OOO. I’ve neglected this blog for a while! But So many exciting things have been starting to happen that I simply haven’t had the time! My paintbrushes are drying right now so I have a moment of clarity to get a post in! I have read a few things floating around the web lately about how career oriented people shouldn’t or don’t want to have children. With mothers day coming up, I just wanted to say something about being a mom and the huge, but positive changes it has had on my life. I used to be one of those people who swore against having kids, but its funny how things change. People change. Life changes. Motives change. Anywho, I just wanted to share my experience as a mom and a career oriented human. Of course, to each their own, I have nothing, NOTHING against people who don’t want kids. I just want to say that you can have a serious career and be a mom too.
The chaos. THE CHAOS!
People seemed to be worried when I first became a pregnant, self employed, 23 year old that I would not be able to paint any more. As if becoming a Mom would cause my hands to become gangrenous and melt into oblivion, rendering me unable to articulate a paintbrush. I had a friend who cried when I told her I was pregnant, she thought I wouldn’t be able to paint anymore and I laughed because nothing will stop me from working… but she was dead serious. Several family members spoke with me in a tone that suggested that I would not be able to carry on as I was and I laughed at them too. It was a patronizing “Oh we’ll see when it happens…” kind of tone. I was extremely nervous about the future, but it didn’t take long into my pregnancy for me to realize that, no, I will always be an artist. Nothing could ever stop me from doing what I do or I would simply go bonkers. Becoming a parent is a big change, but it doesn’t rip the purpose or creativity out of your soul and epoxy a steely apron around your waist for your new life of nursing babies and domestic simplicity. No. Ridiculous. But that was the notion that continued to spiral in my direction.
Yes, it turns out, becoming a parent does change things, and for a few months after having Vincent, it was very difficult to find time to paint, But on the other side, I was totally enamored with my new family member and I learned that there was more to life than making things (shocking, i know). After working out the routine of having a North American Red Screaming Poopoo Beetle and recovering from birth (that shit hurts…), I slowly started painting again, more and more. For a year and a half I spent the days being a mom and Painting into the late hours of the night. Sleep is for the dead, right? I managed to crank out a solo show, plenty of dolls and managed to carry on but I could definitely feel the change. I was burning out, overworked, exhausted, and my productive streak was slowing down in spite of my efforts. I was tired, REALLY tired. After welcoming “Meat Bug” into my life, I really scrambled to find the balance between being a young mom and being a career artist. For some reason work started to really feel like monotonous work instead of fun. I was my own cranky douchebagface boss and I made the mistake of working for works sake instead of working for creative freedoms sake. Turns out that I needed to make some changes to my career and routine. I had to nurture my creative side AND an infant and the pressures of both started to consume me for a while. I was juggling and needed balance. I found that instead of scrambling to be with my son and scrambling to work, I needed to stop trying to do everything at the same time. Dedicate specific time to specific tasks and give each your full concentration when you are in pursuit. Be the best parent you can and Work as hard as you can on your own things too.
Being an artist is sort of a selfish job, you paint what you want for the shows you choose and you work at any pace you like. It’s hard work, but there is an element of excitement in having that kind of control of your life and doing what you like to do. Being a mom is completely selfless, there are no breaks, it is totally awesome but it is a huge contrast to fully focusing on work and doing whatever you want when you want. Being a parent also brings a change to the very nature of being a career artist. It is a financial change, I am now supporting another person, so I cannot be lazy. I need to paint with gusto and save money. At the same time I need to enjoy working and innovating to keep shit fresh. In the past I could laze about, go hungry in exchange for expensive shoes, Stay up all night, party like an idiot, and these things still happen on occasion (especially the shoes), but my focus has changed. Or rather, my focus has broadened. People have this idea that you can’t be a mom and be completely invested in a career, but I think people can do anything if they want it badly enough. It is a question of how hard you are willing to work. Now I work with the intention of supporting my family AND having fun, I used to simply Paint to paint and felt lucky that people bought enough paintings for me to pay my bills and i felt lucky that my career was moving ahead so fast. Now I paint ferociously to move forward, save and support my family. For so long i was so focused on only painting, only shows, only work related things, that I got so used to doing what I was doing that the fun started to burn out. Becoming a parent has opened my eyes to how lucky I am to be able to pursue a career of my choice. It has given me new reasons to try hard, new inspirations and new ideas. And, I have even become less of a hermit, which is a good thing.
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So, naturally, finding a balance between “momming” and painting hasn’t been the easiest thing, and i’m still working on it, but this year I feel like i’m getting the hang of it. I love being a mom and I love painting, so it seems like things are getting better and better around here. This spring is bringing in wonderful new projects and changes that I am super excited to share. “Meat Bug” has given me fresh eyes on the world and inspired me to work my ass off for fresh new reasons. I appreciate every moment of being a mom and every moment of work, even the crappy moments. I have two jobs. I am a Mom and I am a career oriented fine artist. Neither jobs are lacking and both are completely fulfilling. I am extremely invested in my work as both a painter and a parent. I am not without hard times but I have never been happier. Happy Mothers day to all the Mamas out there!
I think i’ll keep him!