The Art of Motherhood is a blog created by artist Monica Baumann to share in the joys, struggles, reality, creations and art of being a mother and artist.
In the last three years, I’ve gotten married, moved 300 miles away from the only home I’ve ever known and had a child. Life is different to say the least.
I have always had obstacles in my creative path. My need to maintain a day-job all these years being a big one, still, becoming a mother is the biggest. Nothing can steal your heart, mind or time as much as a baby.
As I do not in anyway regret having my daughter, what I have found after this short time of being a new mom, is how ostracized I feel from the art community. Not only can I not commit as much of my time or focus to my art, but I also feel as if any mention of my child should be hidden in shame. I feel as if I have the black plague of the art world.
There is a thought in the art world that once a woman becomes a mother, she is finished. I have had teachers who advise women against having children if they want to succeed as an artist. Statistically it is probably true that women seem to step away from their art duties and focus on caring for their children. This happens a lot in the non-art world too. Being said, I have no interest in becoming a statistic. I also have no interest in hiding from the art world. Having a child was a choice my husband and I made with joy and excitement.
Over the last number of months, I have spent many hours awake with a hungry, tired baby, thinking about what it means to be an artist and mother. Initially in between my frantic internet searches on how to get my baby to sleep, I also started looking for other artist mothers, out there, who have maintained an art career and raised children, who could offer me a glimpse of help and hope. I did find a few, but most of them had older children and they had little to no mention of their experiences as a mother. I knew being a professional artist and mother could be done, but I personally felt like I needed support to do so.
As I’ve continued in my search, and found nothing, I felt I needed to document my experiences as a mother and artist. For me, it will provide something to look back to on hard days, weeks or even months where in defeat I slip down the dangerous slope into laying my brushes down forever. But, I also want to provide a space of hope for other mother artists, who like me may be in hiding, and considering quitting. All I have to say is … Don’t. We can do this.