The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. ~Jill Churchill
This past Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the US and I noticed on Facebook the comment from several people that some women may not be moms to two-legged creatures but are definitely moms to furred or feathered creatures.
But what type of mother are you?
Are you the helicopter mom? The creative that hovers over your work like only you can guarantee its health and well-being? If you are a helicopter mom, you may decide to self-publish because you don’t trust anyone else to do justice to your novel, or you complain because the gallery hung two pieces together when you think a third should go between them, or you hesitate to even put your product on the market because no one will value/understand it like you do. But hovering has a tendency to suck all the air out of the environment of the child of your creativity, and to isolate you and it from others. Move back incrementally and give your work and yourself more room to breathe.
Are you the “my child is perfect, you’re the problem” mom? Ahem…perfection is always something to strive for but seldom achieved. Still, if you are this type of mom, you will fight your editor over every word and turn of phrase or you’ll get angry or hurt about every critique or criticism of your work, immediately jumping to the defense of every brush stroke or note. Good mothering means be willing to recognize that everyone—yes, including your children—makes mistakes in the process of growing and moving into the world. The secret is being willing to listen to criticisms or corrections with as much objectivity as possible and then trust your instincts as to what rings true. Correct or change as needed and your creative child will be that much stronger and better.
Are you the sink or swim mom? I’ve seen lots of these types of creative moms over the years and I admit to occasionally succumbing to this myself. This is the mom who throws her creative work into the deep so it is forced to learn how to swim quickly. The challenge is that some children learn from the pressures of being thrown into the deep end but some are more likely to drown without the support. Some creative projects take gentle easing into the water along with continued attention and marketing. Others crow with delight and kick off for the finish line and never look back. But, if you tend to throw your projects into the deep end and don’t look to see which kind of creative child you have, then you risk killing off one of your cherished children…and after all that work!
Or, are you just the best mom you can be? You stay up late when they are sick, you get up early to pack them lunches for their field trips, you sit in the rain to watch their soccer games, and no matter what they do, what mistakes they make, what challenges they present that force you to stretch and grow, you love them with all your heart and mind and soul. And you never give up on them.
Yes, mothering is a tough job. But when it comes to your creative work, someone has to do it…