“We can’t draw right now because we are driving home from preschool. You can draw when we get home in a few minutes.”
“I caaaaannn’t wait that long.”
This is a conversation I had with my 4 year old daughter last week. Even though I snickered at her ridiculous remark, I later realized that she put into words exactly what I feel as a creative—I must create, or die. That will sound like a strong statement to non-creatives, like my husband, but it is true! I can’t explain why I have that feeling, I just know it’s there. Which leads me to a creative crisis…
1. I need to draw/design/create
2. I’m a mother of young kids and my time is limited
How do I balance this? When I spend time with Citrus and Mint, I feel guilty like I am neglecting my most important role as wife and mother. But when I don’t spend time with Citrus and Mint, I feel unfulfilled. I got permission to share some excerpts from the letter that my friend Whitney wrote to me. It was so relieving to hear that someone else has struggled with the same issues.
"When I picture myself as a loving mother who provides for her children and also sets boundaries to claim some things for herself- to say "these are the things that fulfill me"- I see a much more balanced version of myself. Sometimes our culture sets an expectation that we be consumed by our motherhood. I've found a lot more breathing room and peace by accepting that I am a mother, yes, but not only a mother. I am a person, an artist, a being who needs to be challenged, to continue learning. When I allow myself to accept these things and release the guilt that I'm not spending every waking moment focused on my children I feel happier, more balanced, I feel like a better mother. I am giving myself permission to pursue dreams and I think that's a powerful example to children. If I existed only for them, what a skewed view of the world they would have, and what a limiting role I would leave for them to inherit."
(Whitney, please grant me some of your eloquence in writing)
I haven't answered the balance question yet. I believe that the answer will be different to each person, which makes it harder to figure out. But I have made an important step in the right direction--I recognize and accept that being a creator is part of who I am and that is okay. I cannot and should not suppress it.