On Motherhood and Being an Artist

31 May
Portrait of my five children standing against a fence wearing their favorite outfits and holding their favorite things.

Two wonderful poets, friends of mine, recently became mothers. In the past week both confessed on FB that they had not written in at least a year or more! That made me think a lot about motherhood, and being a woman, an artist, and how our art is affected by our roles as females and mothers.

When I became a mother I also stopped writing. It wasn’t by choice, and I had the craving to write, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to the page. This was in the age before Facebook (1999), so I didn’t even have a chance to write self-gratifying observational blurbs to the world like we can today. I kept a sporadic journal, but it was a surface recording of events, nothing deep. I feel so guilty sometimes for not writing creatively then, but at the same time, I give myself a pass because so much energy was put into other creative ends— albeit “non artistic.” Also, I didn’t consider myself an artist back then either, like I do now.

In 2013 I hit a wall and I no longer had the luxury NOT to write. I had to write for my own sanity. I waited 14 YEARS to write poems again. I finally had some distance between whatever was impeding my creativity, and me. When I say distance, it wasn’t more than a pinky-width, but I finally had more than just a craving to write again. Writing was the thing that brought me back to myself. 2012 & 2013 were traumatic for our family, but I rediscovered poetry, and I feel that was God’s way of lighting a path for me out of that mess.

Thinking back, though, one of my biggest regrets is that I dropped the pen for so long. I extend grace to myself, for sure, and I don’t lose sleep over this, but it jabs me every now and then. How about you, artist friends? How has motherhood/marriage or otherwise impacted your creative life. ❤

Please let me know what you think of this poem. I love comments!

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