Out of My Mom Rut
The summer after I had my daughter, I joined a book study group on the book, Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. This is a phenomenal book that I highly recommend!! It is about being present in your life, turning away from frantic busy schedules and choosing to have more time. One of the philosophies she teaches to help in this area is the power of the word, no. I loved this concept because I have always had trouble saying no to people and obligations. However, at that point in my life adjusting to a newborn, I kept thinking... umm... what am I supposed to say no to? "Sorry, Sidda, no I can't breast feed you right now, I need to be present in this conversation with your Dad." Or "No, I can't fold laundry or cook dinner, I'm choosing to have time to discover who I'm made to be."
Adjusting to life as a new mom was extremely hard for me. Maybe it is because our sweet daughter was such a surprise from God that we weren't planning on until about five years down the road. Or maybe I would have struggled either way. But regardless, it was an adjustment for me. I found myself wrestling with the different parts of my identity and my various roles in life. Before I became a mom, my identity was rooted in my roles of wife, daughter, friend, sister, teacher, artist, creative spirit, aunt, and Christian. So, still a lot of roles, however I had been managing the balance of those roles. When adding in the role of Mom, that balance completely flopped over. It became non existent. I was not able to give as much to each of my capacities but the area that took the biggest hit was the artistic and creative parts of me.
I literally had zero time for art. At least, that is what I told myself. I started getting so frustrated and resentful because I felt lost without that part of me. But there was no time in the day! I woke up, fed my daughter, packed her bottles for the day, packed the pump parts and empty bottles for me, got my lunch together and all my teaching things ready, went to work, pumped during every single break I had, picked Sidda up from Daycare or which ever family member was keeping her that day, immediately fed her, drove her back home, got her down for another nap, started dinner, got her up from her nap and had a few moments to actually interact with her, ate dinner with them and Kirk when he got home, fed her again, bath time, bed time, and then I was exhausted and had to sleep because she would be up just a few hours later.
Obviously this crazy schedule did not keep for too long. Sidda got older and her demands lessened. But I still kept throwing myself a pity party that my life just was too busy. You might be feeling this as well for a number of reasons. Maybe you aren't a new mom, but there are plenty of reasons to give as to why you don't have time for your passion anymore. Countless and countless of excuses. I finally had to realize that it was true, I did not have time to do art in the way I used to anymore. But I did have time for SOMETHING!
I got out of my "Mom Rut" by changing up my process. I realized that I needed to be doing something small almost every day. The era of spending hours and days on one giant oil painting was gone. It may come back someday, but for now, I've put it in my past. I decided to switch to acrylic paints which were faster to work, easier to clean, and better for my daughter to be around. I work smaller now and on multiple paintings at a time. I've adjusted and adapted to this new life and it's been working GREAT!
Now with a higher volume of content, I've been able to engage more people and possible clients. I've created inventory and developed my website. I'm further along in my work now than I ever was. Little by little, day by day, doing SOMETHING every day to work towards my artistic goals. So when you feel like you do not have time to go after what you want, change the game! Brainstorm ways that you can make it fit your schedule. Adapt to the craziness. Redesign, revamp, rewire your process and make it work! The mom rut is real. The hectic life is real. But it does not have to run your life!
And also you really should go read, Present Over Perfect. It's really good.