I feel superior to people who have less than three kids. It's just what it is. Having three kids, for example, gives me a legitimate reason to not go to events I don't want to attend. On the flip side, of course, it also makes it a lot more difficult to attend events I want to. But I digress.
Today's post was prompted by my discovery of Marissa Huber and her series of interviews with artist moms. I often feel alone in my daily struggle to 'make it' - both as an artist and as a mom. I know that on the outside, I look successful in both - but it does not come easy. And it seems that there are so many successful artists who either have no family or are retired from 'real jobs,' with their kids by now independent. And that the really good moms devote their every waking hour to raising kids and keeping the house, with no time or energy left for any pursuits of their own.
So it was very exciting to read Marissa's interviews with real-life women artists who have real-life small children.
How do they do it, then? Well, here are some tips based on my own experience and some I'd like to borrow from Marissa's guests:
1. Adjust your expectations. I still occasionally get frustrated when I count on an hour of uninterrupted creating time and it doesn't happen. So, don't set yourself up with unrealistic expectations. If 5 minutes at a time is all you can get, get it!
2. Have a schedule. Kids respond well to having a structure to their day. And you will, too. Right now, for example, we have nap time for Katia (3.5) and Ella (2), around 12-2 pm. This gives me a block of time to work (or take a nap, whichever seems more pressing at the time :)
3. Learn to say 'No' to some things. No, you don't have to be the PTA president, remodel your bedroom and make art for a show all at the same time. Pick what is most important to you, based on your values and goals, and go for it.
4. Adjust your process. This may be working smaller, switching to a more kid-friendly medium, and moving your art headquarters to the kitchen island. Some stolen creating time in your living room is better than no creating time in your studio.
5. Make art with (or alongside) your kids. This one looks better 'on paper' than in real life, but I hear it is an option. Unless I'm just sketching, I need to be in a state of mind that is completely different from 'OMG, is she about to fall out of the chair?' and 'Oh no, too much mess!' So, it works better with older kids who may possibly allow you to dip your toes in your 'zone.'
6. Do the sketchbook. That sketching I mentioned above, it can be a mom-saver. Just do it.
7. Go hang out with other artists once in a while. Attend a meetup, go draw a nude or paint some plein air. You don't even have to talk. Just being in company of other creative souls will recharge your batteries. And get you out of the house!
8. Take the kid(s) with you. Yes you can!
9. Hire a babysitter, if you can, or get another family member to watch the little ones while you work. This, of course, really depends on your situation, but is so worth it!
10. Stop comparing yourself to others. This is really the same as my first point. Do what is right for you at this point in your life and hang in there.
That's all. Go forth and create now :)