As a stay-at-home mom, Meredith Bartolo Pappas discovered that doodling about the “ridiculous moments” she witnessed daily with her kids became a way to make time for herself.
The mother of two was a teacher for more than a decade when she decided to become a stay-at-home mom, a decision she said she was “lucky and thrilled” to be able to make. She told HuffPost that she began missing teaching, but found a therapeutic outlet through putting pen (or pencil) to paper and illustrating her life as a mom and the funny day-to-day moments many parents know all too well.
“I started doodling them and realized they were keeping me connected to myself ... and helping me get through each day,” she said.
Bartolo Pappas, whose kids are 3 years old and 8 months old, likes to illustrate these relatable experiences during “whatever stolen moment” she can find during the day, like when her oldest is drawing or when she’s nursing. She posts the cartoons on Instagram, where she also gets lots of feedback from other moms and dads.
“It feels really wonderful to know we’re all in it together and we’re all going through these things,” she said. “People will send me messages saying, ‘Yep, this happens to me, too.’ Or when I show some of my friends ... they say, ‘Yep, we’re all going through this.’”
She said her doodle about the impossibility of finishing a phone call with kids around has especially generated a lot of funny and candid feedback.
“You just can’t have a phone conversation,” she joked.
When asked if she had advice for other parents struggling with their roles as moms and dads, Bartolo Pappas said it’s important to have a solid support group (whether that’s online or in-person). She also recommended that parents find an outlet that allows time for themselves, even if only for a little while.
“Find that thing that keeps you connected to yourself,” she said. “It’s really easy to disconnect from yourself as a parent because you’re so busy with your kids. Having that thing that keeps you connected and keeps you laughing ― these moments can get to you, but they can also be really funny.”
See more of her work below.