This blog has its origins in love and resentment. In other words, mom feelings.
When I was young, I knew I wanted to be an artist of some kind. I wrote stories and poems, acted, drew costumes for characters in favorite novels. This drive to create lasted longer for me than it does for many; I studied creative writing and theater in college before going on to the more “practical” path of studying literature in an English PhD program. Like many, as I grew up, I slowly put away artistic ambitions.
The sense that creativity is something to be packed up and put away as a rite of adulthood has only increased as I’ve become a mother to two little girls. As I’ve written elsewhere, making art is often seen as narcissistic or selfish, traits we find particularly monstrous in moms.
Even as a little girl, I think I had a nervous hunch about what motherhood might mean for creativity. It always bothered me that my mother, being loving, would say to my sister and me that we were the best thing she had ever done. What if I wanted to do something else really cool, I wondered.
Too, I remember telling my high school art teacher Ms. Eliot that I never wanted to have children–this was one of my many intentionally provocative statements at the time. An artist, and, if I remember right, a mom herself, she said something along the lines of “that would be too bad, you’re a person with curiosity.” At the time I wasn’t sure what it would mean to mother this way. Sometimes I still don’t.
Like so many mothers I know, parenthood for me has come with a feeling of loss. The loss of a sense of self, the loss of time to create, the loss of one identity to another that society and the children themselves insist should dominate.
This blog is my attempt to think through the problem of creativity and motherhood. For myself. For anyone else who finds it helpful. Hi there.