Seventeen months have passed since I became a mother. A big, shiny new title that’s been added to my name. I have to say that as a full-time mom it is the most challenging job I have ever had. What makes it more difficult is that I feel an equal need to still be a great wife, and not give up my passion for art and creating. So how do these roles mix? Are they even supposed to mix?
I used to compartmentalize these roles and segment them in a way that felt like structure to me. I work hard to have structure in my life, and would say to myself when the baby wakes up, “OK, now I’m a mom, do your thing” and then when the baby is asleep and it’s just me, “now I’m an artist and this is my time to work or create” or when I’m with my husband, “now I’m a wife.”
After a while, I grew tired of this way of thinking and acting because they can’t (and shouldn’t) be completely segmented. With this way of thinking, my need to create as an artist would end up getting frustrated and in turn I would wish away the time spent with my son, awaiting his next nap so I could tackle my next project.
I realized that each major role I have overlap and mesh together to form who I am right now. Now that I’ve had this enlightenment, it makes life a whole lot easier. I choose now to use my creativity to come up with meaningful, creative and fun ways to spend time together. We color, we play with play doh, we read books, we explore outside, we play music on the piano and sing (no TV!). I can say now that I am content when I’m with my son and I don’t wish I was doing anything else.
I look forward to when he gets older so we can do all kinds of projects together. I love how my friend Mandy will take drawings of creatures her kids have created and sew stuffed toys that resemble the drawings.
I love how this artist has immersed his kids in creativity and art with amazing handmade toys and art projects.
So now I no longer watch the clock and live for his next nap time. I’ve blurred the lines of artistry and motherhood just by loving my time with him and focusing on where my role as a mom and as an artist intersect. Sometimes I can start a project when he’s awake and then finish it when he’s asleep. Ultimately, his nap time becomes my focused work time. I always have a mental list of things I need to do when he sleeps and I do what I can in that time.
Creativity and motherhood are not separate entities. One does not detract from the other and there is no weighting one by shorting the other. It is not about stealing time for creativity from being a mother and vice versa. Creativity infuses motherhood, and your motherhood colors everything about your creativity.
Remember, creativity is a holistic approach to life. It is not just about that painting, sewing, writing or whatever it may be, it is about the way you look at things. It is about being open to the adventure. It is about looking for new uses for old things. It is about coming up with solutions to problems that do not seem solvable. It is about seeing beauty and meaning in the mundane. Creativity is about learning to speak what is in your heart. It is about looking for and nurturing possibility. It is about feeding your soul with what nourishes and about sharing with those around you, in effect, feeding them too. And all that? That’s what it means to raise children, too.