I’ve put my angry feminist glasses on and been holding off writing this blog post for a few weeks (weeks that may have turned into months). To be frank the podcast is going a lot slower than I had planned, essentially I think I need to release a handful of interviews to show future people what type of podcast they will be taking part in (all in the pipe work).
However this slowness has been assisted by Christmas (its amazing how people seem to use the time of year as a reason not to fix a date), and people not responding when I mention my son will be coming to the interview. One example in-particular has really annoyed me. After talking through what would happen in the podcast and what I would like to talk about, with a rather fab organisation that supports homeless refugees, the person I had been talking to suddenly stopped emailing when I reminded ‘him’ that my son would also be coming along. The conversation simply fell off a cliff and never recovered. It wasn’t even subtle, we had a date and time planned! Needless to say I’m not picking the conversation back up out of principle.
I’m aware that taking my son with me whilst recording the podcast will at times be challenging, he will burble in the background, resist sleep, distract conversation but ultimately he is a part of this project and my life and I choose to take this challenge. This does not make the project any less serious or professional it just makes it individual and specific, like any good project. Whilst motherhood is not an obstacle, a working mother that chooses to have her son with her (partly due to lack of family assistance and an inability to afford additional child care) makes her no less of a person than she was before, no less capable, and certainly no less driven. If anything a working mother who has her child with her is juggling a larger work load, straddling two situations at any one time, and is therefor probably even more capable than before, if not a little more distracted.
I understand it is hard to consider parents who will take their children with them for opportunities such as residencies, where they will require additional space and at times resources to bring their child with them. I understand that they will at times be distracted, and perhaps even distract others, but in order for us to really support working parents and carers we need to adjust our own expectations of what an artist is / does / provides / needs. Perhaps we don’t need to work all the time, even when in a work environment, perhaps we need to muddle life up a little more, make work spaces messier and allow for the flexibility we may allow others with for example learning needs. I’m not saying every workplace / gallery / residency etc needs a play school, but I am saying lets not be so precious, lets not worry about distractions and intense working, lets be human, lets get messy!