Hello, I am Paula Kuka.
For 13 years, I had a pretty exciting career as a landscape architect and lived and worked in London and Shanghai before eventually moving back to Australia and settling down in Sydney.
My son was born in 2015; a placid bundle of sweeping blonde hair and fat rolls that filled my heart with joy. But suddenly the world seemed to have shrunk to the size of our inner-city Sydney terrace house. I thought motherhood would completely fulfill me. No one warned me about the boredom. I had no idea I would feel so consumed. With my family living on the other side of the country, a baby that didn’t sleep and my husband working long hours, I was exhausted and I felt incredibly isolated.
With slight reluctance I started freelance landscape architecture and illustration when my son was just over a year old. Torn between my desire to be the best possible mum and my own emotional needs for mental stimulation, I set up an illustration business, working in the evenings and during his nap time on my digital creations.
Our family grew again when our daughter was born and not long after that we moved back to my hometown Perth, Western Australia to be nearer to family and friends. During that early, hazy and intense time as a mother to two I started drawing cartoons as a way to document our days. When I posted to Instagram a drawing about my overwhelming feelings of guilt, comments flowed in and my burden suddenly felt lighter. I realized what a powerful thing it was to acknowledge and express these feelings. People told me they felt validated by seeing their own emotions represented.
My journey on Instagram has been a whirlwind that has opened up opportunities I never could have dreamed of. I have created content for Facebook and Google, I’ve been interviewed by Kelly Clarkson about a drawing of mine that went viral globally, and I landed myself a weekly column and cartoon in PLAY Magazine for The West Australian newspaper.
My latest project is my book ‘Mumlife’ which is being published by Tiller Press/Simon & Schuster and will be out in September 2020.
And as for the future, I’ve now garnered a wonderful audience on social media and I plan on continuing to use my platform to bring humour and warmth to the emotional roller-coaster of parenthood.