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!
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.
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.
Motherhood, 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.
It 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.