Because I know how difficult it is, as a first-time mom, not to compare yourself to the progress and achievements of other mothers, especially with the surplus of social media always at our fingertips. I’m aware of the fact that people don’t often portray themselves accurately online, but that doesn’t always make things easier.
Well, since my last post on my 5 Steps to Regaining Creative Drive After Baby, what have I accomplished?
Nothing… (art wise, at least)
I feel the need to be honest about my shortcomings. A friend and fellow art mom excitedly asked me what I have been creating since that post and that it made her feel inspired. I felt a sense of shame when I admitted I hadn’t been making anything.
Shortly before I posted that I had reorganized our spare room, so I’d have somewhere comfortable for baby and somewhere functional for me to create. I had started making jewelry. (Not a regular craft of mine, but it’s something that was easy to walk away from at a moment’s notice and pick up later) I just needed to use my hands to create something again. During nap times I was able to accomplish more than I expected.
I was feeling jazzed, energized, and hopeful that I’d continue and soon get back into painting. I had even pulled out my watercolors and made a couple of greeting cards. I had plans of soon sitting down to create one small watercolor painting a day.
Then started a succession of challenging changes...teething, rebelling against nap time, a short but frustrating nursing strike, sleep regression, etc. My baby also rapidly became much more alert and began demanding nonstop entertainment. She shifted from needing constant comforting in between naps to barely napping and always wanting to play. I guess things do get boring quickly when you aren’t mobile and can’t even sit up on your own.
It’s a time consuming and tiring, yet extremely rewarding period.
Even though it can be exhausting, and I feel like I can never get anything done, I love being a mother. Absolutely love it. I’m in complete awe over this little, perfect person I’ve helped create. I am discovering a whole new side of myself that I never met until I met my baby.
I love watching her progressions from week to week and nothing on this Earth makes me happier than seeing her sweet little smile.
Needless to say, because of this, my creative side is hibernating at the moment. But it’s okay. The juices aren’t flowing right now anyway. I’m in total mom mode and my mind doesn’t yet have room to accommodate the other aspects of myself. Anything I would attempt now would feel forced and forcing art can do a lot more damage than just taking a break for a bit. I’ve had many moments where I’ve felt like I have let myself down. I have felt lazy and unmotivated. I have felt like a slob. I have felt like I am wasting my potential. I have felt like whatever creativity and talent I had disappeared when I became a stay-at-home-mom. These feelings aren’t caused by a lack of desire to create. These feelings pop up simply because I need time and privacy to get in my creative zone and with a young, demanding infant the time just isn’t there, or at least I haven’t managed to strike the balance, but I’ve been reassured by other artist moms that things will get easier. As she grows and begins to develop a little independence, I’ll once again have some time to create.
I wanted to put this out there, because I don’t want to paint a phony picture of myself as this super mom that somehow manages to crank out beautiful artwork in my studio while my baby lays there happily smiling and cooing as if to cheer me on. She has no interest in mommy’s art yet. Her priorities are eating, being held, playing, and not letting me ever have 2 free hands at once. I’m sure plenty of other art moms face this same dilemma and I certainly do not want to make anyone feel like a failure, because you’re not! This is just a phase.
For now, I’m at her beck at call, but there’s nothing more important. I’m enjoying being totally present for her physically and mentally. I’m hopeful that this pause in my art will allow my mind the room to breathe, reset, and be ready to approach my creative practice with a whole new perspective when the timing is right.
I look forward to seeing how this new phase in my life will influence my artwork.