Maybe I am just frazzled and it will get better on its own. There have been a series of articles of late that argue that there is an inherent conflict between motherhood and artistic work.
There was Lauren Sandler’s piece, “The Secret to Being Both a Successful Writer and a Mother: Have Just One Kid.” The thesis of the piece is in the title, and I read it on my phone as I nursed my second baby, worried that I was doomed, that I had lost my voice to the sea witch, that I would never be a thinking, writing, intellectual being again but would become nothing more than an enlarged mammary gland needing to be periodically drained. Was it impossible to balance the demands of an artistic career with the demands of multiple children?
I do not brush my hair every day because what does it matter if my hair is brushed? It is also possible that taking care of small children is just really hard, and in the last six months we have had a move across country, a baby in the hospital for a week, and my new book come out.
Still, there is a concern that the stank of uncool motherhood will befoul the beautifully tormented artist.
It is, I think, this same stank that women’s magazines would like to occasionally excise from my work.
Which is not to say that Jodi Picoult hasn’t chosen her role.
She may very well want to spend all day with her children and stay up at night working.