“We make cool stuff. We make people too. How has that affected you? Along the way we try to stay creative types at the end of the day.” –The Pratfalls of Parenting theme song
I recently discovered the Pratfalls of Parenting podcast about life as a parent in the arts, and I’ve become a bit obsessed with the show. I am far from being a working artist myself–that isn’t even on my map really–but that doesn’t matter. The sense of camaraderie in the casual conversations between the artists in the podcast extends to the listener, and turns people whose names I see on advertisements for gallery shows or theater performances into real people whose struggles are not far off from mine.
All the interviews that I’ve listened to so far seem to circle back to the idea that you have to be you to be a good parent. You might be able to put parts of you in the background at times, like when your kids are quite young, but you have to keep making things or whatever it is you are into. For me that means writing and making zines. For my husband, it means making music. We’ve made these things priorities in our house, and it’s nice to know that there are other families out there who are making the same kinds of priorities we are.
But I don’t think you have to be some sort of artist to know the tension between keeping your pre-parent self alive and being a good parent, and I don’t think you have to be an artist to appreciate the Pratfalls of Parenting podcast. For one thing, it’s a fascinating angle on the Twin Cities arts scene. I’ve discovered so many artists and arts organizations in the few weeks I’ve been listening. :)
Here are some of the highlights I’ve found so far:
- Seniz Lennes (improvisor/actor/photographer) talks about parenting as part of her creative practice and the way that her work as an improvisor informs her parenting. She blogs about this at Yes And Parenting.
- Carolyn Swiszcz (painter/video maker) references children’s books as a great inspiration, and she mentions several illustrators in particular that she likes. While I’m on the subject of books, I’ll also point out that Susannah Schouweiler mentions that having free reign of the library as a kid influenced her decision to become a writer and William Alexander (children’s book author) talks about writing, the book industry, and all sorts of other things kidlitgeeks like me love hearing about.
- Jena Young (comic/theater producer) brings up the topic of humor in that what is funny to kids is often not the same as what is funny to adults. I wonder what she and host Levi Weinhagen (of all-ages theater company Comedy Suitcase) would think of my assessment of Kid Humor in picture books. ;)
I highly recommend the podcast to parents of all sorts, but especially to those who make stuff and make that a priority.