Motherhood and creative work
“I’d be in the middle of a sentence and someone needed to go to mall for new shoes, so the sentence would be lost.”
That is a quote by Amy Bloom, who has worked as a psychotherapist, taught at Yale University, and is Wesleyan University’s Writer-in-Residence.
In an interview about being a mother and writer, she commented, “When I started, I wrote late at night, after they were in bed. I could do that and get away with it because I’m not much of a housekeeper and I didn’t need much sleep. I liked my kids and didn’t care much about my house, so it worked.”
But, she admitted, “writing with children present is not productive. They really never go away. My daughter made a sign for my study door that says ‘Come in’ on one side, and on the other side it says: ‘Knock first, then come in.’ That’s a perfect description of me as a writer.”
From “Mothers Who Write interview” by Cheryl Dellasega, PhD.
See the Amy Bloom author page for a list of her titles.
Emma Thompson commented: “I’m very lucky I write as well. I don’t see how I could be as effective a mother as I’d like to be if I had to go away and act all the time.
“So I’ve sort of pulled back from acting, which is fine, because I’ve found over the years – and this was a surprise to me – that I can get the same kind of creative satisfaction from writing as I have heretofore gotten out of acting. It’s very encouraging, really.” [imdb.com]
In addition to acting, Emma Thompson has movie credits as an Executive Producer and Screenwriter, and is author of a children’s book “The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit.”
In her article “The Special Challenges of Highly Intelligent and Talented Women Who Are Moms,” Belinda Seiger, PhD, LCSW, writes that in her private psychotherapy practice and her personal life, she has “known many gifted women who seem to possess what I refer to as the ‘rage to achieve.’
“They are constantly driven to learn, to create and to be intellectually productive even while raising young children. Many of these women face periods of frustration when the demands of family and their need for intellectual immersion collides.”
Seiger adds, “As one friend who was getting her second master’s degree put it: “mass chaos” ensues when one attempts to become immersed intellectually while simultaneously remaining attentive and available for family responsibilities…”
She notes that “Like gifted children and young adults; gifted adults are distinguishable not only by their IQ’s but by their intensity, multiple talents, high energy, curiosity and obsessive need to increase in-depth knowledge in subjects that interest them.
“Trying to ignore these qualities can result in a depressed mood, anxiety and feelings of being unfulfilled emotionally and intellectually.”
Those kinds of feelings and reactions may also be part of burnout from either attempting too much, beyond your emotional and physical resources – or being chronically frustrated at not being able to pursue creative ambitions, whether or not you consider yourself gifted.
>> Above material is from the Motherhood and creative work section of my book.
See the Front page for reviews plus links to Kindle and other editions.
Photo of Emma Thompson and her daughter Gaia Romilly Wise from article “Emma Thompson and Gaia Are Ballet Bound!”, People mag. 12/22/2009.
Note – the book also has a section: “Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout” related to my article by that name.
[Top photo from post: Amy Bloom’s “Little Sweet Potato”]