***Right now, I’m working on an interview for a literary magazine. Interesting questions coming from the editors. As it is rather extensive, I’m doing it question by question, and am posting a first draft here.
Please feel free to add your own comments! If I get enough, I’ll do a separate post highlighting other experiences. How did you manage to be both an artist and a parent?
How did you manage to be both an artist and a mom?
I only had one child, and not until my mid-thirties, so my response is coming from these specifics.
That said—I love little kids. They’re creative and goofy and open—as artists should be. When my daughter Isabel was born, I immediately realized: She comes first. And then—but not every single minute of the day. My good writing habits were already in place. I had a lot of family members willing to pitch in, a good friend with a child the same age, my daughter’s godmother—lots of resources to help even during the period when I was a single mom. And I believe in daycare!
Also—I’ve never been a helicopter parent or a perfectionist (not even about writing). A little benign neglect can make kids independent, and leave more time for writing.
But the way I really managed was beyond practicalities. Children are life itself—and no artists should be separated from life. Life, and children, are messy, disruptive, anxiety inducing, unpredictable—as well as hilarious, fun, invigorating, and spontaneous. In my twenties, I had a more Romantic self-image of being a writer—free, wild, urban. Then, I used motherhood as a way to connect to human experience and understand it through writing.
Actually I’ve done that with pretty much everything that has happened to me. I don’t want to waste energy separating myself from things.
If I was to give advice to any parent/writer I’d suggest getting some childcare in place and then giving in to the experience.