On Being an Artist- and a Mother?

This is more of a traditional “blog your feelings” post than the information-filled stuff you’ve come to know from Puccini’s Chronicles. But in light of some recent personal events, the topic had been on my mind. I’ll share one such event with you- it’s been happening when I attend religious services. Parents bring in their small children, and some of these kids tend to cry. Like, they cry A LOT. They don’t stop, and most of the parents still don’t think to bring the child out to the lobby. I’ve heard that some churches/temples have “crying rooms” where the moms (or dads) can hear the minister through speakers, but the room itself is soundproof. I think that is a spectacular idea. For me, it’s quite hard to be spiritual when a little member of the congregation is screaming bloody murder.

Do I sound intolerant or mean? I definitely don’t intend to be in saying this. It’s just a fundamental question that all people ask themselves at one point or another: do I want to go HOME with that screaming tyke? Or am I more content to enjoy kids if I can hand them off when they get upset? Another thing to consider- how will raising a family impact my career goals and artistic ventures? This is a particular pertinent issue for ladies, who will often split parenting duties with a husband 70% and 30% respectively.

More than once have I wondered whether or not I can balance the responsibility of self and parenting. What do I mean by “self?” Well, it seems to me (strictly based on personal interaction) that once a woman becomes a mom, she loses an entire locus of identity. She ceases to be an independent entity, defining herself as a mother first and foremost. This has long troubled me. Just because you have children, you have to abandon pretty much everything else that makes you who you are? On the other hand, raising offspring IS a full-time job; maybe you need to become that engrossed in it if you want well-adjusted kids. I’m just not sure.

Plenty of actors, writers, and directors have found harmony in both career success and motherhood. To name just a small sample: Victoria Clark, Lisa Howard, Chita Rivera, Kelli O’Hara, Judy Kuhn, Patti LuPone, Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty. All eight of these ladies are ridiculously good at their craft, and they were all employed in said craft as they brought up their little ones. I don’t know if they call themselves moms first and thespians second or even third- but if they do, they don’t seem to have let it deter them from pursuing something else they loved. It’s a beautiful thing, and this evidence implies that it CAN be done.

Alas, for me…time will tell. And it’s also gonna take heaps of soul-searching!

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1 thought on “On Being an Artist- and a Mother?”

  1. On Vacation in London a few years back I was thrilled when in the sermon this subject was addressed.The priest said that the catechism states that if you are a child under 5 or responsible for a child under 5 you are released from Sunday obligation.His gist was exactly “do not bring your screaming child to church to disturb everyone else and it is unreasonable to expect a small child to be quiet for an hour”. I was like “Glory Hallelujah”! but I have to say I haven’t actually found the bit he spoke of in writing in the catechism ;- )

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