Both my children are back in school and while I’m certainly going to miss the lazy summer mornings, I am overjoyed to have a little bit more art time again. I absolutely love being a Mom and I also love being an artist and for the last 7 years I have been figuring out the best ways to balance both. As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In a nutshell, I paint, I write a blog, I sell and ship my work, I teach workshops…. and I’m a Mom. Not necessarily in that order. Being a mother is obviously my most important job and one that takes so much time and energy. It can sometimes be overwhelming trying to tackle everything at once so I’ve developed a few practices that keep me from getting frazzled.
Probably the most important way I keep everything in perspective is to break it down into manageable pieces. For example, I will spend one day making a detailed to-do list for my art business. Then the next day I’ll plan to get 3 things crossed off. And then the next day 3 more and so on. This way, I don’t feel bogged down with to-dos but I also feel like I’m making some progress. As you mothers know, the everyday hustle and bustle with kids is hectic enough, so when you add an extra to-do list in… it only gets crazier. Breaking it down makes it easier to digest.
I also try to use every bit of my free time wisely. I always make sure to wake up before my kids do just so I can have those quiet early morning hours to answer emails and get any computer work done. My daughter is 4 now and only goes to school 3 days a week. So on the 3 days when they’re both in school, I make sure I am super organized and efficient. The bulk of my art business happens on those days.
Another thing that I think is really important is to give myself permission to take time off. By that I mean, I literally set aside time to take a break from both motherhood and art. Monday was the first day my kids were both back to school and I told myself I wasn’t allowed to do anything art or work-related on that day. I went to a spin class, got a latte, took a long leisurely shower and did a little shopping before I picked them up from school. Aaaaaah. That was a great day. In order to feel inspired and fulfilled, I feel like it’s really important to take time to nurture our well being now and then. Especially for Moms.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not always feeling so calm. Just ask my husband. There are many, many days when he gets home from work that I just need to hand the reins over to him and take a little breather. He is so great about giving me the time I need, whether it’s for my art business or just a break to re-charge my batteries.
I guess all things considered, being an artist and being a mother sometimes really go hand-in-hand. I love creating projects with my kids and teaching them different artistic techniques. I also feel really strongly about setting an example for them to follow a life filled with passion, purpose and creativity. That’s my biggest goal.
A couple of days ago I got an email from my daughter’s teacher asking me to be the room mother. Hmmm. Well it’s pretty easy to ignore those requests when you get a mass plea to all the parents. But when you get a direct, personal appeal how can you say no? So I am now officially a room mother! Better start writing another to-do list!
How do you manage balancing work and motherhood? I’d love to hear your input.