Of Creativity and Motherhood
I've been so challenged lately by the works of artists around me. I've been challenged to be genuine and honest in my work, and inspired that what I have to offer is unique. So I wanted to do something a little differently here. I wanted to take a moment and speak about my own life, of motherhood and creativity.
To be honest: I am an artist. I also am a mother with four little kids in the house. Being a creative person and being a mother are not in direct opposition of each other, but motherhood SURE DOES make it hard to be creative! Sure, I spend lots of time decorating my home, creating a safe and comfortable environment for my kids to grow and my husband to relax. But I don't think painting a wall green really fills my creative cup. And sure, I do a lot of photography "work" - I take portraits with families, and I capture fleeting emotions at weddings. But in those cases, the moment carries the art. I could just get by without growing, could just keep plodding on doing the same thing I have been, but that's not ART, that's work. And I want to be an artist first, and not a career woman.
Concerning motherhood: It's not the laundry, or the dishes or the meal prep aspects that make being creative difficult. It's not the fact that I am responsible to brush three peoples hair (multiple times) every day, or that I cut five pairs of finger nails and five sets of toenails every week. Or the runny noses. Or that they always want to eat food, every day, more than once. No, I think the thing about motherhood that is the most tiring is not the physical chores, it's the constant mental vigilance. You see I spend my entire day trying to keep people alive. And they FIGHT me on it. Me: Don't die. Infant: But I found this marble under the couch that NEEDS to be put in my mouth and choked on. Me: Don't die. Toddler: But I really WANT to run and touch the burning hot fireplace. Me: Kids, please stay off the roof (unless the snow is high enough that you won't die when you fall).
And it's draining. Emotionally draining. So that at the end of a day I don't want to sit and create something, I want to sit and empty my brain of all the noise and just stop.
Don't hear me wrong; I am NOT complaining. Yes, I chose to have kids. Yes, I knew all the work that was required beforehand. And YES I would make that choice over and over again! What's my point then? I don't know, I might not have one. This is not a sermon or a how-to message. This is just my thoughts about why it's hard to invest in my art when I'm investing in others.
But the fact remains that I am both. I am a mother. I am an artist. And I plan to continue to do both. To create, to find inspiration, to push myself to do something new, to learn something different, to be more patient and gentle, to make a different meal each night and not the same sandwich for lunch every day, to write blog posts even if it takes days to do so because of the hundreds of interruptions and (cute) distractions. After all, I am a mother and a creator who loves to learn. Learning is what I do best.
(p.s. I could never do any of it if my hubster weren't so supportive, if he didn't parent as much or do as much housework. Shout out to him!)