Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"Toto, We're Not in Kansas Any More"

My dear friend Jane Sawyer sent me "A Divided Heart" in the mail.

Written by Rachel Power who is a writer herself "A Divided Heart" explores the relationship between art and motherhood through a series of interviews with artists from all different genre. There are famous people such a actor Rachel Griffith and all round amazing actor, writer, creative person Alice Garner and others who work in the obscure field of contemporary art or craft. All of these women speak about issues I grapple with every day........

Feeling guilty about dividing your time with your children and art, trying to adjust to loss of self, the joy and gifts of mothering. The constant pull of the creative away from your children into your art, the fear of being left behind in the harsh, reality of the art world. The frustration that mothering, the most important job you could ever do, is not recognized.

This is essential reading for artist mothers. I feel really strongly about this issue. It's like motherhood is a dirty word in art circles. Since I've had children there have been times, at conferences or openings that I've looked around and thought "What a waste of time", standing around with people I don't like talking about things that seem unreal and flimsy compared to smelling my babies heads and holding their little hands as I walk down the street. There have been other times when I've tried to convince myself that having boiled eggs for dinner is pretty healthy especially if you have organic bread and a few slices of cucumber "for greens" because I have to "get downstairs and finish off a few pots".

I am so proud that my children see me at work and how what I do to supports us and inspires us. Working from home as an artist is a gift to me and the children. I'm proud to be a mother. When I had children I felt as if I was in the movie of "The Wizard of OZ", my life in Kansas (before children) was black and white and now I can see in brilliant, sparkling technicolour.

" Toto,we're not in Kansas any more."


Meagan Chaney said...

Thank you for this post! Though my husband and I haven't started a family yet, I find I'm often both afraid of and excited about a lot of the things you mentioned. I've added "A Divided Heart" to my future must read list. Thank you!

Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

i just posted under the same heading by coincidence. my subject matter was rather more prosaic tho.... what a dreadful mother you are- not! good heavens remember the terrible food crimes that were perpetrated against us in the 70's! don't beat yourself up over an organic boiled egg dinner or 20!

Yellis said...

Lovely post Shannon. I am beginning to recognise these same feelings. I have so much work that needs doing and people who are chasing me to work but I feel that for now being with my babies, my little joys, is much much more important.

Anonymous said...

I so totally know what you are talking about. My little one is 3 and I quit my day job to become a full time potter/mum the week before she was born. Thank heaven for those few hours of kindy and early bedtimes. I do feel pangs of guilt each time I say "I'll be there as soon as I finish this and wash my hands". I really want to get my hands on a copy of that book, it's pretty pricey here in the States.