Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Literary Mama Rewind: Mothers and Art

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Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we'll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns and reviews from the Literary Mama archives relating to a particular theme. From dance to play writing to painting to song, many kinds of art fill our lives. The pieces we've collected this week explore finding the balance between motherhood and artistic ventures, how our children's art affects us, and the art we learn from our own mothers.

She had no doubts, Bentivoglio said, about her intentions to start a family while continuing her artistic path, because she felt moved in both directions by an overwhelming enthusiasm.

Balancing the twin passions of art and motherhood is Grace's highest priority, but this isn't always easy. I am reminded of the documentary Who Does She Think She Is? The film points out that while 80% of students in art school are women, only 20% of professional artists are female.

Now that my children are older, it’s important to me that I perform for them.  With every passage I practice, every recording I play in the car and every character I play on the stage, I’m making a place for them in my musical community, too.

  • Exposed by Ellen Blum Barish in Essays

In the days leading up to talent night at my daughter’s middle school, Emily would only share that she had a short moment on stage.

I point to the laundry baskets of dance costumes piled on the mudroom floor. “I know,” I say. “I thought I’d be churning out thoughts by the thousands. They’re in there, but I can’t hear them because they’re buried under all of this crap.”

Since receipt of my particular Muse ("The Sophia") in April 2001, I have been unable to complete a single full-length play. In fact, I have been rendered utterly incompetent, thoroughly incapacitated, and virtually impotent as a playwright.

The goats on the canvas could be cows.
Look at their udders.

My mother was no artist. One day when I was eight she brought out a boxed art kit and drew fantastic trees with wonderful wild wiggly branches and roots. I drew my trees that way for weeks, but Mom put the art kit away. No matter how much I wished it would, the art kit never came out again.


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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