balance [or the life of a creative mommy]
I recently ran across a blog post, written by a former lover, that was clearly (although not directly) referring to this post of mine about reclaiming our true self and learning to say yes to our creative selves. It made me smile because what he is referring to is exactly what I do every, single day. There is no “loft in soho strewn with canvases” but I did convert my living room into a studio so I can create and move around freely. We have a small room dedicated as our family room which is cozy and just right for our needs. The studio currently has a glorious Yule tree blazing with white lights and stocking hanging at the fireplace. It also has several recently completely works of art and has hosted several clients for healing journeys recently. The tapestry gets woven one thread at a time and each fiber loops around another…
Earlier today, I was photoshopping something because I had an unexpected, tight deadline. I would click a button and do one braid of my daughter’s hair then click again and do the other braid. This is the way of a mother who desires to be WITH her children as much as possible and follow her creative dreams as well.
I was smiling today as I was working at my computer and my preschooler danced behind me. Diffused sunlight streaming through the studio windows, gauzy, multi-colored scarves in her hands singing at the top of her lungs, “Today is a beautiful day! The sun is shining!” Of course, minutes later I’m quite certain she was crying about something or the other because, well, that is the way of humans, isn’t it?
Yesterday, I went to her co-operative preschool and did music with the children. We sang and danced, drew oil pastel pictures on black paper to “The Four Seasons: Winter” by Vivaldi, explored maracas and rain sticks then made our own “shakey eggs” together. After that, I dashed home and prepared my studio for a phototherapy session with an amazing woman who told me I was “such an angel” and “a wonderful conduit”. This session gave her the clarity she was seeking and energized me to keep creating and doing the Work. Later, I picked up my kids and was buzzing with love and enthusiasm. The tapestry gets woven one thread at a time and each fiber loops around another…
Today, I had the pleasure of taking Gigi to see my older daughter perform at her school and last week, I got to see her do her test for Karate. While I was there (and it was taking a long time), I commented to a little girl that I was glad I worked for myself. When she asked me what I do, I said, “I’m an artist and I help grown-ups who have lost their dreams find them again.” She said, “Wow! Nice job.”. Indeed it is. After a bit of rest time, I picked up my daughter and took the girls to the park and the library. You see, I have time to spend with my children, even though I am a “creative type” because I make time. I used to make even more time but back then I was dead inside and had no identity of my own. I’ve learned to balance and like those rocks up there, the big one (me), is on the bottom as a foundation. I am full. I am solid and grounded. If I allow myself to dry up, I won’t be able to support the other two so I don’t.
I’ll be honest. It’s not easy, this balancing act. Sometimes I just want to give up. Even with the amazing community I have in my life, I get pooped out. Sometimes (like tonight), I have a sink full of dishes that I don’t feel like doing but it’s worth it. Sometimes the dishes have to wait until my painting is done. Sometimes, the kids have to play so that I can finish something. In her wonderful book, “Woman Who Run with the Wolves“, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about having fierce boundaries for our creative, wild selves. This IS necessary. Perhaps it’s not for men who have a sense of entitlement to their work and are often used to having their wives do most of the child-rearing. I don’t know; I don’t have a penis. Herstory is different than history, let’s not kid ourselves.
I have always included my children on my journey. One of them was suckling at my breast when I read the book I just mentioned. I was pregnant with the other one when I dove into expressive arts therapy certification training and she was with me for the last 3 months of school. I found a way because I am determined and because I matter. I don’t “sip absinthe and argue philosophy” on a “rooftop apartment on the la rive gauche” but I do go to parties (where we drink tequila or vodka) and coffee shops with my amazing friends while we do art with our kids (and discuss philosophy).
Romance is what you make it. Life and art and creativity are what you make it. This is the one, baby. This is YOUR life. Make the most of it and make sure you weave the tapestry you most desire because unweaving it and starting over is a fuckofalotofwork. I’m trying to get it right this time. The key, I think, is being honest enough with ourselves about who we are and what we need so that we can be honest with our loved ones as well. There is no shame in living your creative dreams and it isn’t an either/or proposition. I have found that people rush to support me when I speak with “Spirit Tongue” or Truth about who I am and what I need. As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes people pout and act out but that’s because they aren’t taking responsibility for their own happiness. I know that the more I carve the life of my dreams, the more others will feel inspired to do the same (including the pouters and tantrum throwers).
Finally, I want to put down in words what my 10 year-old daughter said to me last night. When I was telling her about my day, she said, “You are so good with kids, Mom. We are so lucky to have a woman in our lives who is so spiritual and musical.” It touched my heart so deeply to be seen by her that way. I shouldn’t be surprised. She did write this.
Yes, I do “encourage childlike self-expression”, both in myself and in others. I live for inspiration and love! Ironically, the way I have allowed myself to grow up into the “responsible, aware adult” that I am is by letting my inner child out to play. She feels safe with such a benevolent parent taking care of her and guess what? My daughters do as well and we are all weaving this beautiful tapestry together, one blood-red thread at a time. We are (wild) women, after all.