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In defense of parenthood

childhood

Over the weekend, Australian newspaper The Age published a strong and concise personal essay by Damon Young on how parenthood can actually enhance creativity, rather than serve a fatal blow:

Children are valuable, not simply for their own sake (even if this is the most important reason), but for their contribution to art. Parenthood affords insights and skills for the creative life – it’s not a distraction, but an inspiration and education.

For example, as the parent of a verbose, energetic little toddler, I’m more productive than when I was single. The reason for this is simple: I’ve learned to work with less. Dealing for months on end with sporadic working hours and flagging energy, I became accustomed to opportunistic work: getting pen to paper, whenever or wherever I had the opportunity. He’s asleep in a cafe? Great, time to finish off that chapter! He’s absorbed in Lego? Brilliant, I can catch up on important emails! Put simply, parenthood has disciplined me….Parenthood is also a font of extraordinary, lingering memories. In watching my son mature, I’m constantly faced with my own childhood, and the recollections of my parents. This is an incredible resource for a writer; a continuing, shifting pageant of impression and emotion. This can be confronting, no doubt – but it’s an extraordinary creative cache.

It’s a nice confidence booster. Read the full piece here.

(That’s a photo of mine. I’m a complete amateur, but I find that digital photography is a rewarding way to blend motherhood and creativity. For more on how a pro does just that, read Bec Thomas’s interview below. And many thanks to my dear friend Toni Small, who visited recently and gave me a long-anticipated mini workshop on photographic prinicples and training the eye.)

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. well that’s good news! and i suspected it anyway. kids are time chewers, but they are definitely inspiring.

    July 7, 2008
  2. Kate Larson #

    Love the photo Miranda. The arc leads to some sassy sneakers.

    July 7, 2008
  3. It all boils down to your viewpoint, doesn’t it? If you view your work at home as a boring and meaningless distraction, then that’s what it will become. But if you have a vision for your family and for your home that makes use of your creative talents, then you not only will be able to nurture your own creativity, but you will also be able to create an environment where anyone who enters your home — including your family — will be inspired to live well.

    July 10, 2008

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