Yes, why can’t great artists be mothers?
And as well, why can’t any dedicated professionals be mothers?
In my job world, which is public service in well situated Germany, there are about half of the women in leading positions not having any children. The higher in hierarchy, the lesser children. At the top there are no mothers. There are hardly any women at all at the top.
In most cases the reasons for staying childless lay in those women themselves. Some never wanted any children, some can’t become a mother for biological reasons. Some never found the right partner to have children with.
Many of those women do not decide for alternative ways to have children, to adopt them, to be single mums.
Many of them decide, to have a career instead.
That doesn’t always work. Not all women without children have great careers, but those, who want to have a career and decide to stay childless, have great chances.
They fit in into the picture of doing something with dedication and without distraction.
A woman with children, wanting to have a career, always has to prove, that the children do not distract her. And as especially little children necessarily do distract their caretakers from whatever else they do, it’s nearly impossible to prove the opposite. For women that means in most cases, that they have to accept a slower or lower career.
I’m one of those women. I decided to have a child and then decided to become a single mum one day. That was the worst decision in terms of my professional career. But it was the best decision for my daughter and me.
And that’s the point in my experience.
As mothers we live in two separated worlds. In professional world and in family world.
Those two worlds are not connected in any way. And they often require diametrically opposed decisions, to be successful in either of them. All the time. There is no balance. It’s a fairytale, that those two worlds can be combined at any point. It’s about making compromises all the time. And a compromise is seldom connected to true passion.
But my experience shows, that those compromises very often just mean, to split up the time between the two worlds.
Being a mother requires time. And spending time with a child can be very passionate and dedicated, although it’s limited.
Being professional or creative also requires time. And this time can also be spent very passionate and dedicated, although it’s limited too.
It’s only impossible to be both at the same month ment.
It’s not a difference of quality and professionalism, that being a mother brings, but a difference in the amount of time, that is available for being a professional.
Sadly that is very often mixed up, not only by men and women without children, but by mothers too. Many feel bad mothers, not being there for their child all the time. But as it’s possible to do part time jobs, it’s possible to be a part time mum as well.
This situation of living in two worlds is in any way a temporarily limited situation for mothers. Children grow, develop and raising them is a process of gaining a bit more freedom every day. So, roughly about 20 years after a child’s birth a mother is at a point of freedom again, that is similar to the freedom of a woman without children.
But that alone very often doesn’t bring the opportunities back for living a life as an artist or in any other profession. The stigma of being less professional stays with many mothers, even when the children are grown up. In addition true compassion is often only connected to young humans, what mothers of grown up children barley are.
Therefore it would be great, if more and more women wouldn’t decide to only do the one or the other.
If having less time wouldn’t be mixed up with being less professional, the opportunities for working mothers might be much better. As an Artist or in any other profession.