I read this fantastic article by Lynn Melnick on VIDA‘s site.
Quotes which truly struck me include:
“Indeed, when my husband announced we were expecting a baby, no one assumed he would suddenly write poems only about his children or that he was putting away his pen altogether. No one asks him if he feels guilty for taking time away from his children in order to write (which he does, as do I). And yet, I have been at my own dining table when, following discussions on what creative projects my husband is working on, guests have turned to me, only to ask how the kids are doing. ”
Why not ask both how their creative projects are going? Then ask both about their kids? In conversation, think about what makes that person human, happy, unique. Keep it equal.
“And while I love to talk about my children, and even parenting in general, there are countless other topics I find just as fascinating. And so the people who gave up on my brain the moment I had a baby’s brain in my uterus have gradually faded from my life. They are the same people who will insist, like some misdirected, outdated, faux-feminist automaton, that being a mother is the ruin of creative thinking and a woman’s independence. ”
This intrigues me because as much love and new-ness and excitement that comes with childbirth, it does seem that the world instantly “gives up on the brain” of a mother. How short-sighted! The beginning of motherhood heralds a time of initiation into deep knowing of essential processes of life. And yet, women do not lose everything we have been. We have our minds and the capacity to use them! We have immense creative power!! This is a perfect time to celebrate a woman’s creative power related to all aspects of her life, not simply the physical aspects.
“Fortunately, motherhood has taught me that I’m strong and capable of anything. It has taught me that I need to enforce and reinforce my daughters’ sense of pride in their intelligence, creativity and selves. . For my daughters to see me as a mom and a writer is a very wonderful thing to me; that they see that I am proud to be myself, above all else, seems crucial. My older daughter knows that when she gets into bed every night at seven o’clock, her mommy gets on the couch with a notebook and a computer. She is only six, yet she knows that being a mother and being a writer are two things that can happen in the same woman.”
Not only do we have our minds and the capacity to use them, we have bodies and minds capable of enduring bizarre, strenuous things and recovering from them. We have the responsibility to be strong in our Selves, especially to inspire our own daughters to be strong in their Selves. We can be wonderful mothers and successful artists, and whatever else is true to our own natures.
I’m feeling good and confident about my abilities, my ability to write and create art, and to hear the voices of others.