Creativity and Motherhood
How Being a Mom Has Shaped and Not Shaped My Creative Soul
I have a confession to make. I started blogging over a year ago to find my voice. To unload and dump all the words in my brain that have been eating tiny holes into the fiber of my being for decades. My creative outlet. I have filled pages, some published and others collecting cyber dust in unopened files, on an irregular basis. I nervously submitted one piece to a local publication and it was accepted. As I wait to see my words in print, I am still trying to figure me out. Like a blimp banner across my subconscious, the question, who do you "think" you are paralyzes me, instead of answering the question of who are you really.
When I look at my social media presence, I usually start my bio with mom, mother, mother of four, and even though this is what I am, I have never felt like this was the sole descriptor of me. It is generally followed by aspiring writer, artist, graduate student, and more. I actually struggle with the pressures and often self-inflicted balancing act expected of mothers, and sometimes I use the label as an excuse to continue to let the words feast on the tiny parts of my mind without release. Don't misunderstand me; I love my children, with every part of my being, but motherhood is like a purposeful stain on a white dress that everyone knows is there, and it's never coming out. It may fade as our children grow but it is ever present, sometimes visible, and has seeped through the surface and stained the skin below. I wear my stain proudly, like a badge of honor, but without all the glamour and prestige.
This is not mental health or anxiety, or even fear. It is the creative mind under control, masking whatever ideas are seeding inside of it, made of beauty and light. And then I have to change a shit filled diaper to be brought back to my truth; I have young children and the luxury of leaving, and making time for me and possibly writing for hours, is limited 'til after 7 PM hopefully, and during planned excursions sans children, provided the right sitter is available. I thought my motherhood would be a source of inspiration at all times, but there are moments when I blindly step back hoping the small peep hole I have opened into my life doesn't invite the wrong type of attention, whatever that means. I don't remember who I was without children and since I have been a mother for nearly half of my life, one would think that I couldn't imagine it any other way. Wrong. Though I appreciate every cuddle, kiss, first moment, and growing pain, even the hormonal pains of ushering my oldest turn into womanhood (I am exaggerating, I literally have done nothing to deserve these amazing humans), I yearn for the day I can sleep in. I yearn for a naked room where I can sit bra-less and write or paint anytime of the day. I yearn for lazy mornings with my partner, lying in his arms enjoying a youth we did not share. I yearn for visits and phone calls from grown children, coffee and dinners, spa dates and weekends away.
I know, I sound ungrateful. Mom guilt on various platforms is a real thing. I should be mindful of the women who want, but cannot have, children, or those who have lost children. I know, I really shouldn't be complaining, if that is what "this" is. But I am peeling back layers (years of who and what, maybe and no), and in doing so, I am exposing unprotected layers of skin in places where it hurts more than others. The creative mind works in mysterious ways. Whether it be the pictures I take, the rooms I decorate (even with a three year old aspiring Picasso who has discovered hidden canvases on walls behind furniture), the parties we plan, or the crafts we make, when we can't create for creation's sake, we find ways to fill this void and I know I am not alone. I share a history with other women who like me yearn for the things that make us romantically human, ethereal, and goddess-like. Next time you see me or any mother with a snot stained shoulder, remember you may be in the presence of the next great writer, regardless of the crusty booger accenting my grey sweater.