“I’m dead on my feet, I wish I could stuff you back in my belly!” I’ve shouted this deep down in my core more times than I can count during these years of learning to be a mother. Naturally, before I’m even done shouting I’m back to running around after my kids, but when I see their sleeping faces I understand the sheer boundlessness of love.
I love my children dearly as all mothers do, even though it often feels futile. I wish I could love them as tenderly as the hare does in Guess How Much I Love You. Unfortunately, more often than not I’m like a mother penguin who’s always screaming and running around manically scooping up her children after scaring them by flying into a rage. It feels extremely therapeutic to read stories like this in picture books about parent-child relationships, they give you space to relax and reflect on your own circumstances. I feel deeply influenced by books like this and they have made me want to accurately portray the conflicting emotions that I’ve perceived in parent-child relationships.
Monster Mum is the first picture book I have ever written. It tackles several subjects that have always been tremendously important to me: the possession of love, the sense of security, the way we both need and fear relationships, and how we should place these feelings and respond to them. What is love? How do we love? These age-old questions are still issues I contemplate every day. The entertaining anecdotes that crop up in daily life when you’re interacting with children have provided a never-ending stream of inspiration and creative motivation. People are moved by stories that are rooted in real life and I strongly believe that storytelling allows adults and children to better understand one another and gain a deeper sense of how their lives are closely connected.
I am a “monster mum” and I’m in the process of learning how to love without being anxious. I think adults often pretend to understand, they pretend to know more than children when in reality adults are just children with more experience. Growing up makes us recognize the harshness of the real world but we also lose our sense of courage in the face of adversity. I believe that when adults are willing to let go of the fact they’ve grown older and taller, they can go back to seeing the world through a child’s eyes and this doesn’t just give them the courage to face the world but also lets them return to a beautiful kind of simplicity. The world really is so big, it’s large enough that we can set ourselves free. We can unleash our courage on the world and know that love may bring unconditional happiness.
I hope that my fellow monsters like this story and that all the baby monsters can go through the world knowing true freedom and happiness.
- Chiang Meng-Yun: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/authors_info.php?id=194
- Monster Mum: https://booksfromtaiwan.tw/books_info.php?id=370