Balancing Between Roles and Duties – The Creativity of Mothers

Open access


We raise two issues in the article at hand: how women who are mothers fulfil their creative needs, and what significance they ascribe to creativity in their role as mothers. A thematic analysis of structured interviews with twenty-seven women suggests that for mothers, creative activity mostly concerns fulfilling one’s responsibilities as part of the role taken on (be it parental or professional), and the main creative challenge they face is achieving a balance between their private and professional lives. Creativity in their role as mothers relates predominantly to two areas of activity: communication with the child and activities creating a climate conducive to the child’s development of creative ability. We discuss the obtained results in relation to those of previous research on the relationship between motherhood and creativity.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Amabile T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder CO: Westview Press Inc.

  • Amabile T. M. (1982). Social psychology of creativity: A consensual assessment technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43 997-1013.

  • Block J. H. Block J. & Harrington D. M. (1987). Testing Aspects of Carl Roger’s Theory of Creative Environments: Child-Rearing Antecedents of Creative potential in Young Adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52 4 851-856.

  • Bloom B. S. & Sosniak L. A. (1981). Talent development. Educational Leadership 39(2) 86-94.

  • Braun V. & Clarke V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3 (2) 77-101.

  • Brown I. (2010). Ambivalence Maternal. In A. O'Reilly (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Motherhood (pp. 50-52). Thousand Oaks Calif: Sage Publications.

  • Ciciola-Izzo R. (2014). Mother/Art: A Journey into Selfhood Motherhood and Art Education through Personal Works. A Thesis in The Department of Art Education. Montréal: Concordia University.

  • Csikszentmihályi M. (1999). Implications of a systems perspective for the study of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.) Handbook of creativity (pp. 313-335). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Dacey J. S. (1989). Discriminating characteristics of the families of highly creative adolescents. Journal of Creative Behavior 23 263-271.

  • Dillon J. J. (2002). The Role of the Child in Adult Development. Journal of Adult Development 9 267-275.

  • Douglas S. J. & Michaels M. W. (2004). The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women. New York: Free Press.

  • Drew P. (2010). Self Identity. In A. O'Reilly (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Motherhood (pp. 1106-1108). Thousand Oaks California: Sage Publications.

  • Elder G. (1999). Children of the Great Depression. Jackson TN: Westview Press.

  • Ellison K. (2006). The Mommy Brain: How motherhood makes us smarter. New York: Basic Books.

  • Frith H. & Gleeson K. (2004). Clothing and embodiment: men managing body image and appearance. Psychology of Men & Masculinity 5 40-48.

  • Foster L. (2004). Early influences on creativity in Great Britain. In Fryer M. (Ed.) Creativity and cultural diversity (pp. 131-136). West Yorkshire: The Creativity Centre Educational Trust.

  • Gardner H. (1993). Creating minds. New York: Basic.

  • Getzels J. & Jackson P. (1961). Family environment and cognitive style: A study of the sources of highly intelligent and of highly creative adolescents. American Sociological Review 26 351-359.

  • Glazer G. (1980). Anxiety levels and concerns among pregnant women. Research in Nursing & Health 3 107-113.

  • Gruber H. E. & Wallace D. B. (1999/2010). The case study method and evolving systems approach for understanding unique creative people at work. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.) Handbook of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Gute G. Gute D. S. Nakamura J. & Csikszentmihályi M. (2008). The early lives of highly creative persons: The influence of the complex family. Creativity Research Journal 20 343-357.

  • Hays S. (1998). The Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

  • Helson R. (1999). A Longitudal Study of Creative Personality in Women. Creativity Research Journal 12 89-101.

  • Hochschild A. R. & Machung A. (1989). The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home. New York: Viking Penguin.

  • Kinsley C. H. Gifford G. W. Madonia L. Tureski K. Griffin G. R. Lowry C Williams J. Collins J. McLearie H. & Lambert K. G. (1999). Motherhood improves learning and memory. Nature 402 137-138.

  • Kirschenbaum R. J. & Reis S. M. (1997). Conflicts in Creativity: Talented Female Artists. Creativity Research Journal 10 251-263.

  • Kris E. (1952). Psychoanalytic explorations in art. New York: International Universities Press.

  • LeBeau C. S. (2017 May 11). Ontological and Ethical Guilt: Phenomenological Perspectives on Becoming a Mother. The Humanistic Psychologist. Advance online publication.

  • Lebuda I. & Csikszentmihályi M. (under review). All You Need Is Love: The Importance of Partner and Family Relations to Eminent Creators’ Well-Being and Success. The Journal of Creative Behavior.

  • Lorberbaum J. P. Newman J. D. Dubno J. R. Horwitz A. R. Nahas Z. Teneback C. C. Bloomer C. W. Bohning D. E. Vincent D. Johnson M. R. Emmanuel N. Brawman-Mintzer O. Book S. W. Lydiard R. B. Ballenger J. C. & George M. S. (1999). Feasibility of using fMRI to study mothers responding to infant cries. Depression & Anxiety 10 99-104.

  • Michel M. & Dudek S. Z. (1991). Mother‐child relationships and creativity. Creativity Research Journal 4 281-286.

  • Miller B. C. & Gerard D. (1979). Family influences on the development of creativity in children: An integrative review. Family Coordinator 28 295-312.

  • Miller A. L. Lambert A. D. & Neumeister K. L. S. (2012). Parenting Style perfectionism and creativity in high-ability and high-achieving young adults. Journal for the Education of the Gifted 35 344-365.

  • Miller G. W. (2010). Mothering and Creativity. In: A. O'Reilly (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Motherhood (pp. 832-834). Thousand Oaks California: Sage Publications.

  • Patton M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park CA: Sage.

  • Paris R. & Helson R. (2002). Early mothering experience and personality change. Journal of Family Psychology 16 172-185.

  • Sigel I. E. McGillicuddy-DeLisi A. V. & Goodnow J. J. (2014). Parental Belief Systems: The Psychological Consequences for Children. New York & London: Psychology Press.

  • Sigel I. E. Dreyer A. & McGillicuddy-De Lisi A. V. (1984). Psychological perspectives of the family. In R. D. Parke (Ed.) Review of child development research (Vol. 7 pp.42-79). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Simonton D. K. (1984). Genius creativity and leadership. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Simonton D. K. (1999). Origins of genius. Darwinian perspectives on creativity. New York Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Taylor M. (1999). Imaginary companions and the childre who create them. NewYork: Oxford University Press.

  • Uvnas-Moberg K. (1998). Oxytocin ma mediate the benefis of positive social interaction and emotions. Psychoneuroendocrinology 23 819-835.

  • Vallance D. (2010). Psychology of Motherhood. In A. O'Reilly (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Motherhood (pp.1034-1038). Thousand Oaks California: Sage Publications.

  • Walberg H. J. Zhang G. Cummings C. Fillipelli L. A. Freeman K. A. Haller E. P. et al. (1996). Childhood traits and experiences of eminent women. Creativity Research Journal 9 97-102.

  • Wallach M. A. & Kogan N. (1965). Modes of thinking in young children. New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston.

  • Zgierska A. (2012). Reconciliation between work and family life in 2010. Warsaw: Central Statistical Office.

  • downloaded 22 May 2017

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 475 133 14
PDF Downloads 215 93 11