Editor’s note: In the fall issue of The Creative Times, I previewed The Rainbow Way by Lucy H. Pearce, a positive, nurturing, practical book that will help you unlock your creative potential within the constraints of motherhood. I was glad to provide Lucy with advance praise for her work — and invited Lucy to share her story with the Studio Mothers audience, as I know you will relate. *In celebration, we’re giving away two free e-books! To enter, leave a comment below before 5:00 pm eastern time on November 15, 2013.* And don’t miss Lucy’s invitation to join her blogging carnival of creative women!
Many of us dream of becoming writers, or artists, or dancers. And then, one day, when babies come along, whether by accident or design, out go the books or paintings with the baby’s bath water — whether through busyness, lack of support, or the misguided belief that we should now dedicate ourselves entirely to our children.
I know. Because it happened to me.
There I was in No-Woman’s Land. Tattered creative dreams in one hand. Children in the other. With little support and no way of knowing how to move forward, how to reclaim my lost self and dreams.
Over the years I have created a new dream for myself: that of the creative mother — writer, artist, editor, and entrepreneur. Out of necessity and a need for sanity. Sometimes the balance has tipped further towards motherhood, at other times creativity. But both elements have been constants in my life. No matter how tired, how overwhelmed, I was never willing to relinquish either my almost-fulltime mothering role, or my creative work. It has been an adventure, and one for which I had few real-life role models.
When I first started out in motherhood, I kept comparing myself to other women who seemed content in their role as stay-at-home mothers, and concluded that I must be doing it wrong. I was happy and recharged when I had my creative time; impatient and mean when I didn’t. But this need, this urge, was not a whim. It would not go away. And so I learned, little by little, to honor it and build my life around it.
At the time I thought I was the only one feeling this way. But in researching my book, and talking to other mothers, I found I was not alone. We are not celebrated by our society. But we are here, wiping little bottoms and writing poetry. Making sculpture and breastfeeding. Writing books late at night and on the bottom of shopping lists. We are here. And we matter.
I wrote The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood for myself, for the mother I had been, and all the creative mothers who contact me every week feeling stuck and unsure, lost and confused about how to be both mothers and creative souls in this busy modern world. It came to me and demanded to be written. And so I scribbled notes on any piece of paper I had on hand, wherever I was, in doctor’s offices, car parks, and at the kitchen table. Read more