Little did I expect to find myself dancing for a grandmother named Sharon in an empty theater last week. But I’m glad I did.
Look, I was in an event called Parent Power Moment. It was held at an arts center near my house – coincidentally, where I had been in a youth theater production on Windrush (I played a lady at the bus stop) and was there, just a cool 30 Years later, I see my son dancing to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” in a pair of red striped leggings. Ah, time.
To be honest, before I walked into the room, I thought Parents Power Hour would be a little harem pants and crystals. A bit of chakra and an apple puree bag. Maybe a shy dad with a tote bag. Because, despite being a parent, despite 20+ years of working in this ridiculous crap we call the “creative industries”, somehow I’m still wary of things that are explicitly “creative people” or for that matter, parents. Not quite sure I belong. Can’t believe I can hold it.
But I also know that with three books out over the years and just entering a new age of school-age kids, my creativity is in constant flux. In fact, I find that having children has greatly enhanced my creativity. All the naysayers and concerned people who warned me that being a mother would “end my career” seemed wrong. Yes child care is tearfully expensive and yes I am constantly stopped by exploding tunnels or made to crawl across the floor. But, on a larger scale, I found a strong sense of purpose. My time has never been more valuable because the time I’m not taking care of my baby is so precious. I would sit, blinking in the dark, and write for two hours in front of my computer without even stopping to pee because I knew it was my only chance. Counterintuitively, I think less time is better as a creative person because it motivates you to focus and move quickly instead of thinking too much about your decisions.
Plus, doing things—whether it’s books, paintings, performances, or poetry—will help you reclaim your identity beyond the reach of mushy spaghetti and toothpaste on the sink.