Creativity and Single Mothers
When you hear the word ‘creative’ who is the FIRST person you think of? Maybe you think of a painter, a hip-hop artist or even a comedian? Maybe Kanye West is the first person that pops in your head or perhaps Louie C.K.
Having done stand-up for seven years and venturing into the new world of copywriting, I have had the chance to interact and meet with some extremely creative people. People whose minds churn out ideas for great punch lines, witty banner ads and campaigns that you sing in your head.
But maybe, just maybe… the most creative people on this planet don’t come with the sexy title of Creative Director or Chief Creativity Officer. Maybe the most creative people have the least glamorous job. Maybe they have no choice BUT to be creative. Who am I talking about? The creative architects known as single mothers.
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Single mothers are challenged every day to discipline, teach, inspire and love their children. Raising children is challenging enough with two people, and single mothers stretch the bounds of creativity the moment a temper tantrum presents itself.
I am not a mother or a parent but was raised by a single mother. Her job was raising my brother and I to the best of her ability while working two jobs. She would work as hard as she could to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs. She’d read to us, make sure we had enough money to go on school field trips and also try to instill manners and good habits.
Looking back now it’s almost like my mom was the head coach of our football team, and like any good coach, she emphasized the basics: blocking and tackling…which for a parent could equate to good study habits and manners for their children.
Being 32 and seeing close friends living this role right now, it’s much more clear the sacrifices these women make.
A single mother will never get an invitation to the White House for reading to her kids every night. And she won’t be on a cover of a magazine for spending time with her children going over their homework. Her creativity is maxed out everyday though as she tries to inspire her children to be the best. And to do it on a budget!
“I am always trying to come up with things for the boys to do, all while trying to save some money in the process,” says Valerie Decapite from Cleveland, mother of two twin boys and an Art Major from Kent State.
“Many times, we will just take out a pair of kid scissors, and they flip thru magazines and cut out pictures, creating pictures with stamps, finger painting, etc. I painted a wall in our house with the chalk board paint, and we will grab some chalk and go to town.”
Val brings up a great point in that raising a child requires resources, and with being a single mother raising TWO children, the resources have to be doubled while the budget is limited. With her background in art, Val uses art as a primary love language to inspire her kids.
Any parent would probably agree that it takes a village to raise a child. Something as simple as going shopping for clothes and or taking an interrupted shower can stretch the creative mind of any single mother.
OK, how do I take a quick five-minute shower and make sure my daughter doesn’t hit the cat, throw books of the bookshelf, go near the stove, touch an outlet, find something sharp, and draw on her face…. Do I bring her in the shower with me and skip her bath tonight? Or do I wait until she goes to bed then take a bath…but the sound of the shower might wake her up!
From the single mothers I have talked to, it seems the relationship between child and parent is reciprocal in that the learning curve stretches both ways.
Callie, a single mother raising a five-year old daughter on her own, looks at it this way.
“I truly believe that she is raising me. It’s easy to replay the series of events that led you to single parenthood and resent what has happened, but I believe my daughter was put into my life make me aware of my weak spots and areas of need.”
“Disciplining two little boys is tough and if I send them to their room for a timeout, it’s really because I need a timeout too. A single parent needs a few minutes to have some quiet time and recollect their thoughts. In those quiet few moments, you have to muster up not only patience for the day or night ahead, but energy to keep up!”
Disciplined creativity. A single mother uses it every day with little to no recognition. The next time you have writer’s block or that big idea just isn’t happening, reach out to someone you know raising children for inspiration. Creativity is constant, a single mother has no choice but to just do it.