Love & Resentment

I recently became aware of ‘Create Like a Mother‘ – a US based blog from writer, Katherine Fusco, with a focus on motherhood and creativity. It includes a growing series of interviews with creative mothers, similar to those featured in JourneySongs’s Voices from the MotherVerse.

The first line of the opening post of the blog, which only started this August, drew me in:

This blog has its origins in love and resentment. In other words, mom feelings.

I could feel that. The messy mix of emotions that fizz within many mothers. The heart-warming affection that we gestate for our offspring, punctuated by the ongoing frustrations towards them as the seeming cause for our lack of personal liberty and time.

Of course, it is not justified to apportion blame to our beloved children. Resentful mothers are a product of a culture that favours the nuclear family and therefore puts too many demands on the parents who operate within those limited units.

Add to that the negative stereotypes of creative mothers that Fusco reports have repeatedly featured in literature and film. It is not surprising that mothers find it challenging to strike a sustainable balance between responding to their own creative yearnings and satisfying the demands of domestic and family life.

I can see how, as a backlash to the relentlessness of parenting young children, mothers can swing the other way and seek a life of artistry that overshadows the family dynamic. I recall, in the film ‘Lost in Living‘, how one set of siblings lamented their mother’s fierce defense of her artistic space. This resulted in conflict within the family, due to her inability to find a healthy balance between her inner, creative life and the children’s needs for her attention and involvement in their world.

In Voices from the MotherVerse, all the women shared their personal ways of building creative practice into their lives as parents. I could see they were committed to striving for a robust balance. Certainly different approaches work for different people and families. And I find myself asking…

What does a healthy picture look like – where mother and father are fulfilling their creative lives while providing a stable, loving, fun home life for their kids?

What does the community do to support this reality?

How can we co-create a culture in which mothers’ love is not tainted by resentment?

Photo by Jason Hafso on Unsplash