The Creative Side of Superwoman

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Yes, when my kids were young, people asked me how I handled being superwoman. After all, I taught full time, instructed a college course, edited a popular and fast-growing online literary magazine, and still managed to cook, clean (well, with help), and raise my kids.

I was lucky. I had a great support system, a.k.a my children. And I constantly challenged myself. For me, failure was not an option.

Unfortunately, many women feel their creativity and inspiration being suffocated, due to expectations established by society. Often, these strong, creative, intelligent women are forced to choose between caring for others and reaching for their own dreams.

It's a choice that should not have to be made.

I'm not saying my journey was easy. It wasn't. My husband was against a summer fellowship I landed at one of the nation's most prestigious theater and speech programs. He did not understand how editing an online magazine would lead to bigger opportunities in the publishing industry. He considered it selfish on my part. (I considered it selfish for him to ask me to give up dreams and aspirations just so he could feel good about himself. Sorry, but it's true.)

I'm positive it wasn't easy on my children, either. They ranged from fourth grade to a high school freshman during this time. They needed their mother to be a reliable presence in their lives.

But they knew, as did I, that if I cut back on the creative endeavors, I would not be happy. They realized writing and acting pushed me, provided inspiration. Those activities actually translated into a deeper connection with my daughters because I included them in my creative process. All three were interested and learned from my experiences. I'm proud to say I have three creative daughters.

Have you ever wondered how the world would be different if you pushed your creative sense to the edge? What possibilities would open? What would suffer?

A few years ago, a wonderful film, Who Does She Think She Is?, examined the lives of five women who gave up their creative passions. One of the women is involved in theater; the other are artists. How do they regain control of the longing to create?

It's an interesting film that offers the opportunity for dialogue about finding balance between family obligations and the destiny of a creative woman.

Am I still Superwoman? Life has changed a lot in 15 years. That marriage dissolved, allowing a new beginning. I have a supportive husband who understands that writing and theater let me express myself, and I can earn a pretty good living doing what I enjoy. My children are adults, some with children of their own.

They understand the delicate balancing act, where family is in one hand and creative expression is in the other.

Have you sacrificed creative pursuits for the sake of others?

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's writing at her website, Writing on the Wall.


Trisha said...

I must admit I'm one of those who hasn't sacrificed. I don't have kids or a husband I have to think about ;) Just me! YAY!!

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