Honest thoughts on motherhood (from an artist’s perspective)

One of the most frequent question I get asked about my artistic career is “How do you do all of this with two kids?”

Oh man…. Why did you ask that?  You want the honest truth? I don’t.

It’s messy and crazy at times (ok, no, 90% of the time.) That question overwhelms me and I have no solid answer for it. My two little girls are quite young, and come to the studio with frequently.  They create tiny watercolor paintings, do school work on my art table, we eat too many snacks, we break out in random dance parties, go on sunny walks, I drink too much coffee and have a 2am bedtime, and my housekeeping skills are shameful.

Over the past year, as my business has grown, I have caught myself slipping into the mindset that my kids are standing in between me and my creative work.
The slippery thing about this thought is that it seems true. Kids do get in the way and they do take a lot of time and energy. But maybe they’re supposed to Children help inspire and soften our hearts. They help us pause and remember the breathtakingly beautiful moments, they change the course of our lives with their first breath.

Kids inspire us to live life vividly – the way they do.

Late one night, alone in the studio, I had an “ah-ha moment”.   Being a mother hasn’t held me back from being the best artist I can be. My kids have dynamically shaped every aspect of my life and changed every bit of it for the better. …even my career as an artist.

As I was working away in my studio, it occurred to me that I create artwork for my own gratification, to share my messages with the world as all artists do… but I also yearn to be a good example for my girls. I didn’t consciously realize it before, but having their little eyes watch and learn from me inspires me beyond words.

I want them to see that their mom is passionate, and happy, and fulfilled, and living life fully. I want them to see me using and developing my abilities as much as possible. I want to lead them by example.

I fail literally every day, and will continue failing forever, but my perspective on life and motherhood has shifted – just a bit. I owe my daughters a huge thank you. Right now they will have no clue what I’m talking about, but eventually, I hope they grow up to live their lives as richly as possible.

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18 comments

  • Thank you for sharing these awesome pics of the perfect young ladies of yours. They look like they are in heaven, painting.
    I couldn’t agree more. Our kiddos inspire us. I know my 12 yr old inspires me on the daily.

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  • We are def one in the same Em. I’ve had several “a ha” and teary eyed moments in the last month & in the past, regarding me staying home, me as a blogger, me as an aspiring artist & entrepreneur & I had the same feeling – my kids are standing in between me and my creative work. I hated feeling that way, but yer totally right! thx for this post lady!

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  • As I made a start on my own creative journey I realised that my children make me a better version of myself. A few years on the only problem is that I struggle to find time to demonstrate who that person is – to the world and myself. Never mind!

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    • I love that ” my children make me a better version of myself”. True. And they point out, all to often, where I fall majorly short. ; )

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  • Emily, what a beautiful tribute to your children, and the wonderful gift they are to your life. When mine were young, I was just beginning a writing career and I was always trying to juggle and balance my love for writing with their needs. I reached the same “Aha” moment you experienced, and I thank God that he gave me the stamina and joy in my work plus showed me that they weren’t being robbed, but were learning lessons in ways I might not always realize. And, as you mentioned, they were actually enriching the writing process.

    Now my kids have children of their own and I have changed gears and work as a fine art photographer. Life is sweet (read: grandchildren) and I feel very blessed.

    Love your blog!

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    • I think God does give us stamina to be both mother and creative person. If he has given us these abilities he will give us a way to use them! Thanks os much for sharing your story! It’s inspiring and encouraging to me.

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  • Kids may have different tools, different capabilities and different interests, but they understand art in a way that many adults do not. Sharing art can be one of the most amazing things you can do to connect with your kids. I remember the first time I realized that I could share my fascination with the color combinations created by stacking certain dishes with my daughter. Now we go on photography walks together. Just last week I was showing her pictures, which are mostly very abstract, but really striking, to a two year old boy. His mom was giggling about his appreciation for the pictures, but he genuinely appreciated them. Not all kids love art, but, as you said, what an amazing gift for you to share with them!

    As for the people who are amazed that you are able to both have a hobby and be a parent, they likely have a hobby, too, whether they recognize it or not. As a parent, you’re never going to be able to do everything you’re expected to. You naturally have to prioritize and make choices about your time. I think you’ve made a great choice for yourself and your family, and they’ve probably made some great choices for themselves and their families.

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    • That is so true. Kids have a keen eye for color and an uninhibited mind. I love that my daughter doesn’t even know she’s “supposed to” color inside the lines. Life is so much more beautiful this way.

      Thank you for sharing and for your kind words!

      EJ

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    • Thank you Ashley! It is, but I’m a firm believer that if God has given you a talent or ability (and he HAS!) He’ll give you a way to use it – even with kids. ; ) It sure can be hard some day’s though!

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  • Em, Keep it up (and keep your eyes on the Lord) and you will see your girls live life richly and honor The Lord! I have tears of joy in my eyes as I read this. What a joy to see my oldest daughter love her husband, love her children, love her Lord, and love her gift and passion for art! I am blessed to watch my daughter living her life richly – you will too!

    We pray for you daily!!! ILU! Dad

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  • Reblogged this on KettleStitchMama and commented:
    I love this mama’s honest yet inspirational take on what it means to be a creative mama and how her kids play such an integral role in her creative journey!

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  • Hi Emily, I’m so happy you wrote this. My fiance and I want to have kids one day but I feel very apprehensive. The only way my life seems to make sense is in the context of being creative, and I worry how kids will impact on that. I long to be an artist AND a mother and worry whether it’s possible. Thank you for showing that it is! It gives me hope to remember that God gave us the gift of creativity and wants us to use and enjoy it – and be the people we were designed to be.

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