As I began my first months of motherhood I started thinking about the dreams we, women who become mothers, have before starting a family.
For a long time I was worried about these dreams having an expiry date, a date that would inevitably match up with the birth of my first child.
This idea created a foreboding sense of fear that once I started a family, my dreams would somehow cease to exist and this was too hard to swallow. That is until I came across a few positive role models; other mothers who found a way amongst diapers and daydreams to push past physical, societal and psychological challenges in order to pursue their dreams. What I found were incredible women, who were driven, focused and more importantly, inspired by their children.
Artists talk about inspiration all the time and it always seems to come in the most unexpected ways. After speaking with some creative women, I began to realize that for many of them their children were the source of their inspiration and motivation. Having a dream or a big idea is one thing, but having a reason to succeed is what makes that dream a reality.
For Courtney Ryall of Loops for Days, a colourful crochet company based out of Milton, Ontario, her daughter is what made her entrepreneurial dreams a reality. When asked what inspires her, she said, “ My daughter does. She is my total inspiration and without her I wouldn’t have started Loops For Days.”
Photo with permission from Loops For Days
Heather Coughlin of Calluna Studios tells a similar story when she describes the birth of her Peterborough-based photography company. “My story is very archetypal, mom with a camera type. I got a Canon Rebel before the birth of my youngest son. When I first photographed him I was blown away at how well I could express myself through a viewfinder. That’s when my addiction began. A short time later I began offering portrait sessions aimed towards families with babies and young children, and my business was born!”
Photo with permission from Calluna Studios
Courtney and Heather both began their creative careers after the birth of their children. They were inspired and motivated by their children to do something they loved; a far cry from my fears of losing my creative goals as a result of starting a family.
Being a new mother is a full-time job, perhaps one of the hardest jobs out there. It’s a 24-hour gig and you can’t just punch out at the end of the day, making it incredibly difficult to find the time to work towards your creative dreams. This is nothing new though; creative women have struggled with this for years.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, talks about this very same problem in a letter to her sister-in-law dated 1850. She says, “since I began this note I have been called off at least a dozen times – once for the fish-man, to buy a codfish … once to see a book man … then to nurse the baby – then into the kitchen to make a chowder for dinner and now I am at it again for nothing but deadly determination enables me to ever write – it is rowing against wind and tide.”
It will take “deadly determination” and it may feel like you are “rowing against the wind and tide,” but I am learning that a creative career after children is not only possible, but also plausible.
Have your kids inspired you to pursue your creative goals? Share your experiences in the comments.
Title photo with permission from Calluna Studios
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