New Year, Still a Mother

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I rang in this new year sick with a sick child, so I didn’t get the jump start I wanted. It’s just another reminder that having children changes our plans. What I don’t subscribe to, is the thought that they change our plans for the worse.

Adding to this, I was also sick with a sick baby which wasn’t fun, but it does allow one extra time to think about things, like, “What would I like to accomplish this year, really?”

The tail end of 2018 brought some big changes for me. One, I quit my day job. For the first time in my adult life I am not working as a graphic designer [or insert any other basic profession here] to pay the bills. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this, but also, I feel very out of sorts. I have never not made money. My husband and I share our finances mentally (as in it is all ours collectively) but because of all our moves and different life status we have still mostly been operating with a “you pay yours and i’ll pay mine” actuality. So in other words, the money I spent, I paid for. Now, as I don’t have a day job, things will have to change. But there is one thing I don’t want to change, and that is making some money. This time with my art.

Another thing happened too, I participated in my first art show in years! I

lettucetakeastand_2018

“Lettuce take a stand.”

made a painting for the Swains miniature show. My piece called “Lettuce take a stand” was the first painting I have made expressly for the purpose of sale in at least two years. I am also happy to say that it sold! In addition to selling this piece I had two other much older pieces sell at the same gallery just a few months before this. For me, these were all small victories and reminders that I am doing what I should be doing. That this life of being a painter is not a figment of my imagination but an attainable goal, that I can set my eyes on realistically.

Speaking of being realistic, I also am still, happily, a mother. I feel like I have spent more time with this reality the end of this year than ever. This is my world. But I need to be not only a mother but personally fulfilled. I need to complete my mission. Glenn Close recently said it perfectly during her Golden Globes acceptance speech, “I feel what I’ve learned from this whole experience is that women, we’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us. We have our children. We have our husbands, if we’re lucky enough, or our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfillment.”

This year I vow to make real strides in my workflow. I’m not going to shoot for too much, but I will figure out how to get as much done as possible while keeping my family life happy. This probably means a dirtier house and more instant food (thank goodness for Trader Joe’s!). But I must keep praying and working towards the mission I was given on this planet. I know this is who God has been preparing me to be, I just need to step up to the plate and take a swing at it.

So, I hope this year treats you all well and I hope that you have set and achieve some great things for yourselves. I wish you such great luck and I hope I can send some support and encouragement to you this year! Happy new year and happy painting!

– M

The Bounce Back

I feel like I hear a lot about the “Postpartum Bounce Back”. Do a quick google search for “bouncing back after pregnancy” and you will yield a ton of articles on pelvis binding and postpartum exercise to regain your pre-baby physique. You will also see things about how to regain some “me” time, quiet time you had before baby and other absurd post-baby life desires. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I will ever “bounce back”.

Why do people feel they need to be the people they were before they had a baby? I mean, no one expects you to be the kid you were in high school after you’ve graduated college. If you fall in love with someone. you aren’t asked to be the person you were before the relationship. If you lose a loved one or move to a different place, take a new job, make a major lifestyle or diet change, everyone expects that you WILL change and hopefully grow from each of these life experiences. But after growing then caring for a human, somehow we are supposed to become our pre pregnancy/motherhood selves?

Having a baby has changed my whole life. I am physically, mentally and emotionally changed. My entire being has, like a boat on a lake being rocked by the ripple of a ship sailing by, been affected. Eventually the waves will get smaller and my daily life will not be as moved by the S.S.N.C. but I will be ever changed by her.

My art has been affected too. Not only has the way I create art, like my working hours, changed but what I want to paint has changed as well. I must embrace this. If we cannot get over how our children have changed us personally and professionally, then we will capsize in their waves. We must work with the disruption of water and turn our bows into the waves to face these changes head on, rather than not turning and being unable to see what is coming, risking losing in all. When I work with my daughters schedule and needs my painting days are not as productive as they once were. On those stormy days, I can barely sail forward, but wishing the storm away has no effect and brings my mood down. If I hold onto the need to have more time than I can give I will get depressed and that only hurts my productivity further. I will weather this storm, as many others, and my good days will come. I try to be productive as possible on those good days, and this makes up for any losses I may have had, as well as refilling my cup.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I want to work on my physique too! But I will work with what I am now, not what I was. Just as I do with my art.

As my mother once said to me when I told her I would pay her back for all the money she gave to help me while in college, “don’t worry about paying it back, pay it forward to your children, I don’t need it.” The love you give your children now, they will pay forward.

So, forget about bouncing back, just sail forward.

 

-M