I've been on this internal rampage to make some beautiful point that art is not the antithesis of motherhood. I want to show the world, or more honestly myself, that you can have both, and while I will admit that in some capacity I do, it is not even close to what I have imagined for myself. Because when I try to indulge in one or the other, it feels like the other falls short and both feel like they lack something. When I am buzzing with creative projects, I am not the patient, present mama I want to be, and when I am the mama I want to be, there is little room to make tangible creative things. As I type this I suddenly feel contradictory, and aware of the fact that anything good is not one or the other. Most true things are not binary. It sounds good, and I believe it, but someone tell me how this is actually played out? I've never understood those people who say that having 2 children is no different than 5. You can't ignore the logistics of feeding, clothing, and cleaning more humans, not to mention the emotional aspect, which is probably the most challenging part. There is only so much time in a day, and only so much a person is capable of accomplishing.
I have friends and family who have talked about the advantages of being a working parent. One being that when they are with there kids they are completely present. They know time with them is more limited and so they are able to give themselves more fully because this time feels more sacred and they aren't worn down from the day in and day out challenges of full time parenting. This makes sense, but I am not good at splitting my time up into boxes, or in this case, hours. I dive into life and let it consume me. Whatever I am doing, I like to be all in. So when I take a yoga class or go on a date, a photo shoot, or spend the day writing in a coffee shop I don't always come home feeling refreshed or ready to be more present with my daughters. I often feel like I want more of what I just had. I feel like I start to get creative momentum and then I abruptly shift modes. When I spend the entire day with my daughters, and know that the next week doesn't hold much space for me to do photography, dance, or whatever, it feels like I am present with them in a brand new way. I want more time with them. Six years in and I still can't shift back and forth very easily. Which is rather ironic because my art is so deeply inspired by them and motherhood. It is my time with them that stirs within me the need to create and preserve. It's just this creating and preserving that is tricky to do amongst the reality of family life.
I am learning that I am someone who needs adequate time with people, things, and ideas. When I create I need wide open time and space. When I parent, I feel the exact same way. An entire day or week or month with my girls feels like paradise. But so does creating. Time is my love language and I prefer it slow and steady. Being a creative mama who wants to do, be and feel so much in this world, I find it tricky to navigate, albeit totally possible.
The advice that exists doesn't seems to hit home or apply. I don't identify as a "working," mama, although I have always worked in some non traditional way since having my girls. I also don't identify with the worn down stay at home mama who gets so little time to herself. In fact, I feel like I do get time to myself. I don't know where I belong amongst a spectrum that is so deep and wide. I realize that the most beautiful thing is that I don't have to fit. I know that "fitting," doesn't really exist and we each make our own unique recipe that feels just right to us. The thing is, I am confused about what I want. I don't loose sleep over it, I just acknowledge it and feel it. And maybe there is no answer, this is just the tension every mother feels, expressed in my own unique way. Maybe there are only trials and errors, experiments and "aha's." Maybe I will look back and realize that I was a lot closer to where I think I want to be, than I thought. Maybe I will have written all these ramblings to realize that all this tension is the catalyst for which everything I think and feel suddenly becomes relevant and beautiful. It becomes my art, because it is my life. And because maybe is often is my humble way of say, yeS yES YES! YES! that is it! I can move on now.