Before I became a mama, on any given day you could find me in my studio with twinkle lights turned on, music in the background, and coffee close by. I would spend hours upon hours in my little art space. It was such a sacred time - to honor my creative spirit, to fill up both spiritually and emotionally, to gather inspiration, and to pour my heart out on canvas.
I remember sinking into a brand new rhythm and routine in the first few weeks after my son was born. Even though I had my hands full with tending to my sweet babe, healing, and learning to trust my mama wings, I can recall feeling like a small yet vital piece of my soul was being forgotten, and in desperate need of attention.
For quite some time after I became a mama, solitude turned into a thing of the past. Self-care was non-existent. It felt almost an impossible task - weaving together the fundamental pieces of my 'old' life (as an artist) with my 'new' life (as a mama).
I'm here to tell you that it is so worth every obstacle (internal or otherwise) to get to a place of balance and harmony!
Through trial and error to find what works best within each season of life
As my son grows and changes, so does our daily 'schedule' (a term I use very loosely!). It's all about trial and error to find what works best within each season of life. My husband works super long hours, which means getting creative when it comes to carving out blocks of time for my art. For the most part, creating happens while my babe naps, which is usually for an hour during the middle of the day. It truly is amazing how much a person can get done in an hour or less with determination, focus, and set priorities!
Releasing expectations is huge in the success of making art a priority. I've found that being flexible is everything. Some days nap time doesn't happen. Or there's an appointment to get to. Instead of feeling frustrated when our routine is thrown off, I have learned to adjust my sails and realize that my creative outlet for that day is going to look different. Most likely it will include scribbling down ideas in my journal, on the floor, while my son colors next to me (or lets be honest - he's probably coloring ON me, my journal, his hands, and his face;)). Often times I will put him in my pack and paint while he watches! Sometimes I gather a few supplies and work at the kitchen table while he is in the mood to play independently for a few minutes.
Wearing both mama and artist hats for the past 18 months has taught me the truth that we can do anything, but not everything. To make sure art time happens for me, I have to let go....of a LOT. It is a beautiful and incredibly difficult thing to do, but setting priorities makes it possible to free up some time in my day. Learning to say no has been huge. Learning to listen to my heart + intuition has been huge. Learning to ask for what I need has been a game-changer. Being a mama is teaching me this incredible lesson that we don't have to do it all alone. And sometimes we need help. And asking for help is part of having a whole, fulfilling, and beautiful life.
Tips for artist mamas seeking time to create:
Find a baby carrier that you love, and use it! Your babe will likely love spending time watching you in your element!
(My son, Sawyer, comes a l i v e when he gets to spend time in my studio and it has been such a joy to experience art with him).
When your baby gets older, spend time creating together. My son loves coloring with markers now and it frees up my hands to make some art alongside him.
Ask for help. Some days a mama just needs a little creative solitude. Ask a trusted friend or relative to come and watch your child while you create, create, create.
Release expectations, let go, and remain flexible. Remember that you're cultivating a creative life- and that in an of itself is so rewarding! You're doing such important work. You're doing a fabulous job. Keep going!