Writing vs momhood: Rebecca Mead reframes the struggle

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There is nothing like a fun-filled reunion to make me Totally Anxious about life.

My three-year old son and I spent three days this week camping on the side of a lovely Vancouver Island lake with my extended family–and let’s just say I had to fend off the ‘so where are you going to have the next one?’ question with a flaming marshmallow more than once. The fact is, I don’t know if there will be another one. If I want one.  Or if I don’t. If I should.

Ever since my son arrived three weeks early at the beginning of what was supposed to be my writing staycation, my artist  self is always worried she will be starved out by the demands of taking care of a child. And yet, at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if my son would be happier with a little brother or sister to keep him company now and later in life.

It’s a difficult decision, one which given the recent pressure finally got me to venture into an article I have been avoiding for weeks (for obvious reasons): The Secret to Being Both a Successful Writer and a Mother: Have Just One Kid. Luckily, it was a lot less scary than I anticipated. In fact, reading Rebecca Mead’s response to the piece actually helped me clarify the issue a little.

According to Mead, “Any person’s independent productivity depends not upon the head count of her children but the sum of her free hours.” In other words, it’s not a question of choosing between a Pulitzer or Family Happiness, but rather imagining ways to create space for both. As an artist, that is a challenge I should be able to handle.

Though I still don’t know how many car seats are in my future, it’s a start.

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