As I lay my head down for a nap I can hear the classical etudes of my son’s tuba and my daughter vocalizing in Latin. It sounds like a music conservatory in my home. My heart is full and my slumber will surely be peaceful. My children are teens and finding their own way by embracing their creativity.
I didn’t enjoy being a mom when my kids were little. There. I said it. I was mostly miserable, tired and I felt incomplete and resentful of them. I felt competitive with other moms. There wasn’t a day I didn’t contemplate that my mothering and children were inadequate. Nothing was ever good enough. I screamed and I cried a lot. I just didn’t know what to do, or how to be.
Rewind to the very beginning. I was in a play when my husband and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child. The play was a classic, Father of the Bride and ironically my role was that of matriarch Mrs. Banks. She was the perfect, balanced, level headed mother, one that I aspire to be. When I found out I was pregnant, I very dramatically announced to my husband and anybody who would listen that I was giving up the theatre forever.
I have been plagued by that decision lately. Reflecting on it as I craft artist statements, prepare for interviews and recount the steps I took that have brought me to my current reality.
WHY did I feel the need to sacrifice my creativity to be a mom?
Ten years later I gained a masters degree and another child. I was a responsible professional in an 8-5 world, creative projects were a beacon as leaders recognized my talents, but I wasn’t completely happy. At the time my son was 10 and my daughter was 8, I made the decision to dive head first into creative projects. I have been writing and performing ever since.
My children are the better for it.
We are ALL the better for it.
Recently, I visited my 81 year old mother. When I visit we have heart to heart conversations. I document as much as I can when I visit mom as oral history and she obliges me. She is still as sharp as a tack so I record every conversation when the stories begin. This last visit, as she recounted trials and tribulations, she kept repeating to me over and over again that her children were everything to her and through it all she put them first. She says, “it was all I had.” It was all she believed she had.
At that moment I had an epiphany. This notion to give up being a creative, who I was and what I loved, it was in my DNA. Generations of women before me in my family sacrificed who they were
and I thought and believed it was the correct thing to do, the respectful thing to do. It was a generational pattern and patterns are hard to break. Hard, but not impossible.
I now embrace my creativity. Pattern Broken. THAT has been the respectful thing to do. I declare that future generations in my family will embrace their creativity and the things that make them happy along with motherhood (if they so choose to be parents), together. They are no longer in contrast. They are intertwined as one and shine brightly together.
My eyes are heavy and ready for a rest as the lovely music my children makes create the peaceful underscoring for a weekend nap.
To my mother, who revels in my spirit and courage to embrace my artistic self, to my grandmother, my great grandmother and female ancestors before me.
We are free.