flight undisturbed

 |  May 14, 2007


flight undisturbed, mixed media and oil, 4×4 inches

On a recent post on the art biz blog, Alyson Stanfield posed the question of how does one balance being a parent and an artist. This is something that I have been dealing with recently and thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.

The first three months there was really no way I could work. I could barely function at the time! Well, that’s not completely true. Although I was really tired, I was so busy being in the moment of being a new mother. Getting to know my son. Helping him to grow. Learning about myself in this new aspect. All I wanted to do and could do revolved around Noah. But I have to admit that I did despair of ever returning to my studio. I didn’t see how it could happen. There’s a reason why women take maternity leave in the early months. They are necessary for the mother to recuperate and to nurture her child and the relationship with the child. That’s what I think, at least.

But I was able to return to working in my studio, as this art journal attests to. I have found that because my studio time is limited to when he naps or when my husband is home, I have become incredibly efficient. I have paintings in many stages that I can work at a moment’s notice. I have become even more productive now than I was pre-baby! Although if I weren’t on the computer as much as I am, I could be even more productive. But we are all allowed some vices, right?

I spoke to other artist/moms after Noah was born and many gave me some great insight.
1. After the first three months, it will get easier. I didn’t believe them. But it did!
2. You will learn to work in fragmented time. This is so true. This is what I was talking about in terms of having things in different stages.
3. Make a work schedule for yourself that works for you and your family.
4. Give your art the respect it deserves. It is your work.
5. Becoming a mother is empowering. Motherhood takes all shapes and forms. There is not a one-size-fits-all model.
6. Enjoy the time with your son. It flies by so quickly. When I am with Noah, I am completely there with him and for him. I think that my time in the studio gives me that chance to be in my head which allows me to be present for him when I am with him.
7. Having the support of your partner/spouse is very, very important. This is so true. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the encouragement and support of my husband.
8. Embrace flexibility. You really can’t be rigid about things when there is a little one involved. Life is unpredictable and full of unexpected surprises.

Thank you to all the moms out there who have given me advice. Especially, Deb Morbeto, Raine, Leau and Paula, andKaren Michel.

Most importantly though I wouldn’t be able to do all this without the support of my husband. I am very fortunate that I am able to stay home and take care of my son and that my husband supports and encourages me to go forward with my art. If I had to go to a 9 to 5 job outside of the home, be a mom and wife, plus paint, and care care of myself, I’m not sure I would be able to do much else. I am sure that there are many women who do all that and make art too. The strength and resiliency of women is astounding, really.

I would love to hear how other women have handled the balance if anyone wants to share their story. Or the choices they have had to make. Because sometimes it is not always possible to be both mom and artist. And the artist side of mom needs to take a break for a few years. But even if one isn’t actively a “working artist”, the artist still exists alongside the mother. If raising and taking care of a child isn’t creative work, I don’t know what is.

Now, if there were a second or third child involved here I’m sure everything changes! But we’ll get to that when it happens. For now, life is wonderfully full with my husband, my son, and my art. Like I said in an earlier post, he is my joy.

4 Comments

  1. by Raine K on May 14, 2007  9:02 pm Reply

    Hi Bri!
    You have been amazingly productive recently - it seems like every day you have more beautiful art to share! I've making a lot of art also - but much more production-like as I am gearing up for an artist market that is happening on Saturday. I'm in the middle of matting ten million prints!
    Take care!
    Raine

  2. by Kala Bijoux on May 14, 2007  9:20 pm Reply

    Thanks for the great advice, this was wonderful to read :)

    (This is Ambersan)

  3. by leau on May 15, 2007  9:47 am Reply

    This is sooo beautiful. love the peacefulness of it. The best thing about motherhood is that it never stays the same! There is a scientific study that shows that a mother's brain grows and changes with the interaction with her child. Cool, eh? enjoy every minute! (heart) leau

  4. by AluapPaula on May 15, 2007  9:49 am Reply

    Aloha!
    Loved reading about your transition to motherhood and finding balance. Always remember that the place that you find as balance is not static! And, over time, if you do go back to a 9-5, you will still find a way. Female artists that are wives and mothers have always had to contend with fragmented lives.
    Noah and your husband will always be your best unconditional fans! I find that my 15 year old is my best critic and fan!
    Even as Noah grows up and life gets more complicated (and it will), you now know that you will always be able to find that groove...
    BTW, love the piece you just posted! Scrumptious! When is your show?
    Paula

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