Friday, August 24, 2007

Big Purple Mommy

This is my 100th post! I should have said in my "tagged" post about dolls--that this blog is another thing I do that is only for fun. I often wonder why I bother--I have so many things I need to do or want to do, why add blogging to my "to do" list, why "waste" time with it? I'm left to respond/realize--because it is fun. I like to do it. I want to do it. I only blog on Fridays now and that feels like a fully acceptable compromise (with the "be productive only!" part of me).

Okay, so this week I also finished re-reading Big Purple Mommy. The subtitle of this book is nurturing our creative work, our children, and ourselves. I sort of accidentally picked it up and flipped through it and before I knew it I was re-reading it. I really enjoyed it the first time as it was the first time I'd ever realized that being a writer is my means of creative expression and is my creative work. She talks about how painters "see" paintings as they go about their days, dancers choreograph, and musicians compose. I know my own very creatively gifted mother "sees" patterns in nature or life and imagines them as felted pictures or woven pieces (or whatever her current area of focus is at the time). Me--I write essays in my head. I'd say just about every day I compose some sort of essay or article in my head as I'm going about my day. Probably only about 10 percent of those actually make it onto the page even as notes and even less than that actually are fully born. As I start to own the identity of writer though and increase my confidence in it, I think more of my imaginary essays will actually be written (finding the time to actually write while the "muse" is with me is a trick, which is why much of my writing never makes it past my brain!)

Anyway, this is not a very AP or “alternative” minded book, sort of “pack ‘em off to school and enjoy 6 hours a day of bliss at home!” mentality, but still has a lot to offer anyway even if some of our parenting philosophies are different. I shared some quotes from the book with my playgroup because we were discussing blooming where you're planted and I read some sections in her book that made me re-think my rigid "just suck it up and like where you live, because the grass is likely always greener" attitude. Since I bothered typing it all up, I'm going to include them here even though that wasn't the direction I was planning to go with this entry. Towards the end of the book she is talking about finding the right, nurturing space in which to create and she shared the following quote from Csikszenthmihalyi (??!!):

"Certain environments have a greater density of interaction and provide more excitement and a greater effervescence of ideas; therefore, they prompt the person who is already inclined to break away from conventions to experiment with novelty more readily than if he or she had stayed in a more conservative, more repressive setting."

Then the author adds: "sometimes where we live isn't the most convenient place for truly thriving in our creative work"

Then later: "I also believe that being truly miserable in your soul over where you are living is a slow and painful kind of death that warrants some serious consideration. Sometimes pulling up damaged roots and moving on is the most positive and healthy plan of action....Get out of Dodge! Life is short and the world is big."

I also valued her section about competition between mothers and "mommy wars" type of stuff. Maybe I am in the minority, but I feel like I am pretty accepting of all mothers--I really believe that most of us are doing the best we can, we truly love our children and want what's best for them, independent of our various parenting choices/philosophies. I also don't think there is a "right" way to mother and getting dogmatic about mothering leads to discord instead of unity that mothers desperately need.

Anyway, some other good quotes:

"For me, the greatest difficulty about the Cappuccino and Company gatherings, especially when I was a first time mother, was the unspoken and collective agreement that we wouldn't speak the truth about what we were living...Pretending I was managing it all and loving it, too, was one of the hardest parts of being a new mother."

"I now look back and realize that I could have used those few unchained hours [while baby slept] to rest, read, take a walk, or for heaven's sake take a shower. I might have emerged more replenished and engaged. I didn't know then that a time of quietness in my creative life was a useful and necessary thing and would be followed, eventually, by a time of renewed energy and productivity."

I could learn something from this, probably--I am having difficulty assessing the balance between all of the writing I want to do and have tucked inside and the realization that I have time "later" to more fully pursue this (but without doing it all, my life will lack something that I deeply need and that in the end makes me a happier and better mother, while also sometimes adding to my stress level significantly...balance is the eternal issue!)

"You can do it all and have it all--don't let anyone tell you differently. but it's not possible to do it all and have it all, ALL of the time."

This next one relates to the whole mother competition thing I referenced above:

"We're all so hungry for validation about our choices, and for how we're raising our children and living our lives. And because we're afraid of the reaction we might get if we disclose honest feelings about our lives, we just don't risk it. It's about sizing yourself up against others--a kind of placement method within the group. And there is power in withholding validation and therefore seeming superior."

I feel fortunate in that I feel like I have reached a place of intimacy with my friends in playgroup that we can be honest about our lives and our feelings (and our shortcomings and failures and questions about our decisions) that we don't do this "status" thing with each other. I see it in other people though or in online settings.

Then a quoted quote from Emily Dickinson: "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."

And one from Naomi Ruth Lowinsky" Women who become mothers find that it is often in the crucible of that experiences in what is in so many ways a sacrifice of self, that she touches the deepest experiences of the female self and wrestles with an angel that at once wounds and blesses her."

No comments: