I was recently reflecting in my journal about how motherhood has given me a real sense of purpose and certainty in my life. I wrote:
I have never in my life felt such a feeling, such love for someone, such certainty about their presence in my life.
This is true – of all the things in my life, the one thing I know for absolute 100% certain is that I will always be a mother to this little boy.
I thought about how I didn’t have this sense of purpose and certainty in my life before motherhood – the only thing that came close was my creative work.
My creative work has given me the most purpose, fulfillment and direction in my life before bub arrived – but it didn’t have the same unshakable sense of certainty.
I realised then that there are in fact many overlaps between motherhood and creative work. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, for what is motherhood – birthing and raising a human being – if not the greatest creative act there is?
What is motherhood – birthing and raising a human being – if not the greatest creative act there is?
Both motherhood and creative work are, at their core, creative: both are about birthing something new, creating something original where there wasn’t something before. And both require you to nurture this thing you have birthed, to guide it and grow it carefully.
Both motherhood and creative work require absolute dedication, a total giving of yourself – pouring yourself wholeheartedly 100% into them if you’re going to succeed. These are not things you can do halfheartedly, timidly. You cannot really be luke-warm about them.
These are not things you can do halfheartedly, timidly.
Both require you to check your fears and doubts at the door, to forge ahead regardless of how ill-prepared and ill-equipped you might feel. There is nowhere to go but forward.
Both require absolute faith that things will work out ok, despite the mess in front of you right now.
Both require you to let go of your self-consciousness. They need you to move beyond yourself, beyond your ego, in service of a bigger goal.
Both draw on your deepest resources and require you to give more just when you think you can’t give anymore, just when you think you’re out.
Both become your legacy; an expression of you and a contribution to the world long after you’re gone.
Both are your own work, shaped by your own hands, but are also really the work of a much higher, divine power simply moving through you.
Both motherhood and creative work are extremely humbling. They remind you of your greatest flaws and weaknesses.
Both motherhood and creative work are extremely humbling.
Both bring a deep sense of purpose and direction to your life. They test your commitment, resilience and tenacity.
And both, when they are going well and things come together just right, bring the most profound sense of joy and bliss. They reward you in ways you cannot imagine if you’ve not experienced them directly.
I think this is why being both a mother and a creative is tough – because really you have more than one ‘baby’, so to speak. You have more than one thing you need to nurture, more than one thing that requires you to give yourself – more than yourself to it.
The solution, I think, is to go easy on yourself. Accept that you cannot do both (or even one) perfectly. Allow yourself to learn as you go, to embrace the constant tension of doing one thing and thinking about the other, of feeling split between two worlds.
Tr to give back to yourself, often. Fill your creative well and nurture yourself as much as you can.
And remember what a joy it is to be a being who can create (both art and life) in this marvelous universe.