Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Creative Mamas - A Redundancy

Last night I went to a meeting of the Somerset County chapter of the Holistic Moms Network to see a screening of the documentary Who Does She Think She Is? The film is about women who are artists and mothers, and the ways they are able to balance these two roles in their lives. Of course, the struggle to balance work and family is not unique to artists (or mothers, or even women I guess) but there are certainly unique elements to these women's stories that are not shared by women who are trying to balance motherhood with being, say, an accountant or a teacher. At any rate, it was an amazing and moving film that would speak to any mother - indeed, any woman.

This is the second time I've seen the film, but it was a totally different experience watching it with a group of women as opposed to seeing the PBS version in my living room, alone. Watching the film alone was amazing, but there was so much power in watching with others that I left last night feeling inspired to find a way to pursue my creative passions, especially writing. Then I went off on a mental tangent (as I am prone to do), thinking about creativity and what it means to be a creative woman/mother/person. This was mostly while I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive at 1 this morning because my car broke down on the way home from the meeting - but still, it was worth it, even without the air conditioning to get me through the wait!

By definition, mothers are creative. We create families, if not by actually creating a new person then by choosing and working to bring a child into our homes through adoption or some other means. In fact, our bodies are designed to hold within them this very possibility each and every month for the better part of our lives, whether we choose to use it or not. We create homes, we create cultures within our homes, we create ourselves as people in relationship with our children. Even women who may not be "creative" in the way that word is most often used - to describe people who act, or sing, or dance, or paint, or sculpt, or sew, or whatever - are creative in their roles as mothers.

The women in the film were trying to find ways to put their creative voices out into the world, but I am just as fascinated by the mothers I read about all the time in magazines and, especially, in blogs who find ways to make their homes into hotbeds of creativity. They may sew their children's clothes from old maternity shirts, or may allow their children to glue tissue paper collages to the window, or may arrange their homes in a way that nourishes their children's artistic urges as well as their aesthetic sensibilities, or they may find unique ways to get their preschoolers to eat Brussels sprouts. They arrange their children's books by color, they plant amazing gardens full of different hues, smells and flavors, they find 101 uses for empty toilet paper rolls, and they use their inventiveness and passion to nurture their growing children. I am inspired by the stories of these wonderful mamas who are able to take their amazing talents and find ways to fulfill themselves by creating beautiful, loving homes where imagination is nourished and encouraged.

I hope to be able to do both. I hope that I can use my creativity in my home to establish a joyful, warm and loving place for my children to grow, and I hope that I can use my creativity to put my voice out into the world, to add it to all the other voices that are working to build a more compassionate, just and sustainable world where we all can grow.


  1. I also found that documentary amazing and posted on it as well. I actually bought the house party kit, but I've yet to invite women to get together to watch it, but after reading this, I'm inspired to do so again.

  2. I think doing a house party is a wonderful way to view the movie and to share the ideas with likeminded women. Even if it's just a girlfriend or two, I think this is a movie that must be watched with friends! A few people I know went to see a screening in NYC where many of the women from the film were there and did a panel discussion afterwards - my friends still talk about how amazing it was!