Before I am an artist: I am a mom. My view on managing our creative impulses with the demands of being a parent.
This year me being a mom is going through a transition. My son Tao will be turning 18 and will leave the house to travel and study.
When kids come into our lives, the first lesson we are taught is to “be at service”. We may plan to sleep in, watch a movie, read a book, start painting, talk on the phone with a friend… but let’s face it, for many years parents simply don’t have easy access to these simple pleasures. If we want to enjoy being a parent we better accept and comply to this fact. Luckily for me, at 24, I had to realise this fate real quick. In 14 months I had an instant family with 3 kids (my son and twins girls being born close after). This intense way to make a family also amplified any lessons that parenthood had in for me. Stuck on the couch, breastfeeding the twins and reading a book to my toddler son, I simply could not dream of what ‘I’ would like to do.
Before I continue and talk about how my art came into my life, I would like to say that being of service to my children was a gift. Being with them confronted me with many shadow aspects of my personality that I had never known before. I always say that being a parent is like being on stage. When we mess up we see the result and consequences instantly (well, if we are somewhat sensitive): Seeing the frightened, sad or humiliated look in our children’s eyes after we freaked out at them is a pretty strong motivator for inner change. Taking this challenging job seriously was a catalyst for transformation and was more rewarding than any success my art career has provided.
Sometimes I see young moms that are frustrated because they would like to do things for the world, unleash their talents, express their creativity and/or be an actor of change; they often feel stuck at home and that this task of being a parent is putting their life on hold. Even though I too felt all of these emotions, I was fortunate to realize right from their birth that living with them is going to be a relatively short time of my life and that when it is over there would be no second chance at parenting.
Interesting enough, my creativity emerged when I was first pregnant. Quite quickly I knew I would like to be a professional artist. I waited until my kids were 7 and 8 to start seriously. During all these years I was itching to share my work with the world but I really had no choice; before they were 7, the truth is, if I wanted to paint, they wanted to paint too, and my style of artwork didn’t allow kid’s paintbrushes and messy hands around it! Also if you think about 7 years of our life, in the big picture, it is not a lot. While the world can certainly wait for our talent, our kids cannot. Being there for these formative years is of utmost importance.
So throughout my art career I always told myself and others: “before I am an artist, I am a mom”. My art, creative urges, the excitement for possibilities, the business side of it, all of that came second.
The other motivation to put my art and business second is integrity. I simply could not put out my artwork in the world if I didn’t have a balanced personal life. Being at home, taking time for my health and well-being, being present for my family are the basics. Being an artist is a gift, the images come into my life as little surprises. Deep inside, I feel that the quality of what I am giving out to the world has to be backed up by a strong honest foundation. I clearly feel that the Muse would not be so generous if I didn’t have my priorities right. Also the path seems to unfold gracefully when we keep our focus on what is most important in life. At least this has undoubtedly been my personal experience with it!
Well, the good news is that now that I am almost done being a mom I can look forward to giving 100% to my art career… Considering what I have accomplished by putting it second, I am looking forward to seeing what will happen then!
To see more of my artwork go to www.artbygaia.com