A few days ago an article popped up in my Facebook feed. Author Lauren Sandberg has written about her choice to have one child. In her view, more than one is not compatible with creativity. That stirred up some controversy. Now Zadie Smith has chimed. In her view motherhood is perfectly compatible with creativity - no matter how many children you choose to have.
The conversation started by Sandberg and Smith would be better put this way: Let’s talk about how we get our work done - not what our families look like.
If we ARE going to talk about our personal choices let’s celebrate one another’s decisions - the sheer diversity of them - and talk about how we actually get our work done. Women learn an incredible amount from mothering - from single parents to adoptive parents and other stories of hardship and love. Dwelling on the choice to have one child or multiple children is a distraction. It distracts us from the most important piece of information: That women are resourceful, robust, and skilled multi-taskers.
Combining creativity and motherhood requires a range of responses. By it’s nature there’s no one solution. The important question is not “How many kids we have?” but “How do we get our work done?”