Creativity and motherhood, finding the right balance with mindset.

by | May 6, 2021 | Creativity

Creativity-and-Motherhood--Style-Shoot-Social-7_Creative-Queen-Bees

Hello Creative QB’s,

Mothers are some of the most creative women I know, the thing is, we often don’t think we are. We are hyper-critical of our efforts, feel like we are forever playing catch-up, and basically, make it up as we go along.  Guess what? That making it up as you go along thing – that is a primary characteristic of being creative.

4 min read.

 

Last Sunday my daughter, Lily, and I welcomed a lovely group of Mothers and Daughters to spend the day together, in a beautiful setting, connecting, and taking time to be creative at our Creative Queen Bees VIP Art Picnic hosted at the Lorn Rose Farm.

It was a joy to witness the interaction between our VIP (very important painters) mothers and daughters, painting alongside each other, taking time to share a special experience, together.

It got me thinking about motherhood and creativity.

Mothers are some of the most creative women I know, the thing is, we often don’t think we are. We are hyper-critical of our efforts, feel like we are forever playing catch-up, and basically, make it up as we go along.  Guess what? That making it up as you go along thing – that is a primary characteristic of being creative.

Somewhere along the way, we have learned to buy the belief that being a mother and being creative are incompatible, that motherhood diminishes our creative life force and the drive to create.  Of course, it is not the case for men, the disparity between men and women in successful creative arenas is well documented and accounted for, especially through history.

Professor Anna Abraham, from Leeds Beckett University, studies the neuroscience of creativity and claims “there is nothing biologically to suggest that women are less creative than men,”

“When it comes to “pure aptitude,” there are no gender differences. But it cannot be overlooked that “the time women are supposed to be productive professionally is also often the best possible time to have children.”

Why is it, I wonder, do we continue to believe motherhood and creativity are mutually exclusive? That by being a mother immediately relegates you to a baby brain backwater with no permission to say what you want or need?  ‘As a mother’ are our creative thoughts, ideas and dreams to live happy, healthy, fulfilled, fully expressed lives, totally incompatible with motherhood?

I choose to believe this is not so.

In our everyday lives, the role we have as mothers can elicit great dollops of guilt, self-criticism, overwhelm, frustration and fear alongside immense joy, wholehearted attention and unconditional love. All these emotions and behaviors co-exist in the motherhood mash-up, messy circle of all things. Mothers do and are many things, and as a collective of women, we share the skills of mothercraft passed down through centuries.

I argue that being a mother makes you more creative. Motherhood can open the floodgates to your creative side, it certainly was the case for me when my second child, Lily was born.

With new neurological studies looking at the effects of motherhood and creativity on our brains, we could finally debunk the myth that motherhood and creativity are incompatible. Lab studies in mother rats are now giving us clues to the inventive, dauntless, resourceful characteristics of motherhood, which are all essential ingredients of creativity.

Practicing seeing yourself as creative because you are a mother is a powerful way to see yourself as creative. It is counter-intuitive to what the world would have us think. Simply by re-framing what it means to be a creative mother (which we all are by human default), will begin to shift our beliefs on the correlation between motherhood and creativity.

Try some of the following re-framining ideas:

1. Mothers are great at making something from nothing.  Mothers use what they have with the resource they have available. For example, in our family, I wear the crown as the queen of making something from nothing. My brother-in-law jokes, if the world was ending, he would hang with me because I could or make something from anything – or nothing. Mothers learn to see things differently, they stir up what they have and make something new from it.
Creative skill: inventiveness and originality.

2. Mothers become braver and bolder. Mothers will go to the ends of the earth to find solutions that provide the best outcome for their kids. They take risks, however rarely see them as risk, instead, they may approach experiences as necessary for growth and positive outcomes. I remember as a kid, my mother would do and say things that would make me want to shrink in embarrassment. Now, that is me, it’s my mama bear, ancient mother instinct.
Creative skill:  courage and risk as an opportunity for growth.

3. Mothers are super sharp and super aware. Mothers perceive the slightest change in their children. When you think about it, mothers have stealth heightened vigilance about danger or if their kids are unwell, sad, upset. It is both a mother superpower and a creative superpower because mothers are can be initiatively connected to their children and see things that others don’t. When my kids were little, they would ask me, how did you know?  I would answer, I see all with my third eye, there is nothing I don’t know. It would completely flip them out, but in a way, it is true.
Creative skill: perception and awareness.

4. Mothers are not time wasters. Mothers maximise every hour of the day with every task. You know for yourself, just now effective you are at prioritising and multi-tasking. Mothers have a ton of smarts and off-the-chart memory processing. (Like being the only person who knows where absolutely everything is in the house and has the entire weekly calendar memorised. (BTW, that second part, was never me)!  It’s like our brains are always in tune with the question of, ‘OK, how can I do this better’
Creative skill: problem-solving.

5. Mothers are the queens of change. Think about it, the minute women become pregnant, our bodies go through extraordinary change and continue to do so for the remainder of our life. Even our hormones change every month. The ability to adapt to new environments and situations is so profound in mothers that often no day is ever the same and we learn to be totally ok with that.
Creative skill: adaptability and flexibility.

6. Mothers just do stuff. I often catch myself saying the days are long and the years are short. Sometimes just getting through a day of mothering is so bloody hard! In the intensity of what is immediately in front of us, and what our children need, we learn tenacity, an inner strength that comes from knowing our children depend on us – we are it – the mother parent whose job is to mother. With that comes responsibility.
Creative skill: endurance and grit.

The above examples are just a few of the many creative skills and characteristics of motherhood. As mothers we are wired to create, our bodies are built for it, whether we have children or not, the neurological and physiological parts of our bodies are made to create life.

Challenge yourself to put these re-framed mindsets into daily practice.  Start seeing yourself as creative because you are a mother. Catch yourself in your daily tasks, thoughts, and activities, stop and re-think. Try and see the correlation between motherhood and creativity as not separate from each other, but as part of a balance – not circus-act balancing ball kind of balance, but rather essential for our wholehearted wellbeing.

Amanda ♥

> Want to go deeper into the practice of everyday creative mindset shifts?
Here is a link to my bonus book offer: Daily Acts Of Creativity.

 

Image credit: Trish Evans Photography, Style Shoot Social
References: The Atlantic – Science

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