Writer. Mother. Two Heads. One person.

Image Credit:  Kate Hiscock

Image Credit: Kate Hiscock

I’d say Sara Rule’s new book 100 Essays I Don't Have Time To Write is quirky but she has a whole chapter on how she hates the word quirky so I’ll just say it’s really, really good.  And unique.  I read it late last night in one sitting.  She’s got that lovely combination of a really personal voice and something to say.  There’s anecdotes about how she lives with her dual identity as a mother-writer that made me proverbially shout “Me too!”  Here’s an example from a story about when she takes her daughter to an Orthodox Jewish apartment in Brooklyn to get rid of her lice.

 

    “And I think, as I’m surrounded by teeming life — parasites, fish, and children — I think,         So, you thought you wanted to observe life?  Motherhood shakes her head, clenches her     fists, and demands, No, you must live it.”

 

Since my daughter was born I have been besieged with questions. I can’t find tiny socks. there is always a diaper to change, a tear to wipe away, a meal to make.  But I seriously did not think I would be capable of living with what sometimes feels like a split-personality: the writer-mother duality.

 

But I don’t have just two full-time jobs but three. I know it sounds crude, but basically it goes like this: An artist makes their content; they find their audience; they sell their content; they persuade their audience to shut out the noise around them; and then sort of make them fall in love — or at least share the artist’s work with other people.  

 

When not writing, producing, shooting photographs, designing, or whatever your creative day job may be.  You’ve got to to buy materials.  You’ve got to make phone calls.  You are PR, Marketing, Design, Admin, etc.  In my case, the person one who writes this sentence, and the one who built this website are completely different people — and they’re also both me.  They’re like chalk and cheese.  Or like motherhood and the writing life.

 

I search for socks.  I watch video tutorials about Twitter.  I write.  I look for the socks again.  We say “She wears many hats.”  I’m not sure about the hats.  I feel like I have many heads — and they’ve all got a headache.

How Can You Make Work and Play One and The Same?

It's frustrating being a mother with an arts practice. My kids are still under my feet 24 hours a day, so I have the sinking feeling the thousands of creative plates are a figment of my imagination.  For whatever reason I've always wanted to share this work and that's become so, so much harder to achieve since motherhood.  That's why I've often chosen work like writing over the dishes and laundry.  At times it's been liberating at others an oppressive mix of untended to responsibilities.  But recently I asked myself this question

The question kept running in my mind as I watched my kids play.  They "help" me fold the laundry, they make mud pies, they get dressed, they listen to stories.  All these things seem to happen seamlessly.  For them, getting dressed is an act of make believe as much as mud pies.  That's when the light bulb went off and I said to myself

So that's my question to you today.  When did you learn to draw lines across the many tasks of life?  Who taught you to put work in one box and play in another?  If these questions resonate with you I highly recommend Tara Sophia Moore's book Playing Big.