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Lucy: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood

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!

Lucy PearceMany 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.

The Rainbow WayAt 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.

I had just discovered the archetype of the Creative Rainbow Mother in one of my favorite books, Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. I had read the book countless times, but had never noticed that particular reference before. In her words I found what I was looking for: I was not a failed mother… I was a Creative Rainbow Mother. I wasn’t supposed to be good at noise, little children, and domesticity, I was supposed to be creating AND inspiring, not nurturing fulltime.

Our society idolizes the Good Mother, the Earth Mother, the loving, giving, devoted, nurturing mother. But all women are not she. Some of us are here to inspire, to bring color, madness, bursts of joy, and a sense of independence to our kiddies instead.

The MotherMotherhood, from pregnancy on through, is trivialized by our society: the physical endurance required, the emotional toll, the hard work, physical pain, and adaptation. It’s hard, hard, heroine’s work for any woman. We are all miracles. But society dare not tell us that, so it “nicifies” it, prettifies it, takes away our right to talk about the bad bits, the hard bits, the mundane drudgery of it, by making us the “bad mother” if we don’t lap up every bit silently.

This book is about breaking that silence, finding our magic again, busting open the lie of the bad mother, reigniting your creative spirit, helping you to weave time into your life to explore this, supporting you in finding joyous ways to create with your family and alone. But most of all it is about you, all of you: recovering you, discovering you, celebrating you — your light and your dark, of helping you to weave it together within your own life circumstances, your own female body and brain. It holds a torch to show the path of creativity, what it looks like when you are in the midst of motherhood, and how to find your own unique way through it.

The Rainbow Way is a voyage of discovery within a safe, loving circle of more than 50 other creative mothers who are journeying too: visual artists, writers, potters, dancers, performers, crafters, professionals and hobbyists, mothers of one child and five, mothers with babies and mothers whose children have grown, all share their experiences of creative motherhood. I am so deeply honored that it contains contributions from a number of my biggest heroines, including Pam England, Jennifer Louden, and Leonie Dawson.

UnfurlingIt is a beautiful tapestry of mother’s voices, voices that often go unheard in our world. Which is why the book launch (November 20 to December 11) will be a blogging carnival of creative mothers, which I’d love you to get involved with. I am so passionate about supporting creative mothers in every way I can — and how better than to help to promote them and their work, whilst promoting my own! You can find out more here. And even better, all participants are entered into a draw to win one of five e-copies of the book!

The Rainbow Way will published as a paperback and e-book in late November 2013. Read an extract, listen to an audio, sign up for the carnival, and find out what others are saying about it at The Rainbow Way. Signed copies with a one of my vibrant greetings cards and exclusive access to a private Facebook Group for creative mothers are available to the first 200 customers who order here.

*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.*


Lucy H. Pearce is the mother of three home-birthed children, now ages 8, 5, and 3, and lives on the south coast of Ireland. She is the author of four books, including Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle; Reaching for the Moon: a girl’s guide to her cycles; and Moods of Motherhood. She is contributing editor at JUNO magazine, and creator of the Happy Womb for empowering women’s resources. She blogs on creativity, mindfulness, and motherhood at Dreaming Aloud. She is a vibrant painter of lost archetypes of the feminine, which can be seen and purchased here.

46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Not a mother yet, but I work in childcare… One thing that you said about motherhood, is that society ”nicefies it”, and it just really struck me. In any arena where you are supporting or nurturing children, it is nicefied. Looking forward to getting this book, and sharing it with the parents and staff alike in my workplace. Thank you. 🙂

    November 7, 2013
  2. Oh Lucy and Miranda, This is right up my alley, in fact, this IS my alley. Lucy, I am so thrilled to find, pre-order, hope to win, will promote, will share to my audience of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice- your book and your work. I would love to send you a copy of my book, which was born of the longing we both share. In writing/righting myself through creative acts while mothering, I have made so many delicious connections. And learning about your work furthers those. Please let me share the work of your book. And I too have a blog series I’d love you to participate in. I will check yours out right now and see how we can weave a tapestry of all of this work. Congratulations! All my best and with love, Suzi

    November 7, 2013
  3. Your book sounds wonderful, Suzi, looking forward to reading it. Delighted to have met in this forum – thank you Miranda for providing this space and forum! Lets be in touch, Suzi – would love you to be involved in the Carnival of Creative Mothers, and to hear more about your blog series.

    You can find me on Twitter at @DreamingAloudNt

    November 7, 2013
  4. Okay I love this! I feel so like her!

    November 7, 2013
  5. Thank you, Lucy, for writing this book and being the mentor that so many creative mothers need. It couldn’t come at a better time for me. I can’t wait to read it. You are an inspiration!

    November 7, 2013
  6. In the few minutes it has taken me to read this…my two year ran in circles pushing his car making so much racket I couldn’t comprehend some sentences. Right now he’s slinging dog food around the kitchen floor which I’ll have to clean…again. I had a mini breakdown earlier because he wouldn’t nap which means…my time…the small window of time that I have to read, write or paint…is gone. And I feel the panic rising…so needless to say this is a book I truly NEEd to read. Because I feel like I’m going crazy…but I have to sweep right now.

    November 7, 2013
  7. i would so love this book she,s a wonderful lady xx

    November 7, 2013
  8. I would adore to read this book! Thank you for the giveaway!

    November 7, 2013
  9. Kim #

    I would love to read your book Lucy! Thank you for writing on this important topic. I’m re-claiming my creative work and time as a first time mom to a 16 month old. I look forward to becoming part of your growing community of mothers who are balancing their creative life and family life.

    November 7, 2013
  10. Amy #

    I NEED to read this book. Feel like I can so relate!

    November 7, 2013
  11. “…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.” Yes. I do this often. Torn between being there, everyday with my son and wanting to write my heart out everyday, as well. Your book sounds like something I’ve been looking for. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

    November 7, 2013
  12. Thank you for giving a voice to this struggle. I have a 5 year old and a 3 month old and am on the brink of a creative explosion and panicking that I won’t be able to find the time to let this beautiful stuff out!

    November 7, 2013
  13. Sherry #

    “Our society idolizes the Good Mother, the Earth Mother, the loving, giving, devoted, nurturing mother. But all women are not she. Some of us are here to inspire, to bring color, madness, bursts of joy, and a sense of independence to our kiddies instead.” ~ not sure if I agree with this statement, as if one who tries to devote time to nurture her kids is devoid of those other/latter qualities. Some of us, indeed, have felt called to be *all of the above! What does ring true is the merely “accepted” feeling, most likely, all mothers have~ that we lose time for ourselves. Period. Maybe, you open up the notion that we have permission to balance things better. I think you’d be surprised at how many feel as you do, including grandmothers! Looks like an interesting read.

    November 7, 2013
  14. Amber #

    Hooray! This book sounds so perfect for the stage of life I’m in with kids and pent-up creative energy. I’m looking forward to reading and learning from other creative mothers.

    November 8, 2013
  15. Fiona #

    Oh I need this book in my life! I am exactly that woman, struggling to keep my temper and my sanity while making jigsaws or playdough when I’d rather be writing and creating beautiful things for myself. I love my children but can’t cope with that disappearance of self that seems to be happening to me. Thank you so much for showing me this is normal, and that there are ways to deal with it!

    November 8, 2013
  16. Oh wow, looks like it’s the perfect gift of choice this coming Holidays 🙂

    November 8, 2013
  17. Hello and thank you for this. I don’t usually comment on things.. just lurk and read in hopes of gaining some wisdom from artists who are mothers. I am a painter who hasn’t painted in over 2 years. I have an 18 month old daughter and just found out I’m pregnant again. I love being a mom but know that I need to find a way to be true to my creative self in the process. I would love to read your book!

    November 8, 2013
  18. Mickey #

    I think I found this at the perfect time, this makes so much sense to me! I’ve been struggling with motherhood and my identity lately. I LOVE being creative and realized I haven’t done anything creative in quite a while, and am trying to get in at least weekly sessions of creativity. Thank you for this! I look forward to the book release!

    November 8, 2013
  19. Hello and thank you for writing this. I don’t usually comment, just lurk and read hoping to gain some wisdom from artists who are mothers. I would love to read your book. I am a painter who hasn’t painted in over 2 years. I have an 18 month old daughter and just found out I’m pregnant again. I love being a mom but need to learn how to be true to my creative self in the process.

    November 8, 2013
  20. Jessica #

    Sounds like a good read! I struggle everyday to be a full-time mother and to be who I was before. It’s hard to balance the two!

    November 9, 2013
  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you! A friend from a Facebook group just dropped me the link and I immediately recognized your name, Lucy. I just didn’t remember where from. And then it clicked! Red tent! We live in a small coastal community and have Red Tent here regularly. It would be exciting to share this journey with other creative mothers. I just watched a wonderful Australian documentary “The face of Birth” and I am looking forward to daily re-birthings together with other wonderful women. Thank you for being my un-biological sisters.

    November 10, 2013
  22. I am not only a Mother to my 3 birth children, but an Artist Mother to the at risk youth I teach art to at our local Juvenile Detention Center. I have been struggling lately with my own creative voice as I am tapped out of giving and inspiring the artist children around me, So thrilled you wrote this book! Bless you!

    November 12, 2013
  23. Mary Ann Wettler #

    I’d love to catch a few moments to read this book. I so desire to be creative, but there are always things to do. Help!

    November 13, 2013
  24. This book is exactly what I have been searching for. The artist mother faces difficulties that other mothers might not relate to. I absolutely need my creative time to paint. After having my daughter I lost myself even though I knew who I was, the artist, it wasn’t there any more. Desperately I wanted to be the earth mother, to be so happy just being a mother doing all housewife things and feeling fulfilled. It wasn’t that way at all. Instead of suppressing who I was I took the journey to find myself again.

    November 13, 2013
  25. I cant wait to read this book, exactly what I am looking for.

    November 13, 2013
  26. I am a creative mother myself and this resonates with me!

    November 13, 2013
  27. What a fabulous gift – the creative gems that you’re sharing with us. As the mother of five I’ve had plenty of times when juggling life and creativity have been difficult. A voice in the wilderness letting us know that we can do it, that we’re not alone, that there are others struggling as we are. Not only am I mother, wife, business owner and karate instructor but I also teach art to children, run a writer’s group, help with our local art gallery and I’m on a one-woman mission to increase the arts in our local town. I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you so much for writing it!

    November 13, 2013
  28. This looks like my kind of book, mother of 4, graphic designer, I struggle to find the time to create and could do with lots of guidance and inspiration and anything I can learn how to get into the zone quicker, be more productive, be inspired and not lose sight of both important roles in my life as mother and designer. Thank you.

    November 13, 2013
  29. As a mother and sculptor, I need to read this book.

    November 13, 2013
  30. Lizz #

    “Out of necessity and a need for sanity.” Mm-hmm… I’ve wrestled with this so–especially since my creative work takes me out of the house. I can only tuck some of it into the corners of time I have at home. I get so frustrated trying to manage it all–all at once…

    November 13, 2013
  31. Kris #

    The book sounds inspiring and inspired, and I look forward to reading it. Both mothering and creating art are undervalued in our culture — or are viewed as “sweet” things that only a few can do. I have found that having two kids has only increased my desire to write, has made me more accountable for the time I have to do it, and has helped me appreciate the value of creative work. Because, ultimately, my two little ones — like all kids — are born artists, born in love with poetry and painting, born knowing that storytelling and sculpting (even when done with mud) is an important part of every day, and a vital part of life.

    November 13, 2013
  32. This book is just what I’ve been looking for. I became a stay-home-mother 11 months ago, and have struggled since to hold on to my creative identity as a writer and filmmaker. It’s been a lonely struggle, but I’ve managed to carve out creative time for myself during the baby’s naps and at night. I have days where I feel like a “bad mom” for not being able to be fully happy just tending the baby, and others where I feel like I’ll never reach my creative goals until my kid has grown and left the nest. It’ll be nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with this, and read any advice you have to offer.

    November 13, 2013
  33. I would love an opportunity to read this book! Even if I don’t win the giveaway, I will definitely be purchasing a copy for myself. Thank you!

    November 13, 2013
  34. Rachel #

    I’ve heard about honoring our creative selves but honestly could use some guidance on how to go about it. I resonate with feeling grumpy without my creative time! Would love to win the book!

    November 13, 2013
  35. Megan #

    Looks like a great book. Would love to win!

    November 13, 2013
  36. I would delete every comment here just for me to stay on top and win this book!!!!! I am a desperate stay-at-home mom with a nearly two-year old son and will be delivering another baby boy by December 1st week!! I hope I’ll win. hihi

    November 14, 2013
  37. I’d love to win a copy of this book. I struggle with working full time, being a mom, trying to be creative, and desire to be an entrepreneur. I’ve only painted 1 painting in the last 5 years and someone just bought it, would love to paint more, just can’t seem it balance it all.

    November 14, 2013
  38. I’m constantly trying to find the balance between being a mother and being a writer. This book sounds like just what I need!

    November 14, 2013
  39. JBH #

    This sounds like a wonderful book!

    November 14, 2013
  40. That sounds like just what I need. I struggle to try to find time/energy to have creativity while working and raising a two-year old with my hubby. I miss having a creative/intellectual outlet. I have my blog, which helps, but any ideas are appreciated.

    November 14, 2013
  41. Kelli Shugart #

    Oh please throw me this lifeline! I NEED this book:)

    November 14, 2013
  42. I would love to read more, this looks a fascinating book. Luckily I have 3 creative girls who have benefitted from my balancing act of creative parenting.

    November 15, 2013
  43. Creative mamas all, I have been simply blown away by your enthusiasm, your stories, your courage, your beings – and hope you are all reassured to know how many of us there out there. You are not, we are not, alone in our experiences and feelings of creative motherhood. I am sorry I have not been able to respond to each of you personally, I have been so busy doing the behind the scenes admin for the blogging carnival of creative mothers which starts on Wednesday.

    I have asked Miranda that we up the giveaway prizes to five copies. I am sorry not everyone can win a copy, but I am really glad that you know that The Rainbow Way is there for you whenever you need it to support, encourage and inspire – as a gift to yourself, to put on your Christmas list, get from your library… and if you buy from me you join an ever-growing supportive private Facebook group for creative mothers to nurture you further.

    November 16, 2013
  44. Thank you to everyone for entering our giveaway, and for your enthusiasm. This is what we call TRIBE, ladies! The five winners are:

    Hilary Blackwood
    Lisa Marie Tsering
    Angie Briggs Johnson

    To receive your free e-book, please e-mail Lucy at Enjoy!

    November 18, 2013

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