinch, making crafts or playing board games together. Having a cuddle before bed. These are the moments that make life worth living.
When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I love to write songs and stories, make art, go for walks in nature with my headphones on, and play poi. I also love curling up on my couch with a good fantasy novel and a cup of tea.
Joyelle Brandt is a creative mama who believes in the power of the arts to create social change. She is the author/illustrator of Princess Monsters from A to Z, and an accomplished singer/songwriter and speaker. Joyelle believes that her purpose in life is to be a beacon of light, and that the three most important things are love, kindness and gratitude. When she is not busy raising two rambunctious boys, she is most often found playing her guitar or covered in paint at her art desk.
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