Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Writing and mothers

A woman can't really achieve her greatest artistic goals/potential if she has children. I've heard some version of this (or wondered about it) many times. Most recently during a writers workshop (in conversation outside the actual workshop).

Now that I'm a mother of two hearing something like that is a blow. It feels like a death sentence for my dreams. Could it really be true? Am I, as a mother, forever doomed to achieve less, be lesser?

Of course it's not true that we mothers are lesser or that our work is somehow inadequate. But it is very hard to argue the point with the perception that so few women writers (and of course I focus on writers) reach the highest levels after motherhood.

Unless you count Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Edwidge Danticat. (Note that I got in world-renowned, award winning writers and that was just thinking of Black writers).

Still, it is hard as a mother, to hear that raising children is the thing that keeps you from fully raising your art. I think there's so much more to it - like figuring out support and societal pressure and assumptions about what a mother must do (sacrifice is considered a must - what?).

I am wishing there were more residencies and workshops that are mom (and parent) friendly. (If those programs are out there - please do drop names in the comments.)

Tonight I read Lisa Belkin's post about her residency experience in Florida and it made me think of this subject. Maybe I will have some more coherent thoughts later - but just needed to raise it tonight.

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